Rapha enters the bike business

Clothing maker Rapha has signed a deal with four different bike builders to make limited-edition Rapha models over a two year period.

Described by Rapha as “masters of framebuilding”, the four partners – three Americans and an Italian – are each making a single model in a style that suits the heritage of the builder.

Each machine will have a Rapha numbered head badge, inspired by the design of the serial plate from the popular Rapha Citroen ‘H’ Van.


The four bicycles and their builders are:

The ‘Every Day’ commuter from Beloved in Portland, USA. Built by Chris King – of headset fame – this brazed lug and fillet brazed steel frame and fork is built and offered as a complete bicycle. The tubeset is Columbus SL with Spirit headtube and stays, and True Temper fork blades. Price $5,195 plus shipping.

The ‘Continental’ from Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira. What Rapha describe as a “all-weather, all-terrain, all-the-time steel bicycle” and made from a blend of Zona and Spirit tubing from Columbus and both lugged and fillet-brazed. Price $5,000 + shipping

The Independent Fabrication ‘XS’. This will be offered as a custom frame and built from carbon-fibre and titanium. With white pearl paint on the laser cut lugs and the Rapha ‘R’ etched into the lug at the top tube. Prices start at $6,795 plus shipping

The Cinelli ‘XCR’. Intended for the aggressive racer, the Columbus XCR tube material exceeds anything in the market for technological quality and has a higher stiffness to weight ratio than titanium or aluminium, according to Cinelli. Frame and fork price starts at €3,500 + shipping


Independent Fabrication ‘XS’ Rapha Special

KCNC offer headsets for tapered steerers

It won’t have escaped your notice how many manufacturers are now building their frames for tapered fork steerers, which is mostly good. The logic being that the bearing is larger at the bottom for a 1.5″ steerer diameter where the loads are greater and standard 1.125″ at the top for compatibility with all those stems on the market.

It works well for carbon-fibre designers who are mostly trying to blend the fork lines into the headtube for a nice faired-in aerodynamic benefit. The bad news is that tapered and integrated headset bearings are at the exotic end of the availability spectrum, which means pricey.

Now KCNC, makers of machined alloy parts, have launched a range to do the job and best of all they’re cheap as chips and coloured. Admittedly, colour anodising is of limited benefit on an integrated headset but you do get a nicely engraved matching top cap. PT1860 Integrated set is £31.99 and F13 Semi-Integrated £37.99.

This is the semi-integrated model; there is a virtually invisible fully integrated version, too.

Cervélo and Canyon settle differences

A long-standing wrangle over a seat tube patent, between the two frame makers Cervélo and Canyon  has been concluded “amicably”.

The legal action between Canadian Cervélo and Canyon from Germany over the patented Maximus seat tube design has been settled after a “constructive dialogue between both parties,” said a joint statement released earlier today.

Both companies “acknowledge the other party’s intellectual property and the resulting protective rights.”

Canyon had filed a lawsuit regarding the violation of the Maximus Seat Tube patent, which was granted by the Higher Regional Court in Düsseldorf. The European Patent Office declared the Maximus Seat Tube fully patentable, but demanded Canyon adjust its claim. It is already patented in nine European countries with similar patents granted in the USA and China.

The case hinged on who first thought of a seat tube that flares and ovalizes significantly at the lower end, where it meets an oversized bottom bracket but with a flattened area to allow correct location of the front gear mechanism.

With the legal action now settled, Cervélo will carry on making its frames as before. In return, Canyon gets the right to use some patents held by Cervélo. Confidentiality was agreed upon by both parties regarding the fine details of the arrangement.

Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo, was satisfied with the result: “We’re happy this matter is resolved. That’s good news for both companies and for consumers.”

Roman Arnold, chief executive of Canyon, said: “After the long lasting lawsuit both sides can once again concentrate on what they can do best: build high class, innovative and trendsetting bicycles.”

The contentious seat tube. They’re all friends now.

Pinarello launches Kobh as ‘official’ 2011 model

The London Bike Show at the ExCel centre in the London Docklands has been on this week and continues Saturday and Sunday.

Italian bike company Pinarello is there in force and showing off the now production model that made its debut last season as a prototype under the Team Sky riders for the Spring Classics. Designed to be strong, stable and comfortable enough to survive Belgian cobbles and hundreds of miles of the most aggressive use, in a stroke of genius the company is now launching the Kobh – official name KOBH® 60.1 Carbon 60HM1K Torayca® – as an ideal machine for (wealthy) sportive riders.


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pinarello kobh, team sky

Cervélo R5ca gets a first public build-up

Still too early to announce whose bike is officially ‘Lightest at Show’ but Cervélo’s R5ca -hitherto only seen as a sub-800g frameset handed around the Autumn shows, is surely a contender. Mind you, at £7,499 for the frameset alone, this slender beauty needs to be better than just light and pretty.


cervelo r5ca, cervelo, r5

Corima MCC wheels

How about these new wheels from French wheel maestros Corima?


corima mcc, carbon hub

corima, mcc deep section, carbon wheel

Boardman teasing us for 2011 range

There’s still no official word on Boardman’s range for the new season but plenty of hints like this AR 9.4 range topper.


boardman air, aero bike


 Watch out for more from the London Bike Show