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April 11, 2017
This week’s VC ‘Bike of the Week’ comes from the man behind Kern Cycling, Greg Thorne Greg Thorne.
Designing a bicycle is something I have yearned to have the opportunity to do for many years. I think most designers, whether they be Industrial, Graphic, Interior, Architectural etc., can’t help but admire the beauty and simplicity of a bicycle. It’s because of this admiration that many of us dream of being able to lend our own influence and visual style to what is an iconic piece of human ingenuity. For me, because I am so immersed in cycling as a competitive sport, hobby and as a way of life, the desire to paint on the canvass of a bicycle has always been incredibly strong. Being able to design a custom bike that I would be able to race and ride on has been a joyous personal past time for myself, however designing a range of bike schemes to go into production and then getting to see other people enjoying the look of the bike and wanting to purchase it is something so much more special to me.
Enter Flanders Cycles Australia. I had previously been involved with Paul Reddenbach from Flanders in designing a few custom cyclocross bikes, (one for myself and one hand painted project for a customer). Most recently I designed a fleet of super loud (pink to black fade) road bikes for my crit race team, Maker Flanders. If you’ve not heard of MF we are probably the most dominant force in cycling since Pantani’s goatee. The response to these bikes was so positive that it was decided that we would work together to reinvigorate and modernize the Flanders brand here in Aus. Riding one of those bikes was ultimately for me, throwing a leg over one of the most personally satisfying bikes I have ever ridden.
The rebrand process included rethinking how Flanders would be visually portrayed to world. A very large part of rebranding the business was to communicate the origins and history of the brand. Flanders is, as the name would suggest, originally a Belgian bicycle company; born and bred in the harsh hard man style race environment that we all love to watch during the spring classics and at the front of the pack of any cyclocross world cup. I developed a new custom typeface for the logo inspired by letters found in old magazines at Cyclingtips, emulating BnW race posters and fan signs from days past.
An important part of a rebrand is developing a strong and relatable colour palette to represent the product. Previously, the most noticeable feature of Flanders racing was the ‘Belgian Blue’, which the bikes were painted in. We have replaced this slightly outdated colour with a strong and very modern Turquoise that is meant to symbolize the Belgian sky (blue) meeting with the grass (green) and, to some extent, road cycling and cyclocross. This turquoise is on the bikes as a complimentary colour to highlight design features and frame details against the main colour of Flanders….Grey! Yup Grey: nothing says ‘Belgium’ more than grey, cobbles, rainclouds, and bluestone buildings. Forget the yellow lion, Belgium is grey.
It may sound uninspiring as a colour choice but I think its quite the opposite. We have seen countless black bikes and know that they sell and look good. But grey has the ability to give the bike that stealth look whilst also complimenting and highlighting any beautiful or unique features the frame may have.
The Razor that is featured here is the flagship roadbike – soaked in the Flanders new grey, (Pantone Cool Grey 11C for any design nerds, yes its perfect I know), and complimented with the thick white letters of the new logo. The top-tube and chain-stays have been highlighted with a series of perfectly spaced lines, meant to represent cobbles and ruts in the roads, whilst the sea-tube has notched lines in the new Flanders Turquoise.
I built the bike on the glorious Sram Etap with a set of Zipp 404 BeyondBlack Firecrest clinchers. I run an extensive 140mm zipp stem and Specialized power saddle to get right over the bottom bracket and use zipp service course 80’s for even more reach. If you’re interested in seeing more pics of the new bikes that I have worked on with Flanders, check out their website or come see it in person in Melbourne on the VeloClub Fridays lunch bunch ?
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