Bikes of the Bunch: Fan bikes at the Tour Down Under

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I spotted it the first morning, just after 6:30am, leaning against a fence under the giant inflatable bicycle that looms over the Tour Down Under’s start village complex: A white and blue Colnago C60 dotted with the distinctively colorful cubes of Mapei, a design that remains one of the most beloved in cycling.

That bike, owned by Cameron Harris of Sydney, inspired this little project. Each morning as we rolled out on the daily CyclingTips rides, I’d scour the pack for particularly interesting fan bikes. They could be something I hadn’t seen before, like Andrew Metter’s wooden Renovo, or a simply a bike built with obvious and dedicated purpose, like Leeana James’ Cinelli race bike. I could have added a hundred bikes here, but in the end, I’ll post these special seven: Bikes of the Bunch at the Tour Down Under.

 

 

 

Colnago C60 Mapei


Owner: Cameron Harris
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
The story: The decades-long collaboration between Colnago and Mapei has grown into one of cycling’s great matches. Over the years, Colnago has done its steel Master, the infamous Ti CT1, aluminum Dream, and carbon C40 (plus a couple more) in the livery. Mapei Colnagos were ridden by Fabian Cancellara, Andrea Tafi, Paolo Bettini, Johan Museeuw, and Tony Rominger. The Mapei frames are still hand-painted and the C60 is still hand-built in Italy from carbon tubes and carbon lugs. And they’re just so darn pretty, aren’t they? I like Cameron’s build, too: Reasonable Ultegra matched with handbuilt wheels from XLR8.

Bastion #63


Owner: Paul Radford
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
The story: This bike has no model name; it’s just #63. We wrote about Bastion this year, and in fact, Paul said he purchased the bike after reading the review from CyclingTips’ Australian tech editor, Matt Wikstrom. The bikes are built with carbon tubes and 3D-printed titanium lugs, designed by a trio of former auto engineers, and made in Melbourne. But while the engineering is impressive, what struck me was the bike’s look. It’s beautiful in the sort of rugged, functional way of a modern supercar. It was an instant hit when I put it up on Instagram, so it had to make the final list.

Cinelli Strato Faster


Owner: Leeana James
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
The story: I like race bikes, and in particular race bikes that do not apologize for their devotion to the cause of speed. I asked Leeana for her bike’s story and responded simply: “It’s a super fast crit bike.” It has a curated feel that is perhaps to be expected from someone out of the fashion world, as Leeana is. She says she thinks it’s the only one in Australia — I have no way of confirming this, but it’s certainly the only one I saw at TDU. In a sea of big-brand carbon, this one stood out.

Speedvagen Rugged Rod Disc


Owner: Rod Penfound
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
The story: Back in the U.S., Speedvagens are quite popular and spotting them is relatively common, particularly if you’re anywhere near the company’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon. But not many have made it all the way over to Adelaide. The company is known for its builds as well as its phenomenal paintwork, and Rod’s bike is no exception. I fear I’ve completely failed to capture it in these photos, but I promise the paintwork is stunning. Most of all, Rod’s attention to detail stood out. The color-matched frame pump and stem are fantastic (cycling needs more of this, please) and I particularly like the seat mast with its protective stainless steel sleeve. The bike has nice fat road tires matched to those wide Enve rims and looks as versatile as it is beautiful.

FiftyOne Custom


Owner: Aidan Duff
Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
The story: It’s wonderfully simple, isn’t it? FiftyOnes are handmade, custom carbon fiber bikes from Dublin, Ireland. I had no idea when I first approached Aidan, but he’s the owner and founder of the company, which he started after finishing off a racing career. The company finishes its bikes to every customer’s precise demands, so two never look identical. This one is Aidan’s personal ride and stood out as he was rolling around the start village for its smooth lines and classic look.

Passoni Top Evolution


Owner: Ryan
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
The story: This Passoni pulled up to a rest stop on the way to Willunga Hill and caught my eye with its glinting, polished finish. Not many Ti bikes are so thoroughly polished. I asked Ryan why he bought it and the answer was simple: It’s Ti, and it’s Italian. Both are compelling arguments, I think.

Renovo


Owner: Andrew Metter
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
The story: I’ve seen wooden bikes in the past at trade shows such as Interbike, but it’s only in the wild where they truly shine. The wood – a combination of sapele, wendell, and maple for Andrew’s frame – has a depth to it that is simply beautiful in the bright sunlight. Renovos are handmade in Portland, Oregon using techniques perfected in boat building. This was unquestionably the most distinctive bike I saw at TDU.

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