San Antonio tattooist David Rangel emailed me the other day, and raised an interesting point about many of the bikes and photography we feature on The Spoken: While there’s a certain ‘virginal mystique’ to a freshly built bike that hasn’t yet been ridden, it’s also a pleasure to see bikes that regularly experience the elements and are visibly used. I concur. One could further impress the point that excellent photography can expose the beauty of virtually any bicycle.
David sent through some photos of his titanium Douglas Ghisallo, a propriety brand offered by The Colorado Cyclist. He’s under the impression that it’s bad form to shoot a bike with a saddle bag, sweat streaks on the top tube, and a dirty chain. Frankly, I’d love to see more beautiful photography of bikes that show their share of miles. I wouldn’t even mind if they’re leaning up against a can of chowder.
The American titanium bike frame industry sounds as incestuous as the Italian steel one, so it’s difficult to pin point the exact lineage of Douglas frames. Lynskey provided a lot of house brands with ti frames, but there’s also evidence of other manufacturers among the myriad of bike forum threads.
David has nothing but good reports about his Ghisallo. “This one is all American-made 3al/2v titanium, with welds that rival those I’ve seen in person on other modern Litespeeds, Lynskeys or even IndyFabs. I picked it up for US$350–frame/fork/headset/front derailleur. The rear dropouts are beefy cast Ti inserts and the whole thing is stiff back and forth and comfy up and down. The top and down tubes are bi-axially ovalized and the seat stays contoured, giving this thing a character all it’s own. I’m a big guy with major watts, and this thing is perfect for me.”
“It took me a while to piece it together with what I thought would work well. The cranks, derailleurs, and brakes were NOS. I love the 7700 Dura-Ace; there is no plastic on it and it’s the last year it looked like shiny crafted metal as opposed to stamped, cookie cut, machine parts like the 7800 or 7900.”
Even with a predominantly classic Dura-Ace group set, David’s favorite component is the stainless steel, NAHBS-stamped bidon cage by King Cages, acquired at this years show. I’m sold. It’s a solid, graceful, hard-working bike and David’s excellent photography helps accentuate those features.