If you’re still reading The Spoken after the 22 months we’ve been online, there’s a good chance you appreciate the purity and simplicity of The Beautiful Machine. I’m not just talking about a stripped back, steel track bike either — even the most elaborate tourer with a full suite of racks, lighting and luggage usually appear to be more refined than most modern, carbon fiber race machines. Visually, the graphics bestowed upon those featherweights at the factory are designed to give the impression of blistering speed, even when they’re leaned up against a wall.
The Kuota Kebel AA02 is one such machine that’s covered in bold typography and shapes, designed to accentuate its muscular angles. London-based designer Áthila Armstrong fell in love with the Kebel’s ride and took it upon himself to re-interpret the skin of the machine.
Áthila tells the story: “I love cycling and work as a Digital/Graphic Designer, so I usually find the paint job on some bikes a bit ghastly. I appreciate a bit of minimalism also. I didn’t want to my bike to look like a race machine just because the livery, but wanted to look fast because of its own geometry and attention to detail.”
“I’ve been a keen cyclist for the last 3 years. I love riding bikes, but for pleasure and not to race, so I wanted to have a bike that could push me to be faster and feel the joy of accomplishing long distances at a fast pace.”
“After a lot of research, I started buying the components around September 2011. I’ve always loved the Kebel geometry and after a bike fitting, was lucky enough to discover it was the perfect geometry for my riding style. The problem was that I didn’t like the ‘racey’ paint job. I bought the frameset and started designing the decals myself and thinking about the color scheme. I kept the inside of the seat stays carbon, each side of the forks has a slightly different colour: yellow on the right side and black on the left. The details (dots, triangles and crosses) are different on each side.
“I wanted to have the brand on the frame, but not overly so like modern bikes, so I end up on a white on white for the decals, creating a bit of bevel with the clear coating on top (the Kuota logos are on the under bottom tube and a small one on the right hand side of the top tube).”
“My intention is to do some long distance club rides, the odd century sportif and the big European Continent climbs for a week sometime next year… just to push myself in order to find my breaking point. I love cycling because it’s an activity that helps me to find my limits, so I can become better.
Massive thanks to Áthila Armstrong for the words and pictures. You can see more of his designs on his portfolio site, NeueRepublica™.