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sweet // bikes

cool bike shit for the discerning cyclist


// Vanhawks - Valour              

We all had a bike that we wanted as a kid, but didn’t get. In my case it was a Raleigh Street Wolf. It had sound effects (or FX as we call it in the trade) and an awesome red LED.

Never got it. And now I’m an adult not only is it a bit wrong for me to get one from ebay its also far too small. So this is a great fillip, until I can get someone to build me a street hawk in a massive size that is.

The Valour is the first “connected” bike and has a number of ways that it’s actually smarter than you, meat sack.

It has blind spot detection technology so it vibrates if you are about to turn into traffic. It has an inbuilt GPS that you programme using a dedicated app to work out the best cycle route. You then follow the green lights on the handlebars left or right to get your destination.

It also logs everything you do – time, calories burnt pedal strokes, what brand of lynx you are wearing (Africa in case you were wondering) distance etc.

Someone steals it? Sorted cause you can detonate it remotely using the Vanhawk network. Which is also how you can locate it if you didn’t want to do the first bit ……cough

It’s super light and strong with a carbon frame, it looks ace and has a single speed carbon belt drive.

Pre-orders are in now for a march 2015 delivery and although it’s not cheap you get a lot of bike for your money that can do an awful lot of next level stuff.

So all that is well and good and ‘game changing’ and stuff but nowhere does it say that it has a handlebar operated machine gun FX like the Street Wolf. Maybe they can add that and I’m in.

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// Horse Cycles x KM City Cruiser              

Horse Cycles of Brooklyn are builders of sweet city bicycles all presided over by the bearded god like figure of KING HORSE. Which is a name I just made up cause actually it’s Thomas Callahan.

The City Cruiser is a collaboration with Kauffman Mercantile – a very upmarket shop that seems to sell upmarket things to upmarket people. Almost exactly like Sweet Bikes then.

The bike is a single speed affair made from light but strong 4130 steel True Temper tubing (also once found in Tour de France and Giro d’Italia racers) It comes with Brookes leather seat and TIG welded joints for that super streamlined look.

You get a choice of dark green or cream, a personalised copper badge and also the advantage of a much lighter wallet as this fine looking steed will set you back well over a grand sterling.

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// Shinola - The Runwell Contrast Chrono              

Now I’m no horologist, I mean I don’t even know what star sign I am, but I do like a nice watch.

Shinola is one of a number of companies that has risen Phoenix like out of the ashes of the Detroit car industry, and has employed that now redundant technical skills base to start making beautiful bicycles and bike related ephemera.

That aforementioned ephemera mainly consists of leather goods and homegrown watches. And they are pant droppingly nice.

Trying to work out which is the best I’d say is like choosing between your kids, but I only have one so I can’t relate to that. Unless it’s a choice of kids OR bike in which case someone better have the number for social services. I’m joking of course. I think a formal email is much better in those scenarios.

The Runwell Chrono is powered by a Detroit-built Argonite 5030 high-accuracy quartz movement which sounds ace although I have no idea what it actually means means. It also comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, stainless steel case, and leather NATO watch strap embossed with the Shinola name and a lightning bolt. The watch is “proudly manufactured” in the USA and if you really like to get to know the people who sweated over your time piece then you can see pictures of them on the Shinola website. Which I felt was a bit like leafing though a catalogue of the moribund looking animals that zoos try and guilt you into sponsoring.

The Shinola watches are not on the cheap side but they are amazing quality and even if they aren’t you get a life time guarantee.

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// POC - DO Blade Sunglasses              

Like it or not the sunnies that you wear say a lot about what sort of cyclist you are. Some say “serious, unsmiling power machine” Some say “free wheeling lothario” These say “fabulous terminator”

As used by the Garmin Sharp Team the POC DO Blades are by far not the cheapest on the market. In fact you might have to raffle off your first born to afford a pair, but if you want something that is technically super and a bit different then child number 1 might need to pack a suitcase.

The frames are sports specific so are both light and tough and the lenses they come with are a violet hue that works for road cycling conditions, so you can spot holes, gravel and road irregularities. They have anti-fog and repel treatments that will tell fog, dirt and grime to do one. Water will also pearl off so not only can you wear them on a stormy ride you can also wear them to a sexy water fight. Lenses are swappable and there are some great options, but they are sold separately so child number 2 might also need to get ready for a new career working down the mines

Rubber inserts keep the glasses in on the ears while the nose piece, also made of rubber, is adjustable for those of us with a larger proboscis.

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// Wraith Cycles - The Hustle              

Its been said that we only feature retro looking steel steeds here on Sweet Bikes. And I say to you detractors “Don’t you dare try to pigeon hole me, you fascist”

So, The Hustle from Wraith Cycles is a retro looking steel road bike. Made from lightweight Columbus Life steel it gets that individual ride which is both comfortable and fast. Dancing gingerly onto the scales the medium comes in at 3.4lb/1542g which means that it weighs less than my breakfast burrito and will see you flying up the climbs and still being solid on the descents.

For a hand built frame its also trez res price wise – for just over a thousand greenbacks (£650) you get the frame and a full Columbus carbon fork delivered ready to be built up at home without special tools. Or if you are like me, ready to be built up at home then taken apart and done properly by the local bike shop.

You can have the frame in any colour as long as that is grey and will take a 27.2mm seatpost, most 25C rubber, english threaded BB, and an Internal Campy headset.

Pre orders being taken now with frames to ship in August.

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// Horse Cycles - Urban Tour 2014              

If you are feeling lascivious of nature and fancy feasting your eyes on some tubluar smut then Brooklyn could be your new destination. They seem to be bogarting some of the sexiest steel bikes around.

Horse Brand Co. is based around builder Thomas Callahan and this is an update to last years Urban Assault. He has a moustache and a furry hat – once again this is all the CV a steel bike builder needs.

Hand built and capable of being single speed or geared, you can also get colour matched fenders, racks for the touring and still have the juice to smash out some Strava segments if the whim takes you. The urban Assult isn’t the lightest out there but who cares about meat on the bones when they look this good.

This is one of those all round life long partner bikes. The sort that you not only want to throw dollar bills at and take home to partake in biblical things, but to also escort round to the parents for afternoon cake and perhaps a game of croquet.

Basically it’s a steel Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But with less Richard Gere.

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// Attaquer - Bandits Full Kit              

There was just one thing I wanted to be when I was a youth. That was one of the BMX Bandits, and of the three I wanted to be Judy more than anything. The fact that Nicole Kidman played that part shows what a confused time it was for me.

Older, wiser and just a little less fabulous I now know that I don’t want to be Judy. I do still want to be a Bandit though, and this is Attaquer’s nod to the best 1983 Australian BMX buddy film of all time.

I’s got all the usual high quality construction elements you get from Australia’s finest owl loving apparel makers. It’s made from High tech, premium Italian fabric which makes it durable, breathable and lightweight, has custom zippers and a body contour fit. The matching shorts have a triple density chamois that is designed to lessen pressure on perinea region (also known as the road to Grimsby)

Look, you know all this tech stuff already as we featured the Cipolini kit not that long ago so just buy the thing and we can all be Judy together.

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// Stoemper - Taylör              

Bridges, gates, superman, most of my first girlfriend’s teeth. Many things have been made of steel and as a bicycle frame material it’s becoming an in-vogue thing again.

The guys at Stoemper (which means to mash a big ring in Flemish; saucy) have a simple ethos on their bikes. They are “DESIGNED TO BE RACED THE SHIT OUT OF. THEN BUILT BY TODD ACCORDING TO THAT DESIGN” and any website that has swearwords on it’s homepage immediately makes it into my favourites tab.

The Taylör is their steel race bike, made from super light but still stiff True Temper S3 steel, it creates a frame that’s “resilient and somehow springy, stiff and yet forgiving” meaning you get a bike that you can smash up hills on but then still ride it for 100 miles without feeling like you have been to a pool party at Michael Barrymore’s house.

Hand built and tig welded – you can choose the size of your frame, your paint scheme and a number of other options including the ability to have disc brakes and internal cable routing. Oh and you also get a carbon Enve fork and a Godzilla headbadge. Basically you can eat Japan on this bike.

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// Giro - New Road Insulated Vest              

This sort of thing used to be the preserve of people like my aunt who got sleeveless quilted bomber jackets cheap from Makro or the sort of smug outdoorsy walking type who’s idea of a good holiday is dragging the kids camping and bragging about how they dug their own toilet.

Now my auntie’s sleeveless bomber jacket has morphed into a must have accessory in the form of an ‘Insulated Vest’. Part of the Giro New Road range which is aimed at bridging the gap between performance and being able to wear it anywhere and this is possibly the best embodiment of that.

The gilet as it’s also awkwardly known has become the must have bike accessory after actually having a bike and here you get a great cold weather option. Made from 25g of Primaloft with a nylon shell it means that it’s toasty but not stifling and as well as being super light weight it can also pack down into its own pocket for when you get a swett (sic) on.

Available in grey, even more exciting dark grey or my favourite, lifeboat man orange, which has the added bonus that the casual car driver might just spot you in between checking texts and Facebook and looks sartorially right whether you are out for a 50 mile lane smasher or the commute to work.

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// POC - Octal Helmet              

Brains. They work so much better when they are inside your head so if you are gonna wear something to keep them that way then you might as well do it with a helmet that looks good.

POC are a swedish company with some different ideas about how something should look. The Octal helmet can be a bit of a polariser looks wise, as they have gone for less vents but of a bigger size. According to them this means that the airflow will be better across your head, keeping your noggin cool when you are getting a sweat on. It has extra protection at the temples and the back of the head and its monocoque constructing means that it weighs in under 200g.

If you put your glasses in your helmet then they have included an “eye garage” to keep them in place and you can get it in white, blue and red. Unless you ride for Garmin Sharp in which case you will get it in the team clouds as the Octal is their helmet of choice for this season.

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// Caletti Cycles - Steel Frame              

It seems that everyone is now a custom steel frame builder, including my mum.

John Caletti (not my mum) has been building bikes in Santa Cruz, California since 2011. This is his Road frame based on a classic stage race geometry that is then tuned to your style of riding (not sure he does ‘weak ass’ which would sum me up) As with most bespoke builders he does the full gamut of options from EPS/Di2 readiness to mud guard mounts, all which will cost you a few more greenbacks and are priced up on the site which is ace, and not always true of this type of bike. You also get a choice of 10 powder coat colour finishes. Stripes, and custom looks are available, again for that extra addition of more cash.

Pay more for the frame and you also get the choice of either lightweight True Temper S3 steel or empty out the kids college fund and get it done in Titanium.

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// Woodelo - Special Branch Frameset              

Wood. Great for boats, pipes and those terrible animals that you can buy from garden centres. But for a bike frame…?

Well the people at Woodelo certainly think so. Stemming from a curiosity into whether you can build a bike out of wood, they have been making frames out of Irish Ash since 2010. Irish Ash apparently having great strength and dampening properties.

The Special Branch (wakka wakka) is their take on a track bike. Uncluttered with gears and brake cables, the wood shines though in the oversized (I guess you’d call them) tubes making for a jaw droppingly individual bike.

They also do a road frame called the Leaf Speed that they say you could race. Wood you though? Ha! Sorry.

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// Garmin - Vector Pedals              

As soon as man had descended from the trees he realised the way to rule this brave new world was to have more graphs than anyone else.

800 million years later we arrive at the Garmin Vector pedals. Fixing in place of your existing pedals, the Vectors measure how hard you are pushing on both left and right leg and what your overall power output is.

Super simple to set up, they just work when you ride the bike, displaying your current power figure as 3,10 or 30 second rolling averages which is all transmitted via Ant+ to a compatible device. This means you can display in real time how much weaker you are than you thought you were.

As the sensors are mounted in the pedals, it means if you have a number of bikes in your shed (and of course you do) it is as easy as swapping the pedals if you want to transfer them between bikes.

All is recorded and can be uploaded to a Garmin type device or suitable website, so when you get home you can put the kettle on and view your ride power outputs in a number of glorious graphs, giving your partner yet another reason to leave you.

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// Realtree - Cogburn CB4 Camo Bike              

What better way to sneak up on that harmless mammal than with a fat boy bike armed to the gills with a number of different weapons? Bows? We got em. Pistols? We Got em. Napalm? We don’t have it but we can get it. Them deer can be slippery varmint.

It has full gearing, 3.8” low pressure tyres, extra wide handlebar that is stable when loaded, numerous attachment points for gear, a custom Realtree Camo Xtra© paint job, the rims, handlebar, cranks and other components are anodised black for a no glare finish and it also comes with disc brakes because guts can be slippy.

You may laugh now but come the Woodland Animal Rebellion (bit like when Skynet takes over in Terminator but with more scat) these will be the bikes to have.

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// Condor Cycles - Super Acciaio Frameset              

Condor Cycles of London have been making bikes for over 60 years. They are very proud of this, it says it on their website and everything. And so they should be as they have some of the best bikes around, but their first love is steel and they have been pioneering it as a genuine alternative to carbon for some time. This is the new model of their thoroughbred race frame and it’s been used by some of the Rapha-Condor team for the last 4 seasons.

Acciaio meaning steel in Italian, and Super meaning super, is the culmination of 2 years of development. It’s made of triple butted Columbus steel with a tapered head tube, a BB30 bottom bracket and comes with a Columbus Grammy slim full carbon fork, making a stiff fast – and at 1800g – impressively light race bike alternative.

They call it “Cutting edge technology married with traditional craftsmanship”

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// Feather Cycles - Warrens Continental Style Bike              

Ricky Feather of Feather bikes is a man you’d like to hate. He’s an ex pro BMX’er, has some great tattoos and is designing bikes that will make grown men cry, then take their trousers off, then cry some more. Oh and he also has a whippet. I know, what a bastard.

This is the latest bike to come off the production line from his Yorkshire workshop – this one for some lucky sonofabitch called Warren who wanted a continental style bike.

All Ricky’s bikes are one-offs, designed and built exactly how you want them but If you fancy getting your spot on the list do it soon, ‘cause he keeps winning awards and every time he does, the waiting list gets longer and the prices get higher.

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