Operation Heart of Steel.
What is it about steel? The ride quality, it's strength and resilience or is it the passion of the builder who measures each tube to minute tolerances to your specific geometry? Of course we know the answer is all of the above but it's also more than that, there is an emotional connection that we have from a custom bike built...one that is built especially for exactly for you. From the tubing selected for your riding style to the colours that are just how you like them. There is also something about that feeling when the price you pay for a product truly reflects itself and what that value actually is. Yes, I do like my watches and yes, I did pay quite alot for my favorite Panerai but the reason is not to have a bit of showy bling on my wrist but in stead to pay for a product that in its essence was built to withstand the punishing demand of the Italian Navy. The value, for me, is a watch that I know I can wear every day and not worry if it can keep up...its a Panerai after all, made of steel...
Steel bikes are made to be ridden, though beautiful and polished, underneath is the heart of a wild horse just wanting to go at a full gallop all day, day after day. The value of a steel bike is just this, its ability to be ridden hard every day for many years, you will give out before it does.
After many years as professional rider I bought my first steel bike, a gorgeous Speedvagen, and from the first ride I have not looked back. I am a convert. Steel is real, and I am a big believer that more people should be on this material. I am not going to preach that it is the only bike that should exist because I do believe there is a place for carbon and titanium, but I like steel and I want to show the world what its capable of.
Thats what ¨Operation Heart of Steel¨ is all about, showcasing the possibilities of steel, debunking some of the misconceptions that haunt steel from the old days to what modern steel can offer us. We are no longer using brick mobile phones with pull out antennas, so why are we assuming that steel is a heavy old noodle with downtube shifters?
The steel movement is growing and we are seeing talented and new forward thinking builders popping up all the time, building equally beautiful, purposeful steel bikes. That is also why the project resonates with me, they are the little guy, the craftsmen, dedicating endless hours to perfecting a timeless way of crafting bikes that mostly has long gone. They are some of the few that continue to raise the torch against mass production. They still believe in something more, I still believe in something more.
For this project I partnered up first with the source, Columbus, the famous steel tubing manufacture and then with three builders. Combining our efforts, we will build three different bikes for three different riding styles, each showcasing a unique trait; light, strong, and fast. Each bike will complete an event that will prove it's quality. With each build we will also bring on a clothing brand to do a collaboration kit that will match each paint scheme, which will be for sale to the public.
The project will unravel over the next couple of months, and I will talk about each bike as it is finished, explaining it's special traits, profile its builder and the build itself. With the first build only a few weeks away from being completed, I hope you are as keen as I am to see what steel has to offer. The heart of each bike will be a heart of steel.