Words & Photos by Sean Talkington
There is something about mixing a classic steel bicycle with modern components that usually ends up looking either REALLY cool or REALLY “meh” for some reason. It’s a definite hit or miss thing that happens whenever mashing two different generations of anything together, but when done correctly it can be great. From an aesthetic standpoint, traditional steel bicycles are hands down the prettiest to look at and modern components offer a much more “civilized” choice of gear ratios. All of that steel beauty can easily be lost when paired with a build that is too busy with space-aged looking parts. if you disagree, then your opinion most likely sucks (in my personal and not so humble opinion.) Regardless of how it looks this trend of old with a touch of new is continuing to grow and understandably so. The idea of modern functionality on rolling piece of art/history does sound quite appealing.
This 1991 Eddie Merckx Corsa Extra with SLX tubing belongs to David Tirol. David originally purchased the 50cm frame from the Netherlands via Ebay and slowly built it up to be his “most excellent and comfortablest road roller” (In a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure voice. Also, I said that not David. So those quotations are from me.) Some people don’t realIy dig smaller bikes but I have always been envious of the people that get to ride them. They just look nice and tight. Stem slammed. Compact. When things start getting bigger the proportions start to get out of hand. Thats why a US mens size 8 is always the coolest looking size for shoes (I wear a 10.5….not even close.)
I had never seen this particular paint scheme in person before and was pretty excited when it rolled through the doors of The Cub House. The wild airbrushed graphics and goldish brownie colors remind me of something you would see on the cover of Low Rider Magazine or rolling through Elysian Park in Los Angeles (Go Doyers.) If you don’t recognize the seat post or bottle cages that is because David sanded the logos off (clean) to save weight (joking…I hope.) David scoured the internet for parts on this build. Piece by piece he slowly built up the bike from bits all over the planet. The stem came from Belgium. The wild bars with the Flanders lions came from somewhere in the Midwest. David probably told me where everything else came from but I have a horrible memory and I’m pretty sure I just forgot (sorry.) In the end, this bike looks pretty dang nice and makes a lot of people smile when they see it. It’s a conversation piece for sure.
Oh, before you get all sweaty in the palms and excitedly critique the cranks here in the comments, you should know that David rides 165mm and the Athena is the only Campagnolo option available in that length.