How many lawyers does it take to fix a flat tire? We don’t know. There will be no lawyer jokes in this post. But we do know that there are no attorneys among the founders of Lawyer’s Bike, an Italian brand whose name is meant to evoke a mood of elegance, distinction and professionalism.
“Our customers are young and wealthy professionals who want to stand out from the crowd,” says Riccardo Pozzoli, one of three young men in their mid-20s who formed Lawyer’s in 2015. Pozzoli studies history at Milan University and works for an interior design studio. Andrea Calastri is a former bike racer. Federico Cazzaniga is a geologist, photographer and computer enthusiast. All three are passionate urban bicyclists.
Lawyer’s is located in and inspired by the design and furniture district of Brianza, near Milan in northwestern Italy. Their aesthetic is “clean, simple and elegant design combined with innovative materials,” Pozzoli says. Components include Brooks leather saddles, Cerchi Ghisallo wooden rims, beech wood bars and Gates drives. The aluminum frames are welded by Vetta, a legendary third-generation frame maker. Painting is done by Verniciatura Emmeci, which also works for well-known Italian brands including Bianchi, Pinarello and Colnago.
Lawyer’s offers two models and a bike configurator that allows customers to tailor their style. The Milano is sporty and modern, with matte frames and carbon forks. “It is designed to be rigid and reactive,” Pozzoli says. The Verona is classic, with glossy finishes and the option of beech wood rims and bars. A third model, Portofino, also with Gates Carbon Drive, is coming soon. Lawyer’s will offer the Portofino in a men’s or women’s version, with SRAM two-speed Automatix shifting. Perfect for riding to work, or the law office. lawyersbike.com
South Downs Way is a historic 100-mile bridle path and recreation trail in southeastern England. Riding the way in one day is a rite of passage for many British bicyclists. For Steven Olsen, it turned into a quest to build the ultimate low-maintenance mountain bikes. First he created the Lamb, a stainless steel singlespeed with Gates Carbon Drive that features distinctive double down-tubes, pictured below in blue. Now his brand, Olsen Belt Drive Bicycles, is launching two new models created to handle year-round riding in mud, rain and what he calls “Great British Weather.”
His new models, this time featuring carbon frames and Pinion gearboxes–are called the Ram and the Swan (all his bikes are named for pubs along the South Downs Way). “I commute thirty-plus miles per day off-road, so the design had to be an all-terrain bicycle for riding in Great British weather and mucky trail conditions year-round.” The Ram uses 27.5-plus size tires for extra traction and comfort; the Swan is a 29er. Both feature elevated stays. “This design allows me to sling the Pinion under the chassis and also tension the belt,” says Olsen. “I can alter the bottom bracket drop to accommodate different ‘swing plate’ designs, so the geometry can be fine-tuned to the rider.”
Note the beefy stays and stout, reinforced dropouts on the Ram, pictured above. Olsen added a 30.9 mm seat tube for dropper posts, and the bikes can be run with a 120mm or rigid fork. The prototypes of both bikes are now in testing, and the final production versions will have internal cable routing. Below is the Swan. Olsen will speak and present the bikes at a Bicycle Film Festival exposition on July 20 at the ONCA gallery in Brighton. “I want these bikes to be as versatile as possible. Everything from muddy forest trails to adventure bikepacking.” With a few Great British pub stops along the way. olsenbicycles.com
Beach cruisers–those rusty, sandy and clunky icons of coastal and island life–are getting a high-performance makeover. Priority Bicycles founder Dave Weiner calls his company’s new Coast, launched today on Kickstarter, “the best beach cruiser ever.” Gone is the rusty chain, replaced with Gates Carbon Drive’s CDN belt and sprockets. The Coast includes a range of other features designed to withstand the weather, salt and grit of beach life: an aluminum frame and fork, stainless steel components and sealed bearings. “The result is the lightest, smoothest, rust-, sand-, and salt-fighting beach cruiser you have ever ridden,” the company says. Better still, Priority has launched the Coast with a special Kickstarter price of $349.
In January, Priority launched the Eight, an eight-speed urban bike, also featuring the Gates Carbon Drive system paired with an eight-speed internal hub. Says Todd Sellden, Director of Gates Carbon Drive: “Gates is extremely pleased to be working with Priority and to have our Carbon Drive belt system featured as a key component on their Coast. Priority has done an incredible job of creating bikes that are stylish, fun, affordable and simple to maintain–all of which make it easier for people get out of their cars and into the saddle.”
Watch their launch video below. Finally, a beach cruiser that is actually built for the beach.
photo: Eddie Clark
When Carlos Vulgamott won the singlespeed division of the 2015 Breck Epic stage race, he not only did it on a Gates belt drive–he was also 100 percent plant powered. Carlos has been meat, egg and dairy-free for four years, and he credits his vegan diet with making him lighter and faster. His speed and endurance were on full display this summer at the Breck Epic, a monster race with six stages of between 30 and 50 miles, 40,000 feet of grueling climbs into the thin air of Colorado’s high alpine, and lots of fast and rocky descents. He first raced the Epic in 2013 and vowed to return and win it. “I was instantly enamored by this event and the international feel, plus I found joy in being around a group of individuals who are ambitious enough to take on a six day stage race of this magnitude.”
A member of Team Gates Carbon Drive, Carlos hoped to win in 2014 and took several stage victories, but he suffered two tire slashes that cost him major amounts of time. This year luck was on his side. He also made winning the Epic his top priority. “In 2015 I focused all my training and racing around the Epic and didn’t stray from that goal.” It all paid off on Stage 5 this year, when he turned a 40-second deficit after Stage 4 into a 12-minute-and-16-second lead. “Going into Stage Six I couldn’t have been more stoked. I was in the leader’s jersey and my wife and daughter were there to cheer me on for the win.” Overall, Carlos had three stage wins and finished on the podium all six days. Scroll down to read our Q&A with Carlos, who discusses singlespeeding, the advantages of racing on a belt, and giving up meat following a family cancer scare.
Belted Blog: When did you start racing bikes, and when did you take up singlespeeding?
Vegan Singlespeeder: I started out racing BMX as a kid and went for my first mountain bike ride in 1984 in my hometown of Buena Vista, Colorado. I didn’t actually begin racing bikes until 1997 when I finally started making enough money to buy a bike and pay for entry fees. I started racing singlespeed in 2003 when I decided to spice up my riding adventures.
Belted: What do you like about singlespeeding versus geared riding?
Vegan: Singlespeeding is a simplistic and primal experience for me. At this point I have been riding singlespeed mountain bikes for so many years I am actually slower on a geared bike because I find myself fussing around with the gears.
Belted: You’re known as the Vegan Singlespeeder. Why did you become a vegan and do you think it helps your racing?
Vegan: My wife, Erica, and I have been vegans for four years. We moved to a plant-based diet after she went through breast cancer. After all her treatments, the doctors had her on a list of medications, oral chemotherapy, anti-depressants, and more. At that point we decided to take control of our lives and get off of the prescriptions and begin a completely plant-based diet. Today my wife is cancer free. I have lost weight, I recover faster, and I just feel healthier overall.
Belted: You’ve been racing a titanium Spot Cream SS with Gates Carbon Drive for several seasons As a racer, what are your impressions of the Gates drive?
Vegan: When I first heard of the belt drive concept I was intrigued but also apprehensive. But after I started riding and racing the Gates Carbon Drive system I was blown away by the level of engagement. You can feel every ounce of energy you apply to the pedals go into your forward momentum, which is key for singlespeeding. I also like the “set it and forget it” aspect of the Gates drive. All you need to do is apply the proper belt tension, make sure it is aligned and then get on your bike and go. The low-maintenance aspect is key during stage racing because after a stage I can rest and recover rather than work on my bike. After every stage all I did was wash my bike and belt. It’s also incredibly strong and gave me the confidence to really hammer the climbs.
photo: Eddie Clark
What a nice guy! Did we mention that Carlos also won the 2014 Breck 100 and the 2014 Rocky Mountain Endurance Series overall in the singlespeed category? Carlos is now beginning the fall cyclocross season, racing on his Gates Carbon Drive equipped Sycip singlespeed CX bike. If you’re inspired by his story and want more information on veganism, his bike and racing results, check Carlos’s Vegan Singlespeeder Twitter feed, and watch the video interview by Spot Brand where he shows off his 21-pound Cream SS.
In the garden
Velonia Bicycles is based in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, a small northern European country on the Baltic Sea beneath Finland. Unlike some former Soviet Republics, Estonia has a high standard of living and a thriving bike culture, as exemplified by the annual Tallinn Bicycle Week. “Cycling as a sport and urban cycling are both booming here,” says Kristo Riimaa, co-founder of Velonia. “More people are riding bikes for commuting purposes and they are more visible on the streets of Tallinn and other cities. It is very encouraging.” The 2015 Tallinn Bicycle Week already occurred, but organizers are now planning the 2016 event, which, based on this video, looks fun.
Velonia Bicycles is best known for its Viks bike model. Created by Riimaa’s business partner and Velonia’s head designer Indrek Narusk, the Viks frame is made of two parallel sets of tubing. It has a minimalist and airy look that evokes classic cafe racers but with a modern twist. Pictured here is the new Viks Carbon with Aerospoke wheels, the Gates Carbon Drive system and carbon tubes connected with segments of stainless tubing. The Viks Carbon weighs 10 kilograms (22 pounds). The carbon tubes were made by Berk Composites, a Slovenian company that also collaborates with Team Sky. Viks means classy in Estonian. This bike, with its gleaming carbon and steel, is in a class unto itself. viks.cc