The Belgie

download

Capture

Belgium, a small country in the centre of Europe, is a place where cycling is not a sport or a pastime, it is a passion and a lifestyle.

If you have ever raced a true Belgian Kermis, dreamt about it, or simply been engulfed by the cobbled Spring Classics, then you will clearly understand the meaning of a “Flandrien”.

9359b3ccb30eae473ac29f39233d6d58--my-church-monuments

In Belgium, a Flandrien is the highest compliment bestowed upon a cyclist who embodies the country’s humble blue collar beginnings.

images

Belgians are renown as being the ‘hard men’ of cycling. When you think of Belgium cycling, you think of E3 Harelbeke,  Gent–Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders, La Flèche Wallonne  and  Liège–Bastogne–Liège. When you think of Belgium, you think of cobbles, rain, the cold, the wind. When you think of Belgians, you think of Eddy Merckx , Tom Boonen, Thomas De Gendt and Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet amongst many others.

images (1)Cobbled-climb-630x420

And then there’s The Belgie.

IMG_1819

Named after and designed for the infamous Belgie ride – a multi-surface smashfest over the cobbles, tracks and grassy knolls of Melbourne – the Belgie’s aggressive race geometry paired with slightly longer chainstays offer cobbled compliance, enhanced rock-skipping traction and shitloads of speed.

IMG_1710

I was in the fortunate position to borrow one for a few weeks from the awesome people from Bio-Mechanics Cycles & Repairs, arranged for me by the just as awesome people over at Curve Cycling.

I must admit, I’ve been pining for a ride on a Curve Belgie for quite some time now after seeing a few locals strap themselves onto it this last year or so.

IMG_1810

Look at it, it reeks of style and class in a very much understated way. It’s that bike that sits quietly in the corner minding its own business, keeping quite,  until it is chosen to play on the team. That’s when the little guy comes out to play. It’s smooth, its steady, it laughs in the face of Adelaide’s infamous hills. It eats bitumen like it was dark chocolate, Belgium chocolate of course.

IMG_1733

This bike is the riders equivalent of a single guy borrowing a cousins baby and taking it for a stroll down the crowded park. It turns peoples heads, it makes them stop you in the street to ask you your name. It is beautiful in a classical way, but it is more than that, it is such a beautiful bike to ride.

 

IMG_1750

 

Thanks Keith for reminding me to horinzontalise the crank and verticalise the valve stems.

Riding out the shop and up through the hills was a little daunting.  As a loan bike, I was responsible for it, and at approx $9k and a bit, it was a big responsibility. One that played on my mind, particularly on some of the descents on the damp mornings of that first weekend. Something I didn’t tell Mrs Wednesday until halfway through the loan period.

My impressions – well, it is an absolute dream to ride.  It didn’t take long for me and the bike to be at one. It was comfortable, it wanted to be ridden, it didn’t matter what was thrown at it, it just smiled back at you.

On the road, it has a solid feel, something a CF just doesn’t give. It provides a level of surety on the road that I haven’t felt before with a bike, a degree of confidence that if you point it in a direction, it isn’t going to argue with you, it will just do it.

It ignores those vibrations on Adelaide rough heavy roads like a big brother ignores his little brother like he’s not there.

OK, it’s definitely no weight weenie, with titanium being heavier the CF but lighter than steel, but for this old stallion it is really the difference between a decent steak n chips and a few beers, or a salad and Sauvignon blanc the night before.

IMG_1711IMG_1713

The finish on the bike, as you can see from the pictures, is close to perfection. The raw titanium finish coupled with a little high gloss painting provides a bike that is proud of what it is and doesn’t need to boast. The exposed welds and attention to detail throughout are nothing short of exquisite and add to it’s stunning looks.

OK, its definitely no weight weenie, with titanium being heavier the CF but lighter than steel, but for this old stallion it is really the difference between a decent steak n chips and a few beers, or a salad and sauvignon blanc the night before.

IMG_1715

On the road, it has a solid feel, something a CF just doesn’t give. It provides a level of surety on the road that I haven’t felt before with a bike, a degree of confidence that if you point it in a direction, it isn’t going to argue with you, it will just do it. It’s lively but not flightly.

It ignores those vibrations on Adelaide rough heavy roads like a big brother ignores his little brother like he’s not there.

Considering I hadn’t been measured and sized for the frame, the medium frame suited me just grand.  A bit of height to the seat and deslamming the stem had it feeling just dandy.

So why titanium. Well, titanium is an exceptionally hard, durable and corrosion proof material. When you speak to Ti owners, not only do they swear by it, they quote that often used line that it is a lifetime frame material, a bike that puts up with abuse better than any other material.

Titanium is an exceptionally hard, durable and corrosion proof material. It is a lifetime frame material that puts up with abuse better than any other material.   Hand-made from 3Al – 2.5V Grade 9 Aerospace grade titanium tube-set (alloyed with 3% aluminium and 2.5% vanadium), this grade is optimal for the manufacture of bicycle frames and provides great stiffness and durability.

So, after a couple of enjoyable weekends riding in the Adelaide Hills with this close to perfection steed, I am sold.  I will, when my current steed is retired to the pastures, seriously look into a Ti replacement.  This will be my last bike, honest luv!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: