North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) 2011: Part 5

Latest offerings from Serotta, Vanilla and Pegoretti

Serotta celebrate their 25th anniversary this year in the best way they know how: with a limited-release road frameset with production capped at – you guessed it – just 25 units. The TIG-welded VentiCinque (CVC) is a joint collaboration between the long-time Saratoga Springs, New York builders and Italian tubing suppliers Columbus.  

The main triangle is built using a new "ultra high-end steel alloy", with the rest comprised of Columbus's XCr stainless steel. According to Serotta, the ride quality will be similar to their current all-steel Colorado model but with "a little more kick".

Customers seeking a particularly smooth ride can opt for carbon fiber seatstays. Also included with the VentiCinque is Serotta's latest-generation carbon fork and an all-new carbon seatpost topping the extended seat tube. Retail price for the frameset and seatpost will be US$5,000.

Beautiful dropouts on Serotta's VentiCinque anniversary frame allow the stays to retain their round shape

In case you need even more exclusivity, Serotta are also offering the Patron – built in homage to the original Colorado and crafted by Ben Serotta himself. Unlike the current production Colorado, the Patron will be lugged instead of TIG welded and Serotta will only offer it in the original 7-Eleven paint scheme – and any variations must be approved by Ben. 

Serotta expect to build one Patron every six weeks or so and production is limited to just 10. Pricing is stratospheric at US$10,000 per frame but included in that sum is a personal weekend tour of the Saratoga Springs factory, a supervised fitting, dinner, hotel accommodation and a bike ride with Mr Serotta. 

The original Serotta Ottrott was perhaps a bit too radical-looking for the mass market but the concept has carried through to the current version

Vanilla and Speedvagen wow the crowd again at NAHBS

Perennial NAHBS crowd favorites Vanilla Bicycles drew in show attendees for a sixth straight year with an impressive collection of town bikes, road machines, cyclo-cross racers and even track bikes – all made of steel in Portland, Oregon by Vanilla principal Sacha White and his small band of artisan builders. 

Though Vanilla have brought one-off showpieces to the NAHBS in years past – such as the jaw-dropping tricycle in 2006 – more conventional road bikes and full-on race machines from the Speedvagen line occupied the majority of the booth in Austin. Drawing the most attention was a blindingly bright neon pink road bike with an integrated seatmast.

Not surprisingly, this bright neon pink Speedvagen road bike commanded the most attention in the Vanilla Workshop booth at NAHBS

Features included White's own seatmast topper based on an ENVE Composites post, seductively pinched and curved seatstays, and White's signature dropouts with removable stainless steel face plates. Rounding out the package was a painted-to-match PRO Stealth one-piece carbon fiber bar and stem, painted-to-match Chris King R45 hubs, an internally routed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 group and deep-section ENVE Composites carbon tubulars. 

Less flashy but no less stunning was a metallic grey Vanilla road bike with classic-looking white panels, subtle color-contrast detailing on the lugs, a custom machined Chris King headset augmented with red-accented circumferential grooves on each cup, and a custom fillet brazed steel stem with a neatly integrated pinch bolt, built-in stack and an elegant 'V' logo at its base. 

Vanilla's show bikes were somewhat more subdued at this year's NAHBS but no less beautiful to look at, such as this grey lugged steel roadster

Pegoretti does his own interpretation of oversized

Italian framebuilding legend Dario Pegoretti doesn't necessarily need to innovate year after year, having earned a reputation for some of the finest steel road bikes in the industry and buillt personal machines for the likes of Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani.

According to Pegoretti aficionados, the unusually oversized steel chassis are among the most responsive and best handling out there. The often wild – and fully hand painted – finishes mark them as among the most easily recognizable, too.

Pegoretti's booth at NAHBS was filled with oversized steel road bikes using both lugged and TIG-welded construction

New from Pegoretti, though, is his D11 front end. Pegoretti sought a larger head tube dimension to better fit in with the aesthetic of the rest of his frames but didn't want to abandon the standard 1-1/8in steerer tube. Instead, he paired with Chris King, who built special headset cups with the same bearing sizes as usual but with larger-diameter and longer skirts to be used in a bigger head tube.

Matched to the new head tube is a new Pegoretti fork, which uses a flatter and broader crown that both sharpens up the handling – especially for bigger riders – and blends in better with the bigger head tube, without adversely affecting the ride quality.

The steerer tube on this Pegoretti measures a standard 1-1/8in in diameter but Chris King made special headsets with oversized skirts as per Pegoretti's request so as to use a bigger head tube

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