Italian brand Scappa are set to serve the luxury end of the bike market with a range of fully customisable, handmade carbon road and mountain bike frames.
With their top-level Purosangue frameset (including seatpost) costing in the region of €10,600/£9,000, these really are 'money no object' products. But, as with any luxury item, that's the appeal: you end up with something quite rare that's tailored to you. Or, as Scappa put it, their bikes are made "to thrill the rider and turn the heads of others".
The company were started in 2010 by Austrian Gernot Müller and his partner Diane Heyn, who saw a clear gap in the market for a luxury cycling brand. Scappa is Italian for "escape", and all the frames are named after horse breeds, the horse logo chosen to signify power, freedom and strength and having a strong association with Italian brands.
Scappa's horse logo is prominent on every frame
Building custom carbon frames is not easy; it's far too expensive to produce a different mould for every frame. So Scappa have opted for tube-to-tube construction using carbon fibre sourced from Toray, Japan, that's then woven into tubes in Italy. Still, it takes between 40 and 80 hours of manual work to make a single frame, which explains the price and the eight-week waiting time.
Complete bikes are available too, in whatever spec you want. This doesn't add to the lead time, as all parts can be sourced while the frames are being built. The frames carry a lifetime warranty in case of manufacturing defects or failures.
Scappa say the bikes will be sold through selected distributors (to be confirmed), or directly via their website at www.scappa.it provided you can get yourself measured accurately.
The Purosangue "thoroughbred" road frame is Scappa's premium offering (shown above right). It's by far the lightest they have, with a claimed weight of just 630g for a bare 55cm model. Müller pointed out that this will be up to 60g heavier when it's painted, and that if you're prioritising weight you should go for light blue rather than white.
Still, with Scappa's own-brand handlebar, stem and seatpost (which they don't make but buy from the Far East) and a light set of wheels and groupset, you could build a bike from this frame that weighs about 5.5kg (12.1lb).
As with all Scappa's frames, customisation is key. You can have any geometry and frame size within reason, a range of paint schemes, internal or external cable routing, drillings for Shimano Di2, Campagnolo EPS or mechanical, a 27.2mm or 31.8mm seatpost, a handlebar from 38cm to 44cm (c-c) and even aluminium cable stoppers.
The Furioso is Scappa's aero road frame, featuring an integrated fork and aero tube profiles and weighing 940g (claimed) for a 55cm model. There's also a time trial/triathlon frame called the Stronzetta.
Scappa Stronzetta time trial frame
This looks flashy and is more there for completeness than anything else, but it's nicely specced, with hidden brakes and a stem that sits inline with the top tube. It's also available with Xentis wheels - the finish of which is chosen to match the finish of the frame.
For the sportive and gran fondo rider, the Giara is Scappa's recommended frame. It's a little heavier than the rest, weighing 1,040g for a 55cm frame, and the tubing is a bit softer to give a more comfortable ride. It will be fully customisable but sell for around €4,400/£3,760 - a bargain compared to the Purosangue.
Scappa Giara, the sportive/gran fondo bike
Gernot, with considerable input from Diane, has developed a women's version of the Giara called the Racy Tracy. "A mean, lively and vigorous lady with a body to die for," as they put it.
The Racy Tracy has a shorter top tube, a tighter rear end and more relaxed seat tube and head tube angles than the Giara. A 53cm model is claimed to weigh 930g, with some weight being saved by reducing the number of carbon layers in the top and down tubes. It comes in a chic grey with subtle pink highlights.
Scappa are producing three mountain bike frames, starting with the Murgese, a cyclocross model that can be used for trekking or as a classy city bike. This will take tyres up to 42mm in width, and can be ridden with standard, V or disc brakes. It weighs a claimed 1,200g for the frame only.
The Lametta, also a claimed 1,200g, is the company's hardtail mountain bike frame. It's light but beefy and features Kevlar protectors on the chainstays and under the down tube to prevent damage from rocks. It is available with 29er, 27.5in (650b) or 26in wheels.
Scappa Lametta hardtail frame
Finally, the Catria is Scappa's full-suspension mountain bike frame. It weighs 1,850g including linkage but is available with 27.5in (650b) wheels only. It will come with a Fox rear shock that's been customised to fit the geometry. Scappa recommend running a Fox fork up front but it's not essential.
Scappa Catria full-suspension frame
That's the scoop from the luxury brand's low key but classy London launch - for more info, visit the Scappa website. The next big question, of course, is how do they ride? We don't know yet but we'll be putting a Purosangue through its paces in the second half of the year, and posting a full report on BikeRadar.