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Thread: Gaulzetti Cicli

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    jerk's Avatar
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    Default Gaulzetti Cicli

    “Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like. “

    Replace “books” with “bicycle” and that is the reason for Gaulzetti Cicli. I needn’t elaborate here, but I do believe that industry (and the bicycle industry is no exception) not so much adapts to the reactions of its customers as it counterfeits them. In my experience, legitimate useful works, be they art, tools, goods, services or even literature are today without exception socially undesired. It may be sick and twisted but I have always fetishized useful things regardless of their value as commodity. I like Stanley 602 Planers, FNL guns, ADA wheels and Bridgeport Milling machines. I could give a shit if the thing was dolled up and cleaned up for retail sale- and more often than not the most adequate item doesn’t possess the compromises that industry demands of commodities which masquerade as tools or works of art or lunch or any other thing man uses to make his life.

    I know bikes. I have spent my entire adult life save a brief spell that was engulfed with higher education and the requisite drugs, guts and pussy, firmly engulfed in them in one way or another. When I moved to Belgium, the bicycle was my way of dealing with my adolescence, forming an identity, learning a language or two and becoming a man. In my fanatical love of bicycles the feeling of physical homelessness played a part. A dead German once wrote when talking about America’s obsession with the automobile, “It was at the bottom of what the bourgeois were wont to call, mistakenly, the flight from oneself, from the inner void. Anyone who wants to move with the times is not allowed to be different. Psychological emptiness is itself only the result of the wrong kind of social absorption. The boredom that people are running away from merely mirrors the process of running away, that started long before.” That’s what the racing bike has always represented for me- and unlike the conclusions the dead Kraut came to, I think it’s a wonderful thing. Making my own bikes is to an extent me running away from my day job- which ironically is as it has been for the past 11 years, selling bicycles.

    I am the industry. I am the guy who helps your kid out with their first two wheeler- who shows you how to fix your flat- who complains to the manufacturers about the disadvantages of paired spoke technology until they change it, the guy who places quarter million dollar pre-season orders and is in no small part responsible for the fact that you hate the 2011 colorways on brand X’s bikes. When I speak of industry counterfeiting the reactions of the customer, I am among the guilty, guiltier than most because I know it. I tell Trek to spec bikes with compact cranksets instead of doubles despite the fact that I know these things are next to useless for anything other than going up and down really steep mountains. I strongly argue and vote with my open to buy dollars for road bikes with taller head tubes despite my true thoughts. Still, the bike industry is building better bikes right now than anyone anywhere has ever done before. The need for a bicycle different or other than what the bike industry produces is virtually non-existent. So what the hell am I doing making bikes?

    My bikes are different. They have nothing to do with market demands. They have nothing to do with the bike industry. In fact, they are the anti-thesis to it and my escape from it. I refuse to advertise other than by word of mouth. I do not even sell my own bikes despite the fact that I manage one of the largest and most competent bicycle retailers in the world. But my bikes are all about stepping outside the box and doing things my way. Each Gaulzetti is exactly the bike I would want when everything other than the rider and the road is stripped away.

    It was an intense respect, awe and even childlike jealousy towards my friend Richard Sachs which helped spawn this. Here was a guy building the bikes he wanted to build, unhindered by fashion but infusing each bike he created with infinite style. The industry had abandoned the techniques and materials he employed, if it ever really had employed them. But oblivious to it all, he continued to build the best fucking race bikes he could in his own opinionated, isolated and perfectly independent way. He was making legitimate useful works and I wanted to do that too.

    After many conversations, deliberations and even odd and uncharacteristic questioning of my own ability to design and produce competent bicycles- I went for it. I designed a tubeset, found some competent folks who could do the stuff I couldn’t and went about making bikes that I like. And by all accounts, the wheels are in the right place, the things don’t wiggle too much and the guys who own them seem to enjoy riding them for their intended purposes or otherwise. I hope I get to do this for a long time.

    Thanks for reading.

    Craig Gaulzetti
    Gaulzetti Cicli

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Forza Gaulzetti!

    That was beautiful - perceptive, incisive, and passionate. Thanks.

    Coincidentally I was cleaning out an old PM box on another board and came across an exchange from over five years ago. I was still struggling to understand why framebulders chose one material over another, and it was your explanation that got me to understand that material is just one component of a frame's design and, with the right design, any material can be used to create an exceptional bike. So.

    • Why do you choose the materials you do?
    • At one point you'd claimed the Aluminum Corsa is your benchmark - what is it about this design that makes it so?
    GO!

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    God help the poor bastard who has to follow this smoked out.

    Craig, if ever the bike industry stops doing it for you, please, please, please, go into writing.
    "It's better to not know so much than to know so many things that ain't so." -- Josh Billings, 1885

    A man with any character at all must have enemies and places he is not welcome—in the end we are not only defined by our friends, but also those aligned against us.


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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Quote Originally Posted by Archibald View Post
    God help the poor bastard who has to follow this smoked out.
    Smoked Out should always be typed in rich text using the boldface and italics features atmo.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Thanks for the kind words David. As you alluded, I believe that a great bike has less to do with the material and more to do with what the builder is doing with the material. The Corsa, which is built out of a 7005 tubeset I designed with Dedacciai is my benchmark. I like aluminum bikes. To me, they represent the highest evolution of the handmade, made to order, European race bike. For years, the vast majority of race bikes used professionally in Europe, were made to order, hand built bikes. Immediately prior to the Lance era, and the onslaught of Asian sourced carbon, the racing bike had evolved into a machine built by hand out of Aluminum for the most part. It allowed builders to build to the individual riders preferences and race conditions while achieving good sitffness and lightweight. When modern carbon tubes became as important to branding as the name on the down tube- the evolution of the made to order, handbuilt aluminum race bike effectivly stopped. I see the Corsa as an attempt to further the development of what I see as the most mature race bikes ever.

    The use of carbon allows me to provide a bike for the client athlete that mimics the fit, design and handling of the Corsa but with slight weight savings. Were it not for the capabilties of Mr. Crumpton, I would not offer a carbon bike. In my opinion all my bikes ride the same, and this is by design.

    The steel frame, the Issimo provides me the opportunity to continue the evolution of the style of race bike I used my self, a lugged steel bike. Were it not for the hard work of Richard Sachs in continuing to evolve the materials and insure that they are available to frame builders- I doubt this bike would exist. The PegoRichie tubing and Richard's lugs allow me to make a steel bike that is better than anything I ever raced or any lugged steel bike ever race at the ProTour level. My design tweaks on the lugged frame aupdate it for the ergonomic and physical requirements of modern gruppos and components, which I think is unique among lugged steel frame builders.

    I have a unique fit which forces this issue. A traditional lugged steel bike built around deep drop bars, a fist full of exposed seat post, hoods mounted low on the bar and the hook and flat part of the drop bar being a primary riding position does not work for me or a lot of athletes with modern componentry. Levers sit high on shallow drop bars. Stems are no longer -17degrees but more often 8 degrees and the primary riding position is the hoods. Were I to take my old made to measure SPX Merckx race bike and put modern parts on it, it would be far too large to achieve my fit. My goal with the Issimo was to make a steel lugged race bike with the best materials available that was compatible with modern parts.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Quote Originally Posted by jerk View Post
    [i But my bikes are all about stepping outside the box and doing things my way. Each Gaulzetti is exactly the bike I would want ....
    Craig,
    The words above speak to me. Thanks for writng them. We should all be so lucky to live and work by that sentiment.
    Jonathan Greene
    Kindness is contagious, infect somebody today.
    http://jonathangreene.wordpress.com/
    http://instagram.com/jonathanagreenecycles

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Craig/Jerk,

    Words cannot describe your passion nor how much I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for this reading. It should be required reading for all that join VSalon.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Reading this made me realise how smart you are as a businessman. I think you have achieved the holy grail of a successful venture.

    Everybody wins.

    So now a question (which I would be surprised if I didn't know the answer too). Your "unique fit" has driven the design of your bikes (at very least the steel one) how does that translate through the sizes and do you only cater to that sector of the market that need a bunch of drop etc.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Craig,

    It appears your bikes have a strong no-nonsense respect for both tradition and for function,
    but your bikes are in no way at all re-enactment oriented.

    What do you think about all the emphasis these days on the visual aspect of bikes?
    Your bikes all have "a look", how important is that? Would you explain your thoughts
    on how a bicycle should look, and what has influenced your aesthetic sensibilities?

    -g

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Quote Originally Posted by GrantM View Post
    Craig,

    It appears your bikes have a strong no-nonsense respect for both tradition and for function,
    but your bikes are in no way at all re-enactment oriented.
    g
    agreed.
    jerk-san is a kindred spirit of this cat atmo -

    Tradition is sometimes confused with transmission. Copying Momoyama pieces is transmission. Producing contemporary pieces
    incorporating Momoyama period techniques is tradition. Tradition consists of retaining transmitted forms and techniques in one's
    mind when producing a contemporary piece. Tradition is always changing. A mere copy of an old piece has not changed; it is nearly
    the same as its prototype of four hundred years ago. Tradition consists of creating something new with what one has inherited.

    Kaneshige Michiaki
    Stijl Cycles likes this.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    please excuse the spelling and grammar. iPhone + vsalon= functioning illiteracy.

    anty- my bikes are made to balance the rider in the proper place between the wheels at speeds road bikes under moderatly fit riders generally enjoy over the myriad of road conditions one encounters. the "stock" geometries work well for about 95 % of my clients. the odd siZe bikes offer a lower and longer option. the even sizes offer a fairly traditional Italian style road race geometry. if morphology or bio-mechanics dictates, as each frame is made to order, I'll tweak things accordingly.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Perfect answer, thanks.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    agreed.
    jerk-san is a kindred spirit of this cat atmo -

    Tradition is sometimes confused with transmission. Copying Momoyama pieces is transmission. Producing contemporary pieces
    incorporating Momoyama period techniques is tradition. Tradition consists of retaining transmitted forms and techniques in one's
    mind when producing a contemporary piece. Tradition is always changing. A mere copy of an old piece has not changed; it is nearly
    the same as its prototype of four hundred years ago. Tradition consists of creating something new with what one has inherited.

    Kaneshige Michiaki
    Nice Bizen reference. Good one Jerk.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Quote Originally Posted by GrantM View Post
    Craig,

    It appears your bikes have a strong no-nonsense respect for both tradition and for function,
    but your bikes are in no way at all re-enactment oriented.

    What do you think about all the emphasis these days on the visual aspect of bikes?
    Your bikes all have "a look", how important is that? Would you explain your thoughts
    on how a bicycle should look, and what has influenced your aesthetic sensibilities?

    -g
    thanks grant- n
    here i'm really trying to let the form follow the function; altthough that is a pretty played out way of describing things. there is a functional reason for every choice and the result ends up looking right to me because it is right.

    i think that bicycle frame silohouette has supplanted the brand name on the down tube in terms of marketing the bike. a pinarello looks like a pinarello and nothing else, same for a tarmac or a madone. i can not speak to how much function versus someone's idea of style informs the end result of most modern bikes that are not my own. i do know that given my knowledge base, my experience and my capabilities my bikes are going to tend to use round tube to tube construction and certainly have a certain look.

    the example of the 60mm seat tube extension on the issimo is a good example of a unique design element that is borne out a practical need. campy binder bolts were not designed for clamping carbon posts so i needed a way to afix a seat clamp. modern frame design also dictates more exposed seat post and with a small 27.2 seatpost i wanted to insure that the athlete felt the firm connection to his/her bicycle that my isp equipped bikes offer. i also wanted to keep the frame light and stiff and by dropping the toptube slighty this is helped. i also wanted to build around the slight headtube extension richard's lugs employ. the end result is the issimo. i like the way it looks but that is neither here nor there and didn't really influence my design.

    thanks!
    craig

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    agreed.
    jerk-san is a kindred spirit of this cat atmo -

    Tradition is sometimes confused with transmission. Copying Momoyama pieces is transmission. Producing contemporary pieces
    incorporating Momoyama period techniques is tradition. Tradition consists of retaining transmitted forms and techniques in one's
    mind when producing a contemporary piece. Tradition is always changing. A mere copy of an old piece has not changed; it is nearly
    the same as its prototype of four hundred years ago. Tradition consists of creating something new with what one has inherited.

    Kaneshige Michiaki
    thanks e-richie! you've done alot for me and this project. you're not only a sounding board, an inspiration and a pal- you're a client too. when this dude told me the bike i built him rode like a bike and all the bits were in the right place it was the best compliment i've received yet.
    i think that's just it. you can't build race bikes if you are not aware of what they are and have been. you need to know what works and what doesn't. i am by no means re-inventing the wheel but i know what a wheel is and my next wheel' be rounder than my last one.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    It is refreshing to see you, Richard, and some others do what you consider to be "right". Somewhere along the way, it became a commonplace idea that customers are always right and supposedly know better than the experts. Not true most of the time.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Quote Originally Posted by John M View Post
    It is refreshing to see you, Richard, and some others do what you consider to be "right". Somewhere along the way, it became a commonplace idea that customers are always right and supposedly know better than the experts. Not true most of the time.
    Here here...the notion "that the customer is always right" is such a fucking stupid thought. It drives me nuts. At the V, the clients shut up and listen to the Masters.


    Craig,

    You're the man and your bikes are stone cold killers.
    Last edited by lavi; 09-03-2010 at 06:48 PM. Reason: jumpy fingers

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    These bikes really are the business and the story behind then is a compelling one. It evokes more desire in me as a consumer than any million dollar marketing campaign could.

    It's also pleasing that you've selected highly regarded framebuilders to perform the fabrication work. How did you go about negotiating with these framebuilders on what they build for you? Particularly in the cases where your desighn may have been at odds with their own preferences.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Quote Originally Posted by cs124 View Post
    These bikes really are the business and the story behind then is a compelling one. It evokes more desire in me as a consumer than any million dollar marketing campaign could.

    It's also pleasing that you've selected highly regarded framebuilders to perform the fabrication work. How did you go about negotiating with these framebuilders on what they build for you? Particularly in the cases where your desighn may have been at odds with their own preferences.
    i'm privleged to work with some great builders. there are a number of them and i don't hide or really publicize who they are. i don't think it is all that imortent as long as the product comes out the way i want it to- my builders however are the most competent and capable people i could find. they charge a fair price for their labor, they are timely and honest and they make it easy for me to make my bikes. same thing goes for my painters.

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    Default Re: Gaulzetti Cicli

    Jerk,

    Are the bikes produced in batch runs, or are they built one at a time as they are ordered?

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