Just like the flavour of a wine will manifest the character of the land it was produced from, the work of custom frame builders exhibit qualities individual to their countries. US bikes are bold and proud, Aussie builders create honest and reliable frames, the Italians are the product of a long tradition of speed and the British are exceptionally refined.
French frame builders, on the other hand, manufacture bicycles imbued with the same bravado that gave rise to artistic movements like rococo and the Baroque style. As an example: Quentin Polizzi is the founder of l’Atelier Des Vélos, a Paris-based workshop responsible for elaborately engraving Campagnolo components and this grandiose road bike.
Atelier Des Vélos is a true ‘Bike’s Workshop’, where Quentin turns his burin to cranksets, seat posts, Nitto stems, and the odd Gilles Berthoud saddle. He’s also restored numerous complete bikes, such as the mint green porteur with deep forest lug lining. There’s also a rare fillet brazed track bike by Raymond Clerc, superbly etched with an ADV head badge.
Quentin has worked as a mechanic in various Parisian bike shops since he was fifteen before opening l’Atelier Des Vélos in 2008. A full frame building service was offered after the installation of jigs and the purchase of tubes. Unfortunately, disaster struck by way of a serious bike accident and the shop had to close.
After a long recovery process, Quentin gained employment at ‘Bicycle Store‘, a Paris vélo-boutique, in 2013 and now, at thirty years old, is fully committed to working full time as a custom frame builder. This is the first frame to be made available to the public: a road frame lavishly painted with glossy metal flake paint and assembled with hand-carved lugs.
The frame is constructed from Super Vitus 980 tubes, part of a box lot that he bought five years ago. They were brazed together with French lugs that Quentin meticulously reshaped with aerofoil windows and head tube points that could nearly be flames or teeth. The head badge is designed in a similar style to his engraving and rises like a golden orb out of the abyss.
A section of the seat tube was cut out to allow for a shortened chain stay length of 39.5cm, while the seat stays have increased in length for a more comfortable ride. The seat post, stem and handlebars were supplied by Thomson. A limited edition Dura Ace 7900 and 7800C group set was installed, along with his preferred Easton wheels and forks.
It looks like it’s been cooked with hellfire but I bet it rides like an angel. See more on the Atelier Des Vélos website, especially of Quentin’s engraved group set.