The bicycle design industry is populated by a high number of eccentric geniuses: it’s a relatively easy platform to tinker with, but deceptively difficult to improve. Leave it to a highly accomplished Swiss motor racing fabricator to take a TT bike and transform it into a beast so evolved it nearly disappears from view. Ladies and gentlemen, re-introducing the CAT Cheetah.
Rudi Kurth is a bit of an engineering prodigy. Based in Biel, in Switzerland’s northwest, he trained in panel work, built a lightweight bodywork for a sports car and a Formula racing car before getting into sidecar racing, then developed a few frames for Yamaha. He built Switzerland’s entry for the first Solar GP in Australia and a lightweight windsurfer. Then he became fascinated by bicycles.
He helped Scott win titles with their CAT Puma mountain bikes and went on to design and develop the CAT Cheetah aerobike, a direct competitor with the Lotus Type 108. Early Cheetah frames used a proprietary ‘X Fork’ that rendered a stem and handlebar unnecessary, but this is a recent model with a more ‘traditional’ CAT fork and Multibar. The carbon saddle and post can be adjusted without tools.
The wheels are a 26″ CAT Threespoke pair with Rigida Alu rims, shifted by Mavic’s Mektronic rear mech and the innovative Tiso Bartol System chainrings; there is no front derailleur, shifting takes place automatically when the chain moves to the second smallest or second biggest sprocket. It’s all slowed up by Magura HS77 brake calipers.
This model belongs to the collection of Stefan Schmidhofer, who only acquires a bike if it’s his size, so he can ride and enjoy it. Head to his blog, vive le vélo! for more, then head to the CAT Cheetah site for the incredible story of Rudi Kurth and his bikes. Special thanks to Stefan for the photos.