Bicycles are different things to different people. For some, they’re just a mode of transport to get from A to B. I like to think that if you read Cycle EXIF, they mean more. You appreciate the beauty in their simplicity and the joy that riding them brings.
To customise one yourself to the extent of Chérie, however, requires an odd kind of, well, love.
Today’s bike hails from Slovenia, the first from that country to appear on this site, and was restored as a lover’s gift. It’s not hard to appreciate the affection that inspired the time and effort resulting in such an endearing machine, which is a complete refurbishment from top to bottom.
Chérie may have started out as a Cicli Montagner frame — handmade by Luigi Montagner, who supplied the Czech and Polish national teams for their 1987 campaigns. It was found in the Slovenian workshop of the Sava Kranj team and was pounced on by Ales Arnez as a project for his girlfriend.
Montagner frames are rare, and are an affliction for their owners trying to seek information about them. To add to the mystery, there’s even mention of Luigi Montagner ceasing production due to an arrest for importing drugs. Chérie, however, is pure of heart.
The frame needed updating; specifically re-spacing the dropouts from 126mm to 130mm O.L.D. — Over-Lock-nut Distance. Pavle Kovač did the work, a Slovenian framebuilder that used to work at the old ROG Bicycles factory in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
Ales found a Cinelli fork to fit the frame and sent both off for a new coat of minty-fresh paint. A designer and typographer mate, Žiga Artnak, lent his skills by creating the elegant logotype on the seat tube. A NOS pair of Campagnolo Lambda tubular rims, laced to Ambrosio Zenith hubs, were also painted to match.
Before presenting it to his girlfriend, Ales built up Chérie with a Campagnolo Veloce groupset, a NOS ITM stem and ITM Europa handlebars, an Arundel bottle cage, a Ritchey seatpost that was scrubbed clean, and a reupholstered Selle San Marco Concor saddle with matching bar tape.
She’s enough to melt your heart, wouldn’t you agree? Special thanks to David Krevs for the fine photos. See more on his Flickr page.