Douglas Ghisallo

Douglas Ghisallo

San Antonio tattooist David Rangel emailed me the other day, and raised an interesting point about many of the bikes and photography we feature on Cycle EXIF: While there’s a certain ‘virginal mystique’ to a freshly built bike that hasn’t yet been ridden, it’s also a pleasure to see bikes that regularly experience the elements and are visibly used. I concur. One could further impress the point that excellent photography can expose the beauty of virtually any bicycle.

David sent through some photos of his titanium Douglas Ghisallo, a propriety brand offered by The Colorado Cyclist. He’s under the impression that it’s bad form to shoot a bike with a saddle bag, sweat streaks on the top tube, and a dirty chain. Frankly, I’d love to see more beautiful photography of bikes that show their share of miles. I wouldn’t even mind if they’re leaning up against a can of chowder.

The American titanium bike frame industry sounds as incestuous as the Italian steel one, so it’s difficult to pin point the exact lineage of Douglas frames. Lynskey provided a lot of house brands with ti frames, but there’s also evidence of other manufacturers among the myriad of bike forum threads.

David has nothing but good reports about his Ghisallo. “This one is all American-made 3al/2v titanium, with welds that rival those I’ve seen in person on other modern Litespeeds, Lynskeys or even IndyFabs. I picked it up for US$350–frame/fork/headset/front derailleur. The rear dropouts are beefy cast Ti inserts and the whole thing is stiff back and forth and comfy up and down. The top and down tubes are bi-axially ovalized and the seat stays contoured, giving this thing a character all it’s own. I’m a big guy with major watts, and this thing is perfect for me.”

“It took me a while to piece it together with what I thought would work well. The cranks, derailleurs, and brakes were NOS. I love the 7700 Dura-Ace; there is no plastic on it and it’s the last year it looked like shiny crafted metal as opposed to stamped, cookie cut, machine parts like the 7800 or 7900.”

Even with a predominantly classic Dura-Ace group set, David’s favorite component is the stainless steel, NAHBS-stamped bidon cage by King Cages, acquired at this years show. I’m sold. It’s a solid, graceful, hard-working bike and David’s excellent photography helps accentuate those features.

Douglas Ghisallo
Douglas Ghisallo
Douglas Ghisallo
Douglas Ghisallo
Douglas Ghisallo
Douglas Ghisallo
Douglas Ghisallo

  • While I agree with what David said, I have to just say that what makes most every bike beautiful on here is the fit. These bikes (mostly) have all the bits in the right place as they are dimensioned around a custom frame. What irks me about the above bike is the seat being pushed way back and too low for that frame. There are also spacers above the stem. These are the details that make for beauty.

    • I have a pro fitter that does the fit for all my bikes. The spacers are only 20mm below and 10mm above. All carbon forks with carbon steerers require upper spacers, it’s just one of those things. It’s unsafe otherwise as the stem will ride a tiny bit higher than the carbon steerer if cut to fit exactly using no upper spacers, to allow for the bung plug, and cause it eventually fail. The saddle is pushed back because I am of above average weight (i.e., fat), so I need to be further out over the rear of the bike to be balanced correctly. Any fitter worth his salt will always change the fore-aft of the saddle to relieve numb hands or forearm pressure as well. As for the saddle being too low; it’s not. The bike has a traditional non-compact geometry with a level top tube; the saddle is exactly where it needs to be for my legs to run good round strokes, again, checked by my fitter. That being said, it’s not a custom frame. It’s the bike I ride every day. And is built around that. So what makes this bike unacceptable to your eye makes it perfect for my riding. And since I’m riding it, I win. That last part was a jest, of course. But you get the point. This post wasn’t about some trailer queen that, even though perfect for one rider, never gets ridden. Or goes into a stable of a dozen other custom bikes and sees pavement once a month. Hope that answers the posed questions.