If you didn’t know any better, you’d assume Belgium’s Jaegher Cycles were another well-branded startup with a frame builder on board. Jaegher was actually founded in 1934 and built bikes for many lauded racers, including a certain fellow countryman named Eddy Merckx.
One of the racers in the 1932 edition of Milan-San Remo was a young Belgian named Odiel Van Eenooghe. That year, he won the toughest stage of the Tour of Belgium and gave birth to a son, Etienne. Etienne took hold of the brazing torch and passed it to his son, Luc. Luc and his son, Diel, assemble today’s Jaegher frames.
A Jaegher is built exclusively from Columbus Spirit and XCR steel tubing in the factory at Ruiselede, located in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The company places a special emphasis on customer service, meaning you can be fitted for your frame at Atelier Jaegher, select the colour your frame will be wet-painted with, and personally choose the finishing kit.
This is the Phantom, a classically-lined lugged frame, built with Columbus Spirit. It was assembled for Matthieu, a French graphic designer responsible for Cycles Fumant, his cycling-inspired personal portfolio site and the Distance Cycling Club — an excellently-curated cycle-touring photo journal
Matthieu tells the story: “I’m 40 years old soon, and for two years I have discovered the practice of cycling another way, that of long distances and 200-300km adventures, not puffing but tough. Fascinated by mountains and living near the French Alps I launched completely into this discipline.”
“I was rather used to the urban routes and the short rides between friends but the natural desire grew in me to ride roads further and further, more and more isolated, higher and higher. My old LOOK KG131 took me far but it was time to invest in something to envisage longer distances.”
“Tired of frames made from carbon and big industries without soul, the prohibitive price of their high-end products, I quickly understood that what was needed was a modern steel frame for its technical characteristics, a balance between lightness, rigidity, comfort and longevity. I chose Columbus Spirit and put myself in search of a French-speaking craftsman in Europe to be certain I was understood.”
“By means of numerous hours on the internet via Instagram and, obviously, on Cycle EXIF, eventually I came upon Jaegher about whom I had already heard because the last two winners of the Transcontinental race rode a Jaegher.”
“The moderate price, the proximity, the long experience of their workshop convinced me. The conversation was easy: I chose my colour scheme as well as some options and a 2015 Campagnolo Chorus groupset.”
“One and a half month later the parcel arrives and once built up the smile returns, everything is perfect. This bike speaks to me, it smells of kilometres from the first turn of the wheels! I have now a whole program for it, we have time, a lot of time to know each other.”