Many of us are drawn to the ocean for its vast horizons and currents, its waves and wild nature. The yacht is similar to the bicycle in that it’s a vehicle that enables an attempt to tame that which cannot be harnessed: like the roads or mountains.
The 90s were a ‘golden era’ for yacht racing, just as it was for cycling, when innovation and style was paramount and shaped much of what we enjoy today. Germany’s Björn Becker used design cues from that time for his restoration of a Swiss Titan road bike.
Björn is an industrial design student from Germany who loves sailing as much as cycling, so it was only natural that he looked to boats — their materials and hydrodynamics — from the 90s when compiling a moodboard for his bike project.
During a semester work break as Yacht Designer at Judel Vrolijk & Co, in the north of Germany, Björn got to thinking about a nautically-inspired racer. For a base, he found an old Titan frame; a Swiss brand with, unfortunately, little historical documentation.
The search began for suitable components that would conjure up images of water-borne speed and agility, referencing the boats he was surrounded with. In the 90s, carbon fibre was becoming a popular material to make boats out of, just as it was bicycles.
No sail material is present: Björn’s intent was never to create a two-wheeled boat, rather a preppy aesthetic popularised by Hilfiger, Lauren and contemporaries. A Shimano RX100 group was sourced, whose streamlined finish was a suitable match.
The frame was sandblasted, primed and painted with touches of pearlescent greens. Björn was on a student budget, but had access to the necessary tooling to manufacture some parts himself, like the carbon bar-end plugs and derailleur swingarm plate.
The seat mast is a significant addition to the aerodynamics, and the carbon fork was a considered choice, along with the black panel of paint on the seat tube. Other carbon touches are apparent, like the brake shoes, matching the bar tape.
‘Watermade’ is Björn’s brand name for his other work projects, like a nautical knife and perfume ‘bottle’. I can’t help feeling that a jumper slung over the back, knotted by the sleeves, is necessary apparel for this ride, along with a blow-wave haircut. Sehr gut!
See more on Björn’s Behance page.