Before he started creating svelte custom bike frames, Ulrich Vogel worked as an architect. The two fields cannot be more distantly related, yet Ulrich manages to reconcile his experience by producing bikes that, like a thoughtfully designed space, integrate with the human body to elevate the spirit.
Loosely translated by Google, Vogel means Bird in German, an apt description for Ulrich and his bikes. In 2013, the Rapha Continental team took a Vogel frame on their Hidden Europe tour, which must have resulted in a spectacular journey through some awe-inspiring landscapes.
This is a more recent frame, similar to a Continental bike only in that both must be able to travel long distances comfortably. The Rapha bike was a very modern steel frame, whereas this randonneur, adorned with ornate hand-carved Fleur de Lys lugs, is definitely more of a classicist, albeit with the latest refinements.
Ulrich incorporated fastback seat stays into the rear cluster, topped by a Campagnolo mast. TA Specialités cranks revolve around a Phil Wood bottom bracket, driving a Campagnolo transmission and a White Industries T11 / H Plus Son TB14 rear wheel. The front wheel centres upon a SONdelux hub, powering front and rear lights.
The matching stem and forks also feature the Fleur de Lys lugwork: high-polished and stark against the bronze and antique white paint. The Gilles Berthoud fenders were painted to match, offset by the inspirational sight of two chequered flags.
The Vogel Fahrradrahmenbau workshop is located in a Bavarian town called Bamberg, home to eight breweries and is known especially for its smoked Rauchbier. Sounds like an ideal locale for a sport of randonneuring. Special thanks to Stefan Schmidhofer for the photos. See more on his website, and contact Ulrich through the Vogel website.