Carbon fiber has a lot to answer for, not only for the increased tube diameter which offers a greater opportunity to slather garish company logos all over the place. Nothing, however, compares with the confidence and reliability that a steel frame offers, especially over a long distance. That’s why Rapha’s Continental team riders prefer steel frames by the world’s best builders, like Germany’s Ulrich Vogel.
The Vogel Fahrradrahmenbau workshop is located in Bavaria’s Upper Franconia region which, interestingly, has the worlds highest brewery-density per capita. There’s 200 independent breweries located there, making approximately 1,000 different types of beer (Ulrich’s city, Bamberg, is particularly known for the smoked malt barley Rauchbiers). A sure inspiration to create his characteristic frames.
Ulrich is a former architect who applies his appreciation for high quality construction to the craft of frame building. For his contribution to the Rapha Continental program, he constructed a frame from tapered Reynolds 853, Columbus Spirit and stainless steel XCr tubes. One of Ulrich’s trademark details is his logotype, brazed on to the down tube as a defiant mark of quality over quantity.