Everyone has their dream bike (or bikes), and some of us are fortunate enough to even own them.
A dream bike will obviously mean different things to different people, but to me it doesn’t necessarily mean getting the most expensive bike you can possibly think up – though I have added my version of this to the list so you know what sort of thing I lust after.
My Top 5 is a bit of an odd mix and includes bikes with some historical importance, along with bikes that I have coveted over the years, and have kept me interested from a technical perspective. If I’m honest 5 is difficult, but I’ll spare you from my exhaustive list of bikes that interest me. I am always happy to discuss them in the shop over a coffee though!
Carrera Podium Icaro and Hercules RC
I have grouped the two together here as they are kind of the same thing, the main difference being that the Hercules RC was updated with carbon rear end. Essentially these frames represented the pinnacle of aluminium technology in the early 2000s and they were some of the lightweight alloy frames that lead to the UCI implementing their 6.8kg weight limit. They are also frames that Marco Pantini rode.
They were made from Dedacciai U2 alloy (basically an alloy with a dash of Scandium) which was ridiculously light, and as such, was prone to catastrophic failure. There aren’t too many of these frames around any more so you’ll be lucky if you every see one in the metal, but I remember them well. Such a beautiful frame that makes a lot of today’s expensive carbon frames look a bit overweight compared to these race machines. The ride was unpleasantly stiff (or lively as the Italians put it), but I love these bikes and the brand. Pantani both started and ended his professional career aboard a Carrera.
Made in Sheffield, the guys at Field Cycles are probably one of my favourite steel frame artisans in the world right now. I haven’t had the pleasure to ride one of their bikes yet, but apart from the ride quality of an expertly built steel frame, I just love an awesome paint job, and to my eyes, these guys do it like no one else at the moment.
One day I will have one of their frames…one day.
Check out their website for full details: Field Cycles
Carrera Podium Estremo
Another Carrera, but this time, their top of the range Estremo model from 2004-2005. This makes the list as it was the first super high-end carbon bike I got to experience back in 2004 and I couldn’t believe how light it was, or how expensive it was!
The first picture is pretty much how I would have one too, with Campag Record 10 Speed and Fulcrum Racing wheels. This bike was an absolute weapon and was supremely comfortable. It was the first seriously light carbon frame I saw, and cemented my love for all Italian bikes. I spent a long time figuring out how to afford one, but alas, it never eventuated.
It’s a bike that wouldn’t look out of place today either, so I think it has aged rather well.
Fondriest TF3 1.2
This was a frameset that punched well above its weight. It sat right in the middle of the Fondriest range but offered looks and performance to embarrass bikes double and triple the price. In fact, the 2012 U23 World Champs Road Race was won on a TF3 frame!
This was also the first bike I put my own money in to when we opened Joyride, and to this day I regret selling it (it’s the orange one in the pics). It was extremely comfortable which made easy to knock out a century, but at the same time, was fast. For me this was the perfect do it all bike, and it was for these characteristics that this frame became one of our best sellers.
Unfortunately the TF3 is now essentially obsolete, but it will remain as one of the best bikes I have owned, and I will be forever thankful to the model for helping to establish Joyride as one of the leading Fondriest dealers in the UK.
Check out the range of Fondriest bikes: Fondriest Bici
This is my ultimate, no expense spared bike that I will build for when I finally get to move to the Pyrenees and can spend my days climbing and sipping espressos.
All Sarto frames are hand built in Italy so essentially you can have them built and painted any way you want. I generally prefer bikes with classic lines which is why I lean towards steel, and tube-to-tube constructed carbon frames like the Seta. For me it is a timeless look.
The Seta is a 700gr featherweight, and I would build it specifically for climbing; so nice and stiff through the chainstays, and a tight, stable front end for descending. I would most likely go against the Italian trend and fit a Dura Ace groupset simply for reliability, and then add a pair of AX Lightness P24 wheels (835gr for the pair!) – these are the wheels that Chris Froome has used in the past for mountain stages.
People are often intimidated by the idea of custom frames, but a Seta won’t set you back any more than a Pinarello Dogma which is mass produced in China. I know where I’d rather spend my money!
I’m pretty certain that this build will safely come in below 6kg too.
You can see the full range that Sarto offers on their website: Sarto Antonio