Giro Empire ACC Limited Edition - Sepia

By: Brandon 08/01/2014

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I'm a sucker for limited edition stuff. The marketing behind it got my years ago when collecting baseball cards, I guess. Summers spent ripping packs open to find that signed card, something with gold leaf, or maybe even a Frank Thomas error card. Whatever it was, it has stuck with me, and now lives on through cycling.

Probably the only draw almost as strong as something limited edition are great shoes. I love shoes. It's been more than once that I've been called "Imelda", though that is of course a stretch.

Last year Giro brought out the Empire LTD MTB shoes, and I was in love. Having worn the Empire on the road, I was absolutely sold on the construction and fit, having them in the dirt was a no-brainer. Unfortunately I was only able to grab a single pair of those shoes, so I rarely wear them.

This year, Giro decided to pay homage to the past with the Empire ACC in Sepia Leather. While they've done a few other limited runs of Empires for the road in the past, the others haven't quite fit my style: electric blue and white/gold. Though, looking back, I really should have snagged those blue ones....

Here's the beautiful part: we are hoping to stock the Sepia Leather Limited Edition Empire in the near future. Of course sizes and quantities will be limited, that probably goes without saying.


If you've never tried on the Empire, I can safely say you're missing out. I was initially drawn to them, even in their stock colors, because of the style. But once lacing them up, it was obvious the advantages of a one-piece upper, the laces allow for huge adjustability, and they are silly-light.

For now, just admire these. The color is spot on, the delivery with their bag and tool roll was spot on, and of course the fit is second-to-none.

$350 and includes two pairs of our socks in the corresponding size.


photos and words by Brandon Elliott


Bespoke Builds - Argonaut with Campagnolo 80th Anniversary

By: Brandon 07/26/2014

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The newest in our Bespoke Builds series is an Argonaut out of Blacksmith Cycle in Toronto. These guys have been kicking out some incredible builds on the regular, and this one certainly does not disappoint. Sent over to me by Paul, the excitement was clear in his email about this build. He had a few things to say:

We were first introduced to Ben @ NAHBS this year, and planted the seeds to bring Argonaut to Canada. The owner of this Argonaut, Claude, is coming off an older steel Basso, and wanted something smooth, with tons of personality.

We knew that Ben's craftsmanship and attention to detail would translate perfectly to Claude's needs, and the results are really stunning. The subtle scheme, paired with the obvious flair of Campagnolo's 80th anniversary group makes for an understated but classy combination that mirrors Claude's style on and off the bike.

I can't emphasize how happy we are with the entire process of working with Ben, and how proud we are to be Canada's first Argonaut dealer.

The crew at Blacksmith are proud of this machine, as well they should be. Argonaut is making some of the best carbon in the game, paired with the level of parts and the care that Blacksmith put into the build, this is obviously superbike, or space bike, territory.

photos courtesy of Blacksmith Cycle, words courtesy of Blacksmith Cycles and Brandon Elliott


Bespoke Builds - Mosaic RT-1 with Di2

By: Brandon 07/23/2014

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Up next in our Bespoke Builds series is a bike out of Velosmith Bicycle Studio in Willmette, IL. Known for their subtle, stunning, and timeless builds, their first entry into the Bespoke Builds column is very much a prime example of their style.

This build starts with a frame from the master welders of Mosaic Cycles in Boulder, CO. This frame uses Mosaic's oversized titanium tubing and ISP (though this one is currently sporting a Ritchey topper until the final handmade Ti piece from the boys at Mosaic arrives) and is mated to an ENVE tapered fork via a Chris King I7 headset. The 44mm headtube stiffens the front end, though their titanium is known for its incredibly smooth ride as much as its stiffness.

Sporting a top-tier build is much the norm out of Velosmith's builds, and this example does not disappoint. Top to bottom Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 is the creme de la creme, and my own personal choice of drivetrain.

Just like every other build to come out of Velosmith, this one is clean, purposeful, and impeccable. From the perfectly finished bar tap to the flawless tubular installation, the crew at Velosmith are the consummate professionals that require perfection, and this build is a prime example of such.

photos and words courtesy of Brandon Elliott


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