There’s an interesting dichotomy in the world of bicycles these days. On one hand, large companies have hit their stride producing carbon fiber frames, primarily overseas, in very large quantities, and have brought these frames to the bicycle riding-public at tremendously competitive prices. The war between the large manufacturers is fought on the battlefield of the bike shop sales floor, with weapons including the promise of technological supremacy and the all-important price-point. Bicycle frames are now evaluated on how many grams the frame weighs and what aerodynamic technological features will result in 20 seconds saved over the course of a 3 hour solo ride. This war has resulted in a stunning rise in the performance of bicycles over the past decade and brings to the market some truly remarkable machines at prices any Joe Racer can appreciate.
On the other hand entirely, there now exists a larger-than-ever world of the hand-made bicycle frame. You can see it in the rise and prominence of shows such as NAHBS and others of that ilk. We love this world – a world of hand-filed lugs, gorgeous paint that appears to ooze off of a frame as though still wet, and lovingly hand-crafted bicycles that are built by a man or woman, for a man or woman – functional art pieces all.
It’s with one foot squarely in each of these worlds that we approach our relationship with Gaulzetti Cicili. Craig Gaulzetti’s bicycles are, in short, the best race bicycles we’ve ever used. We initially encountered Gaulzetti bicycles in 2009, the first year we fielded a road team. This was also Craig’s first year building bikes and we struck up an agreement that Craig would use our then-small team program as a testbed for his new line of bikes. It was with some trepidation that our roster of racers threw their legs over unheard-of bicycles at the beginning of that first season. In short order, we came to appreciate the first Gaulzettis for what they are: True, uncompromising race bikes, designed for real-world use in the worst conditions, with a premium on drivetrain and front-end stiffness, race-friendly handling, and rugged durability. Our racers found Gaulzetti bicycles to have unique, exciting ride personality, and declared them to be the perfect companions for a full season of training and racing in New England.
Gaulzetti bicycles are also noteworthy for what they are not. Craig Gaulzetti is adamant that his bicycles not possess any feature that does not have a very specific function. You’ll not see any fancy, unnecessary tube shapes on Gaulzetti frames. Instead you’ll find time-tested, wide diameter, premium round profile tubes, drawn specifically to Gaulzetti standards and designed to enhance the stiffness and ride quality characteristics. Craig will never design a frame or tubeset with a target weight in mind; ride quality, stiffness and real-world performance are the goals, and all Gaulzetti framesets can easily be built up to complete bikes that are at or below the UCI mandated weight limit. Craig does not do anything just for the sake of doing it – he has a bullshit-free approach to bicycle design and he’s determined to stay that way. There’s something extremely beautiful and refreshing about this and it appeals to us equally as racers and as aficionados of fine bicycles.
Over the past few years I’ve become good friends with Craig and an extreme fan of his style and the philosophy he brings to bicycle design. I’ve watched as he has built his brand, refined his product, and sold some bikes to one ecstatic customer after another. It’s fair to say that I was excited when he came to me last winter and said, “James, I think I want to team up with you. Embrocation gets what Gaulzetti is all about and I think you can help me grow this thing.” Yes. Get to ride and represent my friend’s bikes; bikes that happen to be the best I’ve ever ridden? Hell yes, we’re in.
So, here we are. You’ll find information about Gaulzetti’s Corsa model aluminum race bicycle in our store section. You’ll also find a Gaulzetti column appearing on the site in which we’ll publish more information about the brand ethos and the bikes themselves. We also encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about these unique bikes and why we love them so much.
Presently, every Gaulzetti Corsa is built to order here in the US. Over the course of the next few months we’re going to be refining the production process and will begin stocking bicycles for immediate sales. Stay tuned over the next couple weeks and months as we bring you more information about the brand and the products. This is just the beginning.