Friday, September 12, 2008

Bespoke Wrenched

If Whole Foods sold BMX bikes, they'd definitely sell the Svevo Bespoke (recently named the best BMX bike at Eurobike 08):




And all along I thought "Svevo" was an Ikea bookshelf. Here's what they say about it on their website:

"The Svevo Bespoke represents the new generation of street bmx bikes. Ultralight (9,0 kg), brakeless and pegless. For riders who love the flow. No compromises. Svevo frames are designed with simplicity and lightness in mind. The carefully selected bmx specific tubing is filletbrazed by hand in Germany. The extra thickness of the fillet provides strength, and its smooth contour distributes stresses evenly. No external gussets are needed. With the integrated pivotal seatpost this creates a perfectly clean look. Modern graphics add extra style.

Svevo customers can specify the geometry, the color, and the components to create their dream bike."

Wonderful. I'm surprised that they don't point out that it's organic and fat-free, too. (As shown, it weighs 19.5 pounds complete.) Apparently the "new generation of street bmx bikes" are going to be really light, really stylish and really fucking expensive. And sprinkled liberally with titanium and bullshit. "Modern graphics add extra style?" All in all, this doesn't give me much hope for the new generation of street bmxers. Alex Liiv, beware.

(I wonder how far the "dream bike" thing can be taken? What if I want a 23" toptube, 79 degree headtube, 64 degree seattube, an American bottom bracket and the ability to run a regular seatpost AND a seatpost clamp? Or a brazed STA replica complete with gusset? I suppose I could e-mail and find out, but I guess I'm not that interested.)

It's worth noting that fillet brazing is a time-tested method of frame construction that utilizes a metal such as brass to join tubes. Since brass has a lower melting point than steel, the strength of the steel tubing is never compromised—and you can use thinner-gauge tubing as a result. At least that's how I read it. Schwinn used it on some road frames from 1938 to 1978, nowadays it's a technique that's primarily used by boutique framebuilders. It's more or less obsolete for mass-produced bikes since it's labor intensive and the art of welding has improved greatly over the years. A bit of an odd way to build a "street" BMX frame, if you believe what's said here. Since we seem intent on going backwards, epoxied lugs can't be far behind. Ahead. Whatever. I'll be curious to see how Svevos hold up to actual street riding, provided anyone I know buys one. Because I gotta imagine they're gonna be expensive.

But I guess it's an image that Svevo is cultivating: Luxury customs. A bit silly for a product meant to be smashed into rails and ditched between doubles, but whatever. You know what bespoke means, right? It's a word normally associated with $300,000 cars and $8,000 suits and $2,500 pairs of shoes. It's a word for people who are above the banality of buying something that's already been produced. How trite. How utterly common. It's nothing I thought I'd see with BMX bikes.

Although I suppose in a world where you can throw down absurd sums of money for personalized Nikes or custom jeans, I should have seen this coming. Sure you can get something just as good off the rack, but what fun is that? This way you can be unique—just like everybody else.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to measure my inseam.

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31 comments:

Mexican John said...

"The Svevo Bespoke represents the new generation of street bmx bikes." Not likely, haven't they heard about the global credit crunch?

Russ said...

Wow, that YouTube freezeframe is fucking creepy. I apologize.

broady said...

sparta-cut your ribbon, wasnt it off elfs section from something.

g. edward jones, jr. said...

Radially laced front wheel?

I hope you're not only rich, but have your 3s to flat DIALED

Smitty said...

Fillet brazing is the easy way to make a custom frame. Basically, no fixtures are even needed. Tubes can be mitered by hand with files and jigged with plywood and c-clamps. The cost of an acetylene torch is about 1/20th the cost of a proper TIG welder. For these reasons, fillet brazing is how most wanna-be framebuilders get their start in the craft. The barrier to entry in the fillet brazed framebuilding game is quite low. But, you gotta give a little credit to Svevo for not just sourcing another frame out of Taiwan.

bobby p said...

i will only buy that bike if i know it comes with the bottom bracket from the post below. otherwise it just isnt worth it to me.

mary said...

was it a sq1 video broady?

Russ said...

I wonder whether they left out the chainstay brace because it was:

a) too heavy

b) too tough to weld

c) unnecessary

d) oh shit, I knew we forgot something!

Stephen said...

Yep. I'll be taking my SFA to my grave. Fuck it all.

Welcome to...

Brazed Moto X.

ben said...

Elf's part in WAN


Also...
I wish this frame was a lugged bmx frame personally.

Anonymous said...

the big question is what is jimmy levan going to do with metal now that he's getting the boot from s&m's building?

Loop said...

I won't be too quick to knock this bike since if it had been built around the sort of geometry I like, I'd be more stoked on the project.

What seems odd to me is they've concentrated on the bespoke and though it says on the site: "Svevo customers can specify the geometry, the color, and the components to create their dream bike," there is no mention of how to choose options, it just lists the geometry and parts of their show bike. Does this really count as bespoke?

I like the idea behind the frame (the fillet brazing and being hand made etc.) but personally I'd want the option of brake mounts, a higher toptube and I'd get rid of that intergrated seatpost for a start but that's just me.

I don't fancy the lack of a chainstay bridge either but what seems even weirder to me is the those track bike esque dropouts.

At first I presumed they were that shape to allow you to run a super short back end but keep the seatstays in the same position but the spec. say it's a standard 13.75" (so the postion of the seatstays should make the back look longer).

I don't hate it but I'm not keen though i get the impression if they were expand upon their intial idea, I could dig it.

Loop said...

Imagine this frame decked out in all white Eclat parts, it would be the ultimate in Eurotrash hipster design student chic (which would make it both awful and amazing, the 1st gen iPod of bmx).

hitmanbikes.com said...

schwinn did it with the STING in 81 82 83 years, first REAL BMX frame I broke. Its sucked then it sucks now.

Rob D said...

does bespoke also mean lacing the rear wheel of your show bike incorrectly (valve stem doesn't go there sillies!)?

Anonymous said...

I like the smooth tube junctions

Anonymous said...

I've contacted svevo, and you can have brake lugs, gyro tabs, different types of bottom bracket and whatever geometry you want. so it is truly bespoke, it's just very expensive. But why not? There are a million cheap, low-end, wan bikes out there - surely it's good to have something that represents the other end of the scale?

Albert said...

Custom Solid Frame +
Empire BMX +
Pierre Pierros III +
=
Same thing

Anonymous said...

Smitty got this right. The relative ease of making frames by fillet brazing lets almost anyone the chance to make frames and charge whatever they think they can get. But why is this so interesting when you can buy an S&M or FBM frame right now with a stronger construction for far less money? Or, has Russ gone soft and not realized smooth joints are more of an affront to BMX's cultural past than integrated seat clamps? Meanwhile, Taiwan frames still offer the most features features for the money but there are just too many of them to respect them very much.

DBZ said...

Custom Solid Frame +
Empire BMX +
Pierre Pierros III +
=
Infinitely preferable to that piece of euroshit.

Brazed? Give me a fucking break.

bernard said...

Ever see that?? http://www.khebikes.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=521&Itemid=47

A frame that Weight: 1.65 kg / 3.637 lbs

Anonymous said...

get it in the u.k now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111

John said...

"The Svevo Bespoke represents the new generation of street bmx bikes."

So the next generation of street riders are going to be pussies? I need to find a heavy frame that'll clear 44-16 if that's the case.

Anonymous said...

elf in square 1 wide awake nightmare.

Anonymous said...

nice bike, but too rich for my blood. Russ, your becoming more and more jaded as days go by.

Lee said...

The next trends need to be based around sean burns.

Anonymous said...

Or Metal Bikes in general. Great bikes. I don't understand why they don't sell better.

Stephen said...

Tuesday.

Russ said...

Kudos to jon d for noting the wrongly laced rear wheel (can't believe I missed that). Between that, the radial front and that gross seat angle, I just can't get with it.

Also, yes, there are plenty of American framebuilders who will make you a custom frame. Not sure how far they'll go when it comes to angles, but I'm sure most companies would work with you. They're just not quite as pretentious.

Anonymous said...

Smitty don't know smit about framebuilding.

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