TRP HY/RD Disc Brakes + A DeSalvo Custom Road Bike = A Bicycle Revolution
Ashland Oregon, 5 July 2013 – This is the work of custom bicycle builder Mike DeSalvo who builds titanium and steel bikes at his Oregon shop. We met Mike at the 2013 National handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Denver in February where we talked to him about his building style and his thoughts about the future of bicycle design.
When asked about the size of his business, Mike told us he’s a one-man show. He said he’d tried to hire help but managing people isn’t what he wanted to spend his time doing. Mike likes to spend his time building bikes. This means the craftsman himself will build your bike when you order from DeSalvo. If you’re looking to have a bike built to your specifications and are willing to pay for handmade custom work then you may just want the guy whose name adorns the bike to be the guy who actually built it.
There are dozens of custom handmade bike builders; each with their personal design aesthetic and build theory. If you’re looking to buy a handmade bicycle do your research and read about the shop on the Internet. Then call the builders whose work gives you the most goose bumps and talk to them about your dream bike. The builders we spoke to said they are adept at hearing what the customer is trying to tell them over the phone. The entire process is very personal for the buyer and the builder and both parties have to be comfortable working with one another to realize a dream bike.
Aside from the knowledge that buying a bike from Mike DeSalvo would mean the master himself builds the bike, we also noticed the quality of Mike’s weld work. He’s been teaching others to build bikes at the United Bicycle Institute (UBI) for years and his metal mastery shows in the fine even layup of metal at the joints.
Choosing DeSalvo to build your custom bike will get you one-on-one personal service from concept to finished product. But this can mean that you may wait several months for your order to reach the top of the queue. Good things are worth the wait though. At the show in February we contracted to have Mike build a bike for Steve’s 50th birthday and we should be queued up any time and ready for some concept discussions.
Since both Shimano and SRAM have announced road disc brakes for 2014, the biggest evolution to hit the bicycle industry in years, it seems discs will be mainstream sooner than later.
But some very interesting design work in road disc brake is already available from TRP (Tektro Racing Products). TRP recently debuted the HY/RD, pronounced “High Road”, cable actuated hydraulic reservoir disc brake system. Unlike Shimano’s design which will incorporate a reservoir in the shifters and be compatible only with their grouppo, the HY/RD design allows the disc brake to be used with existing cable-actuated brake systems (photo is taken from the HY/RD website).
There are of course some design considerations to make when building a road bike with disc brakes; this is where Mike’s metalworking experience will be important. So, when the time comes for the real planning to start, we’ll ask Mike to push the limit of his design acumen with our bike. We plan to ask Mike to build a lightweight titanium road bike that climbs hills like a cheetah and descends like a hawk with the stopping power of HY/DR disc brakes and Shimano Ultegra components.
This will most likely mean the bike will be butted titanium tubing to keep the frame light. But not so light that it loses the classic titanium road feel. Since all of this is a figment of our imagination right now we’ll post regular updates of the design discussions as the process moves forward.
As with any evolutionary product, there are purists who refuse to let go of the past. Bicycles have not changed much in years. They are still relatively simple machines that convey a person from one place to another. Using disc brakes on road and race bicycles will give wheel designers the opportunity to change the bicycle wheel industry as well. Eliminating the need to strengthen the sidewalls of the rim because they will no longer be used as a braking surface will have evolutionary impact on wheels as well. And our custom DeSalvo frame fitted with the latest HY/RD disc brakes will be ready for the coming revolution.