The Angry Commuter.

I met Darron Coppin of Sven Cycles at Bespoked Bristol in 2013 and this chance meeting sparked a project that would fascinate and excite me, whilst simultaneously emptying my wallet and edging me closer to divorce.

Darron called me shortly after our meeting and uttered the seductive words… ‘do you want to design a bike together?’

Stupid question… I was hooked.

I told Darron that I wanted to build a fast, aggressive commuter that you could jump on in jeans and trainers and nail 20 or 30-mile commutes across the unforgiving undulating Somerset landscape, whilst still retaining the delicate balance and emotive heritage of a true classic.

So we sat down in Weymouth at Darrons workshop with a pot of EPO coffee and a dorset apple cake, and pored over his extensive library of historic cycling books and images of classic bikes; settling on the idea that it was possible, with a little imagination and some solid fillet brazing skills, to turn the legendary Cinelli Laser into a rideable commuter that would fulfil our brief.

A styling hook was needed, and the early eighties stomping ground of the Cinelli Laser was the place to find it. We settled on a design classic from the era that compromised nothing, listened to no-one and was way ahead of its time — The Delorian.

To bring in some classic Italian heritage, we chose Columbus Max tubing (as used in the original Cinelli Laser). This tube set broke convention in its day, and provided the perfect combination of lightness and strength. Add a sloping top tube and ENVE 65 / 45 wheel combination and a big nod was being made to the overall aggressive aesthetic of the Laser. To ensure the Italian blood ran throughout, a Campagnolo Record TT group-set was selected. Then bringing a modern, urban twist and reflecting the gull-wing doors of the Delorian, a set of Cinelli Mash bars were customised to take the Campagnolo TT shifters; providing a truly unique cockpit.

Finally, it was down to the details, with lightweight CNC milled brakes from EE Cycleworks that just felt ‘Delorian’, and the brushed nickel finish giving the industrial luminance that the Delorian became famous for. The handlebars and saddle were hand-upholstered in grey leather to bring that inimitable eighties ‘super-car’ trim feel. And, lastly, the graphics applied in reflective orange vinyl made sure the bike lit up under the headlights of evening traffic.

This blend of classic Italian heritage, with US hand-built componentry, urban track bike aesthetic — and, of course, a stiff dose of quintessentially British design and craftsmanship — should make the purists cringe, and the hipsters whinge. But in reality, we made a bike that doesn’t compromise, apologises for nothing, and fits the brief of being adored by those who created it and ride it — and really, what else matters?

My ‘side project’ Paniagua will be offering a limited run (five) of these bicycles for sale, built to order with custom graphics and finishes to suit the buyer. For more information contact info@paniagua.cc.

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