How Kamaal built his dream steel bike in Cape Town
For Kamaal Martin, who is obsessed with steel bikes, this steel-framed machine built in South Africa is a dream come true. (Picture: R24)
If you have followed our series entitled “Bicycle Collectors” about local cyclists and their incredible collections of vintage steel bikes, the name ‘Kamal Martin’ a bell will ring.
In March of last year, we chatted with Kamaal about his favorite bikes and found out more about what drives his passion.
He is the only person we know to own a bike made by the legendary Dario Pegoretti. When we learned that Kamaal had ordered local steel…bikemeister Dave Mercer to create a custom frame, you knew it was going to be something special.
A look at these images confirms precisely that (and it’s even better in reality). From the frame to the paint job, groupset and wheels, Kaamal has assembled a very desirable modern steel bike.
We sat down with this bike fan to find out more about the genesis of the project and what the process of having your own custom dream bike entails.
Spectacular Kamaal bike. Tell us what inspired the whole project?
It was always a dream to have a custom bike by the magician Dave Mercer. When Columbus released their 100th anniversary hit Cento in 2019, a friend of mine had Dave build a bike, and I was blown away.
It was the perfect steel machine. All the tubes had the right thickness and there were all the little details I was looking for. I finally got my hands on a set of Cento tubes and rushed over to Dave to start the planning process. And what was your briefing for him?
The brief was simple. Build a modern steel machine with an electronic group and disc brakes and enough wheel clearance to slam on gravel wheels to take it off-road.
I had a folder full of ideas for the first meeting and I wanted to put everything into one version. I liked the tube and its details so much that I didn’t want to get much out of it. The plan was to emphasize the beauty of the tubes, and I used my trusty old Bianchi to give us a guide to what measurements I thought were comfortable.
Dave then took my measurements and we put the two together. The frame style was borrowed from a modern (high end) Stelbel bicycle Italian steel and titanium brand of frame builder Stelio Beletti). We’ve added details from ideas seen online and Dave’s magical knowledge of how to add subtle touches.
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