AS YOU BIKE IT
In the world of cycling there is a gap between one-off artisan bikes, which are individually made for each rider but compromise performance, and traditional mass-production models, used in at the highest level of the sport but which are not adaptable to each rider.
Italian bike maker Exept has found a way to bridge that gap. “We combine the best of both worlds, a design that allows us to realize complex and performance-driven shapes and a unique construction that makes a customized bike for you down to the millimetre,” says one of the company’s founders, the sales, marketing and communications manager Wolfgang Turainsky.
Wolfgang and his co-founders were bike designers and engineers working for other companies, who spent their evenings and weekends obsessed with the problem of how to create a fully customizable high-performance bike.
They had decided to abandon conventional tube-to-tube designs in favour of carbon fibre monocoque (single-shell) frames. These are lightweight and stiff, and because they are moulded in one piece they share the load evenly and have no weak spots where sections are moulded together. However, the major drawback of such moulded monocoque frames is that their dimensions and geometries are fixed and cannot be adjusted for individual riders.
Exept now holds a patent for adjustable mould technology that would allow frames to be individually customized for each rider’s body, riding style and goals by making minute adjustments to the size and geometry of the frame. The first prototypes went into production the following year.
Customers who visit Exept’s lab in Finale Ligure near Genoa on the Italian Riviera are given a personal fitting using the Bikefitting.com 3D motion-capture system, which precisely measures their body dimensions and stance and calculates the ideal frame geometry for the most efficient ride. Using computer-aided design software that was developed for the automotive industry, these measurements are fed into the adjustable mould to make the customized frame.
The bike is then finished off with dedicated components, the stem and crank length are calculated for the best fit and options such as the saddle and tyre width are chosen according the buyer’s preferred riding style and set-up. “The bike can be more aerodynamic with better component integration for an aggressive race bike,” says Wolfgang, “or more comfortable if you want to focus on endurance riding.”
If it’s not possible to visit Genoa, customers can get the same personalized service at one of Exept’s exclusive accredited bike shops around the world equipped with their bike-fitting system. You can even order a bespoke bike online by inputting your personal measurements, preferred riding style and desired components, trim and accessories into its online configurator.
“For our customers, this is an engineered hi-tech product just like the cars that they drive,” says Wolfgang. “Ours will be the go-to bike in their garage that is custom made, perfectly measured, and in their style, just like the interior of their cars.”
The bikes were launched at the 2018 Eurobike show to great acclaim. The company is currently working on a full custom “aero” road bike, using aerodynamic principles in its operation, and is exploring designs for gravel cycling and cyclo-cross models. “Our vision is to establish customization as a feature in the performance bike market,” says Wolfgang. “We combine international hi-tech bike design with Italian craftsmanship.”