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One Last Time

One Last Time

This is not me trying to tease you into buying rim brake bikes or trying to argue some technicality that positions them better than disc brake bikes. This is me, unveiling my road bike. A personal project that took more time than expected to execute, but the result is quite pleasing. This project has had many briefs, but it needed the right inspiration, the right moment to happen… in fact, most of the components had been awaiting the frameset for a while now, with some of them waiting for more than a decade. 

 

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So, why is this project so special to me? Because the story behind this bike has a lot to do with why Scarab exists

We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that each bike is in harmony with the aesthetics, performance, passion, and romance that motivates each rider. These are essential for us to create a truly unique project for a customer. Now you can imagine why this project was hard for me to accomplish… seeing on a daily basis so many amazing bikes coming out of the door, this project got postponed as more and more inspiration got in my head… but the truth was… I was just trying to clone and reinterpret someone else’s inspiration, it was not really mine. 

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So, I started the project from scratch (again) and I focused on these 3 fundamentals of design at Scarab: Performance, Aesthetics and Passion. One more time. 

I had some pretty good “obsolete” parts that I wanted to give a new life to: a Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed mechanical groupset in fairly good condition, a set of old Chris King hubs that needed new rims, and an ENVE carbon seatpost and handlebar.

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On Performance: I wanted my dream climbing bike. A bike that could climb the steep and long climbs I am exposed to in Colombia. And what makes a good climbing bike? It needs to be light, with a perfectly dialed-in fit, reactive so no energy is wasted, and comfortable for the mythical monster mountains we easily encounter in our backyard. Oh, and one more thing, it still needs to be able to descend, so no carbon rim brakes! The best match was our Letras Rim Brake frameset. Built with an exquisite blend of Kaisei – a Japanese steel tube manufacturer – and Columbus from Italy, the result is a bike that is perfectly in balance with reactiveness, comfort, and low weight. 

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My Passion? I like tactile and mechanical things. That is how the whole project started… finding a home for these components that had been sitting in a drawer at the shop for a while now. The feeling of shifting a perfectly tuned Campy mechanical groupset paired with the smoothness and pleasing sound of King hubs, is simply pleasing to me. I like timeless things that don’t make me worry about breaking down. Things that serve only one purpose, to be used. Forever. Thus my love for steel bikes, and 35mm mechanical cameras. 

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What pleases me aesthetically? Groupsets and bike components dictate a lot of the look of a bike. The combo of a Campy SR 11spd and Silver Chris King hubs will not go unnoticed, so finding the inspiration was tricky. But then it struck me! A random day in Bogota I spotted a beautiful, old Porsche 912 in Polo red. I quickly started to look for images and references… and found this Porsche 911L. The fine details, the way they mixed the red, white, black, and silver was in the perfect symphony– for me, anyway. And what better inspiration than the meaning of this car? A true timeless piece of design that has set the bar so high with the purest, mechanical driving experience. A car that people claim to be telepathic with the connection it creates between driver and car. A beast that has been beautifully hidden under very classy lines, for decades only minimally changed. This was It… I wanted my bike to look like this. 

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There I had it –the three pillars had all come together. I now have something special, even if just to me. This project was designed from the start to fully impress me, not others. A bicycle meant to be used for many years, always true to its purpose. Ohh, I can tell you, it is an absolute delight to ride, looks beautiful and weighs only 7,2kg. 

 

This is very likely the last rim brake bike I will build for myself, but I certainly hope it’s not the last for Scarab.If, like me, you have components that are worth more riding, we would love to help you create a memorable ride with a custom frameset made to match them - just drop us a line. 

In the end, this red bike reminded me why we build bikes. We build bikes because we want them to have meaning for you. Because they are purpose-built. Because you deserve to be impressed each time you ride your bike. 

Santiago Toro, 

SCARAB Cycles

Founder and Product designer

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