When Graeme Raeburn takes a break from designing the Rapha kit we all love, he's a damn good rider. He can win on a Brompton, hang with the Continental boys touring the colonies and crank out an impressive 416 miles in a twenty-four hour time trial. On the 14th of September he'll join Ira Ryan, David Arthur from Road Cycling UK and the Rapha contest winner, Nick Amlot to tackle the Cent Cols Challenge. The four-man team will cover 100 cols rising 45,000 metres into the French sky in a concentrated 10 day period.
When I heard Graeme was riding I got to thinking a special bike was in order and who better to build it than the UK's own (and my fav) Enigma Bicycles. A quick email to Graeme followed by phone call to Jim and Mark at Enigma had everyone convinced it was a good idea and soon they were making plans for a beautiful custom bicycle befitting the challenge.
Graeme rode down to the factory where Enigma is writing a new chapter in British fabrication, adding steel to their titanium repertoire, perfecting seamless welds, and steadily repatriating more and more production home. Lanky lad that he is, Graeme was the perfect candidate for a bespoke frameset built from Columbus XCR steel tubing.
In the midst of a supremely busy season, the Enigma Elite XCR frameset is in paint, and Graeme will build it up himself within days (including the wheels). I'd hoped to have pictures documenting the entire fit and fabrication story but time constraints wouldn't allow. I'll make sure Graeme sends images of the finished frameset and completed build. Gloss black, polished steel at the ends of the chain/seat stays and classic bands in Rapha pink.
Here are the highlights of the build to come.
There's a nice symmetry at work here. Two of cycling's best brands, two great designers, Rapha's Graeme Raeburn and Enigma's Mark Reilly, coming together to take British steel to the top of those aery cols. Simon Mottram and Jim Walker have every reason to be proud of what their companies have accomplished in such a short time. I can't wait to see what comes next.
Here's a shot of a finished red and cream Enigma Elite, visit Enigma Steel to find out more.