Nearly 14 years ago to the day, I took delivery of a bike that simply blew me away in terms of its aesthetics. It was a Carrera Cassiopeia. Yellow pearl with red letters. The seat tube lug had ports in the back for fastback style seat stays and had the Carrera logo engraved on each side. The head tube lugs had short points and were minimalist. The lugs were not thinned; they had a crisp, defined edge. But they were not thick and chunky either. The BB shell had a cool, cast-in chainstay bridge. All of the lines were clean and just worked. Everything about it was functional. It was a race bike, meant to be pushed hard. It begged to be ridden in the rain, the snow, the grit of spring, everything. But it had a few subtle touches that showed class. It was by all accounts Italian, but a bit more subtle than its peers at the time. It was a finely crafted and presented tool.
I have been building framesets for 9 years now and that bike has been a benchmark of sorts for function and aesthetics in my bikes. My tastes are simple. I’m not a big fan of overly ornate lug shorelines. I don’t really like the look of lugs that are thinned to the point where they nearly blend in with the tube. I like simple paint jobs; 3 colors are plenty and one of them should be an accent color at most. And the bike had better look “right”. It’s not just how the frameset looks, but how the overall bicycle looks when fit to the rider. The saddle should be clamped on the center of the rails. The stem should be the correct length and should not be angled up to the sky. There should not be a mile long stack of spacers under the stem. It should look like a racing bike.
I suppose the frame presented below has been 14 years in the making. These are the same Walter lugs that were used on the Carrera. I gave them some of the “Z” treatment. The is my vision of the perfect racing bicycle frame.