Whatever happened to aluminum race bikes? Just a few years ago, it was the preferred race frame material –most of the time cheap to purchase and nearly always stiff, lightweight, and raw in ride and aesthetic. Framesets such as the Cinelli Starship and Specialized S-Works E5 were, and still are, top-tier examples of the breed and every bit raceable, exotic, and ready for road rolling and raging. While carbon’s now more the flavor, there’s something still beautiful about big-tubed 7000-series aluminum.
Someone that’s still doing that metal right is Craig Gaulzetti, of which Gaulzetti Cicli is his bag.
Craig Gaulzetti is opinionated and as photographs from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show have demonstrated, is also a great dresser. And as someone so pointed out on VSalon, the dude “builds his own shit.” When you put your name on something it better mean something. The world’s too full of people who stick their name on some piece of garbage and forever and ever, amen, the progeny of that originator has to contend with jabs, barbs and general disgust any time the name is mentioned.
Gaulzetti’s doing his spawn and kin some favors with what he’s making. He has MTB and steel road frame offerings, which are incredible, but what’s truly psych-out is the all-aluminum Gaulzetti Corsa. Solid welds, short head tube, bright paint, tight clearances – this thing’s for sprints and pucker-up descents at 55 MPH chasing the dude who’s gonna win the grocery and gas money out from under you. It’s a machine made to have the stem slammed and lots of beautiful nicks to the bare metal from rolling around in the back of an ’88 Toyota pickup on the way to a road race two states over.
At the 2012 iteration of the NAHBS, Gaulzetti’s booth was more spare than most. The booth was mostly cardboard where some of the other exhibitors tried to flash and bang with distractions like a DeLorean or junk found out on the street. But the bare aesthetics of Gaulzetti’s booth only served to showcase the real stars: the bikes. There were only a handful, but each spoke volumes to the skills of the manufacturer and a carefully curated aeshetic. Some things when done right are apparent, and Gaulzetti’s machines were more right than most.
This writer encouraged Gaulzetti to demonstrate his love for his namesake machines and got him to kiss one right on the top tube. Apparently it’s his own personal bike. I’d kiss it too if it were my own. Maybe someday I can give a licking to one without getting punched in the mouth.
Text by Robert Zach Thomas
Images by Naz Hamid