Bikes & Set Ups: Koppel Bikes
Kristen Legan On
9 March 2020
Tom Hoekstra from Mechanieker.cc
Koppel Gravel Steel
Tell us about your bike/build:
My steel gravel bike was custom built at Enigma in Sussex. For our own brand, Koppel, we spend a week there to freshen up our skills and obviously we learned a lot from the lads there in helping out with the build.
The tubing is Columbus Zona, perfect for gravel riding with the right balance of stiffness/comfort and easy to work with. Mad Max showed us how to properly do the mitres and it was awesome to watch Joe Walker’s skills in TIG-welding the tubes together. Finally, we did the braze-ons with Sam. Great people there, amazing hospitality and pleasant to work with.
The bike featured at our Koppel cycles stand during Bikemotion 2019, so it was painted by Dave van Gemert at the very last moment. It features some stunning colours straight from his Ferrari colour book. We built it up the night before the convention, and I don’t think we even had time to properly bleed the brakes before the show. The frame makes for an amazingly comfortable ride on any terrain, but of course the real beauty for us is that this formed the starting point for the new direction of Koppel Cycles.
We use the awesome Hope 20Five wheelsets all the time for gravel bike builds; they’re bombproof and reliable and that’s what you want in a gravel bike. But these Vittoria Elusions have been holding up great, even for a big guy like me, and their swanky appearance conceals a distinctly solid character.
In the crater-scarred forests and sullen fields of Northern France a pair of Vittoria Terreno Zeros holds up well, but they’re a bit sluggish around home. We got our hands on some Vredestein Avventuras recently and they seem promising - the right width, good all round profile for hard pack, tarmac and mud, and a proper tan skinwall. Ere’s Tanacis feel good as well, but they lack some width right now.
I’m excited about the Ere Research Genus. They’re a small Dutch company that understands where and how to implement genuine innovative features. And they’ve got the aesthetics down too, as their products look great - contemporary design with a timeless feel.
Your favourite part:
The whole process of going to Hailsham — mitering the steel tubing myself and building the frame with the lads at Enigma by day, drinking pints in the pub with de Kraai by night, then eating a horrid full English breakfast in a sketchy hotel bar and doing it all again!
What is next?
Recently we’ve been fillet brazing a couple of custom steel frames in our Amersfoort workshop across from Mechanieker, but we’re also looking into building some lugged frames, just to see how we like it and perhaps speed up the process a bit.