Handbuilt Bicycle News

Bicycles

Matt Butterman

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Ellis Cycles: Taking it to the Gravel Streets

One bicycle, many uses. What sounds like a disambiguation of a famous cliché could be taken as a mantra at Wisconsin-based Ellis Cycles. Owner and builder Dave Wages sees the multi-use bicycle as the most exciting industry trend today.

Ellis Cycles: Taking it to the Gravel Streets
Ellis Cycles

 

One bicycle, many uses. What sounds like a disambiguation of a famous cliché could be taken as a mantra at Wisconsin-based Ellis Cycles. Owner and builder Dave Wages sees the multi-use bicycle as the most exciting industry trend today.

Representing this trend is the Ellis Strada Fango, a mixed-terrain bicycle that presents multiple capabilities with the swap of wheels or tires. Wages is a keen gravel road rider himself, and his passion for the road less travelled is embodied in his bicycles.

Its name translated from Italian as “road mud”, the Strada Fango is a Swiss Army knife for the cyclist. Wages describes it as follows: “I designed this as a "monstercross" type bike that will allow wider tires (29x2.0) and still work well with skinny tires too. It features internal wiring for Di2 and a rear derailleur modified by K Edge with a long cage and the ability to run cogs as large as 34 or 36 teeth. I've also worked on a new gentler fork rake to work with disc brakes, I'm looking forward to some real world testing of the road disc brakes.”

A builder of gravel road bikes for the past six years, Wages' own upcoming marriage might depend on the integrity of the Strada Fango, as he explains: “I've been showing my Strada Fango mixed terrain bikes since the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver, but I've continued to refine this bike. I have one that I've built for my fiance that she'll be riding around Lake Michigan for our honeymoon next summer.”

In an era where racers will change bikes multiple times in the course of a single race, or have many bikes in the stable to suit specific race courses or cycling disciplines, Ellis Cycles' traditional, multi-use approach is a realistic and pragmatic swim against the tide of specialization.

Ask yourself: would Eddy Merckx have changed bikes in the middle of a race? No he wouldn't have. Neither should you.