David Wages of Ellis Cycles (Waterford, Wisconsin) wants to bring randonneuring bikes into the modern era. Wages, a respected builder who took home ‘Best Road Bike’ honors at last year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Austin, is attracting a lot of attention with his ‘Rando Travel Bike.’
Wages says he’s noticed an uptick in people asking him to build rando bikes so he decided he should make one for himself (and ride it), in order to learn more about them. One of the many things that set this bike apart is its use of Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting component group. Rando is a discipline steeped in tradition, but Wages makes no excuses for his use of the high-tech grouppo. “So many of the randonneuring bike builders seem to be lost in time.” Wages points out that the old constructeur era of French frame builders that set the aesthetic for today’s randonneuring bikes were innovators known for creating new parts and pushing the boundaries of form and function.
“If Rene Herse and those other builders were still making bikes today, they’d be using Di2,” says Wages, “I want to stake my claim to the modern rando bike.”
Other highlights of Wages’ bike include S & S Couplers (so it can break down for travel), a SonDelux SL front hub with integrated contact point that is pressed into the fork dropout, internal wiring throughout, KVA MS2 stainless steel tubing, and much more. Total weight of this bike is just 23.1 pounds.
I won’t be surprised if Wages takes home another prize this year.
UPDATE: This bike has been awarded “Best Steel Bike.” Read more about the awards here.