Edwin, the man behind Van Dessel, is probably one of our favorite people when it comes to bikes.
- He’s a real life Belgian, which gives him an automatic street cred.
- He’s really fast on a bike. Like, top 10 in the National Racing Calendar Criterium series fast.
- He’s a really nice guy who really loves bikes.
So when he rolled up in the Van Dessel Mobile a few months ago to go for a ride and show us his latest wares, we were pretty excited. After going for a fast lunch ride where he rode a 1×11 ‘cross bike with 38mm tires and still almost dropped us on a hill, Edwin took a minute to show us his new 2015 bikes. We also got a peek inside the Van Dessel Mobile, and we’re already scheming about how we can get one of our own.
You might have already seen some of these featured in Bicycling Magazine, Bike Radar, and Road Magazine, but let us walk you through his new line up. Edwin definitely has his finger on the pulse of what’s happening with bikes right now, and designed each bike to have plenty of options, and to be pretty much future proof. With so many cool build options available, we decided to carry them as framesets, so you can turn any one of these into your own dream bike.
While the Van Dessel Gin and Trombones CX bike may be grabbing all the headlines (more on that soon), we actually think Van Dessel’s new Motivus Maximus road bike is the more interesting bike from a design and compatibility standpoint. If you keep up with cycling news, you probably already know that road bikes are in transition, between mechanical and electronic shifting, and rim and disc brakes. While everything is in flux wouldn’t it make sense to have a bike that is pretty much future proof? Edwin certainly thought so, which is why he designed the Motivus Maximus to be exactly that. The Motivus Maximus is available in two options, disc brake or caliper brake. But here’s the secret: the only difference is the fork. The frame has both a caliper brake mount on the brake bridge, and a carefully concealed and integrated flat mount disc mount on the rear triangle. Both frames also come with modular rear drop outs, so you can change between 130mm QR, 135mm disc brake QR, and 12x142mm thru axle if you want. That means that even if you buy the caliper version, if you upgrade to discs at some point in the near future, all you need to do is find yourself a disc-brake ready fork, and you’re set to go. And of course, the Motivus Maximus is both Di2 and mechanical shifting compatible, and can clear up to a 28mm tire no problem.
AKA the Crit Killer. Our office has seen a resurgence in interest in aluminum road bikes this past year, with several employees supplementing their carbon stables by building up alloy bikes for winter training and criterium racing. So when the made in the U.S.A. Van Dessel Hellafaster came along, there were plenty of raised eyebrows. The Hellafaster is made by Zen Fabrication in Portland, OR and has an unbelievable level of finishing detail. The welds are super smooth, the fit of the PF30 is incredibly precise, and the whole frame just looks nice and clean. Plus, with its 27.2mm seatpost and super-thin seatstays, the Hellafaster is a lot more comfortable and forgiving than some of the older, stiffness-at-all-costs alloy frames we’ve been using. And oh yeah, it’s both Di2 and mechanical compatible, and can clear up to a 28mm tire with clip on fenders. We’ll probably be seeing a few of these around the office pretty soon.
What exactly is this? Well….that’s kind of up to you. The Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot can be built with 700c wheels or 29er’s. It can be built with drop bars and flat bars. You can mount racks and fenders on it. Take it touring, out on the trail, race monster cross with it. Whatever you want. The only thing you can’t do is use rim brakes, because this thing is disc brake only. When most of us first saw this, we all pretty much said “interesting…but what would you use it for?” Then the proverbial wheels started turning, and we realized the answer was: everything. A few weeks ago we saw our first employee Whiskey Tango Foxtrot build, a drop bar bike with Shimano Ultegra 6800 drivetrain, Shimano R685 hydraulic disc STI levers, and 700×38 tires. It was pretty awesome, and we’re sure it won’t be the last one to pass through the shop.
Rounding out the new models from Van Dessel is the Jersey Devil. It’s a tough as nails hardtail 29er mountain bike that looks as mysterious as the creature of the Pine Barrens it was named after. We haven’t gotten to see one built yet, but word around the campfire is that it’s kind of the Goldilocks of XC bikes. It’s carbon, so it’s super lightweight and stiff, but since it also has to cope with the rocky, root-snaked, craggy trails we have here on the East Coast, the Jersey Devil is also super tough, and can take a licking and keep on ticking. Plus, with its stealthy matte black and green paint job, silver metallic logos, and aggressive geometry, it looks about as fast as it rides.