Whether it's at Press Camp or an expo like the 2016 Sea Otter Classic, there are always bikes that turn the head and catch the eye. One such bike that we saw not too long ago was this custom Zanconato cyclocross bike.
Mike Zanconato actually built this bike for himself in order to get familiar with the myriad disc braking systems out there. "I really wanted a bike that I can use to become familiar with as many different disc brake systems as possible. I think there is a lot of value in having this first-hand experience so that I can give my customers the best advice possible when they are choosing parts for their new bike," Zanconato told us when we asked about the rig.
While it is a cyclocross bike, Zanconato intends to use it as his "primary bike and just switch wheels/tires (road, dirt, cyclocross) so that I can get as many miles on each brake system as I can in a variety of conditions. I started with Shimano R785 because it is the system I have the most time on and am already familiar with. My plan is to switch over to Spyres with SRAM levers, then HY/RDs, then Hylex with Di2 integration, then SRAM HydroR. Those are what most of my customers ask about. And in the future, I look forward to trying the Campagnolo system and SRAM eTap HydroHC."
"I'm also excited about just having one bike to look after. With the kids ruling our house, I'm in N-1 mode."
The frame is Zanconato's aluminum cyclocross design with wet paint, "which sells for $2,350 with a TRP fork. An exact price on this bike is difficult because of the prototype wheels, but my usual Dura Ace 9070/R785 build is around $7,200. My more typical build though is an Ultegra 6800/RS685 build for around $4,900 complete with wet paint or $4,500 with a powder coat finish."
When we asked Zanconato about the bike's material he told us that this bike "was built with Dedacciai 7005 aluminum tubing and a TRP cyclocross fork. This particular combination of tubes was chosen for its smooth ride and for not being overly rigid. I really like how it rides on both the road and the trail. It feels a lot like my steel bikes," before adding that
"I really only notice the aluminum when I get out of the saddle. The aluminum frame feels a little more rigid when I stand. But the nice thing about Dedacciai is they have a very large selection of aluminum tubes and frames can be designed with many different characteristics. It's great working with them."
As many would agree, a custom frame, even in aluminum, from one who many consider a premiere builder, demands a top-flight spec and the bike on display did not disappoint in that regard. A full Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 Di2 drivetrain mated to the company's own RS785 levers and disc brake calipers leaves nothing to be desired. The only non-Shimano drivetrain "concession" was a set of WicksWerks rings mated to the crankset.
While 3t provided the finishing kit, the wheels and tires were the then hot-off-the-press Vittoria numbers, the wheels the carbon Qurano discs and the tires the company's new Cross XS tire.
Zanconato builds in both aluminum and steel, and frame prices vary as Zanconato alluded to, and range between $1,950 USD to $3,600 USD, depending on frame material, fork choice, construction method and paint. Complete builds are available as well.
When we asked what material most of his current work is in and what the future may hold, we got some interesting news:
"I still get a handful of lug bike orders a year, but welded bikes have taken over my business. My Road and Road32 models still make up the majority of my business, but I do a solid number of pure Cyclocross bikes each year and my Mountain orders have been increasing year over year for a few years now. I'm at about 60% aluminum/40% steel," said Zanconato before revealing that:
"I am really interested to see how introducing titanium in 2017 will change the mix of orders."
That aside, Zanconato added that he is "really enjoying the current mix, and it is a lot of fun doing a bunch of different model/material combinations."
Dream bikes are the brainchild of their future owners and the builder In this case, it looks like Zanconato made someone's dream come true. His own.
While we had him, we also asked Zanconato about his involvement in the NESSCX series, how it came about and what the plans for this year are.
Zanconato told us that the series "grew from an idea that Chip Baker and I started throwing around about 6 or 7 years ago. We both loved the idea of racing single speed at some of the grassroots races. We begged promoters to add a SS category for the first couple of years. Our pitch was that we wanted to see if we could help them bring in a little extra revenue from racers who either double up or might have otherwise skipped the race entirely."
"A few years in everything flipped. We had promoters approaching us to see if their race could be included in the series. That was a great feeling. Our crew has grown, and their love of the sport is so infectious. The primary goal was to promote participation, and they have used their enthusiasm to drive numbers up," added Zanconato.
But can racers run geared bikes with zip-tied levers? Zanconato matter-of-factly told us that his crew "have taken some heat over the years because we continue to allow riders to use their geared bikes with zip-tied levers. We'll take that heat. The vast majority of the riders love it. I get tons of email from happy racers. It's great stuff, and we will continue to work hard keep the energy level high and offer a great experience. At the same time, we are so grateful to the promoters for allowing us to ride their coattails. They do all of the heavy lifting to put on their race. We love them for that. And, of course, we have some amazing series sponsors for a little icing on the cake. Our series finals raffle is a ton of fun and we couldn't do it without them."
Mike Zanconato's Personal Aluminum Disc Cyclocross Racer Specification Highlights
Frame: Custom aluminum thru axle rear
Fork: TRP full carbon tapered thru axle
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC 9000 with WickWerks chainrings
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Brake/shift levers: Shimano R785
Brakes: Shimano R785 calipers
Stem: 3T ARX Pro
Handlebar: 3T Ergosum Pro
Seatpost: 3T Ionic 25 Pro
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite
Pedals: Shimano XTR M9000
Wheels: Vittoria Qurano 46C disc
Tires: Vittoria Cross XS
More info: http://cycling.zanconato.com