Over the last few years Festka bikes has catapulted from building a couple different basic steel bikes at the start, to developing detail-oriented custom titanium frames, plus a wide range of carbon bikes based on their own unique Czech-made carbon tubing that can be customized for each rider. With the ability to weave carbon tubesets to tune their ride quality, strength, stiffness & even frequency of vibration, Festka has brought so much carbon fiber R&D in-house that they feel like there is almost no limit to what they can achieve. At the same time, working with titanium and premium steel, they often feel that they are at the whim of their tubing suppliers, limiting the ability to evolve & develop quickly at the fast pace they’re used to. So Festka has chosen to make their metal bikes even more exclusive, cutting back production to just 12 bikes per line per year, and only offering them for sale to cyclists that have already bought another Festka. So to get one of those beautiful ti or steel bikes, you might just have to ride a bit of carbon first…
At first mention it seems pretty wild to think that you’d have to buy one of their carbon bikes first in order to gain access to one of their stainless steel or titanium frames. I mean why buy a metal bike from a company that isn’t devoting their R&D to the medium? Well, it is a bit more complicated than that…
In fact, metal frame R&D hasn’t stopped, just been freed from the constrains of a set delivery schedule. The way Festka explained it to us, they are still continuing to develop and build super refined high performance metal bikes, but by cutting production back to just a dozen of each per year, they can focus on the details even more than they are already known to do. “Our titanium and steel masters are no longer under time pressure, so they can dedicate more effort and time to perfecting their work.” That means new 3D printed stainless steel dropouts in the works, and well as new cast titanium versions. Festka is also working on manufacturing their own cable stops for the metal bikes in-house. The idea is very much to continue refining frames that are completely unique vs. anything else on the market.
They were always worried about being hurried to try to deliver these metal bikes on schedule. With the most premium stainless & ti material so scarce on the market, Festka would often be left with nothing to do but wait for a delivery truck each day in hopes that what they needed would show up on their doorstep.
Now that the metal bikes are only available to return customers, Festka already has established a dialogue with these cyclists, and can be clear that no corners will be cut to build their next frame, but they’ll be finished when they are ready. The move allows Festka to continue to shift their production manufacturing process focus to the carbon work they do in-house, where they can manage all parts of the delivery process. So if you need a premium bike fast, get a carbon One or the carbon & ti Doppler; if you already own a Festka and want a more exclusive steel or ti ride then get in line for an XCr or Asphalt.
If you want a stainless steel XCr, it’ll set you back a cool 4000€, while the titanium Asphalt dials it up to 6000€ for the framesets, including pretty much any headtube, bottom bracket, or dropout standards you want. It is still a Festka though so you can keep that price tag climbing, if you want to go with something like totally unique geometry or one of Festka’s wildly over-the-top custom tip-to-tail (stem-to-wheel, fork-to-rim?) paint jobs.
Ordering one of theses exclusive metal bikes is not for the faint-of-heart or thin-of-wallet. But with just 12 bikes in each iteration available on the waitlist each year, there are a few 2017 spots left, waiting for return customers.
If you are new to Festka though, you’ll have to start with carbon, where they offer several options for road, gravel & track riding and racing, plus a new time trial bike that is slated to be introduced later in 2017.