Almost two years ago, we caught wind of legendary frame builder Carl Strong’s new passion project, Pursuit Cycles. The collaboration with other cycling industry and composites engineering experts also gave him license to veer away from his usual titanium and steel work to try new things without diluting the Strong Frames brand. Pursuit Cycles was born, and it’s been a long time in development to get the processes dialed and the first offering tuned to perfection. Welcome to small batch, limited edition bicycles…
The Pursuit Cycles Mark I road race bike will only have 35 units made. Next year, they’ll make something else. Meaning yes, this could become something of a collector’s item. But it’s definitely not limited to showcase use. The geometry is low slung and tight, aimed at stage racing’s fast and furious action. A low bottom bracket and 73º-73.5º head angle with short chainstays keep the handling sharp and on point for sprints and speedy descents.
Up front is a tapered headtube, followed by a 27.2 seatpost with external clamp. This provides the maximum amount of adjustment and compatibility, plus a little compliance under your arse. Below is a T47 bottom bracket, offering the ease and security of a threaded system with oversized spindle compatibility.
Disc and thru axles nod to the future of road bikes and mean this won’t be outdated in a couple of years. Which is good, because they carry a $5,800 price tag for frame, fork and headset. But they’re only selling complete bikes, so take your pick of high end groups from SRAM, Shimano or Campagnolo, then choose Ritchey or ENVE cockpits, and ENVE or HED wheels. Complete bike prices range from just over $9,000 to just over $13,000.
So, what makes it special? Call it high tech, highly engineered construction at the boutique level. Their lead engineer has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and their production manager has a masters in mechanical engineering, both with an emphasis in composites. And their industrial design manager has been doing that for 20+ years. Combine that with Carl Strong’s 25 years of building road bikes for all manner of riders, and you end up with a team that knows both what a bike should do and how to make it do it.
It’s a semi-monocoque design. Where many bikes are either tube to tube or full monocoque, they use a hybrid process that allows them to refine the layups in some of the main joints without interrupting the fibers like you would with a traditional tube-to-tube construction. But not every joint and section is done that way, leaving them with access to the insides at key points on the frame to insert better molds, which results in better compaction and resin control, and smoother walls. This gives them more control by splitting the frame into three parts and using bladder molding. It’s an expensive process that requires more labor and more tooling, so many small builders can’t afford.
Target frame weight will be around 900g for a 54.5 unpainted. For this first round, all of the layups will be size specific, but the layups are fixed. Future editions may get options, with layups tuned for the climber, the sprinter and the rouler. That said, they are continually refining their process and will pull weight out where they can. They stress that this is not about being the lightest frame out there. The emphasis is on ride quality and durability, but they say you’ll have no problem building one down to 15lbs.
Want one? Hurry up. About half are already spoken for. Place your $1,000 deposit and get on the list right at the link below. Lead time is about three months. Interested in how Carl has built his business? Check out our podcast interview with him on The Build Cycle!