Having worked together developing & building bikes for a couple of years, I’ve spotted more bikes from Dlouhy Cycles this fall, a colorful mix of their customers’ road & trail bikes crossing my path at several friendly rides & races. But it was this hand-painted, golden fern-encrusted all-road Mule that caught my attention over the holidays. And it warranted a closer look…
Dlouhy Cycles The Mule, custom handmade steel all-road bike
Dlouhy Cycles is a small two-man custom steel bike workshop based in Leipzig, Germany – Jan Dlouhy lends his name for the downtube & Mario Vogel whose name means bird in German provides the playful headtube logo. Bringing together years of prior experience designing frames for a large German bike manufacturer & work as a mechanic, 2019 was the first full year of commercial framebuilding for Dlouhy. That has opened their workshop up to a broader audience, and rather quickly grown a waiting list, too. Dlouhy looks set to grow quite a lot in 2020, crafting handmade custom steel bikes for road, gravel, cyclocross, touring, XC & trail.
The Mule – Tech details
I pretty much always love to see new handmade steel bikes. And if there was ever a discipline destined for that steel-is-real ride quality, this disc brake all-road bike is the perfect match. Dlouhy’s The Mule is fillet brazed from a lightweight mix of double-butted Columbus steel tubing – Life tubes for the majority of the frame, plus slightly beefier Zona chainstays.
What appear to be hand-painted gold ferns that envelop the front half of The Mule are actually painstakingly masked details created by Dlouhy’s favorite painter Mario Pitsch.
In fact, so much attention was put to the details, that after painting this bike once, the team decided it wasn’t quite gold enough. So they went back to the start, and refinished the frameset with more sparkle.
Dlouhy’s bikes are all made-to-order, fully custom for each buyer, so the geometry & details can often be refined to suit each cyclist. This bike features a tapered 1.5″ headtube for an InSet Chris King headset, fully internal cable routing, a 27.2mm seatpost with built-in clamp, a threaded T47 bottom bracket, flat mount disc brakes, and 12mm thru-axles. The compete bike includes a painted-to-match full carbon Bombtrack EXT gravel fork with anything cage mounts, plus tabs for full-coverage fenders front & rear.
The complete bike gets 700c x 35mm Rene Herse (formerly Compass) Bon Jon Pass tubeless black wall all-road tires on custom Tune/NoTubes wheels. The road-oriented frame has clearance for a bit wider tire at the chainstays up to 40mm, and the fork can clear up to a 45mm tire.
The customer’s complete build includes a Dura-Ace mechanical drivetrain with Rotor Agilis alloy cranks, then a cockpit mixing a Thomson alloy stem & Salsa handlebar with an offset Deda carbon seatpost topped by a leather Cycles Berthoud saddle.
Dlouhy Cycles – Pricing & availability
Dlouhy states that a typical custom steel all-road frame starts at around 1800€, while this The Mule frameset including the painted-to0match Bombtrack fork retails for 2300€. As for how long it will take to get yours… current delivery date is about six months after you put down a deposit.