The second call up for our Road to NAHBS 2013 series is John Caletti, who always pleases with clean designs and simple yet elegant paint schemes on his various iterations of road and cyclocross bikes. Check out 2011 and 2012 show coverage, or just dive right in to see what he’s been doing since…
Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why?
Caletti: Steel and Titanium. Which is my favorite? That’s a tough one, as both have a lot of great merits. Aside from the logic of it all, I get a bit more drawn to steel – it’s sort of an emotional response I have.
Bikerumor: What have you been working on since NAHBS last year?
Caletti: While I build road, cyclocross and cross country mountain bikes, I have been doing more “Adventure Road” bikes than in years past. I’ve been doing a lot of big rides that are mostly road, but have some fun dirt sections in the middle. I really love that type of riding – sort of a bit of everything in one ride, and getting out to some beautiful and more remote areas. It has seemed that I tend to be building bikes of the type that I’m riding most often. This year I’ve been really getting deeper into the Adventure Road thing – both in riding and building. Titanium has been going well this year. I introduced a titanium bike at last year’s show and have been getting more orders for Titanium. I had a cyclocross team this year on steel cross bikes. They are a great group, just finishing up the season with one racer headed to Masters’ Worlds. You can check out their bikes and races at teamcaletti.com. I’m introducing a new road model soon – a bit lighter frame using some oversize tubes, including shaped S3 top and down tubes. I made some tooling to add a subtle bi-oval shape to down tubes to enhance the frame’s resistance to front end loads and pedaling loads. My website has been updated, as well as the finish program, with several finish designs I created with a graphic designer friend.
Bikerumor: Any killer custom bike builds?
Caletti: My wife got a new road bike this summer that’s really nice. It uses Shimano electronic with internal wiring and one of the new finish designs, but the best part is how much she loves the ride and feel of the bike. She’s probably got over 5,000 miles on it by now. Also I was really happy with the Team Cross bikes – they look really sharp and each one was custom designed for the rider. (Details at TeamCaletti.com)
Bikerumor: Did you see anything at NAHBS last year that’s inspired you?
Caletti: Overall, I find the show inspiring. It’s great to see the depth and breadth of what passionate and skilled craftspeople are creating. What resonates with me most are the understated, solid, bikes that look like great riding tools with a thoughtful package of parts and setup, wrapped in an exciting, yet understated finish.
Bikerumor: What are you bringing to the show this year that’ll have every other builder standing slack jawed in awe?
Caletti: I’m bringing three bikes. A titanium mountain bike, a disc brake road bike and an Adventure Road. I’m excited about the road bike, as it will be my new personal ride, but I think the Adventure Road bike will be the main attraction. This is the style bike I’ve been doing more and more of and people really are “getting it.” This one uses a full Enve parts kit, painted to match the frame, along with Campagnolo Record EPS, routed internally, disc brakes and a hand built wheel set with the new Chris King R45 disc brake hubs. When you look at it, it will make you want to ride the long way home.
Bikerumor: Scenario – A customer commissions you and one other builder to create the ultimate bicycle using the same parameters, same base material and same budget in an Iron Chef style competition. Who would you want to build against that would push you and elevate your game?
Caletti: I think it would be more fun to build a bike for a builder, and get one from them. I have a lot of respect and admiration for builders and there are a bunch of folks who I really dig their style. I know to some extent we “compete” in the market, but I don’t look at it that way. Each builder has a style, a way of thinking and building, a philosophy that is expressed in what they produce, how they design, how they build. Customers find the builder(s) who’s style resonates with their own and naturally gravitate towards a good fit of maker and rider. I’m always pushing my own personal “game” – looking to do better with each bike, each year. I learn from my builder friends and grow from the exchange. Maybe some day I’ll have a Dario Pegoretti road bike with a level top tube and those cool constant diameter stays attached to his dropouts and finished in one of his imaginative modern art paint jobs, or a curvy Retrotec or a Steve Potts mountain bike or a Carl Strong 20th anniversary bike, or a Signal or Sycip finished in a color scheme I love but wouldn’t have thought of, or a Hunter cargo bike I can use to get dog food or take my surfboard to the beach. Maybe not, but I’m appreciate and excited about bikes with the personality of the builder.
Want more? Check this one-off custom dirt jump bike he built for a friend!