It’s time again for our annual pre-NAHBS interview series where we learn what some of the builders have been up to since last year’s show and, perhaps, a sneak peek at what they’ll be bringing to Denver in February.
First up is the ever popular and always entertaining Gaulzetti Cicli founder Craig Gaulzetti, hailing from Nahant, Massachusetts. Never heard of him? Perhaps it’s best to prime yourself with last year’s interview and our show coverage from 2012. Otherwise, let’s get rolling…
Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why?
Gaulzetti: We build bikes out of bamboo, aluminum and wood. That lets us maintain a presence in every NAHBS “alternative material” subset. Remember when the Melvins did that easy listening album or when Flipper performed Beethoven’s Seventh at Pukkelpop? It’s kinda like that. We’ve taken big steps this year to branch our into other areas of “alternative”.
OK – so I don’t really build bikes out of wood or bamboo- but I also consider the song “Typical American” by the hip-hop group the Goats one of the best alternative songs of the 1990s. Anyway, we do race bikes out of aluminum and race bikes out of steel. Aluminum is my favorite and is an ideal material for 90% of my clients. I honestly think it is less about the material and more about the design and where the wheels end up than the material. My steel bike, the Cazzo allows me to use physically smaller pipes which makes for a bit more clearance than I could achieve with my aluminum tubes….so for a Paris-Roubaix style race bike, I like to use Colombus ÜberOversize PegoRichie steel.
Bikerumor: What have you been working on since NAHBS last year?
Gaulzetti: The Corsa has a new drop-out we’re finally bringing in to production which I am very excited about. We’re making them in-house and they are not only making the build process easier but also making the bikes lighter and stffer. We are planning on introducing a narrow bike at NAHBS if everything goes according to plan. Fingers crossed, Gaulzetti Cicli will have a bicycle in our booth that is faster in the tunnel than any production road bike and rides like a Corsa.
Bikerumor: Any killer custom bike builds?
Gaulzetti: I’m proud of all my bikes. I won’t put my name on a bike I am not proud of and would not be ecstatic to race on. Honestly, I won’t ever build something I don’t like. At the end of the day, this project isn’t about you- it’s about me. That philosophy keeps me grounded and doing what I know I am good at and what I know I can do. At the end of the day, if I am true to my own convictions and experiences my clients end up being happy and I end up being able to sleep at night.
Bikerumor: Did you see anything at NAHBS last year that’s inspired you?
Gaulzetti: I hate precious bikes, I don’t understand why anyone would want to use a bicycle as a form of transportation- but I love bike people. The folks who exhibit at NAHBS are the people who inspire me because they’re making stuff and that is great. I love people who ride bikes for any reason. I support advocacy efforts and I want more people on bikes but it just ain’t me. Listen- I’m building a sporting good for a sport I like- I’m not building transportation, or an art piece or a space shuttle- maybe I would if that kind of stuff spoke to me but it doesn’t. Basically, this is a long way of saying I am inspired by products of real emotional, physical and experiential investment. Don Ferris’ jigs inspire me- Renold Yip’s townie bikes inspire me even though I would never, ever want one or build one- Richard Sachs’ team cross bikes inspire me because of the effort and experience they represent….But dude- if you ever catch me running a machine shop making f’ing jigs or building an integrated rack or caravaning around the country running a cyclo-cross team- shoot me in the face.
Bikerumor: What are you bringing to the show this year that’ll have every other builder standing slack jawed in awe?
Gaulzetti: I hope my bikes don’t leave anyone slack jawed. They’re a competent evolutionary design take on a modern race bike. Nothing should surprise anyone. If I put a Corsa in time machine and showed it to Ernie Colnago in 1979- I’d hope he wouldn’t be slack jawed by anything important about it. It’s a race bike.
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?
Gaulzetti: Honestly, it’d be FES or Andy Walser or BT. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of race bikes today are a commodity first and a sporting good second. Despite this, the big guys are all making better race bikes now than ever before. Still, the pockets of the bicycle industry that try to stay isolated from market demands and devote their efforts towards making the best race equipment they can, are the guys that push me. Funny, but whether it’s a former East German sport technology institute like FES, or a mad genius Swiss time trial guru like Herrn Walser or a government funded Australian track equipment program like BT- those are the guys that make me elevate my game.
Thanks for reading!
More photographic gems from Craig: