Weigle Modern Path Racer
was trying to decide what kind of special fixed gear bicycle I would
build to fuel my passion for that smooth, quiet and peaceful rush
I get when momentum takes its course. I became interested in staying
with a classic design but built with modern components or, as one
might call it, "new old-timey" components.
I started seeing pictures of some of Peter Weigle's impossibly beautiful
work and spoke with him about my objectives. He happened to have,
in my size, one of his 1980 frames (received from the original customer
who hardly used it) for which Peter had just built a new fork, intended
for rack and fender mounting, with a rake for randonneuring. For
me, it was clear I was having one of those in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time
moments so I committed to that frame.
this project, Peter fabricated and nickel plated a new front rack,
removed all of the drive train braze-ons (kept the rear derailleur
hanger to be able to gear up the bike with clips, if desired), nickel
plated the Campagnolo dropouts, brazed a pump peg onto the down
tube, elegantly mounted Honjo fenders (shaved and shaped the tips
of the fender stays) and mounted one of his signature rear lights
on the back of the seat tube.
this time, Bicycle Quarterly's then current issue had an article
of a 1950 Rene Herse fixed-gear winter training bike that provided
a bit of inspiration for the direction we were already heading.
lugs are simple but very fine so I wanted a paint scheme that was
understated. The solid paint is a Seascape blue with a color coordinated
stripe along the fenders. Peter used vintage decals on the down
tube that are smaller than current font size and on the seat tube
that is marked from "East Haddam".
a bunch of reasons I wanted to stick with current production stuff
but keep that "new old-timey" look. So the bike is sporting
mostly all new and easily available components from Brooks, Campagnolo,
Cinelli, DT Swiss, Mavic, Nitto, Panaracer, Phil Wood, Salsa, Shimano,
Silca, Velox and Wipperman. The only NOS stuff are (i) a Campagnolo
stainless steel pump head and (ii) a Campagnolo seat post binder
bolt. On component selection, I am certain this bike would look
better with MKS Royal Nuevo pedals and Cinelli Binda toe straps
however I like a more positive connection to my wheels with the
fixed gear drive train. Oh, and the rear brake, that's for my wife.
wheels (which are great) were built up, and the bike was assembled,
by Clarke White in Essex, Connecticut. Clarke did exactly what he
said he would, when he said he would and for the price he said he
would - which, in my experience, is difficult to find at a LBS.
The entire build is tight and truly buttoned up - Clarke nailed
a perfectly straight chain line (facilitated by the adjustable Phil
bottom bracket). He's a veteran with range - lots of knowledge and
experience from vintage stuff to carbon bits. Before I attached
my pedals and mounted the bag, Clarke weighed the bike in at 20
Weigle path racer for me is as close to an Aston Martin as a bicycle
can get in both aesthetics and ride quality. I feel my new ride
to be incredibly smooth AND agile, comfortable AND fast, elegant
AND performance oriented. Riding this bicycle makes me smile for
every little moment. It tracks like a meteorite - I can use both
hands at once to pull up my leg warmers while pedaling (remember,
fixed gear) without any course deviation. It has an extremely stable
AND responsive front end whether riding with just a small saddle
bag or the fully loaded Gilles Berthoud bag - the carrying capacity
of the "handlebar" bag enables me to pack for long, unpredictable
rides providing a sense of unstoppable freedom on the road. With
a 27-year old Weigle frame feeling this good and moving this well
I am trying to fathom how much more special a modern day, brand
new and custom fit Weigle would be.
Weigle is a master of the randonneur and, in my opinion, is currently
carving the most tastefully exquisite lugs around. Peter is absolutely
brimming with subtlety, humility and integrity. He is a pleasure
to deal with and I truly appreciate his patience with me and my
project - there is so much I learned from him in this process. With
people like Peter Weigle in the game, it is no wonder that we are
experiencing a new golden age of hand built bicycles.