Ben’s Cicli Spirito Porteur

At the Melburn Roobaix yesterday (more to come on that), I bumped into my friend Ben Kamenjas from Sydney, who I met a few years back when he worked at Deus Ex Machina. Ben’s a wealth of cycling knowledge, especially the obscure / idiosyncratic world of French components and frames. At a certain point in your life, you tire of looking at others’ work and decide to start building for yourself.

What you see here is Ben’s first bike, under his moniker Cicli Spirito (no link yet). It’s a fendered porteur with a customized VO rack that mounts to the vintage center pull mounts and classic French parts with a classic geometry.

It’s always difficult to shoot a porteur with weight on the front, so I asked Ben to act as the kickstand while I snapped a few, very quick photos.

With this weather, I’m sure Ben was stoked on his Swift Industries Pelican bag, fenders and nice, plump tires during the Roobaix. That’s a great looking bicycle!

  • JLN


  • Miles Away

    Damn that frame is nice.

  • miles whitmore

    It’s a mostly nice frame and build but I am curious, what do you mean by a modern, sensible interpretation?

    • Modern tubing, modern lugs, modern bag, modern rack and in my opinion, a modern finish and logo.

  • Gorgeous, just wonderfully gorgeous and I hope I cross his path one day here in Sydney.


    Beautiful. Love the St. Christopher on the bell too!


    Nicely done

  • professorvelo

    perfect yellow, too.

  • Ian Whatmough

    Stunning photo and colour composition. Bravo!

  • kasual

    Really lovely, though I can’t help but wish it was done in 531

    • why?

      • kasual

        Just nostalgia for the Gitanes, Peugeots and Motobecane porteurs with the 531 decals and the nervex lugs

    • spirito

      Thank you!

      It may please you to know that the seat-stays are Reynolds (double taper, from the early-mid 70’s), main triangle is current True Temper, fork blades & steerer are modern Columbus (needed the strength), chain-stays are classic Columbus (round-oval-round). A bit of everything, old and new, which I guess is much like the parts list.

      Suitably the tubing decal uses a little creative license to wind up the Colombo family for using my name ;)

      Tubing is tubing … they’re all pretty good. The bigger picture is making sure it all works as intended and each tube was chosen to make for an ideal ride and also keep the aesthetic constant and keeping the timeless feel. It had to look classic but also ride modern, that was my goal.


      • kasual

        Very cool, thanks for the info. Really impressed the level of workmanship and attention to detail.

  • ZianStudios

    I like that rack…

  • Zachery Small

    Dude! So inspiring!

  • kooktruck

    sick. i bought an old Gefsco frame from Ben 4 or 5 years ago I’m pretty sure. funny dude, told me australians like texans because texans are alot like australians but with a funny accent…

    • spirito

      Haha !!! Yep, that sounds like me ;)

      Btw, I’ve been in touch with Geoff Scott recently (the maker of Gefsco’s). He’s building again which is great news !!

  • James Moore

    love the modified vo porteur rack. love the classic mafac’s?, and i really love those old ‘ding-ding’ bells. i had a french made one from maybe the late 40’s or early 50’s. was labeled ‘le coq’ with a crowing rooster on the lever handle. too bad it would never work when horizontally stem mounted and the handle broke when it jammed and i tried to unjam it. never could figure out how to open it up and try and fix it. beautiful bike. love the frame colour.

    • Mark Reimer

      I think those brakes might be DiaCompe NGC 450’s, which are in my opinion the most beautiful center-pull brakes ever. Nice touch!

      • spirito

        Hi Mark,

        I do agree DiaCompe NGC’s are beautiful brakes but the above bike uses Mafac Competition’s … mostly because they’re easier to source and the Koolstop replica pad’s are very effective whilst looking original. As the brakes are mounted to brazed-on bosses there’s little flex & the power & modulation of the brakes are greatly improved.

        I built the bike to ride at l’Eroica 2013 (Tuscany) and on all but a few occasions I could brake comfortably from the hoods as they had plenty of feel and power. Pic below of the bike raw & unpainted replete with mud & dirt from the “strade bianche”. The conversion to a Porteur only came about as I’m a landlocked city dweller with no dirt or gravel unless it’s loaded in a car and that’s still quite a long drive away. I knew the beefy fork & crown & front geomtetry would suit that “2nd life” so I set about setting it up as pictured above. The brazed-on bosses meant I had a better option to mount struts fabricated and brazed to modify the Velo Orange rack, greatly improving it’s function by providing much more secure mounting points.

        If you do have a source for reasonably priced DiaCompe NGC’s I’d love to hear from you ;) But I figure they’re likely to command high prices and sadly rarely come to market.


  • Rider9

    Seat’s not level.

    • Those saddles are meant to be slightly tilted back for the upright riding position.