More than just a long weekend of some of the finest people, food, and grav grav Europe has to offer, the ENVE and The Service Course GiRodeo is a small bike show hosted by Girona’s best bike shop. Originally made famous by its Gustave Eiffel bridge and later the TV series Game Of Thrones, Girona is arguably being made more famous as a cycling destination today.
If Gustave Eiffel’s Pont de les Peixateries Velles bridge was an architectural warmup, demonstrating the strength of steel before going full Eiffel Tower in Paris, then this year’s Ruben of Madrid-based Rizzo went full Eiffel Tower, with four super interesting bikes of their own. Petor continues his coverage of the 2023 GiRodeo by showcasing the huge leap forward in terms of skills, craftsmanship, and technique from the bikes he saw last year…
Rizzo Super Trooper
The first Rizzo I spotted was quiet and understated, subtle but impeccably put together as an ode to the journey of both mental and physical recovery for its owner. Both the metalwork and finishing were loaded through and through with nuanced details, like the subtle head tube reinforcing rings that matched up seamlessly with the external Chris King headset, and Rubens’s signature semi-decorative stainless bottle cage bosses. The tasteful paint was loaded with imagery from its owner’s personal well of culture with diverse references from the Mediterranean pine forest on the insides of the fork blades and logo infills, to a gentle sliver of Iron Maiden and This Is Spın̈al Tap. All in all, the effect was an extremely tidy bike with some tight fabrication and nice design flourishes.
Rizzo Titanium Grav Grav
Ruben’s personal ride was this clean and well-thought-out gravel bike, representing one of his first attempts at both titanium and the use of printed parts. As a starting point, it’s a pretty complicated one, with in-house profiled tubes, mating with printed parts, plenty of bends, and a mishmash of printed and machined parts. Ruben used printed parts only where he saw them hanging the most benefit, at the top of the head tube, the dropouts, and the chainstay yoke. This allowed him to build a light and comfortable bike, with round chainstays and seamless integration of an internal Chris King top bearing. Although not the initial reason to do it, reducing the size of printed parts also reduces the cost of printing to a minimum, thereby facilitating a complete ENVE build kit.
Rizzo Titanium Road
Built similarly to the gravel bike, the Rizzo titanium road frame also featured a printed TT/ST lug incorporating a seatpost binder.
Rizzo Suspension Trail Bike
I guess for the sake of having one of each, this bonkers Rizzo mountain bike was also on display with one of the nicest and most technical paint designs I’ve seen in a very long time. The “raw” lacquer at the front fades to black—which I know is incredibly tricky—so just to make sure it was as complex as possible, it also incorporates variegated copper leaf logos and details all with a perfectly smooth finish. Although that seatpost angle looks wacky, when pedaling with the dropper all the way up the “virtual angle” works out at 78 degrees which is pretty normal for this kind of bike. A lot is going on here as there is with all frames incorporating rear suspension, especially where the rear swing arm pivots around the BB shell. I enjoyed the mix of fabricated steel and machined aluminum parts all topped off with a hard anodized INGRID drive train. I can’t get enough of the new crankset and shifter!
Repete R3 Reason
This must be one of the most elegant road bikes I’ve ever seen. It’s incredibly aesthetically refined; somehow both minimal and over the top, flashy and understated all at once. If you’re into metal bikes this bike has all the metals and all the manufacturing techniques. No one in their right mind would attempt to produce bikes at any scale which are so dependent on so many different processes. That is a tell of a fine arts education if there ever was one. The tube set is Columbus Omnicrom (spirit HSS), the head tube is machined from stainless steel, the immediately timeless and classic seat cluster is made from printed stainless steel, and the hollow dropouts are investment cast in steel locally before being fitted with replaceable aluminum inserts. The build has all the drip and looks super smart with only the fork and stem painted to match the frame. I’m a big fan of steel road bikes and the stainless/Omnicrom mix I can imagine would ride like a dream.
Repete G2 Verne
There were several G2s out and about over the weekend, my favorites being Martin’s who I rode with, covered in Czech trail head signs, and Robin’s white one with a seat tube Verne decal reminiscent of the Prada America’s cup yachts of the early 2000s. By current standards, the geometry is fairly conservative, and with tire clearance of just 40 mm on a 700c (only 5 mm more than the R3), I’d consider this more of an all-road bike. While it might not sail over the chonk like something with fatter tires and a more off-road-centric geometry, for most riding I can imagine it being a lovely do-everything bike to live with. The G2 also features Repete’s signature hollow investment cast dropouts and a Columbus omicron tube set.
Hacienda Themed Open
This hacienda-themed open caught my eye for its super fun paint relating to the original Manchester superclub of the 80s run by factory records. The hacienda was the birthplace of the UK acid house and rave scene, and I’m sure that the bike’s owner (who is also from Manchester) has dabbled in a few times. I’ve seen a lot of openings over the last decade but I think this build with mismatched cranks and a painted dynamo has been one of the most fun. THE HACIENDA MUST BE BUILT!
Hailing from Colombia where most of the roads are unpaved scarabs, utilitarian gravel bikes come in several custom variants based on three models and always end up with fun paint. This one was no exception. The oil-slick SRAM chain and rainbow anodized Silca titanium bottle cages set off the almost celeste paint beautifully. Again more of an all-road geometry rather than an off-road geometry, and with 40c tires I can imagine this thing being fast and fun on bad roads.
Argonaut GR3 Supernaught
Last year I rode the GR3 which was the perfect bike for the GiRodeo’s chonky gravel, and I wish I’d been riding it again this year. It’s probably the best riding bike I’ve ever ridden and I’m dying to get back on one. This year Argonaut released the Supernaught version. Rather than being a different model, it’s an alternative layup pattern which CEO Alex described as the “chefs table layup.” In other words, the layup that the team at Argonaut would want to ride. While its outwardly tricky to distinguish between the classic GR3 and the Supernaught, apart from the subtle gold decals, the Supernaught’s layup is designed to be more comfortable while still retaining amazing power transfer and handling characteristics, all of which the original GR3 already did very well. The GR3 is a sheep in wolf’s clothing: it looks like an out-and-out race machine, and it is, but it’s also subtle and comfortable and the bike I’d want to ride every day. I should probably say that the Supernaught version is terrible and if Argonaut wants to prove me wrong then they need to send me one right away, to test for an indefinite period. Last year I didn’t like the black very much but with the gold decals and a year of getting to know it, now I think I prefer the raw black to the Cerakote green. Also while it is a very form-follows-function, it is actually a pretty good-looking bike, with the exception of the BB cluster which gives nice short stays but is (forgivably) pretty ugly.
Enrico Belle is an Italian living in Barcelona, building every kind of bike in a real tube-sniffer fashion. The main thing going on with every Belle is well-thought-out tube selection, explicit knowledge of metallurgy, and highly skilled but un-flowery fabrication. This build celebrates the numbers that make up the frame geometry with the paint. Each tube is labeled according to its C-C length, angle, etc.
Shop mechanic Diedee’s (aka the Prince of Girona) personal bike is always pretty wild… this melee was painted by a local artist and built with a bunch of parts from his old bike (an OPEN U.P.) as well as a few new bits. It’s a solid build for a serious racer, perfect for the Traka, where he finished third.
Stelbel x Rocket Espresso Stellio Belleti 03 Road Bike
This must have been one of the final designs that Stelio Belletti worked on before he passed away in early October 2023 at age 92. It’s understated in a few ways—it has QR wheels, rim brakes, and external routing—all of which feel like a breath of fresh air on a road bike, but at the same time, it has a full g Super Record group and a Bora WTO 45 wheelset. It’s modern in all the right ways while also being classic in all the right ways, and is built with a mix of TIG which Stelio Belletti was best known for, and filet brazed joints which is fairly unusual. I also liked the 36 mm x 19 mm straight chainstays and how they were joined to super minimal machined dropouts specifically designed for them, which the Campagnolo QR also nestled into pleasingly. The front mech cable was routed through a little wedge shaped chainstay bridge, seamlessly brazed to the stays and bb, which was the only bit of internal routing. It was clean and classic in matte black with silver, a real gem, to see a bike designed very near the end of such a long and prolific career.
Curve Belgie Air
The Belgie Air is Australian brand Curve’s limited edition, lightweight luxury version of their road endurance bike the Belgie. It’s similar but is made in collaboration with Bastion Cycles, who have made a carbon ISP and printed titanium topper for it. The build itself had all the fanciness, including a Posedla saddle (as many of the bikes of the GiRodeo did), SRM power cranks with carbon chainrings, SRAM RED groupset, and a Zipp aero cockpit. It’s hard to believe that this is a production bike because in a sense it’s not. The Belgie Air requires a professional bike fit as part of the ordering process and is estimated to arrive six months after ordering, as each one is built to order for a specific customer. It’s a super nice bike; a gravel version, the KEV Air is also available. I really like Curve as a brand, and it’s incredible to see what they’ve accomplished in a relatively short time. The design and fabrication of this bike, as well as all the little machined and printed details, are really top-notch. They’re incredibly tasteful bikes bar the “live laugh love” style mantra on the top tube.
Ex-pro peloton racer Sammy’s Enve Mog looks cute at a glance but there’s a story in those pretty pastel gummy bears painted all over it. Sammy’s Mog is painted with the sweets that literally keep him alive as a diabetic cyclist, with a mismatched but considered SRAM groupset, Posedla Joyseat, and ENVE everything else. It’s a straight-up gravel race bike made for long, hard, fast rides. I asked Sammy where his preferred sweet merchant was, and it turns out he normally buys sweets from petrol stations. There are no petrol stations in the old town of Girona so I rode the bike across the street to Rocambolesc Confiteria, a gourmet sweet shop next to an ice cream parlor owned by the same family which I frequented a number of times each day.
TCS x Belle Loaner Shop Bike
A big part of what makes The Service Course so special is that if you’re in town and you rent a bike, you don’t get a Specialized or a Trek like you would literally anywhere else. No no; at TSC the normal rental bike you’ll end up with is a Belle, hand-made by steel wizard Kiko in Barcelona, just 60 miles away. It’ll have a green and black marbled paint, with some orange flairs, INGRID cranks, and Chris King/ EMVE wheels, and essentially be built up as fancy, if not more fancy, than you’d build your own bike. It’ll also be better maintained, and cleaner and be adjusted to millimeter precision by professional cyclists/mechanics to your bike fit before you get there. Imagine going on holiday where you just have to tick a box on the form if you want a rental car, and when you get there the car is a Lamborghini, but it’s your favorite color and the seats have been adjusted to fit you before you get in. Unlike a Lamborghini, TSC has chosen parts for performance but also longevity and serviceability so that they can be maintained to the highest standard, no matter how much punishment they take season after season. If you’ve not ridden a custom bike before and aren’t ready to take the plunge without trying one first, a rental Belle at The Service Course has to be about the best starting point out there. I took this guy out for an illicit cruise around town. It was great.
TSC and ENVE’s GiRodeo is a very sensible event in a very silly town full of festivals and fun. There’s an expat community ready to make you feel at home that is ingrained into Girona’s cycling culture. The Service Course isn’t just another tour operator that’s popped up in a place, it’s a culturally engaged and socially conscious component that complements the town and exists seamlessly within it. Beyond that, it supports a community of frame builders and smaller manufacturers as well as bigger brands and gives customers the opportunity to properly ride some incredible bikes. Not as a novelty, being careful around the block with the wrong shoes, but properly set up, on long hard fast rides through some of the nicest and most varied terrains in Europe. I hope I can make it back for next year’s edition to see what the best bike shop I’ve ever seen has to offer on its third go at ENVE’s GiRodeo.