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BlackSmith Cycle and DeAnima Dazzle at North American Handmade Bicycle Show

article by Juan Montalvo

BlackSmith Cycle is not the kind of importer/retailer that invites just any old bike brand into its emporium. Rather, they are a highly discerning, highly specialized boutique that focuses primarily on bespoke bicycles. 

Indeed, their quest seems to be all about sourcing the finest artisan bicycles from across the world. And, upon visiting their display during last month’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS), their success in doing so was readily apparent. 

However, amongst the handful of exclusive brands BlackSmith had on exhibit, my main focus of discussion with them was about DeAnima, which is spearheaded by the well-known framebuilder Gianni Pegoretti (brother of the late Dario Pegoretti).

Pegoretti launched DeAnima after working as somewhat of a pioneer, making custom carbon and steel frames for nearly 20 years for renown brands such as Fondriest, Olmo and Carerra.

After years of toiling in the terzistas of others however, Pegoretti decided to head-out on his own a few years ago, making the first DeAnima frames in a modest workshop using the same artisan approached that he had honed over the last two decades.

From there, DeAnima grew to become a full-on facility, with Pegoretti being joined by trusted artisan framebuilders Antonio Attanasio and Matt Cazzaniga.

The trio quickly went on to create a real niche for the DeAnima brand, offering frames in both traditional steel and cutting-edge carbon fiber across all riding disciplines. Moreover, DeAnima further distinguished itself by developing a unique carbon fabrication method, along with a highly customizable paint process that involves a design language of its own – relying on unique shapes and use of color to make each frame a veritable work of modern art.

“It was very frustrating seeing the world you live in disappear or morph into something you no longer recognize – suddenly you wake up and everything has changed. Materials have changed, all the production has been moved to the far away Orient. Suddenly quality, pride, knowledge and ideas all went east, far east. We spent much time looking at what we were doing and asking why we were doing it, where was this all going. What was the point of trying to produce for other people when all they wanted was what everyone else had. What was the point of making molds when no one actually seemed that interested or even believed it was possible to produce carbon fibre frames in Italy. We decided to open a small workshop with the idea that people want to know who makes it, what the people making it believe in and what they are getting,” explains Pegoretti.

“We believe that in a moment when all of the big companies are essentially offering the same thing, that we want to offer something different. Our choice has come about partly by the desire to recuperate some of the traditional working methods and to keep alive the Italian tradition of frame building, but at the same time to transform it and bring it into modern times. We produce – for the moment – just 2 models.”

“Our first, road and track models were made using traditional lugged steel. We use Dedacciai tubing with the other elements being selected to the required design. Classic geometry with a level top tube.”

“The second model, is in carbon, which made to measure and the joints are wrapped. This technique allows us to personalize the geometry of the frame to the riders physical dimensions. All the carbon elements used to make the frame are made using our designs and are all manufactured in Italy. For this frame we have chosen to use geometry with a slightly slopping top tube”.

DeAnima’s carbon framesets comprise propriety tubesets that are designed in-house and produced in Italy. Pegoretti describes the unique fabrication process as a “modular construction”, meaning the bottom-bracket/chain-stay and head-tube/down-tube are a one-piece molded design, while the remaining parts of the frame are joined using a tube-to-tube construction.

Pegoretti says, this results in a frame that posses the strength and reliability of a monocoque, along with the “tune-ability” of a tube-to-tube construction. 

DeAnima currently offers two carbon models, the Unblended and the Soul

The Unblended is DeAnima’s response to the modern “roadie”, extolling all of the features of their “modular construction” in a classic road bike lay-out.  

“The Unblended began life as a prototype, not sold to the the market and served to test bed. The whole frame is made in Italy, from the original designs for the moulds to produce the frame sections, to the actual assembly work. We have our own particular stratification of the carbon fiber layers to produce the sections,” elaborates Pegoretti. 

The Unblended features all of the industry’s latest trappings such as a tapered, full carbon fork, Press-fit PF86 BB, either a 31.6mm or 27.2mm seatpost, external or Internal cable routing for both mechanical and electronic groupsets and tire clearance up to 25mm. Furthermore, the Unblended is available in both standard and custom geometry, and as one would guess, an almost limitless choice of color options.

“To make an Unblended frame the production starts with the frame sections being formed in the moulds and being cured. Once the order arrives we start cutting and mitering the frame sections to the required size, these are placed into a jig and glued and then wrapped with carbon fiber.  This way of building allows us to personalise the geometry based on the client. The frame takes about 2 days to make from start to finish and requires multiple visits to the oven for curing and at various stages. Once the frame is ready for painting it is sanded by hand to remove the surface gloss.”

In the case of the Soul, it represents Pegoretti’s answer to the burgeoning gravel or road plus segment, featuring a Press-fit PF86 BB, a 1’1/8 – 1′ ½ tapered fork, flat mount hydraulic disc brakes with front and rear thru axles, either external or internal cable routing for mechanical and  internal electronic groupsets, a 27.2mm seatpost and tire clearance up to 700x40mm.

Similarly, the Soul is also available in both standard and custom geometry, along with an endless array of color options as well.

“The Soul is our response to the gravel market. So we built a gravel specific rear end with good clearance, flat mount disc integration and thru axles. What we have is a very fast and light gravel frame that can go most places. The whole frame is made in Italy, from the original designs for the moulds to produce the tubes, to the actual assembly work. We have our own particular stratification of the carbon fibre layers to produce the sections, we use a sandwich of Toray T800 3k plain e T800 UD. The joint wrapping required experimentation and tests to arrive at the design we use now,” says Pegoretti.

For the purists, DeAnima offers its O.Q.O.C steel frameset, which uses custom, drawn tubesets designed by Pegoretti in partnership with the venerable Italian brand – Dedacciai. 

Each O.Q.O.C  features custom designed, CNC machined stainless steel dropouts and bottom bracket shells that are gracefully hidden beneath one of DeAnima’s exquisite paint options.

External bosses and braze-ons, as well as internal cable routing, are all options on the O.Q.O.C as well.

“The O.Q.O.C. is our statement against the modern day fad of hype. This is a simple, fast and lightweight steel frame. Its a no bullshit standards or fashion… its about going forward fast, its about the ride, its about the simplicity of what a race bike should be and always was. When we created this frame we also wanted to raise a few questions about steel frames of today – this frame weighs 1350g without paint (size 56cm) – this is what it used to be 20 years ago – fads come and go but good lightweight steel frames never go out of fashion, but there seem to be few around. To make this frame we went back to out friends and Dedacciai and explained what we wanted to build and this is the result. The front triangle uses round butted tubes with a 28.6mm seat tube, 31.7mm top tube, 35mm down tube and a 35mm head tube. The rear custom triangle uses chain stays that are conical at the drop out and round at the bottom bracket while the seat stays are round. The minimalist dropouts are cnc machined from blocks of stainless steel to our exclusive design. The cable routing is mechanical external or internal electronic,” says Pegoretti. 

DeAnima also offers another steel bike called the Defer, which is offered in three different models – the Defer Strada, Defer Strada Disc and the Defer Gravel.

Each model distinguishes itself based on the riding discipline. For instance, the standard Defer is all about road riding, albeit with more modern amenities such as a full carbon fork and clearance for tires up to 28mm.

As its name implies, the Defer Strada Disc adds hydraulic disc brakes, while the Defer Gravel encompasses even greater tire clearance for off-road duties.

According to Pegoretti, “after the classic frame with lugs comes the TIG welded Defer. We developed with Dedaccaiai a special series of tubes starting from the Zero series. The front triangle uses round butted tubes with a 31.7mm seat tube, 35mm top tube, 44mm down tube and a 46mm head tube. The rear custom triangle uses chain stays that are rectangular at the drop out and round at the bottom bracket while the seat stays are oval. The dropouts are cnc machined from blocks of stainless steel to our design. The cable routing is inter changeable with mechanical external and electronic internal.”

“The production of a TIG welded frame like the DeFer Strada or Gravel starts with the selection of the tubes. The tubes are cut and then mitered to ensure that there is perfect interface between the tubes at the point that they will be welded. The tubes are placed into a jig and tack welded, enough to keep the frame assembled, the frame is then fully welded outside of the jig, allowing the frame to alter as its welded and heated. Once welding is finished the frame is then realigned on an alignment table. All the frame accessories as required are now brazed onto frame. The frame is then cleaned and prepared for painting.”

Lastly, for those wanting a bike similar to the Unblended and the Soul but at a more affordable price, DeAnima offers the AMG, which features a full carbon frameset that’s made using a more cost effective tube-to-tube construction.

“We started designing the moulds for the AMG in the spring of 2017 and after various protypes we are ready to put the frame into production. We decided on a set of frame sections specificity for disc brakes using the flat mount standard. For the layup of the sections, like the Unblended, we use a mixture of Toray T800 3k and T800 UD. This is not an Unblended frame with a disc mount, we have reworked all the tubes with new profiles, a new rear end and also some new methods in the actually construction of the frame,” says Pegoretti.

“To make an AMG frame the production starts with the frame sections being formed in the moulds and being cured. Once the order arrives we start cutting and mitering the sections to the required size, these are placed into a jig and glued and then wrapped with carbon fiber. Even though we use preformed sections, this way of building allows us to personalize the geometry based on the client. The frame takes about 2 days to make from start to finish and requires multiple visits to the oven for curing at various stages. Once the frame is ready for painting it is sanded by hand to remove the surface gloss.”

Every DeAnima frame is made order, ensuring that each one is made to exacting specifications including custom geometry and paint. Moreover, Pegoretti and his team have the process down to a science, delivering their product with faster turnaround times than expected for a handmade frame. 

BlackSmith Cycle is located in Toronto, Canada and is the premier distributor of DeAnima in North America. They can be contacted at info@blacksmithcycle.com

You can also visit DeAnima’s website here.

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