Good Stories Get Written

01.05.14

When saddling up on a Vitess Bespoke, riders expect sublime performance and unequalled craftsmanship. But beyond the functional product attributes, it is about making a statement about individuality, self-confidence and exclusivity.

Most often, it is also about telling a story; one that is utterly meaningful to its owner.

The story can be so personal and the storytelling so subtle that it requires much background to be understood. But more descriptiveness in the storytelling does not mean that the story is less profound.

Take the example of Vitess Rider Tim Hockey, a well-known figure in Canadian banking and a highly regarded philanthropist. His story is strong, moving, powerful … and it is written, clearly, with words.

With other 100 hours of creative design time, countless revision levels, 3 prototype phases and more than 150 hours of carbon processing, finishing, paint and leatherwork, Tim’s story was not easy to write, but it is easy to read.

Tim Hockey is the President and CEO of TD Canada Trust and the Head of Canadian Banking, Auto Finance and Wealth Management for TD Bank Group. Over the years, he has been the driving force behind a number of philanthropic endeavours. Recent efforts include him taking the role of Chairman for the $200M Hospital for Sick Children’s Research and Learning Tower fundraising campaign (Toronto, ON), and being the key catalyst behind the $56M Mattamy National Cycling Centre (Milton, ON).

For Tim, cycling is much more than a conduit to staying fit and feeling good; it is a mean to doing good as well.

“Cyclists who serve” is the catchy tag line of the cycling club he co-founded and he is the President of: Les Domestiques. But this is much more than a slogan: it is a mantra, effectively their raison d’être as a group. The club is made of about 100 members who partake in a number of charity rides each year, raising millions of dollars for a variety of causes.

This was the context of our creative study and the starting point for his Vitess Bespoke.


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The result is an absolute marvel of engineering turned into a piece of art, an attention to details that might even seem absurd; until one lays eyes on it and understands the vision, the need for visual homogeneity and what it took to get there.

Virtually all the components are made of carbon fibre and they have all been modified and refinished to integrate into the greater piece.

The wheels were made in Germany by Lightweight. The crank-set and brake calipers were carbon processed by Germany-based THM Carbones, in collaboration with SRM for the power meter system. The stem, handlebar, seat-post and saddle were originally crafted by Italian companies 3T and Fi’zi:K; and all were refinished by our team of artisans. The carbon bottle cages made by Arundel were also refinished; while all the standard bolts were swapped for aero-grade titanium ones, anodized black. The control and power-transfer system is based on the 9070-Series Shimano Dura-Ace electronic shifting components.

As for the paint, well the photos only tell part of the story. What’s not told is what cannot be seen: what needs to be felt. The surfaces are so tactile that only a gentle finger touch can make you understand the depth of the artwork.

Once the frame-set was finished, hand-sanded and prepared for paint, an initial coat of clear was applied and hand-sanded; followed by a second coat of dry satin clear. Then our artisans spent dozens of hours applying a variety of computer-generated and precisely cut paint masks, and manually removing every single bit of the negative masking patterns to form the letters. The first coat of primer then went on; the surfaces were hand-sanded and buffed to remove any bits of dust. Paint was then hand-mixed to colour match a metallic sky grey sample, and applied; it was left to dry in a curing oven and manually buffed. Another 2 coats of wet dry clear were applied and hand-sanded with ever finer buffs; followed by another countless hours of unmasking and surface finishing. This process was repeated for each creative area.

The leather used for the front-end of the bicycle and the saddle is from Poltrona Frau, one that is used by Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Audi for their Exclusive program. The thread is German, from Amann, with a colour-match for the contrast stitching. Both the saddle and the stem wraps are laser etched.

Tim’s Vitess Bespoke is a spectacular showcase of the savoir-faire of our artisans – from creative design, to paint and leatherwork. Short of our Or Noir Collection, this is the ultimate expression of the craftsmanship and attention to details that Vitess has become known for.

As for the expertise of our engineers and carbon processing technicians – the proof is in the ride; and it seems that Tim is thoroughly enjoying his birthday present.

We must admit that the automotive reference does not end at the material used. The direction of the actual creative artwork was influenced by the work that French artist Bernar Venet conducted with Bugatti for a one-off Veyron. This was a creative exercise integrating numerous mathematical formulas used by their engineering team.

In hindsight though, we learnt that the paint execution on the bicycle is a lot more complicated than what was required for the Veyron. This is primarily due to the different textures and surface treatments used for the full-colour metallic sky grey, the satin-finish carbon fibre and the transition zones where the text resides.

The other fundamental difference: the Bugatti art piece is about the car, the Vitess Bespoke one is about the rider.

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