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The Bikes of the Six Days 2016

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Hardware at the Six Days: it’s not nearly as exciting as it used to be when you mooch around the pits, with Dolans and Cervélo’s in abundance and Fuji creeping up; but it’s always nice to look at and talk about racing bikes – one of life’s simple pleasures.

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Dolan. Photo©Ed Hood

When Michael Mørkøv hooked up with Dolan, it was the start of the Merseyside builder becoming one of the main names on the winter boards.

I remember Iljo Keisse calling round to our cabin at the Copenhagen Six Day a few years back, measuring tape in hand to check out Michael’s machine and if they’re good enough for Michael and Iljo…

Aero, stable, strong, light, mean and rated by Six Day ace spanner man, Dirk Dekeyser – enough said.

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Rustled Dolan. Photo©Ed Hood

Just like in the days of the Wild West cattle stealing days sometimes it doesn’t do to display the brands; in this case due to upsetting summertime road frame suppliers who perhaps haven’t got – or yet perfected – a track frame.

There are an awful lot of ‘rustled’ Dolans on those boards.

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Cervélo. Photo©Ed Hood

Perhaps not the most elegant of machines but strong, predictable and aero; when the Danes were chasing GB hard in the team pursuit a few years back they could have gone for any frame they wished not having the luxury of their own builder as GB did and still do – the Danes settled for the Cervélo.

And GB have gone to the North American frame builder after many years with Pinarello – but we have a feeling that Mark Stewart will be on a GB ‘Stealth’ machine before too long.

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Nice airbrushing. Photo©Ed Hood

And the thing about having those big airfoil sections is that there’s plenty of room for the air brushers to ply their trade – this angel is on big Roger Kluge’s machine.

Could it be Charline Joiner?

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Carbon FESt. Photo©Ed Hood

On the subject of aero, the ‘cockpit’ on the German FES sprint bikes isn’t new – but it’s sure sleek and looks fast even when the bikes are leaning on the fence.

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Fuji. Photo©Ed Hood

Mass produced in the Far East and generally painted in a low key colour scheme, the Fuji’s were first championed by Leif Lampater and Christian Grasmann as the steed of choice for their Maloja team.

Mass produced and reasonably priced or not, they get the job done…

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Felt. Photo©Ed Hood

Martin and I had the pleasure of riding a couple of Felt road bikes around the Champs Élysées the other year before the final Tour stage – nice machines.

We did a bit of homework on them and they’re the real deal, well thought-out and engineered, strong and aero – it was Felt who began the trend for ‘big’ front fork crowns to allow the air through and over the down tube rather than ‘skinny’ forks which were the vogue for so long.

‘Hollywood’ loves his.

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Ridley. Photo©Ed Hood

It used to be that when you went to an amateur kermis in Belgium, half the field was on Colnagos – no more, now the weapon of choice is the Ridley.

The Belgian concern makes no bones about the fact that their frames come in by the container load from the Orient – but they get those nice paint jobs in the Flatlands.

There’s more than a nod the Cervélo in the shape but they’re nice machines – and De Buyst does just fine on his…

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Alex Rasmussen on his Look. Photo©Ed Hood

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Look with Mavic wheels front and rear. Photo©Ed Hood

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Look with radical stem positioning. Photo©Ed Hood.

The Looks are the closest you’ll get to a GB ‘Stealth’ off the shelf; they still cost big bucks but are beautifully designed – and the French concern can’t keep up with demand, there’s a long waiting list if you want one new.

They were the pioneers of the ‘external steerer’ fork design and have refined that once horrible multiple adjustable stem to a point where it almost looks nice.

Ironically, Raleigh’s – the steed of Reg Harris and Hughie Porter – World Madison Champion, Morgan Kneisky rides one but that colour scheme is well cool.

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Ted Wood. Photo©Ed Hood

This bike was a long way from home, ridden by one of the juniors – Ted Wood is an Aussie who lives in Belgium; he was Alan Peiper’s mechanic.

This looks Chinese/Taiwanese to us – and he never seems to get those decals quite right…

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Principia and Rickert on exhibit. Photo©Ed Hood

There was a nice wee exhibit as you entered the ViP area at Copenhagen; the ex-Alex Rasmussen Principia upon which he won his Worlds madison title with Michael Mørkøv – who rode a matching machine.

They looked the biz up on those boards, and still do.

There was also an ancient Rickert ‘stayer’ bike complete with stem and seat supports – and those work of the devil, cotter pins…

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Veloforma Custom Stayer. Photo©Ed Hood

As witnessed by this machine which was built in the last couple of years for US cycle messenger turned ‘stayer’ Zak Kovalcik, the ‘demi fond’ bike hasn’t evolved too much.

It’s a nice bit of kit but I think I’d have stuck with curved forks – I just think they’d have been easier on the eye.

Copenhagen Six Day bikes
Giant bling. Photo©Ed Hood

Germany’s Marcel Barth is king of ‘bling’ – gold trainers a specialty – just don’t look for him in the chases – and has his Giant all-gold too.

But a red chainring?

Black would have been better – even those Six Day boys don’t always get it right…

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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