Sensuous lines, natural curves and the allure of timeless beauty: if these evocative descriptions conjure up images of (semi) naked women with come-to-bed eyes, then you should probably feel a touch guilty. True steel-framed aficionados may, however, have images that are more attuned to Kilian Kreb Fotografie’s latest Retro Bike calendar, a feast for the eyes.
Once upon a time, bikes were lovingly and exhaustingly welded by hand, hardy steel stallions that carried us over the pavé towards Roubaix. It’d tell you immediately whether you’d be wiser in winter’s filthy conditions to succumb to idleness or battle through driving rain in minus degrees. Their brakes did little to prevent the madness of steep descents, but merely delayed it. But forget cheap mass-produced carbon, disc brakes, and electronics, these were the days of unique beauties, distinctive bikes that are seen rarely today, if at all, perhaps glimpsed pitifully as a steel skeleton in Berlin-Mitte.
Do you have that feel-good sense of nostalgia when you think of your first steel frame? Pining over the welds and rare bits of tubing? Then perhaps throw a discerning eye over the Retro Bike calendar by photographer Kilian Kreb. Covering all 12 months, his sophisticatedly curated calendar display timeless road bikes from the epoch, harping back to the 70s and 80s when the steel crisis referred to the last gasping breaths of Germany’s once booming industry in the Ruhr and Saar. Germany’s industrial landscape has since changed, and classic steel has stepped back in the shadows of the two-wheel sector. Krebs has shot a selection of cherry-picked classic frames, including the Alan Super Record (1981) and the Coppi Milano Sanremo Super (1974), steel steeds crafted with a skill that surely fell from the sky. Pictured alongside each bike are in-depth descriptions and 8 photos of noteworthy details.
It’s probably worth mentioning that the calendar comes in a double-sided format, seeing the steel gems and their stories take over one side, while the other side, as the website explains, features arty nude shots.
With an ‘international top nude model’ draped artistically over the steel beauties, the black-and-white images are fairly provocative. However, it’s arguably a tenuous link between nudity and steel bikes; and whether the nude model enhances the quality of the bike is questionable, but it’s a stance that’s unlikely to be detrimental to the sales of the calendar. Personally I found the nudes in their theatrical and somewhat comical poses to be more of a disturbance, regardless of any artistic and aesthetic qualities they purport.
If your office or home are crying out for beguiling steel tubes and the finest Italian gear levers and derailleurs, then I’d warmly recommend the Retro Bike calendar. Concealed amongst the craftsmanship and palmares, any budding steel frame builders is likely to find inspiration.
Classic Beauty Retro Bike calendar: retro-rennrad-kalender.de
Buy direct: Amazon
Words: Jonas Kaesler Photos: Manufacturer