Charlie’s War

This is a brand new (one week old) Cunningham road bike (#E5GH). Utterly amazing.

While Charlie Cunningham had done a small run (5-10) of road bikes back in ancient times, this is just one of two road bikes build since, the other being Charlie’s personal road bike.

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Cunningham’s are a probably one of the most rare and thoroughly interesting bikes you will ever see. Charlie’s bikes aren’t about can vs. should. That’s an argument reserved for others. There is only Charlie’s vision and nothing else. They are made Charlie’s way. In a way, through his very particular way of design and fabrication, his bike transcend the technicalities of the engineering he focuses on and becomes art. Not many can get to this level and it’s amazing to see. I’d love to get here some day.

While Cunningham doesn’t focus on immaculate construction, it’s the sheer scope of what he does that blows you away. He’s free to belt sand and grind parts into shapes, leaving a rough finish, and that doesn’t matter. Nearly every part of the bike get’s touched. He’s the engineers engineer, the designer’s designer. His bikes are not for public consumption.

Geoffrey Halaburt, a Marin local, has a collection of amazing bikes and more Cunningham’s than anyone I know of. He knows Charlie and that was how it’s done. This bike was made just for him. Not┬ájust anybody┬ácan get one of these.

It is difficult to list all the things that make this bike extraordinary. I’ll let your eyes tell you what you need to know about all the frame details. The adjustable stem is temporary as they are looking for the right fit before making the steel stem. The front and rear spacing are 118mm (F) and 141mm (R). The Dura-ace rear derailleur was modified to allow a 34t range, 31.1mm (1.5″) FD band. The modified Nitto bottle cage accommodates large consumable water bottles and has a triple mount. A custom Cunningham front hub and a custom spaced King rear hub. The bars have been splayed to be they way they should be.

I think that If I could take away a single piece of this bike, although these can only be whole bikes, it would be the brakes. The road lever link brakes are just out of this world.

Here’s an odd sight: (unknown photographer)

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