“Modern means contemporary and current, but contains a flavour of the past”, Ultracicli says. “At the same time modern is avant-garde and old school”.

Text: Silje Strømmen
Photos: Mari Oshaug

It is clear that Ultracicli is not you regular cycle company. Behind Ultracicili you’ll find two professionals, Marco Donati and Marco Martelli, one with a design background and the other with a creative art direction background, they combine their own experience and design one-off or limited series of bikes, where contemporary urban and international lifestyle is represented and simplicity, research and originality connected. Together with Nicoló Koschatzky of Kilometro Italiano, a partner chosen after extensive research in Italy to find the perfect frame builder, they build their frames by hand. The production is not fixed, and Ultracicli produces between 10 and 20 bikes each year.

With almost every part of their bikes being hand made (if they could have it their way, even all the components would be made by hand, but due to industry standards that would not be possible) it is only natural to ask the question “what does “hand made” mean to you?”

“We try to work with as many hand made components as possible. Due to the industry standard and the quality the bike needs to reach, that is not possible. Therefore we do have to include some industrial pieces in our designs. We try however to personalise and change small parts of them. Hand made is definitely coming back. Over the years Italy has lost a lot of its traditions for craftsmanship and frame building. There is a big gap in generations: you’ll find the really old builders and the really young builders. With the generations in between, working with your hands did not have a good reputation. But now it is all coming back.

There is definitely a shift, driven by the big crisis that is now coming to Europe from the States. During the crisis a lot of young people lost their jobs and went back to working in the garage. What we are now seeing is a lot of young people setting up small workshops and going back to work with their hands.

This came at the same time that people are shifting from quantity to quality: people want quality and hand-made objects. For us, one of the biggest satisfactions is to meet the client and to know that they are using their bikes. Often they come back to us and say, “Hi, let’s go for a ride!” That is definitely something we want. We are a brand, but at the same time we are designers and design focused. If you are doing mass production you are a businessman. You are not the designer anymore. We want to stay as designers: we want to touch everything and to see the development. If you go big, that is something you loose. You loose the attention to detail. We want to enjoy doing little things and to do them good. Bicycles are really one of the last fields where you can reach that level of attention to details.”

In June 2016 Ultracicli celebrated its five-year birthday by designing a frame in stainless steel with the company’s new payoff and mission engraved “Ultracicli - the heritage revolution”.