This week’s Reader’s Rig is Italian architect Alberto Giacopelli’s classic custom gravel tourer from Casbah Cicloclub. Find photos, a build kit, and more about Alberto and his three-year process of piecing this bike together here…

Words and photos by Alberto Giacopelli (@djangopelli)

I’m Alberto Giacopelli, from Ivrea, Piedmont, in Italy. I’m an architect, and I deal with territorial mobility, which is an excuse to be able to ride a bike and call it academic research.

  • Casbah Cicloclub, Alberto Giacopelli
  • Casbah Cicloclub, Alberto Giacopelli

When I turned eight, my mother thought I was independent enough to go to school on my own, hence the need for my first real bike (a neon green Bianchi Ragno inherited from some cousin). From that day, as far as I can remember, I always had a bike with me.

In high school, I started making some trips with my father’s steel racing bike, modified by means of zip ties to accommodate racks and bags, and I found out how much a well-made bike makes the difference when you do 100 kilometres a day for a few weeks on roads that are not exactly perfect.

  • Casbah Cicloclub, Alberto Giacopelli
  • Casbah Cicloclub, Alberto Giacopelli

While at university in Milano, I discovered bike polo, and I entered the tunnel of tiny gears and asymmetrical handlebars. One night, while clashing bikes and mallets with other weirdos, I had the chance to meet the guys from Casbah Cicloclub. And, after a few beers, the idea of a touring bike derived from their gravel frame geometry was born.

Almost all the pieces for this build were recovered from various bike shops as single parts and gathered together in a mission of accumulation of materials that lasted over a year. Adding a year in which I went to study in South America, the bike was finally finished after almost three years of work. It was ready just in time to use it as an excuse to develop my master thesis in sustainable mobility and cycle 2,000 kilometres on gravel roads in my home county.

  • Casbah Cicloclub, Alberto Giacopelli
  • Casbah Cicloclub, Alberto Giacopelli
  • Casbah Cicloclub, Alberto Giacopelli
  • Frame/Fork Casbah Cicloclub custom touring frame
  • Rims Mavic A319
  • Hubs SP PV8 (front) / Velo Orange Grand Cru Touring (rear)
  • Tires Schwalbe Almotion
  • Handlebars Ritchey Classic HP
  • Headset Chris King
  • Crankset Campagnolo Mirage Triple 30/40/50
  • Pedals Shimano SPD
  • Cassette Campagnolo Veloce 13-29
  • Derailleur Campagnolo Veloce medium cage
  • Brakes PAUL Components Minimoto
  • Shifter(s) Barend
  • Saddle Brooks Cambium C17 Carved
  • Seatpost Thomson Elite Setback
  • Stem Thomson Elite
  • Front bags Homemade
  • Rear bags Ortlieb Sport Roller
  • Other accessories Spurcycles bell, SON lights

See more from Alberto on Instagram @djangopelli.

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