Highlights from Berlin’s kolektif Bike Fair 2022
Last weekend in Berlin, framebuilders, makers, artists, small brands, and enthusiasts of all things two-wheeled came together for the kolektif Bike Fair. Less a trade show, more a social platform, kolektif leaned into the full breadth of cycling and saturated attendees with impressions and interesting new products. Find our highlight reel from the event here…
After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the kolektif Bike Fair (@kolektif.bike.fair) was finally on again last weekend from March 25th to 27th in Berlin, Germany, drawing large crowds looking to admire all things bike-related, talk shop, and hang out in person. The event was an assemblage of boutique makers and bigger brands eager to show off the creations they worked on during the forced pause. And for visitors, kolektif was an exciting platform to join group rides, listen to talks, test bikes, race cargo bikes, watch fixed gear racing, and much more.
At its core, kolektif positions itself as an event for those who believe in the power of bicycles. It pledges no allegiance to any particular category or niche, and thus the exhibitors and visitors ran the gamut. With bikepacking and gravel fully mainstream for a while now, there certainly was no lack of bikes and products that we think will interest readers. Find a roundup of nine things that caught our eye below:
Fern Ultra Rando Showbike
Our friends at Fern Bicycles (@fern_bicycles) revealed their absolutely stunning 2022 showbike, which they call the Ultra Rando—a collaboration between Fern, framebuilder-owned component company Allygn Components (@allygn_components), and custom bag maker Gramm Tourpacking (@gramm_tourpacking), all based in Berlin.
First off, can we take a second to marvel at that soft-touch volcano lava paint job? Blending classic lines with state-of-the-art tech, the Ultra Rando is put together with an almost impossible level of attention to detail, featuring custom ultralight Dyneema bags by Gramm, perhaps the only set of 650B carbon rims with a rim brake track in existence, a modified dynamo headlight with a toggleable high beam, and of course, Fern’s signature vintage Dura-Ace crank, to name just a few highlights. Thanks to the rigorously considered component selection and the lightweight custom Columbus Acido tubing, the complete bike tips the scales at just 9.4 kilograms (20.7 pounds) without bags, an incredible feat for a steel bike. Flo outdid himself with this one.
Drust 29” All-Terrain Bike
Taking things in an entirely different direction, Konstantin Drust of Drust Cycles (@drustcycles) showed off his personal XC-oriented travel bike built around a slender truss fork. Kept raw and honest, the fillet-brazed frame exudes distinct steampunk vibes. If you can unglue your eyes from the iconoclastic frame, the build also features some fascinating component choices, such as a Kindernay internal gear hub laced to made-in-Germany carbon fiber rims by Lilienthal (@lilienthal.bike) and a SON dynamo hub up front powering the lights. The quirky custom bags are made by Bag Face Berlin (@bagfaceberlin). Plenty of mounts, a durable drivetrain, and an upright riding position make for an incredibly capable all-terrain rig that’s ready to ride to the end of the world.
The centerpiece of the show was the framebuilder area, which was home to many more stunning bikes than we could hope to cover here. The majority of them were fatter-tired bikes for all-road and off-road riding, and framebuilders from Berlin were joined by their colleagues from Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the UK. What stood out to me was that many of the frames on exhibition were designed for small or tall riders—a good reminder for the big brands that their bikes still don’t fit all bodies.
To name just a few bikes that stood out: Nico of Cicli Bonanno (@ciclibonanno) from Berlin displayed his handsome Stay Loco cross bike in a stunning dark bronze finish with an Ingrid drivetrain; Dlouhy Cycles (@dlouhycycles) came up from Leipzig with a sweet 27.5″ flat-bar rig with a custom cargo fork for small rider comfort; and on the other end of the size spectrum, Ex-Zentriker from Freiburg brought a handsome 29″ drop-bar MTB to the show. And Wheel Dan (@wheeldan_berlin) broke the streak of performance bikes with a Pinion-equipped Ti townie that would probably make a fantastic country-lane rambler.
Small local bike brands
We were also happy to see that the last two years of downtime gave some folks the time to found their own bike companies based on their unique perception of what today’s cyclists need most. Chirp Chirp Cycles (@chirpchirpcycles) unveiled their Lark titanium all-road adventure bike in the flesh, which looks to be a competent bikepacking rig with clearance for 29 x 2.2″ knobbies. Basic Bikes (@basicbikesberlin) offers a range of affordable carbon-fiber frames with 2×12 drivetrains or as a frameset in an effort to lower the cost of entry into performance cycling.
There were also larger booths from Sour (@sour.bicycles) and 8bar (@8barbikes) from Dresden and Berlin, respectively, two brands that started in a similar homegrown manner a few years back and have now matured into established names in the industry. Sour rocked up with their range of mountain bikes and a lovely warm grey Purple Haze, and 8bar exhibited two TFLSBERG rigs in vastly different configurations, one with a rigid fork and 8bar bikepacking bags, the other equipped with a suspension fork as a drop-bar XC shredder.
“Cyclists don’t just ride bikes. Cyclists (also) make art.” That was the motto of the artists’ corner at kolektif. We were stoked to meet a few colorful individuals with unique voices who reminded us that cycling is about more than just shiny products, and we love to see them here in such a prominent light. Artists and designers Juliane Borths (@i.draw.on.bikes) and Ralph (@sixerberlin) turned a Drust frame into a canvas for their drawings at their booth adorned by various prints and illustrations. Multimedia Italian artist Stefano Zotti (@stefanozotti) whipped up a custom Zotti x Bonanno collection that included vibrant bags, musettes, bandanas, and a bold, limited-edition woodblock print.
Gramm Diamond Rando Bag
Gramm Tourpacking debuted their new Diamond Bag atop the Fern Ultra Rando, and we’re smitten by its smart lines. With the Diamond bag system, Gramm has pushed the classic rando bag into the 21st century, thoughtfully innovating on every aspect from the closure, to the mounting, to the materials used. Why “system?” Because the bag is designed for perfect integration with the Allygn Diamond rack, though it will work on other front racks as well. Stay tuned to the Dispatch reel for more details shortly.
Handmade Bags and Goods
Along with artists and storytellers, small makers are the heart and soul of cycling and bikepacking, at least in our minds. With the recent surge of people getting into both, it was great to see small makers from Germany and elsewhere making connections with new riders. Support your local makers!
Visitors to kolektif admired Dyed in the Wool’s (@dyedinthewoolofficial) stunning blue-yellow fade collection, which you can still enter to win (see our recent Dispatch for details). A hometown favorite, Sundlin Bags (@sundlin_bags) showed off her Berlin-style bike and accessory bags. Braasi (@braasi) from Prague had a range of minimalist backpacks and bike bags on display. La Jefa & Sons (@lajefa.velolove), based Bielsko-Biala, Poland, introduced us to their super stylish bike and around-town bags made from canvas, leather, and other classic materials.
Rueckenwind Puts People on Bikes
Founded by seven students in 2015, the non-profit organization Rückenwind (@rueckenwind.berlin), which is German for “tailwind,” supplies refugees in Berlin with bikes to help them get started in their new life. For the people who receive these bikes—unlike for most of us—it’s usually not about recreation. For refugees, bikes mean personal mobility, freedom, and integration into daily life that most of us simply take for granted.
So far, Rückenwind has supplied 2,700 bikes and grown to 70 volunteer members, and now they need your support more than ever to help people in need arriving from war-torn Ukraine. It’s a worthwhile cause that we think all of our readers can get behind, and you can help by donating bikes, money, or time in the shop. Learn more here.
Meeting in Person Again
Finally, it was gratifying to chat face-to-face again (albeit still with masks on inside), catch up with developments in the local bike world, and hang out with friends after the show. The event had some class reunion vibes, including all the initial awkwardness after not seeing each other for what felt like far longer than two years, followed by reminiscing and making new memories together.
Despite the uncertainty leading up to the event, the people of kolektif pulled off a fantastic show that drew a diverse crowd from all parts of the cycling sphere. Cheers to the team behind kolektif Bike Fair, the exhibitors, and all the visitors who made it a special weekend! We’re already looking forward to next year’s event.
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