Van Dessel isn't a new frame brand but it does have a new UK distribution channel through a website with a name as colourful as the frames.
The Bearded Man Shop is the new online venture of David Warren, otherwise known for his organisation of the Black Mountains 3-Day mountain bike event in the Brecon Beacons but he's been a long standing fan of cyclo-cross and the up-and-coming Van Dessel brand from New Jersey in the USA. Up-and-coming since the recent resurgence in cyclo-cross but having been founded in 2000 by 'cross racer Edwin Bull from Belgium, Van Dessel can claim as much as any brand to have played its part in the excitement.
There are some ten frames in the USA range and we're getting four of them for now: a road race frame, a really interesting steel so-called cruiser and both of the two cyclo-cross models as befits Warren's interest in cyclo-cross. Unusually the focus is on frames which are priced competitively and assuming that enthusiast customers are likely to have parts already but the new shop is geared up to quote for built bikes if that's what's needed.
The new flagship cyclo-cross frame is all-carbon and called Full Tilt Boogie; basically a carbon version of the already very well established Gin & Trombones aluminium-with-a-bit-of-carbon model. The geometry is classic Belgian 'cross with varying angles depending on size but if we say 72-degree head and 74-degree seat you'll get where they're coming from. Price is £1,230 with 1.5" full carbon fork and FSA headset.
Gin & Trombones: a bit of a cyclo-cross classic
Interesting name, interesting frame. Welded and smoothed 7005 aluminium tubes in ovalised shapes with 'split' cable stops where you'd expect to find them conveniently on a 'cross racer but a wishbone carbon seatstay bonded in for a comfy ride on harsh surfaces. The price is £740 for the frame and carbon fork with bearings. Bearded Man will also quote for full builds. Frame weight is 1,450g; latest version has BB30 and 1.5" fork.
Van Dessel Gin & Trombones 'cross frame and fork: £740 inc carbon fork and headset
The Rivet: full-on carbon race frame & fork
Considering that a size 56cm weighs a competitive 1,000 grams Van Dessel claim the priority on The Rivet is toughness and durability and it certainly looks purposeful with a chunky BB30 bottom bracket area and an Enve fork that tapers to 1.5". Price for the frame and fork including bearings is £1,230 or you can talk to Bearded Man about build options.
Van Dessel The Rivet carbon road race frame with Enve 1.5" fork £1,230
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: they call it a cruiser
Van Dessel call their WTF a cruiser due to the double curvy top tubes but it's really a do-it-all in steel that could be a road hybrid, a rigid 29er or a singlespeed due to the eccentric bottom bracket which also means of course you could fit a BB30. There's also a split dropout which makes belt drive an option. We're thinking an Alfine 11 and there's a bit of arguing going on here over drops or straight bars but meanwhile the frame, fork and headset cost £480. It's a bit green but as we know that's the on-trend colour for 2012. WTF indeed.
Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot steel frame with fork and headset £480