Is This The Ugliest Bike Ever?

It is a fine line between what you can do, and what you can, but shouldn’t. There are great examples in design where the envelope has been pushed so hard for performance gains, that a whole new form factor emerged and while it may not have made it into production, as a “One Off “for the purpose it was designed for, it was perfectly acceptable. The Lotus bike that Chris Boardman rode to Olympic glory is a good example (later banned because the performance gains were maybe just a little too good). Innovation and aesthetic can blend to be pleasing on the eye. I loved the massive fat elliptical downtubes of the Cervelo Soloist’s. The slightly arched top tubes and cobra headtubes of the Specialized Tarmac’s. Even the “Wiggle” in the Pinarello Dogma’s forks have grown on me. But the Phibra seems to have them all, literally. This bike is the ultimate Frankenstein.

Any other bike designs out there you find particularity disturbing?

Categories: Design / Rides

  1. It’s certainly up there, but there are plenty of challengers in the carbon market where there’s a trend for the “pumped up” look. From a design perspective, with almost every component labelled with a FULL CAPS, bold logo, everything’s fighting for attention. If you’re looking for ugly, I’d go back in time a while – the Gitane 1989 challenger for the hour record takes some beating. The aero dynamic saddle is now banned by the UCI, but the colour scheme should have been banned too. A photo can be found at

  2. Oh I don’t know, there’s something cartoonishly appealing–or appealingly cartoonish–about that long continuous arc of the top tube through the back fork. It’s like what they’d ride in the Laff-a-Lympics road race.

  3. Mike Mancuso I actually don’t mind it at all. However as a Cannondale fanboy, it hurts my eyes to look at that bike, though it may be an incredible machine.

  4. Stefan Rohner it looks like a Venge in 60 size.

  5. Paul Welsh mmm….well actually…I think it looks okay.

  6. i honestly can no longer find much difference between the current crop of carbon frames and gaudy, over-branded paint jobs.

    they all look like they were styled by tennis racket manufactures.

    hang on…maybe that’s no coincidence.

  7. As much as the Phibra has a love it/hate it design, it’s pretty damn impressive looking in person. I’ve never seen a sample with that ugly giant PHIBRA … it’s usually replaced with CARRERA. A friend built it up and rode it … quite stiff from what I hear (even tho, as we all know, that’s not everything).

    There’s also a new paint scheme this year – CHROME paint that looks so much like stainless in person that it’s quite amazing.

    Blacksmith Cycle here in Toronto has a sample of it – it’s really something to look at!

    Chris B
  8. I’ve got a Phibra Carrerra in to do an airbrush retouch on the top tube. The paintwork under the clear coat on these bikes is not great quality. The slightest ding and the scratch just wants to run and run – and when you sand it all back it’s very tricky to smooth it out. It doesn’t look like the paintwork has been properly layered up. So every paint chip has an edge to it, making it easy to grow even bigger. They are so difficult to retouch. I also don’t think enough coats of clear have been applied to these frames either, to protect the paintwork in the first place. There’s scratches all over this bike! Scratches are inevitable on any bicycle, but if you scratch a Phibra C., methinks it would be best to actually sand back and redo the entire frame. Agreed, it is an unorthodox frame, but it would make a superb blank canvas for a stellar airbrush artwork!


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