Eddy Merckx – Giro di Faema

Late last year custom bicycle designer, constructor and painter Joe Cosgrove high tailed it out of his shed and headed for Melbourne. Joe confesses he’s a bit of a hermit preferring to work away the days and nights in his Brisbane based, custom bicycle building workshop. Some days to Joe the rest of the world could just about be a million miles away.

Joe’s Frezoni frame brand has been established since the early 80′s. A quirk of fate ignited Joe’s career as a frame builder back in the late 70′s. Look anywhere into the history of the Australian bicycle industry since the 50′s and you’ll find Kevin Thompson’s name imprinted with a deep staining indelible ink all over the story. Kevin was the man behind many new ventures, and Joe’s destiny was tangled up in one of them.

French frame builder Robert Alami came to Australia and set up shop building Alami frames in the late 70′s. Anyone who knows Kevin also knows he could sell ice to an Eskimo, and nothing was different with Robert Alami’s bicycle building business. Soon Alami’s Brisbane based workshop required extra help – enter stage left, Joseph Cosgrove.

Joe’s own Frezoni frame building business took off in 1982 when he began building for himself under the name of Frezoni. Take a look at Joe’s fastidious log, and I did – every entry every page, of who he’d built frames for – it’s a who’s who of Australian cycling from the era. Joe even built the Frezoni frame for the 1995 Australian outdoor hour record I’d set, hell I wish I’d kept that bike now…(another story for another day!)

Intensely brilliant at design, construction and painting, Joe’s idiosyncratic nature allows him a rare freedom of creative expression. Now in 2013 we are privileged to see Joe’s latest blend of old school cycling with modern technology. Imprinted in Joe’s mind is the cycling world he grew up racing in from the 1960′s, in this world was Eddy Merckx winning races on a famous red and white Faema bicycle built by Masi, Merckx even built a Merckx replica years later under the Merckx brand.

Back in December at Melbourne’s 2012 Australian Custom Bicycle Show, Joe polished up his 2012 replica of the 1968 Merckx Faema Campagnolo Record Masi, then next to it displayed his 2012 Campagnolo Super Record EPS version.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come. Last week I photographed both bikes in detail at Joe’s workshop, and I’m in the process of documenting anything that’s not nailed or concreted down. Such is the immense knowledge contained within the walls of Frezoni – Cycle Design, it needs to fly out the door for the world to see, stay tuned at Velo Aficionado and Cycle Design.

Here I found a Merckx figurine of Merckx on a red and white Faema-Merckx bike then sent it on a tour of the Frezoni Faema. The full bike and it’s 2012 EPS white and red replicated Frezoni-workshop buddy soon.

eddy-merckx-faema-frame

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frezoni-frame

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campagnolo-faema

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joe-cosgrove-frame-painting

joe-cosgrove-bicycle

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eddy-merckx-faema-bicycle

Comments

  1. Brian Cotgrove says

    I agree with everything written here, Joseph Cosgrove is an excellent builder of bicycles and frames.

    His attention to detail is second to none and the hours that he labour’s over his craft truly astounding.

    Having experienced his almost fanatical attitude to the painting and finishing of this and all of his other frames/bicycles I say he’s a champion in more ways than one.

    This particular bike is first rate, I observed it being built and then saw the finished article and it is more than a dead ringer for the original, I would be so bold a to say it is built even better than the Original. No Kiddin’

  2. Brian Cotgrove says

    Incidentally the photography here is top class too, obviously the man behind the Camera is a good operator too, well done RC.

    • Robert Cobcroft says

      Thanks Brian, Joe’s work is an absolute standout and what a great angle to blend 1968 with 2012 tech in one project, two bikes.

  3. says

    Rob, your quirky photography angle here is absolutely brilliant. It is full of humor and joy. Everything cycling is and should be. I can well imagine the fun you had setting this up. Id love to know what Joe said when you told him what you wanted to do? How did you sell that to him? Much like the reaction I got getting people to name their new bikes I bet!!
    Brilliant stuff, and of course really looking forward to your photo exposé of Joe’s creations.

    • Robert Cobcroft says

      Steve, interestingly I thought Joe’s concept of building two different bikes and referencing the new model to the 1968 original was quirky enough. So the photo’s of course had to match up with an equally quirky idea. Someone who’d seen Joe’s bikes at the show in Melbourne sent him the Merckx figurine, once I spotted it the idea came. It’s great collaborating with Joe, our quirkiness paired together is a good creative match!! Joe was totally cool and loved the idea of the “Giro di faema”.

  4. ken bull says

    I’m an old friend of Joe’s from way back and I’m still riding a bike he built in the early eighties.
    In 2012 I had the pleasure of helping him and his lovely wife, Evelyn set up in Melbourne for the bike show.
    Had a good chance to see his latest creations and again marvel at the skills of this great artist.

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