Grab hold


It seems they call this the cockpit now, in the popular writing and yapping about cycling.

“Here come the Italians. The first appearance of the Campagnolo Chorus groupset happens here with the levers.”

It’s the space where you sit and steer, the open yet somehow defined air between and connecting the seat and the handlebars and featuring the combo brakeshift levers otherwise known as the most consequential advance in bicycle technology within my lifetime and not significantly updated or improved in the intervening 27 years.

So. Cockpit.

That seriously skeptical tone aside, this part of the build-out might well represent the biggest deal to feature in Hugo Black. Here we go with what appears a small thing, though is quite possibly the biggest change in the offing. The Cloud Bike has got Cinelli handlebars in the bullhorn style, an apt description. HB will feature these FSA bars with a tight turn into drops beneath a flat, broad top. I don’t spend a lot of time in the drops while riding, so the bulk of my time is spent palms curving the downward sloping outside of the bull’s horns. Hugo’s reach and curve and roundness and pressure point and weight shifts will be different, and not just a little.

In part because here come the Italians. The first appearance of the Campagnolo Chorus groupset happens here with the levers.

These Chorus carbon fiber jobs are fine in the looks division, but it’s the guts I seek and figure to represent a real advance in how I ride. The shape, too. Here is form as function, absolute function. The levers on Hugo Black branch out straight and stout almost in the way of the old, clunky aluminum U-shaped aerobar on the 1988 Cannondale when I bought it in 1994 and used experimentally for three or four rides before ditching the entire contraption. The Campag levers, though, are much better and won’t require the indignity of the forearm rests while encouraging the same posture on the bike; excuse me, in the cockpit.

The proof will be in the pedaling. Let’s go for a ride.

  • Frame:         1070 grams

  • Fork:          410

  • Seatpost: 304

  • Saddle:        540

  • Headset:  85

  • Stem:          155

  • Handlebars:    269

  • Levers:        350

  • Running total: 3183 grams, 7.017314 pounds