She's back! Sorry folks, I really couldn't let this one slip away.
Shortly before the Toronto International Spring Bike Show I got an email from, Bryce, one of the founders of No. 22 Bicycles. Their reputation may be entirely global, but their roots are firmly here in Toronto. They reached out to me because they had a build coming up that they were interested in having me shoot. The info was light but with the North American Hand-Built Bike Show (NAHBS) just around the corner, I knew it had to be good.
The plan was to get the bike to me in advance of NAHBS and the Toronto show so I could take some press photos before it headed out on tour. Unfortunately, the clock ran out on us and it was finished only days before the first event. While I managed to snap a few clean pics at the Toronto show, trade show lighting is terrible and I wasn't entirely satisfied with what I got. It wasn't until after NAHBS that I got my hands on this Reactor for a proper shoot. Even then, I only had a few hours to turn it around and get it back out the door.
The good news is that having this bike in the studio allowed me the opportunity to really look at it and admire the craftsmanship of the No. 22 frameworks as well as the impeccable detail work of Noah and Suzanne at VeloColour who custom painted it. There is a lot going on with the frameset, paint, and build kit, but it all comes together so nicely. No one thing jumps out at you. It's more that everything plays off one another and the curious eye is rewarded at every turn. There are little details everywhere.
What is the Reactor? The Reactor sits firmly in the No. 22 lineup as their road racing steed. It builds upon the proven Great Divide frameset with a racier geometry and an integrated carbon seat tube/ISP (my favorite part.) From the fully butted 3Al-2.5V Titanium tubing to the oversized integrated headset and T47 bottom bracket, everything about it says “Get up and go!” But don’t worry, the Reactor isn’t going to ride like a pissed of beaver. Beyond the ride dampening Ti tubing, No. 22 has worked in pencil thin seat stays and tire clearance for 28mm in the back. Look close and some of the unique features you’ll find are the custom designed hooded rear dropouts, engraved head badge, and the Ti seatpost topper. They keep the build quality to high standards by hand building each one of these in upstate New York in their own No 22 factory (formerly Serotta Frameworks.)
All that hard work doesn't go unrecognized. This special edition Reactor took home the "Best in Show - Campagnolo Build" award at NAHBS this year. That’s because this Reactor is a Campy fan's dream come true. Top to bottom. Add to that, it's gotten some new special stoke in the form of a Stages Campagnolo Super Record power meter. How hot is it? This might one of the first on the market, let alone on the road. Boom! Truth be told, I've never really had a proper chance to get up close with Campagnolo's chart topping electric groupset. Super Record EPS is a work of art. No doubt. Every component is sculpted for both form and function. I now know what Italian dreams are made of.
Two of Toronto's big names collaborated together and the result was an awe inspiring, award winning, dream bike. It warms my hometown heart. My time with this bike was far too brief and I don't feel done with it but I really can't wait to pull up beside it out on the road. Bryce is one lucky guy