You would be forgiven for not knowing of Romance, a small UK-based kit brand, determined to combine their love for art and cycling for the betterment of riders everywhere. We’ll even forgive you if you’ve never heard of Filipe Pantone or Piet Parra, both globally renowned artists in their respective fields and household names in their respective countries.
You will – without a doubt though – have heard of the American bike giant, Specialized and we even shot their latest S-Works Roubaix in our Desire special issue earlier in the year. Take that bike and its already delightful suite of in-house paint jobs and throw it out the window, because we have something even better.
Firstly, some context. Romance, a team of two artistic, passionate cyclists based in London, have garnered a cult following for their design-led apparel and their appreciation for the arts. Both of their collaboration kits produced so far have sold out faster than you can say Rouleur Desire, with only the swiftest of buyers getting in on the super-limited runs. There is little arguing that this is due to the prestige, the limited nature and the striking designs created by the artists involved.
For 2018, Romance collaborated with Filipe Pantone to produce a stunning paint job for a Specialized Allez Sprint. We were lucky enough to host the bike at the Rouleur Classic and cover it previously on these very pages. We even shot a super-sexy video while we had it in our greedy mitts. The bike went on to auction, where it raised a whopping £17,000 for esteemed charity, World Bicycle Relief.
For 2019 things are stepping up a gear. Not only have Romance brought onboard Parra, a world-renowned artist from the Netherlands, but Specialized have donated their top of the range S-Works Roubaix as the canvas. That’s a £10,000 proposition before paint ever touches carbon.
The build is suitably extravagant, with full SRAM Red AXS dressing the frame and hoops disc brake hoops from Zipp but whoever purchases this bike is unlikely to ever ride it. The frame is packed with beautiful, intricate details with motifs, typography and colour pops in every crevice. The paint execution deserves an honourable mention too.
For the end project to look this good is a result of the culmination of many exceptional parts. Keep an eye out over the coming weeks as we keep close tabs on the auction. Here’s hoping World Bicycle Relief’s previous record is left waiting at the start line.
The auction will open on the 6th of August and run until the 16th, a direct link can be found on Romance’s website, happy bidding.
We shot this Romance x Parra S-Works Roubaix for issue 19.6 of Rouleur, on sale from August 13th.