It's been a couple of years since the Czech brand Festka collaborated with artist duo Ondrash & Kasparek (Ondřej Konupčík and Radim Kašpárek) and produced this Festka Scout gravel bike that is available in stellar finishes. The bike is still as stunning as it was when first unveiled, so we're taking another look.
According to Festka, Ondrash & Kasparek's technique involves transferring acrylic paints from the surface of water onto canvas. “The original idea, which Radim Kašpárek had been working on for several years on his own, was developed and perfected by the artists together during the first lockdown when Ondřej was unable to devote himself fully to tattooing – an activity in which he's achieved great fame thanks to his unique abstract style.”
The technique produces spectacular paintings but applying it to 3D surfaces – such as those of a bike frame or component – represented a huge challenge.
"We'd been attracted to product design for some time and when the guys from Festka asked us if we'd like to try something with their frames, we were both totally up for it,” said Ondrash & Kasparek.
“We don't paint directly on canvas or a 3D object. We paint on the surface of water held in a shallow tank. We pour paint on the surface using self-made tools which we call paddles. They are specially designed to keep the individual colours in parallel stripes which we blow and manipulate into the desired shapes. The canvas or the 3D object we’re painting sits at the bottom of the tank. The transfer happens by releasing the water from the tank very slowly.”
The first two Festka frames decorated by Ondrash & Kasparek - the gravel Scout and road bike Scalatore - seem to be still available after their initial launch in 2021, but you'd likely want to update the componentry a little bit on the road version.
The artists also offer the option of creating a painting with designs matching those of the frame.
The Ondrash & Kasparek treatment can be applied to any Festka frame except the ONE and Doppler.
Well, the prices. At the moment, Festka only tells you to ask for a quote, but if you're super keen, we can reveal what they told us when launching the bikes... The Festka Scout pictured, with a Rotor 1 x 13 groupset and Enve G27 wheelset was priced at €25,990 (around £22,000).
Festka has produced loads of other eye-catching bikes in the past. We've covered the Festka Scalatore Mummy and the Festka Doppler as Bike at Bedtimes, and also the super-stylish bikes it produced to mark its 10th anniversary.
And it's not new for artists to be involved in producing bikes, either, of course. You'll probably remember Damien Hirst's 'Butterfly Bike' – a Trek ridden by Lance Armstrong in the 2009 Tour de France. We also keep seeing the likes of Silca collaborating with artists to customise their products from track pumps to bottle cages.
If you want to try and secure yourself one of the above abstract bikes, check out Festka's microsite devoted to the Ondrash Kasparek project.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.