We made two of these for Eroica South Africa. One went to the event. The other became an Ass Saver collaboration and a video game.
Why? The answer is Johan.
The story starts back in 2017. We’d heard that Eroica South Africa 2018 was going to be something special. Not only would the event take place, after a period of doubt, but it would also feature some of the most stunning roads and gravel around.
We were excited. If there’s anything we like more than new steel, it’s old steel — and gravel.
To honor the event, we set to work completing two of our vintage San Marco frames.
First, we had Gematti, our frame builder, respace the rear drops and give the frames a structural check. Then we started on the paint.
Inspired by artworks of the Nedebele tribe, we created a bold, blocky design with bright pops of color.
The event was to take place in Montagu, so we integrated the tall peaks of the nearby mountains and an endless blue sky into the design.
Tony layed up the spray for us and by early 2018 we had two stunning new frames ready for Eroica South Africa. Great, we thought, job done. Well, not quite.
It was around this time that Jon Woodroof (the super glue that holds the European bike industry together) connected us with Johan (pictured) at Ass Savers. Over a few beers in Berlin we explained the concept and gave him a sneak preview of the frames.
Now, Johan loves steel. Old, new, vintage, you name it, he’s into it. But, what he’s particularly fond of is rare steel. And there aren’t many birds rarer than these two frames. He wanted one.
We struck a deal and swapped one of the two frames for a box of custom Ass-Savers. Hoorah — now we had something to share with the brethren at Eroica.
On the day of the event we made sure that every rider rolled out with a custom Ass-Saver. Rain wasn’t forecast in the Karoo for the next year or two, but hey, why should this story make sense. It’s about bikes, right?
After the event, we tossed Johan’s frame in a box and posted it off to Ass-Savers HQ in Gothenburg. Upon arrival, the stoke started to flow on Johan’s Instagram. He really liked this frame.
In short order, Johan dressed it up with an unseemly amount of carbon. A pair of very custom HiFi wheels appeared and an SRAM red drivetrain was mounted. These were followed soon by parts very close to our hearts: a Nitto bar and stem. The frame had morphed into a dream build. We were jealous. Very jealous. It was at this point that we asked ourselves, why should Johan have all the fun?
We wanted to be able to ride it, too. So, what did we do? Made a video game, of course.
A friend foolishly volunteered to build the game for us and set to work on the first ever side scroller to accompany a frame launch.
The finished product features Johan rolling through Montagu, South Africa, jumping dangerous wildlife and snaffling Ass-Savers for immunity. Look real close and you can see him smiling.
Head over to Ass-Savers to play it. If you’re quick, you could win a free Ass-Saver. The first 50 scores above 20,000 points win an Ass-Saver. The person that holds the top score for a week or longer gets a special bonus prize, as well. Be quick to win.
Likewise, if you'd like to buy one of these Ass-Savers, do it over here. If you want the other frame, drop us a line.