Still in his childhood, Helio Ascari discovered a passion for restoring antique objects – such as clocks, phonographs and, of course, bicycles. He got his first taste of hands-on design when he began working with leather in a shoe factory; this was soon followed by metal and wood fabrication in furniture manufacturing companies.
An early career in fashion began in Brazil, but ended up taking him to New York City, where he had more of an opportunity to explore his artistic inclinations. In 2011, Helio studied at United Bicycles Institute (UBI) in Ashland, Oregon, where he learned bicycle frame fabrication techniques; in 2012 he started Ascari Bicycles.
Helio draws inspiration from the intricacies of Faberge, Carlo and Rembrandt Bugatti, also from old guns and swords, old silver ornaments, vintage cars, architectural designs, mid-century furniture and Danish design. Ascari Bicycles offers classically designed hand-built bicycles for the fashionable cyclist or art appreciator. These bicycles fuse a timeless sense of art with an equally timeless appreciation for craftsmanship. The brand represents a lifestyle, the bicycles serve as both a mode of transportation and icon of style and art.
Carefully handmade to order in New York, the bicycle frames are made out of steel, and brazed with high quality chromium molybdenum. The finer details, and even the brake levers are crafted using a combination of materials such as steel, copper, exotic wood, leather and precious stones – a splendid form of utilitarian artwork. Air pumps and valve caps are also entirely handmade in house, among other custom elements. The wheels are also made in the USA using sophisticated Italian wood rims.
“Looking back to move forward.” – Helio believes that the essence of his creations can be found in this simple sentence. “We live a fast era, everything happens too fast, we should stop and look back to the past and bring the beauty of those glory years back to today’s date. That’s what we do, we are inspired by the sophistication and elegance of the 1930s combining innovation, style and art to my designs.”
Ascari Bicycles; ascaribicycles.com
Bicycle photography © Patrick Farrell