Embracing Tradition and Innovation: A Journey with F. Duarte Bicycles
Greetings, cycling enthusiasts! Today, I am thrilled to talk about F. Duarte, a three-generational family business in Bogota, Colombia, with an impressive 55 years of bicycle building experience. Watch the video below, as we explore the legacy, craftsmanship, and upcoming innovations that make this bicycle builder a hidden gem in the cycling world.
Discovering the Heritage
F. Duarte traces its roots back to the grandfather of the current generation, who kickstarted the journey over five decades ago with the acquisition of an Italian frame-building machine known as the "Jig." What began as a modest endeavor has transformed into a legacy of bicycle craftsmanship. Today, F. Duarte is not just a brand; it's a testament to the enduring passion for building exceptional bicycles.
(The first Italian Jig is displayed in the Shop)
The story starts with Jose Duarte who lived in Bogota, Colombia. Jose had a passion for bicycles and bicycle riding. He wanted to build amazing bicycles for Latin people in South America. Not only did he build bicycles, but he created the most iconic brand in all of Latin America to this day.
(Jose Duarte in his early bicycle racing days)
F. Duarte is not a well known name in North America or Europe, even though everyone in LATAM knows exactly who they are. Talk to a local bike builder in Central or South America, and they will always reference F. Duarte as the best in the world. Want to see a business owner hanging up iconic bicycles on their walls or in their personal collection, you will always see a Duarte bicycle in the collection of a South American.
(Jose Duarte in Berlin, Germany and around Colombia in the 1990's)
The 2nd Generation Duarte Bicycle Builder
As we toured the shop, one of the things we noticed is how meticulously it was maintained. Every tool in the correct spot, every machine cleaned and ready for action. We observed the meticulous crafting of titanium, chromoly, stainless steel, to the delicate artistry involved in carbon fiber repair, each step is a nod to the family's dedication to perfection. This is all led by Jose Duarte's son, Fabio Duarte.
The first generation started with Jose Duarte and we had a chance to talk to the second generation Fabio Duarte. Fabio is meticulous in how the bicycle shop is run. You can see his dedication to organization and to quality. Always talking with his welders, inspecting welds, and still getting his hands dirty by stepping in and doing some of the work.
The Artistic Touch
Building bicycles is an art form that is undeniable. It is not only the welding and placement of raw steel tubes that configure the masterpiece of the bicycle, but the painting as well. On the second floor is where the magic happens, and the distinctive paint process unfolds. Nicholas Duarte showed us around and reveals the evolution of F. Duarte's artistic prowess, showcasing custom designs that are truly one-of-a-kind. From vibrant colors to titanium bead blasting, each bicycle emerging from F. Duarte's workshop is a canvas of innovation.
The 3rd Generation of Duarte Bicycle Builders
Nicolas and David Duarte are the third generation of bicycle builders in this family business. They have grown up around bicycle building their entire lives and are starting to bring F. Duarte forward with new solutions and technology. They are the bridge between old world bicycle building and the new world of bicycle sales and marketing. You can find their new website at Fabio Duarte Bikes to see their craftsmanship brought online. Not only that, they have a great instagram page that highlights their current journey and fantastic bicycle builds.
A 4th Generation of Builders?
When I was touring the F. Duarte factory, David was not with us. We had the privilege of talking with Nicolas for our entire trip. The good news, is David and his wife have introduced a new generation of Duarte to the world with his first son. Congratulations to David, his wife and the entire Duarte family.
A New Chapter: Stainless Steel and Titanium Co-branded Bicycles
Exciting news awaits the cycling community! In 2024, F. Duarte will introduce a new chapter in their legacy by offering Stainless Steel and Titanium co-branded bicycles. This bold move marks a fusion of tradition and innovation, promising a thrilling ride for cyclists seeking unparalleled quality. Go Grava will be working with F. Duarte to bring these masterpiece bicycles to North America. We cannot wait to show everyone what we have for 2024.
Join Us at the Philadelphia Bike Expo
Save the date! On March 16th, 2024, F. Duarte and GoGrava will be showcasing these groundbreaking bicycles at the Philadelphia Bike Expo (www.phillybikeexpo.com). Immerse yourself in the world of cycling innovation and witness the unveiling of these extraordinary co-branded bicycles.
Connect with GoGrava
Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this article to stay informed about our journey and when we have these amazing bicycles for sale. GoGrava is committed to bringing unique, quality products from North, Central, and South America to the global cycling community, GoGrava is proud to collaborate with F. Duarte in this exciting venture.
Stay Tuned for Future Updates and don't forget to follow. Here are the updates below.
Stay connected with our YouTube channel for updates on our business journey and the thrilling collaborations with F. Duarte. Don't miss the chance to witness the future of cycling innovation as we bring you the latest developments in the world of bicycling.
GoGrava will be rebuilding its webpage in the next few months. Watch for that. Also, we are looking to open our first commercial space in 2024 near Reading, PA. More information coming soon.
Pedal with passion, embrace the legacy—join us on this exciting ride with F. Duarte and GoGrava! We look forward to sharing this journey with everyone and spreading this American journey around the world.