We want the finest drillium available to humanity, we want it here and we want it now.

There are two mythical materials used in the construction of high-end bike frames, both of which are million miles away from the current crabon hegemony. The first of these is known simply as ‘unobtainium‘. A longstanding member of the london bicycle community and early guiding light of the LFGSS forum, known only as Cornelius, or Corny to his chums, rode a bike made of purest unobtainum. It was reputed that it had been built using materials left over from the construction of the space shuttle. It was shiny and silver and shimmered delicately in the smog.

Even rarer than unobtanium is the delicate filigree finish of a piece of finest drillium. The high-water mark for drillium was the 1960s and 70s, a time when weight was seen as the definitive measure, prior to the relentless focus on slipperiness cemented by Lemond’s Tour victory. Drillium is a startling frame material, two parts emmental to three parts solid silver. Occasionally an example comes up on fleabay or via Hilary Stone. Several minutes can be spent gazing at the delicate curlicues and intense fragility of the wonder material. Alf Engers is seen in some quarters of the King of Drillium. Some of his Shorter frames and components defined the aesthetic and practical limitations of the material.

For some time i’ve been exchanging pictures of drillium with Elliot Davis, with each trying to outdo the other with a new and outrageous example. I sent him the images of the Aende, the bicycling equivalent of mint aero. He linked to the campag seatpost. I thought it only right and proper that i share some of these meisterwerks with you. Feel free to add your drillium tales to the comments thread.

Chainset , brake levers, seat post of purest drillium
holy drillium, batman
drillium fork steerer
beautiful high-end drillium
not dissimilar to the airlite hub, but much more extreme
Molteni Merckx Drillium

5 thoughts on “We want the finest drillium available to humanity, we want it here and we want it now.

  1. john mills February 7, 2013 / 7:36 am

    drooooollll … 🙂

  2. devonbikester February 7, 2013 / 7:57 am

    No wonder I love this blog, when I was about 14 I was whizzing around on a Raleigh Olympus road bike with a slammed stem and a gear lever of finest drillium. I drilled it out in my dad’s shed and it was a bit wonky, but is was drillium no less. Just what you need on a bike with a steel chainset held with cotter pins! I still have the gear lever as a key fob. It makes me smile every time I see it.

    I think drillium was pushed aside by the early 1980’s Shimano Aero groupset (was it AX?) way before Lemond showed us how to do it.

    • traumfahrrad February 7, 2013 / 8:01 am

      glad to hear it. I now want a drillium lever key ring. i found an old rory o’brien in a field; the frame was bent but the parts were all drillium, including modolo brake levers. i think the alignment of the drillium on the lever was also a bit wonktastic on that one.

      true re: AX – but i opted for the word ‘cemented’ because arguably Lemond’s win was when aero became completely validated.

  3. Young Matt February 7, 2013 / 9:24 am

    Loving this humorous article, Comedy and bikes, all we need now is a naked woman to display them.keep up the good work.

  4. ian manners February 7, 2013 / 2:19 pm

    gotta love withnail and i…

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