|COMMENTS BY John Brain
Allesandro Rorato Plasma Customs “ SUPERLEGGERA”
It’s not often that we see kustom bikes made exclusively out of aluminum, because it takes a unique talent to deal with the challenges of working with such a material. Allesandro Rorato, the talent behind Italy’s “Plasma Customs” is one of the few builders willing to take on such a task. His “Superleggera” bike falls into a number of categories - from sport to performance, and from chopper to experimental. Aluminum is not forgiving, and it needs to be handled differently than other metals. The welding and bending of aluminum is not straightforward, and the fabricator must work around some of its natural limitations. Mind you, if the builder has the special skills to surmount these issues, even these limitations can be overcome.
Superleggera sits low - the top tube of the frame is nearly parallel to the ground, and is positioned just under the level of the tire height. The fork has a pronounced rake, and extends just enough to allow for adequate pedal clearance with the front tire. The fork tubes are rectangular in appearance, and have slotted drop-outs for wheel mounting. Above the fork is a unique handlebar riser - mounted to an aluminum stem - this allows the rider to have an elevated hand grip position. Aluminum handlebars mount to the top of this riser, giving plenty of room for moving legs, and clearance for the steering.
The position of the pedal crank is at the same basic elevation as the front and rear axles, and is in a forward position allowing for correct leg reach. The rear section of the frame - to the axle - is mounted in a way that provides unimpeded clearance for the chain line. Beneath the seat is a beautifully sculptured area normally reserved for a seat post tube. It was fabricated out of matching curved aluminum plates, connected by open ended tubes of the same material, and fully welded together for structural integrity. The frame is not a long extended design; measurements appear to have been kept within reason to keep the bike from being unwieldy.
The most striking technical feature of this machine is its perimeter disc brake. This aspect of the bike is about pure performance, and is visually stunning to see. A large perimeter brake rotor mounts directly to the rim of the rear wheel. This provides unequaled braking area for the disc pads. This aspect of the build is in keeping with Plasma Customs general choice of components. High quality parts and the use of leading edge technology is becoming a trade mark for this Italian fabricator.
“Competition kustom” is a term that could be used to describe the nature of this bike - even its paint scheme relates to automotive racing designs. This bike is in some ways visually subtle; but, to a discerning eye it is also quite extraordinary.
With the creation of “Superleggera” Plasma Customs has again shown that Italian design and craftsmanship is second to none in the world. This is one shop you will want to keep your eye on in the future.