Specialized x Red Hook Crit Milano Edition

Designer Erik Nohlin finds inspiration in 1980s postmodern design

What started as an illegal alleycat has since grown into a widely celebrated sanctioned road race with international stops and an equally diverse fanbase. Still, the Red Hook Crit retains its renegade spirit, as racers ride brake-less bikes at break-neck speeds on rough city streets, jostling for position full tilt to the end. To celebrate this balls out mentality, Specialized’s lead designer of Adventure and resident black metal-obsessed Swede, Erik Nolhin, has come up with one hell of a custom bike design to be ridden by the two series leaders, Colin Strickland and Aldo Ino Ilesic of team Allez-Allez Specialized.

Inspired by Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass and his work as founder of the Memphis Group, a hugely influential postmodernists artist collective that shook up the arts and design world throughout the early 1980s. Sottsass and the group broke every rule, challenged every known way of designing, and encouraged creativity above all—even form. Though the style is effectively the opposite of Nohlin’s usual Scandinavian palate, the attitude is one in the same. As such, the resulting RHC Milano collection is entirely out there, both in terms of extreme aesthetics and superior craftsmanship. Nohlin painstakingly designed and decorated each and every inch of the rider’s exclusive bikes—save for the frame, which he left raw in a rather counterintuitive move—spending countless hours taping, painting, and weeding. (The madman never seems to half ass anything, just look at the Sequoia for goodness sake.)

UPDATE: The fourth and final race of the 2016 RHC Championship series was held in Milan on Saturday, 1 October, with Aldo Ino Ilesic of Team Allez-Allez Specialized finishing third, as he had done on the three previous occasions—held in Brooklyn, London, and Barcelona. Aldo's teammate, American Colin Strickland followed up his three 1st place victories with an 8th place finish. Still, the results were impressive enough to secure Strickland and Ino Ilesic first and second place in the overall championship standings. Nice work gang. Surely your wild kits were put to good use.

Read up on the RHC Milano build here, check out the custom Brooklyn bike here, and get a behind-the-scenes look here

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