Based in Dublin, Ireland, FiftyOne Bikes is a manufacturer of hand-built custom road bikes and factory-built gravel bikes. Every bike is made to our exacting standards and designed to the especially textured understanding we have of the needs of each individual rider.
Behind the name
Cycling is a unique sport, one in which it’s teams that compete, but individuals who win and lose. Every team has its designated leader, and the only way for the team to win is for every other member to sacrifice himself in the service of the one. So, when the team members receive their dossards (race numbers), the leader’s always carries a number ending in ‘1’ – ‘11’, ’21, ‘31’ – a subtle sign to make them stand out from their team-mates. First, but not among equals.
For over six decades of Tour de France history, dossard number ‘1’ – worn by the defending champion – was the most prized, and by far the most successful. But then, four times in nine years, the Tour de France was won by the rider wearing dossard number 51. And these were no ordinary Tours.
Eddy Merckx rode to his first win, in his first Tour, in 1969. Merckx was absent in 1973 when outsider Luis Ocaña crushed the competition in both the mountains and the time trials, winning by over 15 minutes. Bernard Thévenet effectively ended the Merckx era, and took the Tour, with a dramatic attack on the Col d’Izoard on Bastille Day 1975.
1978 saw the arrival of a new era, as Bernard Hinault took the first of what would become five yellow jerseys. Four of the greatest stories, and the greatest champions, in Tour history.
Ever since, race number 51 has had a special mystique that sets its bearer apart. Awarding dossard 51 is a way for any race’s organiser to honour a special rider, a subtle sign to make them stand out from their colleagues.