Darren’s request of a steel race bike with a carbon ISP is definitely up our alley. What made for a winning combination is that he is very local to the workshop, so we were able to work closely together to build him the perfect racing bike. Darren is very meticulous about what he wants, and we had been on his radar for three years until he made the decision to put his leg over a Saffron. He wanted the build to be his Sunday Best, as well as his out and out racer. Absolutely no expense was spared with this build. Darren was not interested in disc brakes or Di2. He just wanted a lightweight, super functional groupset, so the Dura Ace 9100 was the perfect match for this build.
The frame was an absolute pleasure for us to make. Darren wanted something that was stiff and lightweight at the same time, which is not always achievable – but we hit the nail on the head with this one. We used Columbus XCR for the chainstays and seatstays. The Columbus HX downtube has a flat section on top, helping a bit for stiffness. The top tube was a Columbus Spirit. The Integrated Seat Post was made up for us by Enve, which is 34.9mm in diameter. The angles and the geometry of the frame are nice and steep, with a 73 degree headtube, and a fork running at a 43mm rake.
For the dropouts, Darren wanted something a little bit more unique and not so off the shelf. We commissioned Bentley Components to CNC some out of 17/4 stainless steel.
The paint design is inspired by Cloudwater Brewery, interpreted onto the bicycle as a pastel fade. Owing to the delicate hand of Jack Johnson, who was able to lay down the colour in a precise fashion, the finish is faultless. We also went to the extent of repainting the Enve decals on the rims, to match the paint job on the frame.
The saddle was covered by Grafton Saddler. They did a fantastic job of bringing the colours of the fade through the perforated leather, which also incorporated the Saffron logo.
We were reluctant to let this one go!
“Everyone bike magazine you pick up, every online article you read, always talks about the custom bicycle being the holy grail. The blurb talks about compliance and durability, comfort and speed. Whilst having the ability to literally design what you want
If I am honest with myself, I did fall for the marketing and the romance of having a custom built bike, but I am so glad I did.
The sky is truly the limit with regards to what can be done, custom drop outs, custom geometry cable routing, tyre clearance and of course the most difficult thing…the paint. All of these are of primary concern to get the bike to complement how you as a rider, ride.And as for the ride…well of course its compliant and comfortable, very quick to get up to speed, but it’s the fact that it fits perfectly that really grabs me. It just feels right.
Long live the custom bicycle”