Cyclists living in the UK tend to get most of their miles in wet weather and low light on road surfaces that are not always perfect. For this reason I wanted to construct myself a “winter” bike which would also showcase some new technologies that have recently found their way into road cycling from other disciplines. This bike will also see regular mileage on my new commute, as I’m moving further away from the workshop.
Shimano’s new flat-mount road specific disc brake calipers were the first must have for the project, the body is so small it will allow for far more creative use of disc brakes in the slightly constrained spaces on road bikes. The power and modulation disc brakes offer in all riding conditions is hard to argue with. UK company Kinesis provided a tubeless compatible disc wheelset which was used in conjunction with Schwalbe’s supple Pro One tyres which should give miles of grippy puncture free riding, with the 28c width soaking up the worst of what the UK roads have to offer. More comfort was added by using a full carbon 27.2mm post, allow for some flexibility – this was topped with Brooks’ new c13 carbon railed Cambium saddle.
For a bike that’s going to be ridden in the worst conditions Di2 really comes into it’s own; no cables to gunk up means shifting is crisp and clean all the time. Lighting on a bike like this should not be an afterthought or an eyesore, and whilst we didn’t want to go for a dynamo system Supernova still offered us the best option. The front light is powerful with a road specific lens to avoid dazzling drivers, and the rear light is so small and powerful we managed to neatly mount it on the offside dropout for maximum visibility on UK roads. Our intention with this off-centre placement was to fool an approaching driver that the centreline of the bike is in fact further toward the middle of the road than it is, hopefully encouraging them to allow more room when passing. All cables or hoses for the the lighting, gear shifting and brakes run internally on the frame. The mudguards are designed to be left in place in normal use on this bike and as such were painted to match the frame and fork – strong colours in a bold, classic pattern. Specifying a 142x12mm thru axle serves to stiffen the rear end of the bike, removing the flex that would normally occur by the slight lengthening of the chainstays and keeping the handling and acceleration snappy.
Now comes the interesting part, with the geometry and specification of this bike it really is a jack-of-all trades. We can remove the mudguards (leaving the mounts hidden on the inside of the stays and forks) and lights, if needed. Up the tyre size to it’s maximum 30c with a little tread, and take it off-road on to explore more of the countryside. Alternatively pop on a pair of fast rolling 25s and the front end geometry and stiff stays will mean you’re on a great handling race bike.