Rick approached us for a second bike build, his first being a carbon steel gravel bike we built 5 years ago. Unfortunately in February this year he was doored and the bike a write-off, fortunately with very little damage to the rider! This bike is to replace Saffron 1 with the new rig a little bit of an upgrade to say the least. Rick’s super easy going attitude made him a pleasure to work with.
Rick requested the build to be ridden fast off road but able to have the versatility to stick on narrower tyres for road riding when needed.
For a gravel steel bike she turned out to be quite a light weight build coming in at a little shy of 8kg. The idea of the build was to keep it as simple and understated as possible. We chose Columbus XCR for most of the tubes along with 29r chain stays from KVA. The sleeve for the carbon ISP is made from Reynolds 921. The Carbon ISP is custom laid up for us to give the tube as much flexibility as possible with torsional strength. This allows the rider to get as much comfort as possible while cutting the weight (and it looks really slick). Our principal is always picking the best tubes for the job and this build illustrates that well. The frame geometry has steep angles and high BB giving the bike a lively feel. The frame is designed to take 650B x 45mm tyres as well as 700c x 40mm tyres. If needed a set of 700c x 28mm can be thrown on to make this bike truly versatile.
The dropouts are Syntace with the flat mount bosses integrated into the chainstay. The internal routing enters the top of the down tube and runs through the T47 BB shell and exits at the brake mount in the chain stay. This paired to a wireless groupset makes it a very clean build!
Given this is set up for gravel riding we went with a mullet build for the groupset. We used Sram for the wireless setup to give us the ability to pair mountain bike gear ratios with road shifters and brakes.
-The Groupset is a mix of Sram AXS Eagle with a Red AXS
-The cassette is 10-50 with a 42 tooth chainring up front
-160mm centre lock rotors
-Columbus Futura Gravel fork with 47mm rake
-Chris king inset 8 headset
-Berk Lupina saddle
-Enve handlebar and stem
-DTswiss 180 hubs laced onto a set of carbon hoops with 35mm on the front and 45mm deep on the rear
-Panaracer tubeless gravel king 38mm tyres
-Rideworks T47 BB for a dub Axel.
-Fabric silicone handlebar tape
The construction method is TIG welded to reduce the frame weight and give the option to leave it in a raw finish. If we were to fillet braze the frame the fillets would start to oxidize as soon as they were exposed to the atmosphere.
The Saffron logo on the down tube, chain stays and seat stays are polished to give a subtle contrast to the media blasted finish of the rest of the frame. The carbon fork and ISP have been finished with a protective layer of polish which is used on yacht masts.
Loving the clean and elegant finish giving a slight industrial feel.
“OMG Matthew what have you done! I’ve just been out for an hour on the new rig. Just wheeling it through the front door made my heart skip. It rolls incredibly smooth on tar with gravel tyres. I cannot imagine what she will be like with slicks. I am now itching to let her loose on the trails. And on top of all that, the bike is just insanely beautiful. I’m still very sad to have parted with Saffron 1, but Saffron 2 is certainly going to ease the mourning process. Chapeau!”