BIKE TEST

Urban Cyclist - - Contents -

Does the clas­sic-look­ing Son­net Mk1 strike all the right notes? Plus a unique com­muter from Canyon and a rather lively folder

£ 2,799.00 Son­net founder Casey Par­son’s aim with the brand was to pro­duce artisan, qual­ity bikes – such as you’ll see in our mas­sive Bespoke cov­er­age on page 42 – at a more af­ford­able price. While not a frame­builder him­self, Casey uses a Euro­pean-based fam­ily frame­builder to con­struct what is an im­pres­sive slab of skinny steel.

Ital­ian heart

By us­ing Ital­ian steel mae­stro’s Colum­bus’ Spirit tub­ing – specif­i­cally their Keirin vari­ant – the Mk1 has a heart com­pris­ing triple-butted steel and one usu­ally re­served for the track. The re­sult is tub­ing that’s stiff where you need it. A real-life ex­am­ple? Sprint­ing away from traf­fic lights and pow­er­ing force through the bot­tom bracket does lit­tle to un­set­tle the frame’s bal­ance. We were also im­pressed to find that it re­tains the lively spring as­so­ci­ated with qual­ity steel; in fact, it achieves this power-com­fort bal­anc­ing act bril­liantly. Up­front the slen­der fork and head tube, and the lux­u­ri­ous Veloflex tyres, make short work of rougher sur­faces. Yes, on oc­ca­sion the front end

can feel a lit­tle more flexi than a car­bon or alu­minium frame, but rather than de­tract from the ride it seems to add char­ac­ter. Else­where it’s top-grade qual­ity through­out with Ja­panese tub­ing ma­nip­u­la­tors Nitto pro­vid­ing their glo­ri­ous Craft stem, with its lus­cious pol­ished fin­ish and enam­eled plaque badge re­mind­ing you that this tra­di­tional quill stem is among the very finest of its kind. The match­ing Nitto M190 bar and post all make for a very con­sid­ered com­po­nent choice. The Mk1 runs on a pair of Mavic Open Pro rims hand built onto clas­sic No­vatec car­tridge hubs by none other than Bri­tish wheel­build­ing legend Harry Row­land. This tester has had a set of wheels built by Harry run­ning on one of his bikes for more than a decade with­out any need for main­te­nance be­yond the oc­ca­sional hub clean, lube and check of the spoke ten­sions. So again, Son­net score highly here.

Lightweight beauty

The over­all weight of just over 9kg is good for a bike of this genre, es­pe­cially when you con­sider that Cam­pag’s Potenza is a few rungs down the lad­der from their lightweight Su­per Record group. Potenza, though, is a great choice, with its pol­ished fin­ish prov­ing a great match to the Nitto parts and pol­ished lugs. The per­for­mance is bang on, too, with Cam­pag’s sig­na­ture click-clunk vo­cal shift let­ting you know it’s hit the right cog ev­ery time. The gear combo is pretty much the sweetspot, with 52/11 giv­ing all the top-end pace po­ten­tial you’ll ever need and the bot­tom 36/29 be­ing your friend when the road re­ally steep­ens. Over­all, the Son­net’s off-the-peg yet artisan build is a suc­cess; in fact, the only down­side is the price. Mind you, Son­net has re­duced prices over the past cou­ple of months and you re­ally can’t ar­gue with that su­perb per­for­mance.

BIKE SPECS Frame Colum­bus Spirit Keirin triple-butted steel / Fork Colum­bus SL 1in steel / Wheels Mavic Open Pro on No­vatec hubs by Harry Row­land / Trans­mis­sion Cam­pag­nolo Potenza 11-speed 52/36, 11-29 / Brakes Cam­pag­nolo Potenza www.son­net.cc

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