Saf­fron Frame­works

£Cus­tom One of Lon­don-based Saf­fron's two new road bikes to be launched in Oc­to­ber

Cycling Plus - - NEW GEAR | SIX OF THE BEST... -

Saf­fron Frame­works’ Matthew Souter swapped the heat of the kitchen for the flames of a braz­ing torch a decade ago. The Cape Town-born for­mer fine­din­ing chef learnt his new trade at Enigma Cy­cles be­fore go­ing it alone set­ting up near the Thames in Lon­don, where all Saf­fron frames are man­u­fac­tured and fin­ished.

In Oc­to­ber, Saf­fron is launch­ing two new frames, the Best Bike here and a more clas­si­clook­ing steel bike made from what Souter calls ‘naked’ Columbus XCR steel. Saf­fron’s unique one-off bikes will be lim­ited to a dozen or­ders a year.

That said, the new mod­els are them­selves cus­tom with, “every sin­gle or­der start­ing as a blank can­vas” Souter says. “There are ab­so­lutely no stock sizes and one of the two frames will be a per­fect fit for what­ever type of cy­cling you do.”

This one is de­signed as a “fast steel road bike that you could race on” and at just over 7kg it is im­pres­sively light for a bike made pre­dom­i­nantly of steel with a smat­ter­ing of car­bon.

The frame is made from a com­bi­na­tion of Columbus Spirit HSS, Spirit Keirin and car­bon steel with Columbus stain­less steel chain­stays and a stain­less steel bot­tom bracket shell.

The Saf­fron frame’s most un­usual fea­ture is its ISP ‘in­te­grated seat­post’, which is ac­tu­ally a 30mm di­am­e­ter car­bon seat tube that segues into the post in a sin­gle piece. This has a “spe­cially made car­bon layup de­signed to give the seat­post some flex­i­bil­ity, while hav­ing suf­fi­cient tor­sional strength so that it doesn't snap”. Souter feels that this com­bi­na­tion of steel and car­bon makes the most of both ma­te­ri­als’ char­ac­ter­is­tics, with the big box-sec­tion steel down tube beefed up for ex­tra stiff­ness.

The kit adorn­ing the Saf­fron within its ul­tra­dis­tinc­tive paint­work, is of the high­est qual­ity. The com­plete Shi­mano Dura-Ace Di2 elec­tronic groupset is ac­com­pa­nied by deep-sec­tion ENVE SES car­bon wheels, the same com­pany's han­dle­bar and a PRO stem. Tyres are the new (and highly rated by us) Con­ti­nen­tal 5000 TLs.

Prices will be con­firmed at the time of the Oc­to­ber launch and Saf­fron also plans to re­duce the present seven-month lead time for its unique cus­tom mod­els to a more man­age­able two-and-a-half months. Souter sees its new bikes as a “state­ment from us, build­ing on our 10 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence”. And while all the mod­els are cus­tom bikes. “You don't need a moun­tain of knowl­edge to or­der one.”

The frame is made from Columbus Spirit HSS and Keirin steels with a 30mm di­am­e­ter car­bon seat­post

The su­per-shiny stain­less steel chain­stays meet painted ends and some ul­tra-tidy dropouts

One of the bike's USPs is its ISP – 'In­te­grated seat­post', an allin-one car­bon seat tube and post

A fin­ish of this qual­ity de­mands a head­set that com­ple­ments it, hence the Chris King

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