Urban Cyclist - - Bike Grouptest -

New builder Son­net was only set up in Jan­uary 2017 and, judg­ing by the se­rial num­ber, this was the very first track bike to roll off its ar­ti­sanal pro­duc­tion line. The frames – ei­ther cus­tom ge­om­e­try or off the peg – are built in Europe, and then fin­ished and built in Hack­ney, East Lon­don.

The Colum­bus SL Spirit-tubed MkII Track is a lovely piece of ma­chin­ery that’s been fin­ished to bike-show stan­dard: the pol­ished lugs are ex­em­plary and the metal­lic/sap­phire blue paintjob shows off the sub­tly shaped tubes in the stays and the down­tube that are rolled to in­crease strength and per­for­mance. Son­net draws its in­spi­ra­tion from the old-fash­ioned Ital­ian race bikes of cy­cling’s golden gen­er­a­tion. So as be­fits the frame and its fin­ish, it’s taste­fully at­tired through­out. The neg­a­tive-ris­ing Nitto quill stem, match­ing com­pact drop bars and the Rolls sad­dle all evoke per­for­mance com­po­nents of yes­ter­year.

The drilled-out TRP brake levers are matched to Cam­pag­nolo (what else?) Potenza brakes, which are the best on test by a coun­try mile. They bite into old-fash­ioned but rock-solid Mavic Open Pro wheels (Sapim spokes, Miche Pri­mato hubs) that are hand-built by renowned wheel-builder Harry Row­land. They’re not the flashiest of wheels, but in the nor­mal course of events with a tru­ing here and there, these wheels should last un­til the rims wear out years into the fu­ture.

At the back, the free­wheel is a White In­dus­tries ENO unit, which as well as be­ing one of the best on the mar­ket, sounds de­li­cious, like an ex­pen­sive fly reel spool­ing out line. The fixed gear is an An­del unit. Again, these are com­po­nents cho­sen to last.

As for the ride, the Colum­bus SL frame­set is on the firm side, but the big plus is that it moves along nicely when you stamp on the ped­als. The stiff gear­ing of a 48x18 (72gi) is mar­vel­lous to look at, but it does mean build­ing mo­men­tum is some­times a strug­gle for out-of-shape thighs.

At £1,499 for the frame­set alone, it’s a se­ri­ous in­vest­ment but this is a bike built for pur­pose. Its track cre­den­tials mean the ride isn’t as for­giv­ing as the Ge­n­e­sis and Tem­ple but, with these looks, it’s still easy to love.

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