Snow in Los Angeles, tornadoes in Texas, floods in Yorkshire… It seems the weather is getting more an more topsy-turvy with every passing month. But if Winter Is Coming, then Matthew Sowter of London’s Saffron’s Frameworks is going to be prepared; he’s just completed a personal fast and functional road bike for the inclement weather.
European cycling — and commuting especially — is a harsh environment, but a great test of both rider and equipment. Matthew has been looking forward to installing and trialling some new components that have hit the market over the last year to gauge their reliability. He’s also moved into a new workshop which required a new commuter bike.
The Winter Bike isn’t just a commuter: the geometry is highly versatile. The frame was designed with Schwalbe’s 28c Pro One tyres and a pair of tubeless, disc-specific road rims from Kinesis who, incidentally, have been manufacturing proudly in the UK for close to twenty years. The wheelset will be resilient enough for miles of UK riding.
Naturally, matching fenders were incorporated into the design, with the mounts tidily hidden on the inside of the fork and stays. But they can be removed, allowing tyres up to 30c with tread to be installed, which means Matt can veer off down any green lane he likes. Alternatively, the frame’s stiffness and a pair of 25c tyres turns it into a fast pacer.
Matt’s new ride gave him the opportunity to try Shimano’s new Ultegra Flat Mount disc brake calipers, which will provide reliable stopping power no matter how much water is in the air or on the ground. The experience will be valuable in learning how future frames can be shaped around their smaller body.
The ultra-dependable Airstream Supernova lights were enlisted for this build, lighting the road without dazzling drivers. The rear has found its way onto the right-hand seat stay, mounted near the 142x12mm thru axle. The thru axle improves stiffness in the rear triangle, making for a more responsive ride.
Even the paint scheme was considered, utilising bright and contrasting colours in bold blocks, although the colour of the rear half looks like it references Piccadilly Circus after a rare snowfall. Which, if these crazy weather systems keep up, may not be so rare. At least Matt will have plenty of opportunities to test the equipment.