First look: New Ti bikes and some fine looking wheels from Spin Cycleworks

Titanium frames and lots of other goodies from new manufacturer aiming to be the best

by Dave Atkinson   May 12, 2011  

Ever heard of Spin Cycleworks? Possibly, possibly not: they're fairly new in the cycling scene but the company has been formed of the back of a solid background of engineering in other fields. Spin's MD Drew Gill has been working with Titanium for many years, and riding Titanium bikes since the first ones appeared. But he's always thought he could make a better one, and the Spin range is his opening salvo.

First things first: we don't think we've ever seen welds neater than these on any Titanium bike at any price. They really are pretty special. Where are the frames made? They're 'Made in Titanium', says the nice Spin brochure. They're actually made in China in Spin's own facility – they don't make bikes for anyone else – and Drew is confident that the quality of the construction is second to none. Given the way the welds are performed, we'd be hard pressed to argue. Interestingly, three quarters of their welders are women. The welds are so neat in some places that they look more like embroidery than welding; at first we thought they'd been filed but, says Drew, anything that would need filing down goes on the reject pile.

We spent a lot of time talking about the welds, actually. Go on, have another look at those welds above. They're pretty special. Anyway, enough about that. The Spin range is three bikes, two road machines (Spitfire MKII and Spitfire MKIII) and a track iron, the Solo Ultimo. The bikes are made from a mix of 3/2.5 titanium and the much harder 6Al 6V Ti that is used for things like the drop outs and which Spin machine in house. The main tubes are crafted from 3/2.5 Titanium tubing which Spin manipulate to create some interesting shapes. The down tubes of all three bikes are bi-ovalised to be elongated at the head tube and flattened at the bottom bracket. This adds vertical stiffness at the head tube and lateral stiffness at the cranks to deal with the different loads.

The road-race-ready Spitfire MKIII has a top tube that goes from a sort of rounded off triangle (sorry, tri-axial diamorphic) to a flattened oval along its length, while the the MKII has a more traditional round member there. Both of the road bikes use a double butted seat tube but the MKIII is a larger diameter for a stiffer feel. The MKII (below) is built more for comfort and is aimed more at the sportive market than the racer, though both bikes share the same race-oriented geometry, classic horizontal top tube lines, shortish head tubes and classic 73/73 geometry (well, there or thereabouts, it's adjusted slightly across the size range).

Spin don't just make frames though, they make all sorts of other stuff. The frameset prices for the Spitfire road bikes are £2,150 and £2,350, but you're getting a lot more than just a frame and Carbon fork. You're getting a machined 6/4 Titanium headset, for a start. And a Titanium stem. And a Titanium seatpost. And a set of Spin's own Carbon bars. All of those components are made in-house and are designed to marry perfectly with the frame and fork.

The Solo Ultimo track bike comes in at two grand, it's tighter and steeper with a very short back end. It's definitely track-ready in terms of geometry but sensibly there's a drilled brake bridge for road duties, and you get the option of a titanium flat bar to replace the Carbon drops if you're going to be rocking your hipster jeans rather than your lycra.

On top of that, Spin showed us some of their very nice looking wheels. They hand-build them out of good quality components and they're light and pretty reasonably priced, so there's a lot to like there. Again there's good attention to detail: each wheel is built with malleable brass washers between the spoke head and the hub flange to better distribute the forces and guard against failure. You can see them in the pic above.

Bottom of the range is a 30mm Aluminium clincher that put us in mind of Pro-Lite's excellent Bracciano. At a claimed 1,520g and £329 for a pair they're very much in the same ball park, so we're itching to get some in to compare and contrast. The Quicksilver finish is jolly nice and well worth the extra £20 over black ones, we reckon. Spin use their own hubs with some standard components (freehubs and bearings) and the wheels come with rather natty QuickLight skewers.

Spin also make a 50mm Carbon rim in clincher and tubular flavours; at £1,049 and 1,470g (claimed) the clinchers are both lighter and a bit cheaper than the Reynolds Assault C hoops we had in not so long ago, so again it'll be interesting to compare them. The tubs are just 1,240g claimed weight. All Spin's wheels are built up with DT Swiss spokes.

Nearly done, but we thought we'd quickly mention the one-piece cassettes: There's an 11spd Campag one and a 10spd Shimano/SRAM one, and it takes the CNC the best part of half an hour to do all that milling; the end result is a cassette with a claimed weight of under 100g. You can have a silver ceramic coating or gold Titanium Nitride if you're feeling a bit bling. 12-23, 12-25 and 12-27 incarnations are available and they cost a lot of money.

If you want to read more about the range head on over to www.velotechservices.co.uk for a gander. We'll be getting a Spitfire MKIII and some wheels in for a go soon enough, so stay tuned for just-ins and reviews...

 

24 user comments

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I thought I was reading the Daily Mail circa 1950: "Interestingly, three quarters of their welders are women. The welds are so neat in some places that they look more like embroidery ..." what a load of sexist drivel - really disappointing. The gender of the welders is irrelevant - women in China (or anywhere else don't have a monopoly on emroidery either).

Mike
-------__0
--- --- \_ \¬
------ (+) / (+)______ better by bike!

Mike McBeth's picture

posted by Mike McBeth [72 posts]
12th May 2011 - 11:57

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Which metal are the one piece cassettes made from?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1300 posts]
12th May 2011 - 12:13

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well, I put the bit in about embroidery Mike cos it's so neat it does look like stitching, we weren't making any connection between the gender of the welders and the quality of the welds - you brought the sexism to the table. We mentioned the fact that such a high proportion of their welders are women because it's interesting. If it makes you feel any better Spin said that their very best welder was a man.

In fact, women make up a significant part of the workforce in the bicycle industry in Asia, but mostly I had thought in the area of carbon production – where, like it or not, their work is generally felt to be superior to men's when it comes to attention to detail. I don't know if they are cheaper too, but back in the day when Taiwan produced more high end welded frames than carbon the welders tended to be men.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4110 posts]
12th May 2011 - 13:14

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cat1commuter wrote:
Which metal are the one piece cassettes made from?

They're made from Aluminium.

Mike: you don't think that the fact that the majority of their welders are women is interesting? That's fine. I found it interesting because – and do let me know if your experience is different – the majority of professional welders I've met in the UK are men. In fact, all of them have been, so far.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7026 posts]
12th May 2011 - 13:52

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I hope my Enigma was welded by a man. A real man. One who drinks pints of nails, has tattoos covering two-thirds of his body and acrid sweat dripping off his nose. Simply nothing else will do! Surprise

I think it's interesting, but only relevant to the story if the women were selected specifically because their welding skills are better than men's. There may be other factors that came into play. Like there's a higher paying Geely factory down the road that snapped up all the men.

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posted by simonmb [360 posts]
12th May 2011 - 14:11

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W
A
N
T

posted by vinnn [38 posts]
12th May 2011 - 14:15

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ffs mike, lighten up. I think it's great that the women of China have embraced the profession of welding, presumably without any painfully earnest help from you.

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posted by mattbianchi [15 posts]
12th May 2011 - 14:44

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Mike McBeth wrote:
I thought I was reading the Daily Mail circa 1950: "Interestingly, three quarters of their welders are women. The welds are so neat in some places that they look more like embroidery ..." what a load of sexist drivel - really disappointing. The gender of the welders is irrelevant - women in China (or anywhere else don't have a monopoly on emroidery either).

Mike, I hate to point out the bleeding obvious...but I'm going to do it anyway:

"Interestingly, three quarters of their welders are women. (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT THERE IS A FULL STOP AT THIS POINT, ANNOUNCING THE END OF THAT STATEMENT, NOW CONTINUE WITH YOUR READING OF THE NEXT, ENTIRELY SEPARATE, STATEMENT) The welds are so neat in some places that they look more like embroidery ..."

Does that make things any clearer? If not, then I suggest you clamber down from your high horse and observe it a little more closely.

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posted by hatchet harry [12 posts]
12th May 2011 - 15:03

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dave_atkinson wrote:
Mike: you don't think that the fact that the majority of their welders are women is interesting? That's fine. I found it interesting because – and do let me know if your experience is different – the majority of professional welders I've met in the UK are men. In fact, all of them have been, so far.

Aren't most of Lynskey's welders women?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1300 posts]
12th May 2011 - 15:10

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To think that this is made by potentially hot chicks makes me double WANT Big Grin

posted by vinnn [38 posts]
12th May 2011 - 15:17

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vinnn wrote:
To think that this is made by potentially hot chicks makes me double WANT Big Grin

'Titanium tubes, rolled on the thighs of Chinese women'. Good call. Works for me too Day Dreaming

It's incredible that there are so many comments about WHO made the welds, rather than just commenting on the quality. The work looks superb.

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posted by simonmb [360 posts]
12th May 2011 - 15:27

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cat1commuter wrote:
Aren't most of Lynskey's welders women?

I don't know, I haven't met them Thinking

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7026 posts]
12th May 2011 - 15:27

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Your guess is as good as mine, cat1:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lynskey_ti/4366297856/

Big Grin

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7026 posts]
12th May 2011 - 15:29

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I only want a frame welded by a hermaphrodite.

It's not just about the size of your cog.

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posted by TRs Blurb n Blog [270 posts]
12th May 2011 - 15:40

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TRs Blurb n Blog wrote:
I only want a frame welded by a hermaphrodite.

That would be Aplysia californica (California sea hare), methinks !

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

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posted by timbola [200 posts]
12th May 2011 - 15:54

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Thanks timbola, I'll look it up when I am back at home Wink

It's not just about the size of your cog.

TRs Blurb n Blog's picture

posted by TRs Blurb n Blog [270 posts]
12th May 2011 - 16:38

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I wonder if you can buy a frame from the reject pile? Probably the only way I could ever afford one! (Or at least, justify the cost to my other half)

Ticktock

posted by Michael5 [121 posts]
12th May 2011 - 19:32

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Saw these on eBay a little while back. Certainly a good looking range of bikes.

posted by Velo_Alex [62 posts]
12th May 2011 - 20:08

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I've a Condor Moda Ti which is,I believe, made in a democratic country Italy by Deda. It may or may not have been welded by beautiful Italian women. It's certainly been sand-etched to make the perfect welds even better than Dave's Spin. (Sorry Dave but take a look..). Can I still eat shreddies btw - or is it sexist to enjoy cereal knitted by grannies?

I must add that the adult respect for others that made the Road.CC site such a treat has been slipping recently. We aren't at the sad teenage gangster name calling stage of YouTube yet but if we carry on arguing with all the knee jerks then we soon could be!

MercuryOne

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [929 posts]
13th May 2011 - 0:56

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Talking of frames, I still want a handmade Reynolds 953 - please, please, please, let it be me to win the lottery tonight ! Oh, and if anybody has an old Frank Herety frame in Columbus SL, painted Rosso Red, serial number SL20, approx 20.5" ... I'd like it back after it was stolen in 1985 Crying . Well, you never know how many owners there have been since then.

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [200 posts]
13th May 2011 - 9:00

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Quote:
even better than Dave's Spin

It's not my Spin, they rather selfishly took it away with them Big Grin

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7026 posts]
13th May 2011 - 9:54

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Anyone know if the red seat post clamp is a Spin one or off the shelf? I need me one of those!

posted by tawnycam [12 posts]
13th May 2011 - 18:26

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Seat post is off the shelf, they do loads of components. I have test ridden one and they are brilliant the quality is far higher than any other titanium I have seen. I am no expert but I am convinced.
Add to this that these guys are located in the midlands and run their own factory so have full control, all has got to be good.
I'm saving now to swap my Cervelo for one of these!

posted by FatBoyW [7 posts]
3rd June 2012 - 7:44

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I meant Off the shelf of Spin! Met Drew and he makes pretty much all components and will sell those individually

posted by FatBoyW [7 posts]
3rd June 2012 - 7:45

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