Just in: Spin Spitfire Mk III

High end Titanium road bike with some classy details

by Mat Brett   June 21, 2011  

Titanium, eh? Interesting. There’s not so much of the tough stuff out there anymore but the guys at Spin think it’s still the best frame material there is. We had a look at the new Spin range a few weeks back, now we've got one to play with the Spitfire MkIII.

We get spoilt around here with good-looking bikes. We’ve always got a few gorgeous machines in the road.cc office. But even in our world, the Spitfire Mk III Supermarine is a stunner. It manages to look classic but with enough attention to detail and individuality to mark it out from the crowd. It’s all in the little touches. Manufacturers can try too hard and go over the top when making their bikes and parts stand out. We reckon Spin have stayed on the right side of the line with their design features.

The frame is built from 3Al 2.5V titanium – cold forged and double butted. Why Ti? Well, it’s a very strong material, it builds into lightweight frames, and it won’t break down or corrode. Plus, there are plenty of titanium fans who love the way it rides – we’ll cover that once we’ve actually hit the roads on this bad boy.

Oh, and titanium looks cool too. With a brushed finish like this, you can buff out any scratches in seconds. The guys from Spin sent us a little pad for the job, just in case we altered the saddle height and there were any little imperfections on the titanium seat post. With titanium the looks really can last years.

Spin call the down tube ‘Super Massive Black Hole custom drawn, oversized bi-axial oval’. They’ve got a way with words and a name for everything. Basically, it’s ovalised, the oval standing up on its end at the head tube junction and lying flat on its side down by the bottom bracket, which is how to maximize the contact area for the welds.

The top tube – the ‘Spin Delta oversized tri-axial diamorphic top tube’ – has a shield-shaped profile at the front, becoming more rounded as it slopes gently down towards the seat tube junction. And the triple butted head tube is CNC machined both inside and out.

It’s the details that make the difference. The bosses for the water bottle cages, for example, are welded in place and so are the cable stops. If you’ve ever had a pop rivet fail, you know what a pain it can be. That isn’t going to happen here. The head tube and the machined brake bridge have Spin logos engraved into them, and the 6Al 4V Ti dropouts look neat. You get a little chain hanger on the inside of the right chainstay too – Spin call it a pip – to sling the chain on when you’ve got the rear wheel out. These little things just elevate the overall quality.

The frameset (£2,350) includes a fork and headset and also the seatpost, stem and bars too. The fork is Spin’s Fork in Hell – yes, very good – which has a carbon steerer and dropouts as well carbon blades, and the titanium headset is of the 1 1/8in external variety. Like the spacers, the bottle cage bolts and the seat clamp (although not the seat clamp on our review bike), it comes in ‘purple haze’, which is a variable colour finish, and very attractive it is too.

The seatpost slots straight into the frame – there’s no alloy sleeve in there – and that’s titanium as well. We’re not too sure why it needs to be 400mm long, mind. Guess it’s good insurance against growth spurts. You can choose the length of the stem and the width of the carbon anatomic bars.

That little lot will set you back £2,350. Our Spitfire Mk III is fitted with a SRAM Red groupset with a Rotor Agilis/Q-Rings chainset, Spin’s own 50T carbon aero tubular wheels and a Fizik Arione saddle. In that build it weighs 7.12kg (15.7lb, size XL) and costs £4,827 – although you could save money by going for Rival or Force and cheaper wheels. You could get one on the road for just over £3,600.

Okay, that’s your lot for now. We’ll give you the rest of the details once we’ve taken the Spin for a spin.

 

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

OK for short people, but anyone over 6' is going to find the frames woefully short.

posted by rjw [46 posts]
21st June 2011 - 10:04

5 Likes

Quote:
The bosses for the water bottle cages, for example, are welded in place and so are the cable stops. If you’ve ever had a pop rivet fail, you know what a pain it can be.

I've never seen a pop rivet on a titanium bike. Maybe in the early days or on very cheap direct-from-China models. I would have thought that, if you were going to go to the bother of setting up a titanium welding facility, welding the cable stops on wouldn't be a big deal.

It does look nice, but what are you really getting over, say, a mid-range Lynskey costing a grand less, other than fancy headset spacers, an inappropriate name, and a tacky set of decals?

posted by handlebarcam [529 posts]
21st June 2011 - 11:03

6 Likes

Maybe it won't crack after six months like a Lynskey?

posted by finbar [88 posts]
21st June 2011 - 11:41

5 Likes

handlebarcam wrote:

I've never seen a pop rivet on a titanium bike. Maybe in the early days or on very cheap direct-from-China models. I would have thought that, if you were going to go to the bother of setting up a titanium welding facility, welding the cable stops on wouldn't be a big deal.

Litespeed used rivet in cage bosses for years, failures were regular occurences. Infact, Lynskey (ie. previous owners of Litespeed) still use rivetted in bottle cage mounts.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [415 posts]
21st June 2011 - 12:07

7 Likes

I have a litespeed Ghisallo,for a £2,500 frame The dropout alignment was poor,had to file it with a diamond file so that rear wheel was aligned between the chainstays! I had to do the same with the top end carbon reynolds fork they supplied with it. very poor for the err...cheap price. However, still going strong almost 10 years on! Sram force groupset I wouldn't buy again,I should have gone with my heart and got campagnolo super record! (Am considering the electronic version!!!)

peasantpigfarmer

posted by peasantpigfarmer [46 posts]
24th June 2011 - 9:33

7 Likes