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Classic bikes from a brand new company. The result? Some lovely looking bikes!

While the world of carbon continues to advance to lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamic frames, it can be the classic looking bikes that catch your eye. You’d be forgiven for not having heard of Sonnet. They only launched in January. 

“Inspired by the legendary, Italian, pro-road racing machines of yesteryear, the Sonnet MK.I boasts traditional competitive geometry and timeless looks, combined with all the necessary technical upgrades and carefully considered modern components” says Sonnet, a bold claim indeed.

 

Their aim is to build affordable artisan bikes, with the same level of craftsmanship as custom builds. Casey, the founder, isn't a frame builder. He's like the conductor of an orchestra. He's bringing together expertise in frame and wheel building, and then collaborates with various artists to create some stunning bikes.

Currently, they have 2 bikes in the range, the MK.I Road Bike and the MK.II Track Bike. Prices are £2,899 for the Road and £2,499 for the Track. This can be altered through a different spec choice but you have to email them to enquire.

Price-wise, these aren't the cheapest. The Pashley Clubman comes in at under a grand. The Condor Classico Pista frame also sneaks under the £1000 mark. Both are hand made in the UK. 

Frame-only prices are £1,599/£1,649 for MK.I Road stock/custom and £1,449/£1,499 for MK.II Track. Compare this to the Saffron frame that we reviewed and it's quite a good price. The saffron costs £400 more, the savings being made as the Sonnet frames are "made by a family of frame builders based in Europe, but assembled and tested here in the UK". 

 

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Sonnet+artisan+classic+lugged+steel+road+bicycle-9.jpeg

The frameset on the MK.I Road is made from Lugged Columbus SL Niobium/Spirit tubing with a Columbus SL 1" threaded curved fork. This is available in a range of very nice colours, the one pictured being the Ruby Red.

The MK.I Road is decked out is some lovely kit. A full Campagnolo Potenza groupset and hand built wheels from Harry Rowland wrapped in Veltoflex Master 25 tyres complement the classic aesthetic. 

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Sonnet+artisan+classic+lugged+steel+road+bicycle.jpeg

The Potenza groupset looks perfect on a bike like this. The chrome finish coupled with crisp 11speed shifting gives the best of classic and modern technology.

Why your next bike should be a fixie

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Sonnet+artisan+classic+lugged+steel+track+fixed+gear+bicycle.jpeg

The MK.II Track is made with the same lugged tubing, but it features horizontal dropouts for the fixed gear rear wheel. It is again built with hand built Harry Rowland wheels, Campagnolo brakes and TRP levers.

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Sonnet+artisan+classic+lugged+steel+track+fixed+gear+bicycle-2.jpeg

 

Tyres are a harder wearing Continental Gatorskin 25 which should help keep grip in the rear wheel and stop punctures during winter riding or commuting.

Lead times are currently only 4-6 weeks and there are options to have a frame only or custom frame option. 

Head over to sonnet.cc to find out more.

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.

5 comments

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Yorkshire wallet [1444 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Beautiful looking but beyond most people's wallets for a fixie.

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Christopher TR1 [143 posts] 8 months ago
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Hardly a fixie, despite the name. Speccing a White Industries freewheel is a good sign, quality-wise and it is obviously a different league to your average Genesis Flyer or similar. It would be interesting to know the complete bike weight.

Avatar
daccordimark [57 posts] 8 months ago
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Christopher TR1 wrote:

Hardly a fixie, despite the name. Speccing a White Industries freewheel is a good sign, quality-wise and it is obviously a different league to your average Genesis Flyer or similar. It would be interesting to know the complete bike weight.

 

Looks like there could be a fixed cog on the other side of the hub.

I'm not sure these fulfil the brief of making affordable artisan frames at those prices.

 

Avatar
alexb [162 posts] 8 months ago
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Standard off the peg lugset into an off the peg tubeset. They're not even very nice lugs, except for the fleur de lys on the blue frame. At that price I'd expect reinforced bottle bosses and internal cable runs.

The prices need to be compared to Bob Jackson's off the peg frames rather than boutique frame builders like Saffron.

Avatar
Sonnet [1 post] 8 months ago
1 like

Hi everyone, Sonnet here.

Nice to see your comments flowing. As the founder and creative director of the brand, I thought I’d jump in to respond to some of your comments above. Of course, we welcome all your feedback (good and bad), as it helps us fine tune what we’re doing so we can deliver the best quality product.

The Sonnet Mk II is a Track bike that has been built for practical road riding. This means comfort in the saddle. To achieve this, our default set-up features subtle low-pro geometry, compact road bars (Nitto M106 NAS), brakes front and rear (TRP/Campagnolo) and a flip-flop hub (Miche Primato). All builds feature handbuilt wheels by Harry Rowland.

The flip-flop hub you’re looking at comes with an Andel fixed cog and White Industries Eno freewheel. This gives the rider the option to switch to a freewheel, should their legs get tired – which as you know, happens on long rides. We went for the Eno because it’s one of the best freewheels on the market and absolutely rock solid.

Regarding non-custom lugs, yes, we choose to work with a minimal set of standard lugs, which we then file down in our own way to work with Sonnet frames. If we were to make our own lugs form scratch, then suddenly the frame and the bike moves into a different price bracket. If the rider wants bottle bosses, we can of course add dead-end, stainless bottle bosses, no problem. It’s just about having a conversation.

The Sonnet Mk II frame features the following:

  • Columbus SL Niobium/Spirit steel in traditional diameters
  • Conical downtube for increased stiffness in the bottom bracket
  • Polished (not chrome) stainless steel lugs + fork crown
  • Custom-made stainless steel dropouts
  • Internal cable routing (rear brake, optional)
  • Sonnet headbadge and unique numbered frame plate, both handcast in .925 sterling silver, which provide proof of authenticity of our product
  • Frame weight: 2.47kgs

The Sonnet Mk II (off-the-peg) Track frame retails at £1499. For an extra £150, we will build you a full custom version. All you need to do is hit us with your fit details (ideally c/o Retul), feedback about your current frame/bike and any other requirements that you have.

We also have no waiting lists. For UK frame builders, the waiting list varies between 3 months to 3 years. We can deliver your ride in 6 weeks (+shipping), as we operate a unique monthly batch order process. This means we don’t have to pay for warehouses, distributors, shops, the individual shipping of parts etc and we can pass these savings directly onto you.

In short, we only work with the best designer makers/master craftsmen in UK, Europe and USA, to deliver the best value lugged steel frames and bikes that we can... and all in all, I think this makes us very competitive.

If you have any queries or would like to know more, please visit our website, www.sonnet.cc You can also email me via the site and I will do my best to assist you with your queries.