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New ti bike is aimed at racers and chaingangers

New UK brand Iris Bicycles has launched a titanium road bike called the Zero that’s aimed at racers and other performance-focused riders.

Iris Bicycles was founded by Ben Pym, and sisters Sarah and Anna Hickman. 

IRIS Zero studio 1.jpg

IRIS Zero studio 1.jpg

© Anne Barratt Photography

“The beauty of starting Iris Bicycles from scratch was the opportunity to draw up exactly what we wanted, no compromises,” says Ben, who has worked as a mechanical design engineer in the marine industry for nearly 10 years.

“Having been heavily involved in titanium through my day job, the intention was to design a handful of bikes for our own use, but we soon realised that we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves.

“Iris was an opportunity to bring a premium product to a market at a price point which was more achievable than some other manufacturers. This was hugely important. Titanium frames are often eye wateringly expensive and as a result are never considered as an option. We don’t have the overheads of our competitors or responsibility to shareholders and so we’re able to put the product first and price second.

“Titanium is robust and outlasts all other materials, as well as being a beautiful material for making bikes.”

IRIS Zero green background (1).jpg

IRIS Zero green background (1).jpg

© Anna Hickman

The Iris Zero uses double butted 3AL-2.5V titanium tubes. The machined parts – the bottom bracket, head tube and dropouts – are 6AL-4V titanium.

That head tube is tapered, housing a 1 1/8in upper bearing and a 1 1/2in lower bearing. The bottom bracket is threaded (BSA).

The Zero is built to a performance geometry. The medium sized model, for example, comes with a 520mm seat tube, a 556mm effective top tube, a 140mm head tube and 73.5° frame angles.

The stack height on this one is 560mm and the reach is 390mm.

Check out 14 of the loveliest titanium road bikes we've ridden.

The Zero frame takes standard rim brakes and comes with internal rear brake cable routing. You can choose between internal electronic and external mechanical gear cable routing. The frame has a bead blasted matt finish with polished stays and detailing, and a claimed weight of 1.35kg (2.98lb). The completely built up Zero that Sarah Hickman has been racing this season is said to weigh 7.8kg.

The frame is priced £1,599. Built up with a carbon tapered fork and an external Chris King NoThreadSet headset, the frameset is £1,999.

IRIS Zero bars (1).jpg

IRIS Zero bars (1).jpg

© Anna Hickman

The ‘Frameset +’ option, priced £2,599, has the addition of a Thompson seat clamp and Iris’s own titanium seatpost, stem and bottle cages.

Iris says that it explored manufacture in the UK and Europe but going down that route would not have allowed it to supply frames at the price it wanted.

“The result was a manufacturer of titanium products in China who are based in what can be pretty accurately described as a world hub of titanium manufacturer,” says Anna Hickman.

“They manufacture alloys, mill it, turn it, weld it and assemble their components in-house and we’ve been delighted with the quality and their commitment to our testing requests.

“All the design work is done by us in the UK, as well as the finishing processes, polishing, bead blasting, and head badge manufacture, which we intend to maintain. We’ve also built a partnership with a specialist frame painter so we’re able to offer that extra service to customers from the beginning. All this together allows us to get as close as possible to our aim of supplying a premium product but at a more manageable price point for the majority.”

IRIS Zero studio 2 (1).jpg

IRIS Zero studio 2 (1).jpg

© Anne Barratt Photography

Iris says that frames are currently made to order so you’re looking at 10-12 weeks for delivery, although it hopes to hold stock for faster turn arounds in the future. 

For more info head over to irisbicycles.com.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

12 comments

Avatar
StraelGuy [1110 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes

Good luck to 'em, sounds like a sensible outfit offering decent bikes. Might end up on my n+1 list in the dim and distant future, too.

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [593 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

How do I put this nicely... it's out of my budget and I'd be looking at more affordable Ti frames.

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Jez Ash [233 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

Looks v nice.  Is it really a £600 price uplift just to include a stem, seatpost, bottle cages and seat-clamp?  

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Danger Dicko [282 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I have a Zero already, made by Genesis.

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [713 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

Jez Ash wrote:

Looks v nice.  Is it really a £600 price uplift just to include a stem, seatpost, bottle cages and seat-clamp?  

They are all Ti which probably has some bearing on the cost.

These frames look really nice.  Love the headtube badge.

Avatar
The _Kaner [1150 posts] 5 months ago
1 like
Jez Ash wrote:

Looks v nice.  Is it really a £600 price uplift just to include a stem, seatpost, bottle cages and seat-clamp?  

Exactly my thoughts. However, £2k for the frameset option from an "as yet to be established brand" seems quite expensive too.
You can buy a fully built Lynskey R460 2017 Disk model for $3225 (sale price).
I know where my money would be going...
But I guess it's good to see someone trying to open up the market more.

Avatar
don simon [1715 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

Nice looking, Chinese made Ti frames. One day I'll get a Ti frame. I'll need convincing that this is a premium product though.

 

Avatar
Chris Hayes [192 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Nice looking bike, but GBP2k for a frameset manufactured in China and branded by someone I've never heard of and I'd be looking elsewhere.   And the GBP600 extras?  I kitted my Litespeed out with full Thomson, for much less than that (incl excellent carbon bars).  CNC alloy is sufficiently light and stiff for a stem: aerospace alloy is wasted money for no weight saving or performance gain.  Stainless King bottle cages are GPB20 each.  Again, Ti ones are a waste of money. 

Avatar
don simon [1715 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
Chris Hayes wrote:

Nice looking bike, but GBP2k for a frameset manufactured in China and branded by someone I've never heard of and I'd be looking elsewhere.   And the GBP600 extras?  I kitted my Litespeed out with full Thomson, for much less than that (incl excellent carbon bars).  CNC alloy is sufficiently light and stiff for a stem: aerospace alloy is wasted money for no weight saving or performance gain.  Stainless King bottle cages are GPB20 each.  Again, Ti ones are a waste of money. 

I would advise them to get some atmospheric B&W photos done of the bikes being ridden up  wet Alpine climbs and they'll sell by the shedload.

Avatar
janusz0 [73 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

A nice frame, but with a flaw. Why aren't they using titanium forks? Why spoil a frame that will last a lifetime, with forks that may be difficult to replace in 10 year's time?

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Chris Hayes [192 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
janusz0 wrote:

A nice frame, but with a flaw. Why aren't they using titanium forks? Why spoil a frame that will last a lifetime, with forks that may be difficult to replace in 10 year's time?

 

It would be very expensive to make Ti forks, both in terms of materials - you'd have to use higher grade Ti - and working the stuff, which is much harder.  They'd be heavier, and I'm not sure they'd add much to the ride quality .   Other issue I have with a Chinese made stem: zero re-sale value when you realise the Thomson looks better, performs better (because its CNC-machined and is stiffer, and is cheaper). 

Avatar
graybags [97 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Just go direct to Walty Titanium, who likely as not are the Chinese company that makes this frame, and it'll be yours for about £800 plus shipping !  http://www.waltlytitanium.com/