This week the Design Museum's Cycle Revolution exhibition gets underway, and alongside iconic bicycles raced by Eddy Merckx and Bradley Wiggins, will be this brand new 953 gravel disc-equipped road bike from Hartley Cycles.
Hartley Cycles is frame builder Caren Hartley. She first came to our attention when her ‘Porkeur’ bike, built for Rouleur photographer Camille McMillan, scooped a prize at the Bespoked handbuilt show earlier this year
On display in the bespoke builders’ workshop section of the Cycle Revolution exhibition at the Design Museum will be her latest creation, a disc-equipped gravel bike built out of Reynolds 953 stainless steel tubing.
The bike taps into the gravel bike popularity, with a more relaxed geometry, big tyre capability and, of course, disc brakes. It's been designed to offer a fast and comfortable ride and ideal for British roads. It’s fitted with 32mm Panaracer Pasela PT tyres, with a tread pattern that should allow the bike to work on dirt and gravel tracks. Those tyres are fitted to H Plus Son disc-specific rims.
The build is a celebration of British design and manufacturing expertise. A Brooks C13 saddle, Hope Tech hubs, Michaux Club handmade leather bar tape and Bentley Components dropouts. A Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain takes care of gearing with TRP’s Hy/Rd hydraulic disc brakes providing plenty of stopping power.
And it's finished in the most lovely paint job, with the rear stays simply polished to reveal the real colour of the 953 tubes.
The bespoke frame building business is thriving in the UK. There are more choices now than just five years ago, and the popular Bespoked handbuilt bicycle show has become a great showcase for this new and emerging talent. There's more appetite for a custom bike at the moment, as an expression of individuality, and steel remains the best choice, not to mention its lovely ride quality.
You can see this bike at the Cycle Revolution, which starts on 18 November 2015 and runs until 30 June 2016. More details at http://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/future-exhibitions/cycle-revolution
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.