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Gallery: Dan Craven to ride bespoke Saffron Frameworks steel bike at Commonwealth Games

Joe Robinson
9 Apr 2018

Stainless steel the material of choice for Craven at the Commonwealth Games

When fan-favourite Dan Craven takes to the start line of the Commonwealth Games road race on the Gold Coast, Australia next Saturday he will be atop a very special bike. 

Doing away with the professional cycling obsession with carbon, Craven and Saffron Frameworks founder and builder Matthew Sowter teamed up on a project that went back to basics constructing this special race frame from stainless steel.

Sowter and Craven wanted to create something that was more than just a 'bike to be raced on'. They wanted to finish with a bike you would want to own for life.

So in his small Woolwich-based workshop in South East London, the expert framebuilder got to work constructing this bespoke frame constructed specifically for the Namibian, and the results are simply stunning.

With a clean look, the bike has been untouched by paint, with a naked steel finish containing a mixture of polished and vapour blasted metal, helping to create a multi-look finish.

The polished 'Colombus' and 'Saffron' understated branding offsets the the blasted tubing keeping the frame clean and simple.

Simply put this bike will be like no other in the race.

However, this doesn't mean that creator Sowter completely ignored the needs of a racing bike. While the Gold Coast is a flat course, it was still vital for Craven to be racing on a light frame. That's why they used Colombus XCR tubing. 

Simply put, it is the lightest steel tubing available and helped keep the weight down to its target goal of 6.9kg.

This was also helped by T.I.G welding with steel fillment as the joining agent instead of the bronze mix in a fillet braze weld usually seen on steel frames. This helped save 100g of weight and also allowed for this metal-look finish. Using steel also prevents rust and damage.

The bike, fully built, comes in at 7kg so just off its desired mark but that doesn't matter. This is a bespoke frame and the small nuances give it its individuality.

Sowter and Craven also decided on thicker tubing toward the front of the frame. The headset is chunky as is the connecting down and toptube which helps with aerodynamics. So does the aero Pro stem and handlebar integrated setup that's been fitted. 

Meanwhile the seatpost is thin at 27mm, allowing play and flex for Craven which will compensate for the lost comfort conceded in the rigid frame.

The groupset of choice is Campagnolo Super Record mechanical - a nod to the stylishly classic look - with matching Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels and Schwable One tyres.

Sowter hopes that this experiment with Craven will aid his goal of 'changing perceptions of what steel can be used as a materiel as a high end racing bike.'

After its use at the Commonwealth Games, this special bike will be on show at Bespoke, the UK handmade bicycle show, at the end of April.

Beyond that, the bike will be gifted to Craven as a bike for him to keep long into his retirement.

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