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Mason Resolution review

6 Jul 2021
Verdict:

A fine all-rounder that blends modern traits with classic looks

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Reasonable cost • Highly versatile • Amenable ride feel • Durable
Against 
A little portly

Mason Cycles occupies a rare space in the bicycle industry. Its boutique approach to bikes, operating from a converted barn in a tranquil corner of Sussex, is indisputably artisanal, yet it remains far enough removed from the ‘one man and his dog’ framebuilding model that you won’t have to wait two years to own one.

The bikes combine the warm dependability of the local builder with the exotic flair of Italian craftsmanship, and this Columbus steel Resolution is a case in point. Like the illegitimate child of a Pegoretti and a Surly, it’s a thing of beauty, and it exudes durability and versatility.

The Resolution was conceived in Britain by Mason, but built in Italy in a small-scale Tuscan workshop where, we’re assured, the focus is on quality not quantity. Certainly the frame’s exquisite details suggest it has passed through hands that are highly skilled with a brazing torch.

‘We thought long and hard about this new frame,’ says Mason’s brand manager, Cal Nicklin. ‘We wanted an engaging ride and to maximise the vibration-dampening properties of steel paired with our four-season geometry. We designed it to be as forgiving as it is thrilling.

‘We have lighter aluminium and titanium frames, but felt the Columbus steel tubing was the best fit here. It’s durable and has a lively feel and that was more the focus here than light weight.’

It’s a promising pitch, but can it deliver?

No slouch

There’s no question the frame is stiff enough to provide speed. The Columbus Spirit and Life tubesets were plenty firm enough to react favourably to my most aggressive efforts.

With relaxed geometry resulting in a wheelbase that’s at least 20mm longer than an equivalent sized race rig (mainly thanks to 420mm chainstays), plus 32mm tyres and a weight of 8.63kg, my expectation was the Resolution might feel somewhat languid, but that wasn’t the case.

It proved to be pleasingly agile, and overall it felt well balanced – capable of injecting a bit of excitement if I wanted, but calm and collected whenever I decided to relax and enjoy the view.

The frame and Mason’s own custom Aperture 2.2 carbon fork are capacious enough for up to 35mm tyres (32mm with mudguards).

Yet even with voluminous 32mm Rene Herse tubeless tyres at only 55psi I was still not oblivious to the chatter of a broken road surface, and I was definitely still feeling the jar of bigger strikes, so I wouldn’t classify the Resolution as a cushy ride. That’s no bad thing, though, because it offers a real sense of connection with the road.

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You makes your choices…

As with all Mason’s builds, the spec is entirely your choosing, so Campagnolo’s 1x Ekar is optional, but I have to give this groupset some serious praise. While Campagnolo wouldn’t usually be my first (or even second) choice, the Ekar really piqued my interest.

Buy the Mason Resolution now

There are still some classic Campagnolo idiosyncrasies, such as the flimsy-feeling shift paddles and the odd-shaped thumb button, plus there’s an ever-present industrial clunkiness to every gear change, but I cannot deny the 13-speed 1x setup really excels.

The range of gears offered by the 9-36t cassette and 40t chainring combo was spot on for where I ride in the New Forest, and never left me wanting.

Other riders would be perplexed by my small chainring compared to their (ahem, outdated) 52t rings, but then moments later I’d be riding alongside them, chatting and without spinning at a ridiculous cadence.

I truly believe the 1x road revolution is coming, and Ekar has so much potential as a road groupset that it shouldn’t be pigeonholed as a gravel-only product.

While I’m on the subject of trying to purge dyed-in-the-wool roadies of their old-fashioned mentalities, let’s talk about flared bars. Lately I’ve become a fan of a slightly (not fully) flared handlebar on road bikes as I feel the benefits are just as applicable as on a gravel bike.

Deda’s Gravel100 bar is spot on, with a relatively mild 12° flare adding roughly an extra 4cm to the bar width at the drops, in this case flaring a 42cm bar to 46cm. This maintained my preferred position on the hoods, but then I appreciated the added control and stability for descending or sprinting in the drops.

Buy the Mason Resolution now

The Resolution has versatility in spades and is the perfect choice if you want to sample all the benefits of modern thinking in bike design, yet still want to look like you’re riding a classic.

Pick of the kit

Scott Centric+ Supersonic Edition Helmet, £149.99, scott-sports.com

It’s no easy task for a helmet to be safe, aerodynamic, well ventilated, lightweight, comfortable, reasonably priced and let’s not forget stylish all at once. There’s a lot of potential conflict in there – aero and ventilation for instance are often seen as the antithesis of each other.

Scott has done a decent job delivering on all counts with its latest Centric+. A claimed 220g is appreciably light, especially given it has a Mips Air system integrated into its padding, and I really like the way it looks and feels in use. Matching sunglasses optional.

Buy the Scott Centric+ Supersonic Edition helmet now from AlpineTrek

Alternatively…


Alloyed passion

Designed in the UK, made in Italy, the Condor Italia RC Disc (£1,199.99 frameset) exploits its aluminium material to deliver a stiff, responsive yet decently light racer that doesn’t cost the earth.

Buy a Condor Italia RC Disc frameset now

Magical mystery

The Enigma Signature Excel Disc (£3,750 frameset) is made in Sussex, using stiffer 6Al/4V titanium alloy (usually ti bikes are 3Al/2.5V). It boasts 32mm tyre clearance plus countless custom options.

Buy a Enigma Signature Excel Disc now

Spec

Frame Mason Resolution Ekar
Groupset Campagnolo Ekar 13 speed
Brakes Campagnolo Ekar 13 speed
Chainset Campagnolo Ekar 13 speed
Cassette Campagnolo Ekar 13 speed
Bars Deda Gravel100
Stem Deda Zero100<
Seatpost Mason Penta Carbon
Saddle Fizik Tempo Argo R3
Wheels Hunt 30CAD, Rene Herse Stampede Pass 32mm tyres
Weight 8.63kg (size 56cm)
Contact masoncycles.cc

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
£3,740