Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

Mick’s Spoon Customs Izoard RR

Ultra-Modern Classic: Mick’s Spoon Customs Izoard RR

While we enjoy the latest from the Spoon Customs workshop, Andy Carr describes his observation of steel’s relevance to the modern cyclist: Columbus Tubi makes what many believe to be the best steel tubing in the world.

When almost everyone else was switching to aluminum and then carbon, Columbus stuck by the material and continued developing carbon steel alloys with improved mechanical characteristics, believing it was still relevant to modern lightweight bike design.

As the mainstream moved to new materials a handful of builders in the custom bike world stuck with it, quietly persevering with a material that the best builders still believed in, whilst far east Aluminium alloys and then carbon took over.

Fast forward to now and with an increasing ubiquity of carbon bikes and awareness of the processes involved in producing them, people are starting to return to steel, favouring the material over it’s epoxy cousin for it’s often superior ride quality and mechanical properties. Niobium present in the alloy, has allowed ever stronger tubing which can be drawn to much larger profiles to create lightweight tubing that delivers modern performance. 

Ultra-Modern Classic: Mick’s Spoon Customs Izoard RR

And it’s recent success is not surprising. Whilst steel production couldn’t be argued as clean, steel is completely recyclable, does not fatigue over time, and without the weight penalty associated with lower tech alloys of old, it makes a lot of sense. Add to that the ease with which our skilled fabricators can tune it to endlessly customise a frame to suit your exact needs, and it makes a compelling case.

Spoon Customs is a big fan of Columbus steel. We’ve worked exclusively with Columbus tubing since the start – using custom mixes of their top end Spirit HSS and XCR tubing – and have been riding and developing racing platforms with the Italian brand steel for five years or so. Our bikes, tested and developed in the French Italian Alps, are proving that carbon isn’t the only game out there. Even attracting flirtations from major race team owners interested in the viability of their designs at the very top level. 

Ultra-Modern Classic: Mick’s Spoon Customs Izoard RR

When Mick – the UK owner of this HSS and XCR Campagnolo Super Record 12 build – approached Spoon Customs, Andy (SC owner) went straight to Columbus’s tubing inventory to come up with a bike that would work for Mick’s needs and he couldn’t be happier with the result. 

“This is the best feeling bike I’ve ever ridden and I’ve had some amazing bikes. I just wanted to keep going faster, it felt so responsive and it just goes where you point it. I was skeptical about whether or not it would be fast enough for a race bike but it’s every bit as fast as my Willier Cento Air but with far superior handling and feel. The new Super Record 12 group is perfect and the bike looks the business. I’m just so happy with it.”

Mick is a strong lad. He’s 90kg at race weight, and an avid and competitive Cat 2 level Crit Racer. He’s also pretty good on the spanners and that’s not surprising given he’s a multi-skilled set builder for film and television during the day. He was actually working on the new Star Wars film when he first contacted SC about the build. A guy who makes full-size X-Wing Fighters for a living wasn’t going to want something that didn’t look right either. 

Ultra-Modern Classic: Mick’s Spoon Customs Izoard RR

The HSS rear stays for the Izoard RR were swapped out for XCR components, and the final bike retains the biaxial ovalised oversize downtube and 44mm front end from the stock Izoard RR. The stays were then polished up in-house, and then WM Paintworks hit the handmade TIG’d frame with a flip product sourced by Dan from Cole Coating’s Workshop – to match the pink gold flip of the very first Izoard RR. The black contrast has a gold/bronze pearl which matches the pearl in the mainframe. 

Thanks to James at Bicycle Richmond who worked with Mick on his position, and also Tony Corke who helped dial the geometry in for Mick’s racing, based on his experience on his own Izoard RR.

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Massive thanks also to Simon Eldon for the photography.

Ultra-Modern Classic: Mick’s Spoon Customs Izoard RR