After a muddy Sunday in Hell, Paris-Roubaix is over for another year. Simultaneously, Saffron Frameworks’ Matthew Sowter returned to the classics himself with this all-day racer inspired by one of the most iconic F1 team liveries of all time.
Matthew’s customer had a special request: build the frame out of Columbus’ star-shaped and highly sought-after Gilco tubes — sets of which are exceptionally rare. Frames built from Gilco are extravagant birds, take the Colnago Master as an example.
Naturally, the resulting silhouette hearkens back to that glorious era of racing bicycles before aluminum and carbon fiber infested the peloton, and this new Saffron is even a refreshing change to today’s oversized and MAXed-out modern steel steeds.
Bi-laminate construction (creating faux ‘lugs’ from scratch or slightly larger sleeves around fillet brazed tubes) is a Saffron Frameworks specialty and the London workshop continues to create some astounding examples.
Using the bi-laminate method, Matthew achieved a singular effect for this particular build by creating lugs that run from the down and head tube junction and the head and top tubes, creating a smooth visual lines flows straight into the Gilco grooves.
The same line formed by the bi-laminate lugwork continues across the top tube and down the seat tube. Matt also hand-crafted the stem to follow the slight angle in the top tube, and also included two points for ENVE’s Garmin mount.
Both the rear triangle and the fork legs are constructed from stainless Reynolds 953 steel, polished and clear-lacquered with a light candy black tint — making this one of our favorite references to the legendary John Player Special-sponsored Team Lotus 77.