Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

Saffron’s Stainless Road for Campbell


England’s new school of custom frame builders are but freshers to a hallowed institution, but their antecedents can rest assured: the craft and skill is in safe hands. Matthew Sowter of Saffron Frameworks proves this, frame by frame, especially by his latest fillet brazed, stainless steel road bike.


In a previous incarnation, Matthew was a well-regarded chef in his home country of South Africa; needless to say, he knows how to assemble ingredients in an appetising way. Campbell already had a carbon fiber road bike and a commuter in his garage, so a tailored Saffron was to be the main course.


Campbell’s roadie was assembled from a mixture of Columbus XCR and Reynolds 953 — the front triangle consists of the Italian tubes and the rear is made from the British. Another luminary of the modern British custom scene, Ted James, machined the 17/4 stainless steel 44mm head tube.


Like titanium, stainless steel can be left unpainted to expose the material to the elements. The paintwork has been artfully crafted, accentuating the smooth fillet brazing and, where bare, highlighting the metal and complementing both the polished head badge and Chris King headset.


The seat tube has been shimmed to fit a 27.2mm ENVE seat post for comfort, painted to match, along with the stem. For a bike that’s the equivalent of a meal at a Michelin-hatted restaurant, a Campagnolo Super Record groupset is the icing on the cake, along with Bora Ultra wheels and FMB tyres.

That was just a taster. Head to the Saffron Frameworks website for the full menu. Bon appétit!