12th July 2016
AdventureSport | The Development of Bokeh
“…to us, ‘AdventureSport’ is when you’re out there underneath a mountain, riding fast. We’re not talking about gravel. The word ‘gravel’ sounds dull to me. AdventureSport is about doing it fast. That’s what our original Mason bikes do well, and that’s what we’re continuing here with BOKEH”.
Dom Mason | Mason Cycles owner/designer.
The new ‘Bokeh’ [Alu] and ‘BokehTi’ frame sets and bikes have been in development for over a year, they are AdventureSport bikes for fast ‘Continent Crushing’ rides and they can use either 650b x 50mm or 700c x 41mm tyres. These new bikes are big news for us because they are the bikes to follow up our first ever models the Award Winning Definition and Resolution, these two bikes were a tough act to follow! The pressure was on and I knew that whatever I came up with had to be good.
The inspiration for the Definition and Resolution was kicked off by a surge in road bike development surrounding disc brakes for drop bars and also the development of larger volume, fast, lightweight tyres. I mixed this exciting, emerging technology with my love of engineering and design and an urge to push the development of metal bikes as far as I could. The final ingredient and maybe the most important [but it turns out one of the hardest to achieve], was my desire to work with very small and very high quality Italian frame builders.
All my bike designs require a spark, something that starts the fire smouldering and gets me enthused and caught up, the Bokeh bikes were no different. We started to see the Definitions and Resolutions being used in ways that I hadn’t envisioned when I designed them, more and more riders were fitting lightweight packs in the frame and on the bars and behind the seat and heading off on huge adventures. The comfortable, fast, long-distance nature of the bikes really worked for this type of riding and larger volume tyres and disc brakes gave comfort, confidence and predictable handling and braking in all conditions…our mantra ‘FastFar’ was born.
Then, almost exactly a year ago, our friend Josh Ibbett rode an almost standard production Definition Ultegra/Hydro Di2 to victory in the incredible and super gruelling Transcontinental 2015.
Josh was in the saddle for over 9 hours a day, sleeping for around 3 hours and completed the 2,600 mile race, from Belgium to Istanbul in Turkey, in under 10 days to take the win. The 2015 TCR included many miles of unmade tracks and rocky roads through the mountains, the Mason Definition handled these sections admirably but these surfaces weren’t what it was actually designed for. Josh’s incredible ride really inspired me and helped strengthen my resolve to design a bike that was a ‘continent crusher’, capable of being ridden fast on many surfaces and varied terrain, for a long way in as much comfort as possible. It’s a response to this move in cycling towards venturing off road and using bigger tyres, disc brakes and lightweight packs and having adventures, but not necessarily on bikes with masses luggage.
As with 29er design and disc-brake road, a surge in the development of components helped to inspire and push the bike design and make the ’performance based’ bikes that we like to design more viable and achievable. Hunt Bike Wheels designed and developed the Mason x Hunt wheel set for our first bikes and we have collaborated again to develop a Mason x Hunt ‘AdventureSport’ 650b wheel set for the Bokeh bikes. The development of 1x drivetrains and lightweight, performance multi-terrain 650b tyres and fast, large volume multi-terrain tyres for 700c has also fuelled bike development.
We have started from the ground up with the Bokeh geometry [the same geo. is shared by both frames], the clearance is larger to take a 650b x 50mm or 700c x 41mm, I think anything larger is MTB territory. The wheelbase is longer and angles a little slacker, with the fork using a 50mm offset to keep the trail dimension under control [29er design taught us that a slack HA, large wheels/tyres and too much trail was really awful at slow speeds and during climbs, it gives that ‘following a wheelbarrow’ ride sensation!]
I’ve kept the stack height very similar to the Definition and Resolution, I didn’t want overly long head tubes because these are fast bikes and they need to accelerate and climb well. Sizes are 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60cm, full geometry will be released soon.
We have developed the fork in conjunction with our Italian frame builders, it uses a Ø12mm thru-axle, flat-mount and internally routed hose. As with the frames, there is a full compliment of discreetly sited rack and fender eyelets.
Both the Alu and the Ti Bokeh frames use entire custom tubesets, made for Mason by Dedacciai in Italy. Dedacciai tooled up to make our exclusive ‘D section’ down tubes in both Ti and Alu, they also supply unique chain stays and seat stays, bent and crimped to our design to allow clearance and give comfort for long days in the saddle. The chainstays are almost dropped, this avoids chain slap and provides clearance for the brakes, plus along with the unique seat stay shaping [we call it 'Boatail' stays] means we get the comfort and clearances for tyres and brake components that we require.
Both frames also use our own ovalised top tube.
The Ti frame uses a unique blend of Dedacciai, Rewel and Reynolds tubing and we are also one of the first in the world to use the newly developed Reynolds UK ‘3D printed’ Ti dropouts. We have assisted in development of these very advanced dropouts and the final version 5 items will be used on the Bokeh Ti and also a future Mason Ti frame that is still in development. The Reynolds dropouts have tiny pin marks over a very thin 'cover' that hides drillings for Di2 and mudguards, If we require Di2 and/or mudguard mounts on a frame we’re having made, the thin titanium part can be removed and then we can thread it for mudguards or pass the wire through the Di2 port. It’s all very neat and only achievable with 3D Ti printed parts.
Both frames are built by very small, very high quality builders in Italy, the Ti frames are made in a small workshop in the mountains in the North of Italy. I also have them painted in the Venice region by the best painter I could find, durability of finish is high on the list for these bikes.
The first Alu Bokeh frames are ready and will be shipped mid August the frameset [including fork, headset, seat clamp, MultiPort inserts, F-Stop thru-axles and all bolts] will be around £1,150, we’ll offer various builds based on both wheel sizes and 1x and 2x drivetrains. The Ti frameset [including fork, headset, seat clamp, MultiPort inserts, F-Stop thru-axles and all bolts] will be around £2,650, with a SRAM Force 1X 650b build coming in around £4300.
Bokeh and BokehTi framesets and bikes are available to pre-order now and will be on the site soon. Please contact us HERE to pre-order and for more details.
We’ll announce more details on builds and pricing soon…
Oh and ‘Bokeh’? That follows the Mason way of using naming derived from photography terms and camera parts etc. The term Bokeh describes the particular quality of lens blur in the out of focus portion of a photograph. I always liked the word and saved it specially for these AdventureSport bikes.