17th August 2023
Mason Bokeh 3.0 - 5 Star Review
We're delighted to announce that the Bokeh 3.0 has joined the Mason Exposure with a 5* BikePerfect review!
Mason’s latest Bokeh is the same brilliantly balanced, effortlessly fast, entertaining and surprisingly smooth multi surface joy ride as before, but now with cleaner aesthetics and more cargo options.
- Fantastically agile and alert ride vibe
- Inspiringly keen, road or rough handling
- Superb aesthetic and practical detailing
- Expertly curated, customizable build packages
- Guy Kesteven
Mason’s Bokeh was one of the original gravel bikes but does the latest 3.0 version bring it bang up to date? And can hand-built custom alloy compete with carbon for all-surface speed? I have been racing across the Yorkshire Dales and Moors to find out.
The Bokeh 3.0 mainframe core with its custom shaped and progressive wall thickness Dedacciai tubing hasn’t changed significantly. The round belly, squared top main tube, ovalized top tube flowing into the curving, wishbone ‘BoatTail’ seatstays and twin tapered chainstays are all present and correct. The rear dropouts are now blended in subtly though and the blunt barrel of the ‘#56 ThruBB’ shell let brake hoses (and gear cables if you’re using them) run internally under the crank axle. Seat tubes swell from 31.6 to 34.9mm on the largest two frame sizes to increase stiffness too.
Mason’s super neat ‘MultiPort’ inserts allow you to open or seal the frame holes depending what shifting setup you’re running and the Bokeh still has apertures for Di2 or conventional front mechs. Dynamo light routing moves up to the top tube for neater lines though and you get bolted mounts for a ‘Fuel Tank’ bag too. Rear rack and fender mounts include a seat tube securing point and there are two conventional bottle mounts inside the main triangle and another under the belly. That’s less than Mason’s Exposure and InSearchOf bikes which get triple bolts above and under their downtubes but still enough for most riders and rides. Especially as you now get the same custom carbon RangeFinder AS fork as the Exposure – which has three 30kg rated mounts on each side, as well as low rider rack mounts and very neat internal routing for front brake and dynamo routing.
Gravel bikes are by definition a compromise between retaining residual drop bar speed while edging towards mountain bike control levels. What’s always set the Bokeh apart though is that it never feels like a compromise, and the V3 feels as ‘instantly right’ as ever. Resisting the trend to go slacker with steering or fatter with tires keeps the bright eyed vitality and agility that’s always made it a joy to race and chase along twisty singletrack on. It also keeps it alert and vital enough to play fast and loose on the road when I switched 30mm Continental slicks and a rigid Zipp post on to it (losing just shy of a kg in weight in the process). Lower front ends encourage the hunt as you hunker down out of the wind or naturally load the front tire more into turns.
The faster handling suits the frame feel perfectly too. While it’s remarkably forgiving and floated for an alloy bike, there’s none of the slight delay or softness through bars or pedals that you get with steel, or the muted ‘meh’ feel that you get with a lot of carbon. Every input you make is keenly positive, prompt and affirming without ever straying into punishing or painful. At 1.69kg for the 54cm frame its mid price carbon competitive and 700g lighter than the steel Exposure so it has a climbing and accelerating advantage on the scales too.
The way the agile, hunter handling syncs with the alert frame feel is endlessly enjoyable from road to the rough and the increased cargo capacity means it’s essentially endless in terms of potential ride range too. And while I probably wouldn’t bother with the dropper post on this bike, the rest of the spec here is superbly curated and Mason are always happy with customers to provide as many options as possible.
To sum it up simply, the original bike I thought was one of the most perfect I’d ridden back in 2016, has left me with the same visceral, versatile, beautifully crafted and passionately curated vibes this time round too.