28th April 2021
Resolution Ekar | Bike Of The Year 2021
We are so pleased to announce that the Resolution Ekar has been crowned 'Best Buy' in Gran Fondo Cycling's Best Road Bike 2021 group test.
The full article of the Gran Fondo Cycling 2021 Best Road Bike can be read in the latest issue #017 'New Horizons' which is out now! Please, take a look at their fantatic app to read through a great issue.
Gran Fondo Cycling invited us to submit a bicycle to their 2021 Best Road Bike group test. As regular readers of Gran Fondo we hold the crew at GF in the highest esteem. They are cycling journalists of the highest order, with expert technical knowledge, master riding skills and an impeccable sense for real-world riders needs.
Knowing this, we knew that an invitation to one of their legendary group tests would be one of the Resolution's biggest challenge to date.
So, what makes the best road bike in 2021? We feel it has to appeal to the widest possible range of riders and be truly versatile, that is to say, the ultimate all-rounder. This bicycle will work for experienced and enthusiast riders in equal measures with those new to the sport, and also for those who seek to own just one bike.
The 'ultimate road bike' according to Gran Fondo Cycling:
…we feel that the best road bike has to be an all-rounder that is just as suitable for an experienced rider as it is for beginners and leisure riders. Our dream bike combines balanced, lively handling and delivers maximum amounts of fun - uphill, downhill and on the flats. It can generate speed when required, delivers a high level of (long-distance) comfort and imparts a sense of trust and security on poor surfaces. We don’t measure the price/performance ratio based on Excel spreadsheets, theoretical stiffness measurements or the price tag of components. Instead, we look at the real-world performance and quality of the complete package….the one that best combines pleasure and safety across the widest variety of conditions and surfaces.
…As a result, this group test isn’t about the best bike for the peloton but the best bike for our readers and their lifestyle, whether it be for fun rides, social rides, coffee rides or even Zwift rides. The era of super-specialised niches is over.
Our bikes are designed for going on adventures at speed and in comfort. We have always designed the geometry for stability when loaded and the slacker, but not too slack, angles perform dependably on a variety of surfaces, on and off road.
A group test against the cycling industries Giants? A daunting task for sure. But, this was a brief that we felt played to our strengths and heritage.
The Gran Fondo team made it clear that there is one factor that is of utmost importance - handling:
Handling is by far the most important factor in our decisions...In terms of handling, we always look at where the bike sits on a scale from playful/ lively to stable/sluggish. How precise is the bike in the corners? Do the front and rear harmonise well? How quickly does it respond to steering input? All questions that we looked at this year too. The best bikes in the test find the sweet spot between agility and stability, offering direct and precise steering through the corners without being unstable or vague. That makes them suited to ambitious cyclists as well as those who just want to enjoy themselves.
This group test was carried out on the rounds near Massa Marittima.
“We used the roads around Massa Marittima as our test track. Wide, sweeping corners, steep and winding climbs and high-speed sections on perfect asphalt stood alongside the gravel passages typical of Tuscany. Massa Marittima sits between the impressive peninsula of Monte Argentario in the south and the legendary Siena in the north-west. Between these two poles we conducted our longest rides, pushing us and our gear to the limits – and sometimes beyond…”
For an Italian tubed, Italian made frameset built onto Italian components, there could not be a more appropriate setting to test our Resolution model than the Strada Bianche. Of course, the Strada Bianche certainly bears similarities with the chalky South Downs where the Resolution design was born. Invite us over next time, yeah?
"We test the bikes predominantly on smooth asphalt as well as rough, broken up and ill-maintained roads. However, short detours onto compacted gravel/hardpack will also count towards our evaluations…”
This pretty much sums up the sort of riding Mason riders love. We regularly build bikes for this very use and it needed only minor changes from our factory spec bike to create what turned out to be the best road bike to buy in 2021.
We thought long and hard about our ideal offering for this test, we have lighter Alu and Ti framesets in our range, but ultimately we felt that the premium Columbus steel tubed Resolution was the best fit. A confidence inspiring, durable, lively frameset was more important than ultimate light weight.
The Mason Resolution was there at the start of the big tyre, disc-brake, long distance, 'All-Road' revolution and this test was going to pit the latest version against 14 of the worlds biggest brands and some super advanced, hard hitting bikes. We were up against the might of the cycling world and all their tech and R&D muscle. Competition included Specialized, Trek, BMC, Merida, Canyon, Rose, Storck etc…
At the heart of this is our Resolution frameset, our original model and firm favourite of ours. Subtle updates over its life have kept it up to date and very careful thinking about its build spec resulted in this fantastic result, probably the biggest result of its lifetime.
...in terms of good-natured and intuitive handling, the Mason gets top marks! It displays a good balance between agility and stability, and is neither sluggish nor nervous, letting its handling shine in comparison to the test field.
The Resolution best captures the essence of what we try to put into every bike we design, with its engaging ride, the enthralling surge and vibration dampening properties of steel and confidence-inspiring stability. We worked to ensure the Resolution maintains the matchless ride of steel that makes you want to come back to the bike and take it far, but stiff enough to entice speed. That really is the essence of our steel model. With the Res, we have a frameset which is as forgiving to ride as it is thrilling, and it appeals to the all-road rider, novice and veteran alike.
Our 4Season geometry is designed to safely carry you over great distances in comfort, whilst maintaining precision in its handling to encourage faster descending with variable surface conditions than contemporary race bikes.
We chose to build this model with the latest Campagnolo Ekar groupset. Ekar 1x is a perfectly suited drivetrain solution for welcoming new riders to a performance groupset. In addition to its low weight and minimal maintenance, it is also highly intuitive. It is easy for more experienced riders to overlook how much there is to learn about using a front mech effectively. Knowledge of how to 'trim', how to set-up, at what point of the pedal stroke is the best moment to change gear etc.
Rene Herse Stampede Pass 32mm Tubeless Tyres
Oh how we talked about tyre choice!! GranFondo tested the Res with Rene Herse 32mm Stampede Pass tyres.
Our thinking is that confidence in descending and on rougher and variable surfaces + ultimate comfort over long distance are of prime importance for this bicycle. The larger tyre is still very fast, and actually a smaller tyre with higher pressure is at a disadvantage over broken surfaces, where we believe the larger volume maintains better contact and can ride through irregularities and unforeseen obstacles like mid corner potholes! Ultimate, smooth surface speed is secondary to all of this.
Comfort is also very balanced: the vibration damping of the René Herse Stampede Pass tires is outstanding. As a result of the comparatively high tire volume, they can be ridden at low pressures which, together with their supple casing, leading to a very plush ride. The compliance of the frameset also harmonises well with them and makes the Mason easy on your back even over long rides.”
“The forward-biased weight distribution generates a pleasant amount of pressure on the front wheel which, together with the high cornering grip of the tires, leads to a lot of fun on winding roads. Despite the comparatively large tire volume, the Resolution corners willingly…
35mm is the maximum allowed tyres size for this frameset, And, the Resolution is a mudguard ready bike, so mudguards are fully compatible even with 32mm tyres.
Fizik Tempo Argo
This bike has the cutting edge Fizik Tempo Argo R3. We're moving to this saddle for our road bikes and the Terra 'version' for our gravel bikes.
It has excellent compliance in its rails and body, a cut-out, plenty of wide support for many sit bone widths, unisex design, and it's made in Italy.
We also had some debate regarding which bar to use! We find that some handlebar flare is really beneficial for stability and comfort, especially with bikepacking bags and on looser surface sections, but didn't want to go 'full flare' [like the Ritchey Venturemax] for this bike. The Deda Gravel100 possesses a mild flare and shallow drop which benefits the new/all-road rider, especially when venturing off-road, but maintains the sprint-and-tuck-ability of a classic drop when road riding.
Thanks to the slight flare of the bars and the stable handling, the Mason conveys a high feeling of security. You don't feel like you're riding on top of the bike but in it, making it a lot of fun to try and find your limits. On challenging surfaces i.e. gravel and hardpack, the Resolution transforms into a gravel bike, where it's able to take blows in its stride and leaves all the other models in the group test behind.
"Is there a 24-hour Strade Bianche? Even if not, it doesn‘t matter – this is the perfect bike for it! With its balanced handling, high-level of long-distance comfort and an extra helping of trust and security, the Mason takes away the Best Buy!"
Result: Gran Fondo Cycling | 'Best Road Bike of 2021' | BEST BUY
We were SO happy to get this one!
The Mason Resolution was there at the start of the big tyre, disc-brake, long distance, 'All-Road' revolution and this test was going to pit the latest version against 14 of the world's biggest brands and some super advanced, hard hitting bikes.
We spent some time thinking very hard about the build spec, trying and changing the setup until we were happy that it matched closely with the Gran Fondo team vision of what the ideal road bike of our time should be.
As previously mentioned, it‘s not just about the lowest possible weight but much more about how it’s distributed...it‘s decidedly efficient on the flats. No other bike in the test let us venture away from the asphalt as carelessly to explore new things. The Mason delivers immense enjoyment for all abilities and it doesn‘t matter whether the ride is 30 minutes or 300 km long...Steel is real and, in 2021, remains everything but a bad choice!