British brand Mason have two new steel models in the SLR, a model designed for long-distance grand touring and the Exposure, which is essentially a new take on the bokeh gravel bike, so let’s check them out. To celebrate the release of the new bikes, Mason has created a very special and very limited range of Launch Edition frames…
The SLR is, in Mason’s own words, the “result of our focus on ride quality, long-distance performance and luxury grand touring capabilities”. This all-road and touring bike has room for up to 700cx 40mm tires, full fender mounts and multiple attachment points for accessories and luggage racks.
The new bike was designed and manufactured in collaboration with renowned Italian frame builder Cicli Barco, but more on that in a moment…
The SLR is typically offered in Mode Red and the same ShutterBlack finishes we’ve seen on other frames like the Definition. However, being an LE (Launch Edition) model, the bike above is in a “never to repeat” DarkRoomRed Metallic finish and the frame underneath is another LE Special DiffuserBlack Metallic.
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Other changes to the Launch Edition models include a custom stainless steel badge brazed to the seat tube and Launch Edition decals.
Anyone who pre-orders any of the 10 Launch Edition frames will also receive a special personalized Launch Edition 1-10 bottom bracket numbering for each model and a MASON x Barco card signed by the designer and welder who worked on the frame. The owner will also receive a Cicli Barco cap signed by the welder.
Both the Launch Edition and the production SLRs share a specially shaped, progressively butted, phosphate coated Dedacciai Zero/Zero Uno tubing set made exclusively for this frame. Mason says this offers “best-in-class compliance and weight combined with a propulsive, plush ride quality and maximum pedaling efficiency.”
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The frame is made using 100% Italian TIG welding and a silver brazed frame construction that features a T47 threaded stainless steel bottom bracket shell. This allows hoses and cables to be routed internally and exit through the chainstays, keeping them out of frame bag straps.
Other features include silver-brazed bottlenecks, clearance for 50/34T double chainrings, and discrete internal dynamo light routing in the top tube with standard stainless steel connector reinforcement.
Just look at how pretty the welding is on it raw pre-series frame, which is only refined with a layer of beeswax.
Unlike many low-volume brands, Mason chose to take the trouble to design and manufacture their own full carbon fork, the RangeFinder AR (“AR” for AllRoad). Mason says this allows the fork to be tuned to each individual model, gives full control over the placement of the molded-in lugs and means there is no need to compromise on geometry.
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The SLR’s RangeFinder AR has been tuned for “all firmer ground conditions with big tires”. It also has mounts for a front luggage rack or Rando style bag mount in addition to an internally routed dynamo front light.
The rear dropouts are also interesting. Anyone who has been exposed to building steel frames will know that this is an area that regularly causes headaches because, as Italian frame builders Mason put it, “[Steelbikesare[steelbikesare[Stahlrädersind[Steelbikesarelively when heating and cooling.”
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Mason’s solution is its TiltShift precision-aligned, UK-made BEAR dropout design. The dropouts use a tactile stainless steel insert to allow for absolute accuracy in alignment during manufacture. Mason says this allows for perfect alignment with no post-weld work hardening.
Mason has stuck to its eight-size range, which is impressive considering the scale of production. The SLR is expectedly a little more relaxed than the Definition with a shorter effective top tube, longer wheelbase to account for the greater tire clearance and shorter range.
The SLR frameset will set you back £1,995, with the Launch Edition model costing the same despite the pricier paintwork and badging. However, it’s limited to only 10 units, so you’ll have to hurry!
Full pricing and build specs can be found at masoncycles.cc, but a SRAM Force eTap AXS build starts at£5,000 and the one we looked at complete with frames was specified £5,435.99.
The SLR LE DarkRoom Red GRX 2x Limited bike pictured above has Berthoud stainless fenders and a Luminance Upgrade lighting setup, bringing the total build to £5,253.
The second bike recently released is the Exposure, which has even greater tire clearance – 700cx 50mm/650bx 58mm – and is designed for “fast, long and multi-month adventure tours over very variable and unpredictable terrain”. You can compare it to a steely reinterpretation of bokeh.
The Exposure has mounts galore, full fenders, multiple attachment points for accessories, racks and extra fluid. You name it, the exposure has it.
In fact, you’ll find four protrusions on the top of the down tube, three underneath, three on the seat tube; two on the top tube and two on each side of the seatstays. That’s before we even get into the rear racks, dynamo light fittings, and exclusive (removable) threaded stainless steel lower bracket for rear fender mounting. All are stainless steel and silver soldered.
With the rigors of multi-day riding in mind, the Exposure uses custom-molded, progressively butted, phosphate-coated Dedacciai Zero Uno tubing with a Reynolds/BEAR 631 44mm headtube molded exclusively for this frame. Mason says this steel tubing “offers class-leading toughness and weight combined with a responsive pedaling feel, ride quality and efficiency.”
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Like the SLR, the new Exposure uses a T47 bottom bracket and gets a Mason-designed and manufactured full-carbon fork, this time a “RangeFinder AS” (“AS” for AdventureSport) – which is rumored to be tuned for all-surface riding conditions.
The Exposure receives clearance for a 48/31 tooth double chainring or a 40 tooth single chainring.
Like the SLR, the Exposure will be available in the DiffuserBlack Metallic Launch Edition colorway and production colors: Filter Yellow and Optic Green (see below), which Dom Mason explained were inspired by another versatile machine, the Mercedes Unimog (it’s a range of multi tractors, trucks and trucks).
Exposition geometry is designed to provide stable and predictable handling, especially when carrying backpacks and panniers. The stack has also been increased to allow for a more relaxed/upright riding position.
The Exposure frameset costs £1,995, the pThe OpticGreen Exposure bike shown above with Campagnolo Ekar components is £4,250, and the bike featured in the gallery that Exposure LE DarkRoom Red Force AXS eTap is priced at £5,095.
We look forward to testing both of the new bikes over the coming months so be sure to check back for our full reviews…
What do you think of the new bikes? Let us know in the comment section below…
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