Mason Progressive Cycles is a Sussex-based designer of high quality bikes in steel and aluminium. Its Resolution steel bike combines the retro appeal of a British tourer with a thoroughly modern design and specification.
Sussex-based Dom Mason was bike designer for Kinesis for 15 years and responsible for that brand’s well-regarded road, cyclocross and mountain bike ranges. Last year he branched out to launch his own cycle brand, with its first products being the Resolution steel framed road bike and the Definition with an aluminium frame.
Watch: Cycling Weekly’s Endurance Bike of the Year 2016
It’s been a labour of love for Dom, with his new bikes harnessing his design expertise from his time at Kinesis to produce frames in which the minutiae have been carefully thought out. Even the cable guide under the bottom bracket is custom 3D printed to ensure the correct curvature for the front derailleur cable.
The Resolution’s frame is hand-built in Italy from Columbus Spirit and Life tubing. There’s a mixture of traditional round profiles with more squared off shapes on the top tube and the downtube, the latter being larger for increased rigidity and weld size. The frame is lugless and the welds are completely smooth finished. It’s coated inside and out to prevent corrosion.
There’s a tapered head tube and the bottom bracket shell is 68mm BSA threaded to accept Shimano’s threaded outboard bearing bottom bracket. The all-carbon fork was custom-designed by Mason and features a crown which tapers elegantly into the head tube. All cables are routed part-internally with proprietary designed entry and exit ports in the top tube and the down tube. It’s compatible with electronic shifting too.
The finish is impeccable with not a blemish in the navy blue lacquer and Mason has even considered where to place the logos, so that they are not visible from the front, but can be seen from the rear and side of the frame. The embossed Mason badge sits proudly on the head tube.
There’s clearance for full mudguards and mounts for mudguards and racks are built unobtrusively into the frame.
The Resolution is available in five builds ranging from Dura-Ace Di2 to 105. Our test bike is specified with mechanical Ultegra 11-speed shifting and RS685 hydraulic disc brakes. The latter come with Shimano’s Icetech rotor technology in which the brake pads and the 140mm rotors have built-in cooling fins to protect against brake fade on longer descents. The Ultegra chainset has 50/34 chainrings and there’s an 11-28 cassette.
Mason’s bikes come with custom Hunt x Mason disc-specific wheels. They have 17mm internal rim width to support wider tyres and are relatively deep at 27mm. The hubs have centerlock disc brake mounts and are laced with 24 spokes with brass nipples front and rear. The rims are asymmetric and tubeless ready.
There’s a Deda aluminium bar and stem and a 27.2mm carbon seatpost with a microadjuster for the saddle angle. The saddle itself is a Fabric Scoop Shallow with carbon rails and Mason uses Fabric’s bar tape too.
Half way through a summer ride through the Chiltern Hills I decided to extend my route, so enjoyable was my time on the Resolution. A subsequent 60 mile planned ride turned into 100. It’s a bike which is really fun to ride, with a stable geometry and longish wheelbase, but without feeling at all sluggish and unresponsive. There’s a definite spring in the steel frame but it never feels flexy or as if there is any wasted effort.
Despite ceding some weight to a modern carbon frame, this never feels a heavy bike and climbing is easy enough and as fast as on any modern road bike. Descending too is controlled, fast and stable and the disc brakes give an element of modulation and control over and above that provided by a rim brake. Disc braking is consistent in wet and dry conditions and I found the Mason’s handling and stopping confident in the rain too.
Dom stresses the Resolution’s four season design and also its ability to tackle bumpier terrain. So I headed onto some dry bridlepaths, where I found its handling confident due to its stable frame geometry, wide tyres and controlled braking.
My only complaint was with the Charge Scoop shallow profiled saddle, which after around four hours I found a bit underpadded and unyielding. Saddle choice is a very personal thing and dependent on your riding position and sit bone shape. There are more padded options in the Fabric range which might have suited me better for longer rides.
As a specialist, small volume producer, Mason will never be a value proposition against the big players. But for your money you get a unique bike with a real quality feel, a clever design and the retro appeal of steel, but which is up with the latest trends in endurance road bike specifications.
The disc brakes, internal cable routing, wide tyres and mudguard clearance make this a bike which, should you want, you could ride through the UK winter and which can take to tamer bridlepaths too, so it’s not just a bike for longer summer rides.
Although not technically a bespoke bike, since you are buying a frame from a standard set of sizes, the Mason definitely has that hand-built feel. There’s a logic behind all the design and component choices which results in a complete bike which is ideal for extended use in typical UK conditions and a quality feel to everything from the paintwork to the cable ports.
The Resolution is a real steel tour de force and a pleasure to ride. It somehow manages to be stable and easy to get along with for extended excursions, but still feel spirited and engaging to ride, making you want to keep going that bit further. It’s not slow either – I found I had recorded personal best times on many Strava segments which I had ridden through on longer excursions.
The specification and component choice are just right for a bike for this purpose too, with intelligent selection of gearing and braking for the hills and for the weather which it will encounter in the UK. It’s useful to have rack and mudguard mounts, making it a bit of an all-rounder, although you might hesitate before taking a bike of this quality out load lugging in the winter.
If you’re time-constrained beware though – you’ll find yourself riding the Resolution further and longer than you intended.
A real steel tour de force, the Mason Resolution is great fun to ride (and ride) although the saddle is a bit hard for longer trips