Sabbath to launch new range-topping Nirvana model

Cheshire’s Sabbath Bicycles has released the first details of its new Nirvana model which replaces the Silk Emperor as the flagship of the line. Claimed benefits are reduced weight and a ‘sprightlier’ ride.

We’d always had a soft spot for the Silk Emperor, partly because of its crazy name but mostly that it dared to offer titanium tubing manipulation that looked odd at first sight, improved as you thought through the logic and got even better when you rode it.

The new frame is made from the same cold-worked and seamless 3Al 2.5V titanium alloy tubes as Sabbath-Nirvana-head-tube.jpgits predecessor but with wall thicknesses and overall shapes tweaked to achieve a lighter feel to the frame as well as an actual reduction to 1,100g for a size 56.

The distinctive headtube, BB30 bottom bracket and wheel dropouts with replaceable derailleur hanger are machined from a harder 6Al 4V titanium alloy. Also retained in what Sabbath call ‘New Wave’ format are the curved one-piece top tube and seatstays and – even more unusual – curved downtube.

Sabbath claim that their curves enable the tubes to meet at joint angles which enable larger weld areas with subsequent weight benefit for a given strength.

Particularly nice is that the frame will be available finished in different degrees of polish, from a bright mirror-like gloss to a standard matt with laser-etched graphic as an additional option. Like the Silk Emperor, new Nirvana will be custom made to order, although there are standard-fit models available. Price £2,400 including carbon fork.

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The Emperor is dead; long live the Sabbath Nirvana

New ‘Maglia Rosa’ book coming in March
The last time we saw author Herbie Sykes’ name in Cycling Weekly was in 2008 when our Keith Bingham reviewed his first book The Eagle of the Canavese, a biography of Franco Balmamion centred around winning the 1962 Giro d’Italia and which Bingham described as a ‘gem of a book.”

In his forthcoming new work Maglia Rosa – Triumph and tragedy at the Giro d’Italia and published on March 17th, the scope is broader and attempts for the first time in English a definitive history of 100 years of Italy’s primo stage race and the pursuit of the fabled pink jersey.

There will be 312 pages in hardback including 100 of photographs. Obvious names like Coppi, Bartali, Merckx, Gimondi and Moser will feature, but, according to Sykes, others like Brunero and Guerra, Valetti and Zilioli have never been told in English.

“The Giro d’Italia, Italy’s great three week cycle race, is a century old. Though traditionally less heralded than its more famous, more moneyed French counterpart, the Giro is perhaps more spectacular and less formulaic, and it remains rooted in the hearts and minds of the Italian public,” Sykes continues.

Maglia-Rosa.jpg“The book examines not only the history of the race, but also the evolving social context in which it has been set. Further, it introduces the legendary winners and losers who have defined it, some famous, others hitherto anonymous to the English-speaking reader.”

Sykes concludes, “In so doing it reveals why the race continues to enrapture all of Italy and, increasingly, why it has become a magnet for the ‘New World’ of Northern European and American cycling nations.”  

Available in hardback: Maglia Rosa – Triumph and tragedy at the Giro d’Italia
Publisher: Rouleur Books. On sale March 17 £29. Orders from March 3. 

Landed: Kyklos frame brand

Always good to get the pronunciation of a new name sorted: it’s kee-klos as in Ancient Greek for a circle or cycle but the new Kyklos frame brand is actually as Italian as the professional cyclist Danilo Di Luca who is behind it.

Like any pro approaching the end of one career, Di Luca has been working on the next one and according to UK importer Veroli, the new road frames numbering three have been in development for two years.

Although not officially launching until the next Eurobike show at the end of September, stock is already in this country. All three road frames are made from carbon fibre with BB30 bottom brackets, tapered head tubes and integral seat posts.

The flagship Featherweight Limited weighs in at just 890 grams for £2,900 with the Featherweight at 960 grams for £2,700 and the Feather at 1030 grams for 1,760.

There is also a full-suspension and a hardtail mountain bike frame in the same materials.


Dawes Cycles launches 2011 bikes. And a useful frame

Dawes is not the only bike company that’s struggled with satisfying the new and fast growing  ‘sportive’ market. Not just in sheer numbers but in the style. The definition of a sportive bike seems to be one that has a lot of the characteristics and definitely the looks of a Tour de France racer. But with just enough of the top top length reduced and the head tube lengthened to allow a less-than-supremely-fit cyclist to ride comfortably for 100 miles, carrying a credit card and three Mule Bars.

The trouble is that looking like a Tour de France racer is certainly not what a whole lot of riders want and they certainly need braze-ons and clearances for mudguards and racks without going the whole way to a full-on expedition tourer. It’s simply the bike that many people need, especially at the right price, as their all-purpose weekend rides and cycle-to-work machine.

The onus on Dawes, being a long-standing maker of sensible bikes along just those lines, was to keep their people happy but last year they committed the faux pas of trying to roll both those groups into one range. Like a lot of companies, they sold out anyway but everyone agreed that the answer for growth is to offer ranges better focused for their intended customers.

Thus the 2011 Dawes Sportif and Sportif SL models are not dissimilar to 2010’s offering in that they’re modern and tastefully sporty-looking aluminium bikes with swoopy tubes but without formal provision for racks and mudguards. At £999, the SL model looks to be right on the money for sporty day rides with Shimano 105 2 x 10 speed transmission and a most welcome new 43cm size.

What we are even happier to see, however, is the reintroduction of a separate, subtler, class with Reynolds steel tubes, strictly horizontal top tubes and all the braze-ons you could wish for as well as nicely understated colours. Two bikes; Clubman at £850 and Century SE at £1,099 with Reynolds 520 tubes will make quite a few more people happy this year. And a further bonus is that a Reynolds 631 frame-alone will be available with otherwise exactly the same classic road spec.

Called Audax LE, it will cost £550 complete with a carbon fork and is simply begging to be built up with some choice components.

Dawes 2011 Audax LE frameset £549.99: lovely and understated


Dawes 2011 Century SE £1,099.99: pure class


Dawes Sportif SL £999.99: a tad racier for the sportive crowd

See also: Cycling Weekly’s best kit of 2010 The Nines and Tens