It’s almost impossible to put into words what this bike is like to ride; it’s beyond empowering, and on the first little foray out on it, I had to have a good look to see if there was a sneaky rear motor somewhere, it felt that powerful. Everything has been thought about and considered. Even the paint is done by Spoon in house and looks a mile deep in purple with a matte finish, which is apparently lighter than a gloss finish. If I were considering a bike for life, and if I had the money, it would go straight on a Vars Disc, no questions asked.
Custom geometry and spec
Lovely (and lightweight, apparently) paint
The price, obviously
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There’s something rather obvious but worth remembering about custom-built bikes, and it’s simple: the bike is unique to you. It's a purchase that you may envisage lasting for the rest of your riding time.
Done right, a custom bike will likely make you fall in love with riding all over again, making you feel connected to your bike in a new way.
That is precisely the feeling I got when riding the Spoon Vars Disc bike. While this particular one was not built for me but for Spoon’s owner, Andy Carr, it was clear from the start that it was something extraordinary.
The name is taken from the Col de Vars in the southern French Alps: Carr splits his time between the Alps and the brand's workshop in the Surrey Hills.
Spoon VARS Disc - the construction
The Vars Disc has a full carbon frame that's comprised of multidirectional and unidirectional Toray carbon-fibre in predominantly T800 and T1000 and finished off in a T3000 weave. The tubes are cut, wrapped and assembled in Veneto, Italy.
If you’re not familiar with your carbon-fibre, material from Japanese firm Toray is one of the commonest in the cycle industry. T800 is considered a good carbon-fibre for bike frames and the higher the numbers, the stiffer, lighter, yet more brittle the carbon becomes. If the whole bike were made out of T3000 it might not be quite so enjoyable to ride.
Spoon makes the moulds and the tubes are laid up in those moulds in Bergamo, Italy, to its designs. Then the tubes are joined in Padova and finally then they come back to Spoon for finishing.
All the CADs, spec and design are done in house and Carr says Spoon will be bringing all the stages in house during this year, except tube production.
With this carbon composition, the Vars reduces road buzz enormously; it’s comfortable and nimble. At 7.3kg it's lightweight yet strong enough to give you confidence in it; sometimes, when a bike is too light, I lose balance and lose rhythm without that bit of weight to push against if I'm out of the saddle up a climb.
A custom-built bike - and one that you've specced yourself - will obviously mean you’re not restricted to the OEM components that comes with more mainstream bikes; you won’t be thinking of upgrading the wheels because you’ll already have the wheels you want . You won’t be upgrading the groupset for the same reason. Everything is just the way you want the bike to be - as long as you can afford it of course.
There is absolutely nothing off the shelf about this bike: you get to choose whichever parts you want, and Spoon customers also get a three-hour bike fit not only to ascertain the frame's geometry but also to determine the measurements of the cranks, handlebar and stem, saddle and more. Even the wheels are built custom to the weight of the rider and their riding style.
Spoon Vars Disc - the ride
It’s important to point out again that this bike was not made for me to ride. However, I’m fortunate that Andy Carr, the owner, and I are of similar height, so I could jump on and ride.
On this particular build, the shortish wheelbase and Enve’s 4.5 AR (which stands for 'all road') wheels with big 29mm tyres supply confidence in the corners to push on and dial in.
The fat Enve rims on DT Swiss’s top-end 180 hubs with ceramic bearings are built by Ben Sharp at Sharp Precision Wheels and come in at a lightweight 1,452g.
It’s unfair that I’ve had to review this bike because from here on in, no other bike will ever match up to the way the Vars Disc made me feel and ride on my home roads. I took this bike on my usual road test route, with plenty of up and down and some flat; the way it performed was way above my expectations (which were already high) and better than any bike I’ve ridden on the route.
Spoon Vars Disc - value
A custom build is never going to be cheap but you're buying a bike that's tailor-made for you. This one, as it’s specced here, costs £12,900. The frameset with the integrated fork will cost £5,200.
Almost £13K isn't an insignificant amount of money, but compared to other flagship bikes with top specs from the big brands it isn't as outrageous as it sounds. The Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 with SRAM Red eTap has an RRP of £11,750 and the Pinarello Dogma F Dura-Ace Di2 £12,200.
But with those bikes you get what you're given. With the Spoon you get to choose everything.
Spoon Vars Disc - Conclusion
If I were considering a bike for life, and if I had the money, it would go straight on a Spoon Vars Disc, no questions asked. It’s glorious. Amazing. Perfect.
Spoon Vars Disc - specs
- Frame and fork: Spoon Vars Disc
- Groupset: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
- Wheels: Enve 4.5 AR rims / DT Swiss 180 hubs
- Tyres Enve SES 29mm
- Bar/stem: Ursus Magnus H.02
- Seatpost: Spoon
- Saddle: Prologo Scratch M5
- Contact: spooncustoms.com
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