Proving that life can exist without carbon, the Mason Resolution 2 showcases all that a modern steel bike can offer, with an excellent ride that just keeps you coming back for more. The Resolution 2 updates Mason’s ground breaking machine with all the elements we’ve now come to expect in an endurance bike, which weren’t around when the original Resolution was launched in 2014. So it’s collected one of our coveted Editor’s Choice 2018 awards for the best rides we’ve had in 2018.
Mason Cycles has been progressively expanding its bike range since Dom Mason founded his brand in 2014, introducing the Bokeh gravel bike (Dom Mason prefers to call it “AdventureSport”) in alloy, then in titanium. It’s also been refreshing its original models to take advantage of newer developments. Earlier this year, the alloy Definition got a tech refresh. Now it’s the turn of the steel Mason Resolution.
I really liked the original Resolution when I rode it in 2016. How will the new Mason Resolution 2 shape up?
Dom Mason sweats the details when he designs his bikes and he’s made subtle but significant changes for the Mason Resolution 2, like now providing flat mount brake calipers and thru-axles, which are now more or less a standard for disc braked bikes.
The frameset is still made of a mix of Columbus Spirit and Life steel tubing, brazed in Italy. It comes with internal routing ports for brake hoses and cabled groupsets, with the ability to swap between electronic and mechanical frame ports – or in this SRAM Red eTap spec just to blank them off.
Mason has designed new flat mount rear dropouts. It’s one of the cleanest implementations we’ve seen, with CNC machined single piece dropouts that Mason designed along with UK company Bear Frame Supplies. They incorporate the mech hanger on the drive side and the flat mount tabs on the brake side into thin, neat pieces.
You still get a double set of rack and mudguard mounts on the seatstays and a single set on the Aperture 2 all-carbon fork. The fork also has a front bolt at its crown for a dynamo light. There’s room for 30mm tyres with guards.
Another nod to the long distance rider is that the bottle bosses are now reinforced to strengthen them to handle extra-large bottles.
Thru-axles are 12mm front and rear. Rather than cut threads in the frame and fork, which could eventually wear out, Mason uses replaceable threaded inserts. Its axles now come with removable levers. This lets you keep a clean leverless look, while you can get the wheels off to sort out flats without needing to carry a multitool.
The Mason Resolution 2 is really nicely finished, with the lustrous black paint job being one of three colour options, along with navy blue and grey.
The top component spec for the Mason Resolution 2 is this SRAM Red eTap HRD build. It might seem like a luxury, but there are sound reasons from choosing SRAM’s wireless electronic groupset: if you plan to load up the bars with a bag, there are only the brake hoses to get in the way (although they are tucked away in a deep groove through the underside of the bar tops).
With no wires or cables there’s nothing for water, muck or salt to corrupt or corrode. It’s also the lightest hydraulic disc brake groupset available. And it just looks really classy and with its single paddle on each shifter gives you first rate, intuitive shifting, while the yaw front mech means there’s no trimming required as you shift up and down.
The Mason Resolution 2 comes as standard with Hunt 4Season Disc V2 wheels, although you can choose from other wheels in Hunt’s range, including the sub-1500g Aero Light Disc wheelset fitted. Both are an excellent option, developed along with Mason to suit the bike’s riding style.
But having bought the top spec Resolution 2, it’s also worth considering the Hunt 30Carbon Aero Disc wheelset. That’s a £560 upgrade. You can choose between the 28mm Schwalbe Pro One tyres fitted to the test bike or Schwalbe G-One Speed 30mm tyres, for a bit of extra grip. Both are tubeless ready, as are all Hunt’s wheels.
Mason fits Deda Superzero carbon bars to the SRAM Red eTap spec, along with a Superzero alloy stem. It’s a good combination with wide, comfortable tops and the carbon adding a little extra front end compliance. It’s finished off with grippy Fabric Knurl bar tape.
At the back, there’s a standard Fabric Scoop Shallow saddle on Mason’s Penta carbon seatpost.
Riding the Mason Resolution 2
When I rode the original Resolution, I remarked how it just made you want to ride a bit further and add another loop to your trip. That’s still there with the upgraded bike.
Mason describes the Mason Resolution 2 as “continent crushing”. I didn’t quite go that far, but it was a pleasure to take in some roads through the South Downs a bit further from home that I hadn’t ridden in a while. It’s a bike that mixes calm mile munching with a lively and engaging ride quality.
With SRAM’s top Red eTap groupset sporting carbon cranks and losing the extra mass of cables, the weight of the Mason Resolution 2 is around 8.5kg. That’s very respectable for a steel framed bike and adds lively handling and easy climbing to the mix. The simple shifting – left to move down, right to move up, both together to change chainrings – is really easy to use too.
I’m still not a fan of the Fabric Scoop Shallow saddle though. The frame’s vibration absorbing qualities, coupled with the carbon seatpost take a lot of buzz out of the ride. But I found the saddle rather underpadded, getting a bit uncomfortable after several hours on the road.
Otherwise, ride comfort is exemplary, with the steel frame, coupled with the Schwalbe tyres soaking up the worst that UK back roads have in store. There’s enough tread to the tyres for confidence in drizzly conditions, without adding rolling resistance or road buzz, leading to slip free climbing and confident fast descents.
Mason emphasises the Resolution’s multi-surface capabilities. Across the Downs and back along the foot of the escarpment, there are plenty of places to test these. The tyres would probably run out of grip in proper winter conditions, but their light tread and the Resolution’s stable geometry give confident handling on summer off road with a covering of damp mud or flinty gravel.
We’ve noted before that Mason bikes are significantly more expensive than a higher volume manufacturer’s bikes with a similar spec. But you’re getting something unique and Mason takes care that you get exactly what you need. Dom Mason and his team take a personal interest in your build and can recommend alternative spec options. You’ve got the option to visit the Mason Bike Barn and take a test ride through the beautiful Sussex countryside too.
If you want a cheaper spec, the Mason Resolution 2 starts out at £3140 for Shimano 105. There are also builds at £3395 for Ultegra, £4395 for Ultegra Di2 or £5445 for Dura-Ace Di2 and Mason is increasingly using single ring groupsets, available as a stock build on the alloy Definition 2 and the all-surface Bokeh.
The Mason Resolution 2 adds new features to what was already an excellent bike. The ride quality just makes you want to keep riding and it’s got all the bolts and add-ons so that you could take on ultra-endurance and bike packing trips as well as just enjoying local rides, whatever the season. SRAM Red eTap makes for easy shifting and puts the bike’s weight at a competitive 8.5kg, good for a steel frame. The wider tyres and stable geometry mean that you’re not confined to riding roads either.