Author Topic: Titanium Masons  (Read 4074 times)

Titanium Masons
« on: September 03, 2019, 02:44:12 pm »
I've now ridden long events on both my titanium Masons (thank you redundancy payment), the BokehTi and the Aspect, so it's probably time for a bit of a review.  Much of what follows would apply equally to the aluminium Bokeh and the Definition.

Both bikes share the usual impeccable Mason build quality, with remarkably smooth welds and a subtle brushed finish.  Both have the neat MultiPort inserts to adapt the frame to Di2, cabled gearing, or wireless.  Both have rack eyes, mudguard eyes, and a chain peg.  The Bokeh has a third set of bottle bosses under the down tube; these work well for carrying a tool keg or small bottle.  Both bikes have Rivet Pearl saddles.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4fnjh65pwtsvziz/Bokeh.jpg?dl=0
My BokehTi

My Bokeh is set up for touring and mixed-surface riding, running 700cx40 Schwalbe G-One Allround tubeless tyres with mudguards (the frame will also accept 650b wheels with even fatter tyres).  I usually run the tyres at about 45 psi, which gives a plush ride but decent speed on road.  The combination of fat tyres and low pressures worked brilliantly on rough Irish roads during the Celtic Knot 1000.  The only drawback of this setup is that there is a small degree of toe overlap; this wouldn't be an issue without mudguards, with smaller tyres, or with 650b wheels, I think.  I'm using a Hunt Superdura dynamo wheelset, which has worked well; tubeless setup was very straightforward.

The bike has a SRAM Force single-ring transmission with a 36-tooth AbsoluteBlack oval chainring and 11-speed 11-42 block and SRAM hydraulic discs.  The block doesn't feel gappy since SRAM keep the gears relatively closely spaced at the top and middle of the range.  Both transmission and brakes have been rock solid, and I've found the durability of chain, cassette, and pads to be pretty decent.

I usually use either a Barley saddlebag on a Carradice classic rack or an Arkel Rollpacker bikepacking bag, which has its own quick-release rack that fits to the saddle rails.  Neither has any adverse effect on the way the bike handles.  There's relatively little clearance for frame bags and big bottles given the chunky tubes and smallish size (54cm) of my frame.

The bike handles very sweetly both on road and on unsurfaced tracks, making for a very relaxed rider.  You feel it will take whatever you care to throw at it.  Despite this easy-going nature, it's capable of a decent turn of speed.  A brilliant all-rounder.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ggmy86fbu9lvwpj/Aspect.jpg?dl=0
My Aspect

My Aspect has a somewhat racier setup: Hunt carbon wheels with 700cx30 G-One Speed tyres at 60-70 psi; SRAM Force eTAP AXS gears and hydraulic discs.  As you'd expect, it's a quicker bike but shares with the Bokeh (and other Masons) viceless and confidence-inspiring handling.  Basically, I feel happy to plummet rather than descend aboard either bike, even on unfamiliar roads.  The Aspect feels noticeably more responsive than the Bokeh when you stomp on the pedals, but still rides smoothly and comfortably.  It's a sexy-looking bike, with curvaceous forks and less chunky tubing than the Bokeh (which also creates more space for a frame bag, if that's your thing).

The Aspect has a 46-33 chainset and closely spaced 10-33 cassette.  All gears are available for use except 33/10, which the software blocks.  This means that you can spend most of your time in the big ring, even if your name isn't Mel Kirkland.  Gear changes, front or back, are quick and accurate (though I did drop the chain on PBP once when a rider swerved in front of me, causing me to stop pedalling in mid-shift).  The drivetrain is pretty quiet, though not quite as silent as a single-ring setup.  Battery life seems excellent.  Batteries are interchangeable between front and rear mech and, like the charger, very light and compact.  I carried a spare battery on PBP and swapped the battery on the rear mech at 750km, just in case, though the original was still going strong.  I recharged the spare from a power bank in my saddlebag.  One point to note:  The SRAM eTAP system turns itself on when it senses motion, so it's best to remove the batteries (a 10-second job) when the bike is on a train, in a car, or on a ferry.

The bike is a bit overgeared for my twiddly tastes, so in the medium term I'll look for a smaller chainset, ideally something like 40-28.

Like the Bokeh, the Aspect is untroubled by the kind of relatively lightweight touring loads I go in for.  It's fitted with Widget mudguards, which have particularly neat stays, a round profile, and a semi-matt black finish.  The bottom 20cm of each guard is reflective.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2019, 10:45:11 pm »
Images not showing.

To share Dropbox images I think they need to be in your public folder.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2019, 08:02:47 am »
Images not showing.

To share Dropbox images I think they need to be in your public folder.

Doh!  Have put the pics in the public folder and edited the post.  Are they working for you now?

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2019, 11:34:30 am »
The links do, you need to put them inside img tags like this for them to show

Code: [Select]
[img] [/img]
hmmm... but actually that doesn't seem to work.

Ver' nice. That Bokeh looks to be out of focus   :demon:

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2019, 11:50:33 am »





Both superb machines - hope you have many good miles on them.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2019, 02:39:30 pm »
Both superb machines - hope you have many good miles on them.

Thanks.  Quite a few miles on both already...  I can heartily recommend Dom Mason's designs

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2019, 03:20:37 pm »
Really interesting reviews, thanks, especially as they mirror a lot of my thinking and experience of Mason’s! It was your review of the Definition that encouraged me to take the plunge! :thumbsup:

I was talking to Dom Mason way back at the beginning of 2017 about an Aspect when, at that point, he was anticipating availability mid 2017, but inevitably things slipped (and it wasn’t eventually launched until this year). As an interim measure at that point, I bought a Definition frameset, Mason Hunt wheels and got my LBS to build it up with a Deore XT triple set up. Brilliant! I’ve been cycling 40+ years and this is easily the best bike ever owned. First time with discs as well and to start with I had TRP Spyre cable. After a few months, I felt the gearing wasn’t quite right and jumped to full eTap WiFli with hydraulic discs and I’ve now done 5k miles on this set up. Needing lower gearing than the standard eTap offered, I spec’d a Sugino 46/30 chainset and an Ultegra 11-34 cassette which all works nicely in the Etap set up.

Since then, the Bokeh has been launched and revised and I find myself tempted for its better gravel abilities (wider and/or 650B tyres) and possible better comfort if I went to the Ti version, but not compromised for on road riding.

Even my current gearing doesn’t give me quite the low gearing I would like, especially for gravel trails, and a few lower inches would be appreciated. The new SRAM eTap AXS appears to be a closed system with no mix and match as I do at the moment and I can’t get anywhere near the low inches I need, unless I go 1x, which is another sea change for me, although the silence appeals to me greatly. Otherwise, I’m thinking about a mix of Shimano Di2 GRX and XT.

How do you find the Rivet Pearl? Again coincidentally, I’ve tried to buy one of these from Carradice, but they said they had no stock, despite showing them as in stock at the time. I’ve used the distant relative Selle Anatomica for many years but find it sags a little on long runs and changes my position on the bike.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2019, 05:15:45 pm »
The new SRAM eTap AXS appears to be a closed system with no mix and match as I do at the moment and I can’t get anywhere near the low inches I need, unless I go 1x, which is another sea change for me, although the silence appeals to me greatly. Otherwise, I’m thinking about a mix of Shimano Di2 GRX and XT.

How do you find the Rivet Pearl? Again coincidentally, I’ve tried to buy one of these from Carradice, but they said they had no stock, despite showing them as in stock at the time. I’ve used the distant relative Selle Anatomica for many years but find it sags a little on long runs and changes my position on the bike.

White Industries (and doubtless others) are working on AXS-compatible chainrings, so lower gearing should be an option soon even if SRAM doesn't introduce wider-range road cassettes.

Single-ring is very soothing.  You may not be in the optimum gear, but you always know you're in the best available gear.  The (ridiculously expensive) SRAM 12-speed 10-50 cassette is more or less the 11-42 11-speed cassette with a wall-climbing bailout gear.  I'm sort of tempted, but would like to see less expensive wide-range cassettes.

The Rivet Pearl is great:  Doesn't sag, wears well, has been comfortable on events as long as the Wild Atlantic Way.  Think Carradice now have them in stock.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2019, 08:51:26 pm »
With no chainstay bridge, what stops the bottom of the mudguard flapping around? I see there is a seat tube fixing further up - is that all/enough? How do you find the bead blast finish to the Ti? Does it mark easily? I had a Van Nicholas which was brush finished which had a nice sheen to it after years of wiping down with GT85 and it just shrugged off the normal marking that might occur.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2019, 09:38:55 pm »
With no chainstay bridge, what stops the bottom of the mudguard flapping around? I see there is a seat tube fixing further up - is that all/enough? How do you find the bead blast finish to the Ti? Does it mark easily?

The rear mudguard on the Bokeh attaches to threaded bosses on the seat tube and "brake bridge" (quotes because it has nothing to do with the brakes, of course).  The fixing is perfectly solid.  The Aspect has bosses on the chainstay bridge and "brake bridge."

The bead blast finish seems resistant to marking.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2019, 11:57:52 am »
All good information, thank you. Would you say there is a quantifiable ride difference between the alloy Definition and the Ti Aspect (given that they are more or less identical geometries? I don't find any of the usual claimed alloy harshness with the Definition (with 28 or 32mm tyres) and so I'm wondering how much more comfort the Ti frame can add (given that comfort for me is high priority)? All very subjective I know!

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2019, 12:10:18 pm »
I think both bikes reviewed are titanium.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2019, 01:08:04 pm »
All good information, thank you. Would you say there is a quantifiable ride difference between the alloy Definition and the Ti Aspect (given that they are more or less identical geometries? I don't find any of the usual claimed alloy harshness with the Definition (with 28 or 32mm tyres) and so I'm wondering how much more comfort the Ti frame can add (given that comfort for me is high priority)? All very subjective I know!

I don't have anything as exotic as the Mason, but I do have two Croix de Fer, one in stainless and one in Titanium (so, again not a reference), but I find the ride identical on the same tyres, both have  a magic carpet waft. Huge difference between tyres, say 28 and 35, mind. If comfort is your thing, go up a tyre size.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2019, 03:25:38 pm »
I think both bikes reviewed are titanium.
They are, but PeterM has previously owned an alloy Definition.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2019, 04:31:03 pm »
Would you say there is a quantifiable ride difference between the alloy Definition and the Ti Aspect

Not really. Both are very smooth and comfortable. I’d say the Aspect is a whisker more responsive.  (Still have my Definition, but it’s on different tyres from the Aspect, thus complicating a direct comparison.)

Phil W

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2019, 07:16:00 pm »
Images not showing.

To share Dropbox images I think they need to be in your public folder.

Doh!  Have put the pics in the public folder and edited the post.  Are they working for you now?

The other bit is that the Dropbox url needs to be changed to end ?raw=1 (taking out dl=0) , the images should then show here.  They don't need to be in a public folder, just editing the shared link as described is enough.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2019, 09:58:49 pm »
The other bit is that the Dropbox url needs to be changed to end ?raw=1 (taking out dl=0) , the images should then show here.  They don't need to be in a public folder, just editing the shared link as described is enough.

My method, using a public folder, involves replacing the www. with dl. in the url.

Either way, it’s a bit of a faff and feels like something the rest of the internet stopped doing years ago. Come on Dropbox.


bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2019, 06:48:37 pm »
A review of the Aspect is now up on Road.cc

https://road.cc/content/review/266255-mason-aspect

Eagerly awaiting my own redundancy payments...!
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD



Ban cars.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2019, 02:26:54 am »
The other bit is that the Dropbox url needs to be changed to end ?raw=1 (taking out dl=0) , the images should then show here.  They don't need to be in a public folder, just editing the shared link as described is enough.

My method, using a public folder, involves replacing the www. with dl. in the url.

Either way, it’s a bit of a faff and feels like something the rest of the internet stopped doing years ago. Come on Dropbox.
It's really that Dropbox isn't intended as an image hosting site, so "copy dropbox link" gives you a link to a content page on the dropbox site rather than a url for an image. It could, after all, equally be a spreadsheet or a Word document.

Given that the dropbox link is (as in the OP) https://www.dropbox.com/s/4fnjh65pwtsvziz/Bokeh.jpg?dl=0
I put [img][/img] tags in (using the button), paste the URL between them, and change dl=0 to raw=1, go you've got:
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/s/4fnjh65pwtsvziz/Bokeh.jpg?raw=1[/img]

Sgt Pluck's method is changing www to dl, so you've got
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/s/4fnjh65pwtsvziz/Bokeh.jpg?dl=0[/img]
A new one on me, and saves 3 keystrokes.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2019, 06:16:03 pm »
A review of the Aspect is now up on Road.cc

https://road.cc/content/review/266255-mason-aspect


Told you it was good...

PS.  I loathe Dropbox

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2019, 01:08:41 pm »
I was surprised to read in that review;

"When it comes to this stiffness, I'm not exactly talking about it matching that of a peloton-ready, oversized carbon fibre race frame, but it surpasses that of pretty much any bike I've ridden with this long-distance remit."

It's a confusing review because, as well as the above, he implies that it softens up when riding gently. There was no reference to the usual Ti 'floating on air' ride that I so often see in reviews.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2019, 01:18:47 pm »
My understanding of that part of the review is that the frame design and tubeset are chosen so that when weight is forward on the bike (rider standing up or shifted forward and in the drops) the frame is stiff, but when weight is back (seated, sat up) it's not so stiff. I suppose that is technically achievable.

There is as lot of guff written about frame stiffness and ride, and the more expensive the bike, the worse the guff.

The only time I have experienced floating on air when riding is when I have needed to pump the tyres up.


Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2019, 02:15:40 pm »
Think the author of the road.cc review was desperate to find some new variation on "comfy but responsive."  The Aspect does an excellent job of transferring your efforts at the pedals to the back wheel, and an almost uncannily good job of filtering out road buzz. On a 200 yesterday I could see rough chipseal road surfaces but not really feel them.  Which was nice

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2019, 02:28:01 pm »
These are really beautiful bikes, very nicely finished.  Really like the road one.

There is as lot of guff written about frame stiffness and ride, and the more expensive the bike, the worse the guff.

The only time I have experienced floating on air when riding is when I have needed to pump the tyres up.

Very much this.

Re: Titanium Masons
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2019, 02:40:23 pm »
Indeed, it reminds of the hifi magazine reviews I used to pore over years ago - the more expensive the turntable/amp/whatever, the worse the hyperbole.