Many of our frame and bike customers regularly ride sportives. And when they’re not busy being super sportif, they’re putting in big miles, year round, in all weathers and conditions. Or they’re off in the sun, riding big alps on what they call “training camps”. At SIC we call this sort of thing a holiday. And really, chance would be a fine thing.
But back to sportives. More often than not, our very first contact with potential new customers starts with a conversation like this: “Hello Spin, I’m looking for a sportive bike. And I like the look of your Spitfire II Sport.”
So why did we stop making the Spit II, the bike / frame we designed and engineered with the sportive rider in mind, and that most of our customers would seem to be most interested in?
The reason is that we’ve learnt something very interesting from our customers. Many of these nice folks come and try our bikes before buying. This is something we strongly encourage, and it is always a pleasure for us to meet our customers. Sadly this is not always possible when our customers come from right around the world, so sometimes we have to make do with communication at a distance.
But those who do make it to the SIC Speed Shop are usually in for a treat. As well as trying out the Spit II they’ve come to ride, we always encourage a thorough testing of our other frames. The racy ones.
And increasingly, having tried out our sportive frame on back to back tests with our race frames, they have not been leaving us with the Spitfire II they imagined they were coming to seriously consider. Instead, they’re placing orders for one of our thoroughbred race bikes. The stiffer, lighter
Spitfire III in some cases. The even stiffer, lightning fast X in the others!
Why is that? Could it be that proper race bikes, with geometries developed and perfected during the course of more than one hundred years of road racing, that these focussed no-compromise race machines really are better at taking care of you on the big rides? You know, epic road journeys like Rounding the bergs of Flanders, or investing 3 weeks Touring France.
Actually, we believe so. We’ve always known the most efficient bike to tackle serious riding and serious mileage to be the race bike. Every pro and club racer alike knows it. It’s what the race bike was conceived to do.
But we think that the rise of the so-called “sportive” bike is probably coincident with the rise of mass market stiff but
uncomfortable race bikes. Bikes whose frames were once made from a naturally forgiving material, steel, started getting made from essentially harsh and unforgiving materials like super stiff aluminium alloys and later, the rise of the ubiquitous carbon fibre composites. The classic race bike’s geometry was always the right geometry for big miles. It just happened that they were no longer being made out of materials that could deliver the right geometry with performance, handling and comfort.
At SIC we don’t make frames in carbon or alloy. There are many
reasons we believe that properly engineered titanium is the material of choice for your performance road bike frame, and one of these reasons is Ti’s supreme comfort. Even when employed in a frame designed without compromise to deliver the ultimate power transfer and razor-sharp handling. You know, a bike frame designed first and foremost to be a blast to ride. Not one to bore your socks off.
this review from Procycling Magazine of the no-compromise SIC Lightning X to confirm that you truly can have it all!)
So when you visit a bike company and it turns out that
all their frames offer incredible all-day ride comfort, why wouldn’t you then choose a frame that’s also exciting and makes you want to get out and ride all the more? Another bonus is that such a bike looks properly quick and not like a dog’s dinner probably cooked up by Heath Robinson.
And this is exactly what more and more of the customers who’ve come to us looking for the ultimate sportive bike have been doing this past year and a half.
Which is precisely for as long in fact as since we first had the idea of encouraging them to try our race bikes as well as our sporting bike. And the grins we see on their faces when they return from testing an X or Spit III tells us that they, and we, are on to something.
So this is the reason we’ve stopped offering the Spit II, a frame that started life as a proper racing Spitfire, then got compromised with a less stiff, heavier tubeset and longer wheelbase than are necessary when your frame is engineered and crafted entirely from Spindustrial Space Station Titanium.
If you still want a taller head tube or a lazier geometry, a longer wheelbase, or rack mounts, or disc brakes, well naturally we’d be delighted to fabricate that frame for you: watch out for the launch of our new Custom Program, or
get in touch.
But as most of our customers don’t seem to want these things as much as they want the most fun bike they can get their leg over, we’re going to focus our frame production on the racing Spitfire III and Lightning X models.