Samuel’s Skinny Slicks and Shaved Faces Spa Cycles Audax Road Review: Readers’ Rides


Samuel’s Skinny Slicks and Shaved Faces Spa Cycles Audax Road Review: Readers’ Rides

While we’ve been working chronologically on these Readers’ Rides submissions, when I saw Samuel’s email, titled “What about shaved faces and skinny slicks?” I had to peek inside. What I found was a truly unique Readers’ Rides submission, so we bumped it to the front of the queue with words and photos by Samuel. Enjoy!

Some people have called this bicycle antique. In fact, you can buy most of it brand new right now.

Others have called it retro. Can’t agree. Retro is imitative, but I chose every single component for pure function. Maybe I hate how it looks?

The frame was designed by Colin Thomson for the UK indie shop Spa Cycles and welded, very well, in Taiwan. I chose it for the 72.5° seat-tube angle: slack enough to keep the weight off my hands in a racing crouch. Don’t talk to me about hip angles!

It came with a carbon fork, but for this rebuild after a bad crash I fitted a steel fork to match the stuff in my shoulder.

Like many Radavist readers, I defy the tyranny of the gruppo. Here I mixed new, NOS, and plain old parts from a bunch of makers. The goal was a simple, easy to maintain, durable, versatile, and fast bicycle. Eight-speed, because true freedom is low running costs.

I’ve used up to 35 mm tyres with success. In the winter I fit a dynamo wheel, lamps, and mudguards. The frame can do anything.

I built it in my living room, greasing every thread and using a torque wrench on every bolt. The wheels are mine, too.

It runs so smoothly and quietly I can’t believe I’m not flying. Telepathic no-hands steering. The gears slam home like snooker balls. Descends like a moto and climbs alright too. It’s 10 kg as shown or 9.8 kg without the pump. The pump is on the seat tube so I can carry the bike up stairs to footbridges, train stations, and my fifth-floor flat.

This petite reine has taken me to the sea, through the night, over the Alps, and onto leaderboards in Paris ahead of ten thousand whoosh-whoosh, snickety-snick racers.

I believe in only one true bicycle forever, and this is all I’ve got or want.

The gory details:
Frame: Spa Audax, Reynolds 725 steel, 58 cm
Fork: Thorn Audax Mk3 R, Reynolds steel, 46 mm rake
Headset: Campagnolo Record HS00-RETHOS with grease ports
Spacers: single 24 mm below stem, 5 mm above
Stem: Nitto UI-86EX, 100 mm, −17°
Handlebar: Nitto Mod 177 ‘Noodle’, 400 mm
Bar tape: Velox Tressostar 90 cotton
Bar plugs: Brooks natural rubber
Seatpost: Nitto S83, 250 mm
Seatpost clamp: Surly Constrictor
Saddle: Selle San Marco Regal
Brake levers: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Brake callipers: Campagnolo Record 2040
Brake pads front / rear: Campagnolo BR-RESR / Kool-Stop KS-CRSA, salmon
Brake cables: Shimano SLR housing, Campagnolo conical ferrules, Transfil stainless steel cables
Gear levers: Shimano SL-R400 down-tube shifters, 8-speed indexed
Gear cables: Shimano OT-SP41 housing, Transfil galvanised cables
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7410
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7700
Pedals: Shimano Ultegra PD-6620
Bottom bracket: Tange-Seiki LN-3912, 103 mm
Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7410, 172.5 mm
Chainrings: Spécialités TA Alizé, 49T and 38T
Cassette: Shimano CS-HG50-8, 13–26T
Chain: SRAM PC-850, 110 links
Rear hub: Shimano 105 FH-5700, 36-hole
Front hub: Shimano 105 HB-5700, 32-hole
Spokes: Alpina ACI double-butted stainless steel with brass nipples
Rear rim: Mavic Open Pro C
Front rim: Mavic Open Elite
Rim tape: Velox cotton, 19 mm
Tubes: Michelin AirComp Latex, A1
Tyres: Michelin Pro3 Race Service Course, 25 mm (27 mm measured)
Bottle cage: Elite Ciussi Inox, stainless steel
Pump: Zéfal HPX, size 3

We’d like to thank all of you who have submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared over here. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike!