Donhou Bicycles launch DSS2 road and gravel adventure bike

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Donhou Bicycles launch DSS2 road and gravel adventure bike

Second bike in off-the-shelf Signature Series range from London-based framebuilder Tom Donhou

Last year London-based Donhou Bicycles launched the DSS1 – a handmade, off-the-shelf road machine from a firm which otherwise specialises in custom, made-to-measure frames. Now the Signature Series has expanded to include the DSS2.

The DSS2 is described as the DSS1’s ‘grown-up, older brother’, and while the first machine was geared towards road riding, the follow-up is all about versatility and adventure, pitched as a machine which can handle the road, gravel riding and going on tour.

And that’s what Tom Donhou, the man behind the DSS2, did, taking it to Iceland with photographer George Marshall, traversing the lifeless gravel roads which run though the country’s harsh interior for a final pre-production test run on a three-day ride.

“The DSS2 is the second in the Signature Steel series,” said Donhou. “We set the standard high with the DSS1 and the DSS2 needed to continue what we had started. We’re really pleased with where the DSS2 can take you, it’s a total pleasure to ride and truly takes the Signature Steel series onto new pages.”

The frame is made from Reynolds 853 steel – Donhou’s first choice tubeset – paired with a Wound Up Gravel carbon fibre fork. The chassis has clearance for 35mm tyres, or 28mm rubber with full mudguards, while you can also fit a rack. Donhou describes the geometry as a ‘relaxed road geometry tuned for gravel and touring’.

Donhou went to town with the paintjob on the DSS1 and hasn’t cut any corners with the DSS2 either, working with designer Suzanne Antonelli on a paintjob which takes its inspiration from 1980s Miami. The ‘good vibes’ finish is designed to ‘boost morale whenever the road ahead is tough and spirits are low’ – something which came in handy in Iceland.

“It was truly bleak, other worldly, there was nothing but rocks for hundreds of miles,” said Donhou. “The only living thing we saw the whole time was a single crow, which squawked at us then flew away, to where I have no idea. The bikes stood up to the task though, and we managed to come out the other side totally confident in the capability and adaptability to all types of terrain and weather conditions.”

The DSS2 will be available as a frameset or a complete build in stock 54cm, 56cm and 58cm frame sizes. The frameset will cost £1,995, while the complete bike will come with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and mechanical TRP Spyre disc brakes for £3,785, or with hydraulic disc brakes for £3,965. The handbuilt wheels come from August Wheelworks using Hope hubs and the Pacenti SL25 disc-specific rims. Thomson, Fizik and Chris King components complete the spec sheet.

Now for something very different from Donhou…

Donhou Bicycles also unveil road and town bike to celebrate Rapha + Liberty collaboration

Tom Donhou has also designed two custom bikes – one for the road and one for town – to complement the recently-launched Rapha + Liberty clothing collaboration.

Both bikes incorporate a distinctive 1930s Liberty print into the frame’s paintwork in a design which fades from front to back to give a sense of movement evoking, Donhou say, ‘a feeling of speed, grace and birds in flight’.

The road bike is described as a ‘thoroughbred’, made from a mix of Columbus HSS and Spirit steel. The geometry is tuned for fast road riding and sized to accommodate female riders.

The frame also features a stainless steel cutting of the Liberty Cup – a prize awarded to the winner of an annual women’s race run for Liberty employees from 1901 – brazed onto the seattube behind the seatstays.

On the other hand, the town bike seeks to combine contemporary function and classic looks in what Donhou describe as a ‘perfect bike for London, built right here in London’. The bike features a custom built fork and handlebar/stem, as well as a Gates carbon drive belt system for a hassle-free drivetrain. Mudguards and disc brakes complete an all-weather machine.

Both Rapha + Liberty bikes are available to order through Donhou Bicycles.

Website: Donhou Bicycles

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