This one’s a real eye catcher – not only because of the hand-brushed titanium frame but also its sleek lines and tube profiles. Van Nicholas is a Dutch company who specialise in titanium and this is the Zephyr.
The Zephyr is an old favourite that was re-worked in 2009. It’s designed for performance-minded mile-munchers, who thrive in fast-paced sportives or day-long rides, with the odd race thrown in for good measure.
With that in mind, the tube profiles are designed with an emphasis on comfort, with a geometry to match. The tapered top tube ovalises at the joint with the seat tube, while the tall head tube looks to provide a more upright riding position than the race-orientated Astreaus.
Meanwhile, the seatstays – super-thin where they meet the seat tube, getting wider as they head towards the chainstays– are designed to flex under load. Here’s the full geometry table.
Other neat features include Van Nicholas’ 3D Sculpted Dropouts, intended to ‘ensure maximum efficiency at one of the highest-strain contact points of the frame’.
What else do we like? The engraved head tube logo is a neat touch, while Van Nicholas, so confident on the quality of their titanium, offer a lifetime warranty on every frame.
Frame sizes range from 50cm to 60cm, in 2cm increments, while Van Nicholas also offer a custom build service.
So that’s the frame. Up front is Van Nicholas’ 370g Carbon SL fork, while if you want a complete build, Van Nicholas offer eight standard options across Shimano and Campagnolo drivetrains, which you can then tweak to your heart’s content on their website.
Our machine is kitted out with a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with compact chainset, FSA Orbit MX headset and a smattering of Van Nicholas’ own-brand components – stem, handlebars, seatpost and saddle.
The company’s 5cm VNT Carbon Wheelset, weighing 1,720g and wrapped in Vredestein Fortezza Tricomp tyres, completes the look.
The Zephyr retails at £1,343.61 frame only, while our machine will set you back £3267.27. Van Nicholas bikes are available through their website or via 34 UK stockists. Click here to find your local retailer or test centre.