Thanks to the wonder that is 'the internet', I discovered Prova Cycles while wading through the #29plus hashtags and landing on Mark's 29+ trail rig.
Mark definitely likes his trail bikes, and is building a strong line up of well engineering bicycles for whatever application is required. Bikepacking, Cyclocross, über commuter, trail riding and high performance road racing.
The latest Prova is a very sharp road bike with wafer thin beefy steel tubes, classic caliper brakes and the crème de la crème Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset and AX lightness wheels.
The steel frame is paired with a Curve Cycling carbon fork with a beefy shoulder that better suits the tapered and reinforced headtube and Chris King headset.
From the builder, Mark Hester:
Rob wanted to replace a high end carbon bike and was steelcurious. Being a regular racer of the skinny tyre type the brief was for a fast and responsive bike.
To achieve the target of high torsional and pedalling stiffness it uses the lovely Columbus Spirit HSS down tube which is drawn to a crazy .45mm through the centre. The use of the Reynolds 853 oval top tube also adds to the torsional stiffness while still allowing longitudinal movement of the front axle on square edge impacts by being able to flex more vertically.
The bench testing I have performed on compliance at the saddle showed how much of an impact seat post exposure and size makes to this metric. The use of the Columbus life triple butted seat tube, a 27.2 post and the careful balance of exposed seat tube and the angle of the top tube means that long days in the saddle will be a breeze.
In house designed dropouts are machined from solid 4130 here in Australia. They include stainless steel inserts for the axle and quick release face and hanger thread. The design of the dropouts was influenced by UK manufacturer Field.
When experienced builders tell you to be careful when doing internal routing I listen. I designed and 3D printed stainless steel cable guides which have a reinforcement flange on the inside of the tube to compensate for the material removed. All the bosses and routing is done before the tubes are tacked together.
There is also some magic inside with little 3D printed cable clips to keep the EPS wires from rubbing on the steerer, and allowing the wire to follow the brake cable into the top tube.
After a stint in Canberra I recently moved home to Melbourne and setting up shop in Kensington I have now gone full time on bicycles. The current lead time on custom builds is 4 months. Customers are more than welcome to pop in for a visit and have a fit done at the same time.
The finish on the frame is fantastic, with build details to ensure the bike remains sharp for a long time. The last Canberra made Prova was finished by another Canberran, Simon Tennant of Velopaint
You'll find Mark on the tools at his new Melbourne workshop.
6 Bakehouse Rd