If our last Bike of the Week was a little lacking in wheels for your liking, this latest offering will put things right.
The Spa Cycles Elan 725 is a stylish steel all-rounder from a brand that specialises in UK-friendly touring bikes replete with practical touches.
Spa has offered a titanium Elan for a while, but this steel version is more affordable, while occupying a similar niche.
Spa will build you a bike however you like, and this particular machine sports Shimano 105 disc components and some interesting aftermarket additions.
The frame is a study in simplicity, with reassuringly old-school skinny Reynolds 725 steel tubes and fully external cables.
The bottom bracket is threaded and, in the case of this bike, it’s a square taper cartridge unit of the kind that typically outlasts the rider.
The geometry is the same as that of the existing Ti version, with 384mm of reach and a towering 603mm of stack for this 54cm bike.
It’s long and laid back, with 440mm chainstays contributing to its 1,047mm wheelbase, suggesting a stable, easygoing approach to riding
The Elan is more of an all-roader (or light tourer) than gravel grinder, but clearances are healthy and this particular bike is specced with 30mm tubeless Schwalbe G-One tyres that are equally at home on dry fireroad as they are on tarmac.
Spa Cycles offers a huge choice of low ratio touring cranks and has done since well before they were fashionable for gravel bikes. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
In a similarly adventurous vein, the bike is fitted with Spa’s own 46/30t cranks and these are matched to a huge 11-40t SunRace cassette.
But wait, I hear you cry, a regular Shimano 105 rear derailleur won’t like that, will it?
You’re quite right, but Spa has also fitted a Wolftooth Goatlink hanger extender, which adds the necessary clearance to allow a standard road derailleur to work with a mountain bike cassette.
What is Bike of the Week?
Every Tuesday, we’ll bring you a detailed first look at one of the latest bikes to arrive for review – from road to commuting, gravel to enduro, and anything in between.
This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails.
A 30/40t low gear should be enough to climb just about anything short of a vertical wall, so loaded touring should present no obstacles.
A hanger extender lets the road derailleur play nice with a huge cassette. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
You can’t miss the orange theme the Elan has going on, and much of the hue is supplied by cheerfully anodised Hope components, including the headset, skewers, seat clamp and hubs.
The appearance of quick-release skewers might raise an eyebrow incidentally, in a world now dominated by thru-axles, but they work just fine, as they have done for most of the last century. Spa does offer a thru-axle fork as an alternative, but naturally the frame is QR-only.
Those Hope hubs are laced to Kinlin tubeless alloy rims and yes, the nipples are orange too. It would be odd if they weren’t, frankly.
The Elan’s finishing kit is all FSA, with the brand’s Adventure bar offering subtly flared drops and slightly swept and flattened tops for comfort. All this makes for a bike weighing 10.4kg for a size 54 without pedals.
You don’t buy a steel bike because it’s the lightest, you buy it because it’s made of steel. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
As built, the Elan should set you back around two grand, but that’s an estimated figure because Spa Cycles hasn’t yet finalised pricing.
The Elan 725 is expected to be available towards the end of May and, as mentioned previously, Spa will build it to your specification or you can roll your own with a frameset.
Spa Cycles Elan 725
Frameset: Reynolds 725 chromoly steel
Fork: Full carbon
Groupset: Shimano 105, Spa Cycles TD-2 46/30t cranks, SunRace MX8 11-40t cassette
Brakes: Shimano 105 disc
Wheels: Kinlin rims on Hope Pro 4 hubs
Tyres: 30mm Schwalbe G-One tubeless
Cockpit: FSA Adventure bar and stem, Hope headset
Seatpost: FSA Gossamer 27.2mm
Saddle: Spa Cycles
Price: £2,000 (estimated)