Bike of the Week | The Light Blue Newnham prototype

Preview of a stylish steel all-roader

The Light Blue Newnham prototype

The Light Blue Newnham is a versatile steel bike aimed at “road and more”. Originally conceived as a more versatile disc counterpart to the brand’s Wolfson 853, the Newnham’s design has evolved over the last three years as the demands of the market have changed. 

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As things stand, the Newnham is still a prototype, but it’s nearing its final form and is expected to be available to buy around early 2022, with framesets priced in the region of £1,400. 

The Light Blue sent us this pre-production bike to ogle, built up with Ultegra Di2 and Halo carbon wheels, a spec expected to come in around £4,700. When the Newnham goes into production, more affordable builds will also be available. 

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This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails.

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The Light Blue Newnham: three years in the making

The Light Blue built its first Newnham prototypes in 2018 with slightly bigger clearances than the Wolfson, and ovalised tubing for stiffness. 

Lloyd Townsend of The Light Blue says the original design rode well, but that testers found they wanted more comfort for long-distance rides and the market was also demanding ever-greater tyre clearances as gravel and ‘all-road’ riding exploded in popularity.

The 2022 incarnation of the Newnham takes tyres up to 38mm wide without mudguards or 32mm with, and features hidden mounts if you do wish to fender up.

It’s designed to be a do-it-all road bike that’s ready to dabble in gravel if the fancy takes you.

The Newnham’s main tubes are Reynolds 853 steel, while the seatstays are chromoly, the chainstays are unspecified heat-treated steel and the head tube is from Columbus.

The Light Blue matches the frame to a tapered steerer Columbus carbon fork, with both taking now-standard 12mm thru-axles. 

Much like the new Fairlight Faran 2.0, the Newnham has removable external cable stops, meaning no redundant hardware if you opt for an electronic drivetrain. 

It also takes a band-on front derailleur, making clean 1× setups a possibility. Another detail that will please home mechanics is the standard threaded bottom bracket.

The cockpit and seatpost are from Genetic, and the bars deserve a particular mention. These are Driser 4-10s, a neat drop bar with 10mm of rise. We’ve see a few bikes hit the market with riser drops – the Specialized Roubaix is one – but they remain a relative rarity. 

This prototype bike is built up with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Halo Carbaura RCD 35 wheels for a total weight of 9.1kg (size 62). 

The Newnham’s geometry is still being finalised across the sizes, but it looks to fall somewhere towards the racier end of endurance road.

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Do you fancy some handsome steel built with British riding in mind? You’ve got plenty of time to save up…

The Light Blue Newnham spec

  • Frame: Reynolds 853 steel (main tubes)
  • Fork: Columbus full carbon
  • Wheels: Halo Carbaura RCD 35 carbon clincher
    Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra Di2 50/34, 11-28
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc
  • Finishing kit: Genetic carbon seatpost, alloy stem, Driser 4-10 alloy bar, Tioga Undercover Stratum saddle
  • Weight: 9.1kg (62cm)
  • Price (not finalised): £1,400 frameset, £4,700 complete bike