Our designer, Ben Pym, explains his decisions and inspiration behind the IRIS Zero.
Several years ago, I decided I wanted my next bike to be titanium, but after scouting the market, I couldn’t find one that satisfied my requirements and met my budget. Instead, I set about designing my own bike. I wanted something which was reminiscent of a more classical, timeless look, differing from the oversized headtubes and tubing which is in vogue at the moment. I also wanted a performance-orientated geometry. I was so proud of the result – and so much work had gone into this into the design and prototyping – that I decided to offer it to potential customers. IRIS Bikes was born.
We provide internal rear brake routing as standard across our electronic and mechanical gearing options to keep our frames neat. This also means that the brake cables wear a lot less and their lines are more direct, meaning servicing and re-threading is less of an issue. Where customers chose mechanical shifting, the gear cables are external – this makes servicing the bike easier, and it also saves weight because you don’t need to insert metal tubing into the frame to house the cables. Moreover, customers can specify whether they want mechanical or electronic shifting before the bike is built. Lots of manufacturers either don’t offer the option, or they plug the holes designed for internal routing after the frame has been built. We have positioned the cable eyelets for a direct a route as possible for a clean look and to optimise efficiency. Customers can also choose between caliper or disk brakes at no extra cost.
It was important to us to offer flexibility in the build itself, so we curated three packages for customers to choose from, allowing them to personalise the bike to their own requirements and budget. Customers can purchase a frame only, frameset or our frameset ‘plus’ package. So often, bikes come with components that you don’t necessarily want or a mix of different groupset levels, so this puts those decisions back into the hands of the rider.
We chose 3AL-2.5V, double butted tubing for the frame itself, which provides a stiff yet more forgiving ride for the potted UK roads, making longer days in the saddle more enjoyable. The headtube is tapered, housing a 1 1/8in upper bearing and a 1 1/2in lower bearing. We chose a 44mm headtube, which means it fits both tapered and straight forks. This gives customers more for versatility in their build, as they can choose a stiffer performance fork or a more comfort orientated fork.
The bottom bracket is threaded (BSA) making it easier to service and replace. For the hanger, we integrated this into the frame – on carbon bikes, these are usually removable because they’re likely to get damaged or broken, but using titanium, the likelihood of this is very low and integrated hangers offer much improved shifting performance.
We also wanted to raise the bar in terms of the type of finish we offered at this price point. A lot of titanium bike manufacturers provide a raw finish as standard, or use sticker decals. The Zero comes with a bead blasted finish and mirror polish details, including IRIS’s signature polished stays as standard. For those who want more of a statement finish, we are lucky to partner with Cole Coatings, a London-based custom design and paint specialist.
Although there has been a resurgence in the desirability of metal bikes past few years, with titanium becoming more popular, customers must either buy ‘off the shelf’ bikes, unable to specify much about the build, or they can go fully custom. This obviously comes with a hefty price tag. All the decisions we have made were intended to provide a top-quality bike, with as much choice as possible, without it being fully customisable and thus keeping the cost accessible.
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