Bike of the Month – March 2020

The OldVelos just like bikes! We mostly feature older bikes on our website but sometimes something comes along that we feel we just have to share with our visitors. One such bike is the Elite 953 Stainless Steel from Donard in Newtownards, Northern Ireland. Definitely one that will become a future classic.


Bicycle Make:           Donard

Bicycle model:          Elite 953 Stainless Steel

Date of Manufacture:    2020


This bike is based around a custom Donard frameset with a dark candy blue paint and exposed polished seat stays and chainstays. It is made from Reynolds 953 Stainless steel with silver fillet brazed construction. The geometry is designed specifically for the owner and it’s designed to be a fast light road bike. The frame has a tapered head tube and a tapered seat tube, and oversize down tube and top tube, with an internally routed brake cable.

It may not be vintage yet, but it’s definitely of it’s time with the latest SRAM Red 12 speed wireless groupset, carbon wheels built around Chris King hubs and matching top class carbon stem, handlebars and seatpost from Enve composites. The tires are Compass/Rene Herse 28mm, and the saddle and pedals are the riders own. Tune bottle cages finish things off at a mere 8 grams each.

Other information:     

This bike is less than a week old, and has just been delivered to a happy customer, and is the latest stainless steel frame from the Donard workshop. Like all Donard bikes, it’s designed specifically for one rider with a custom geometry, customers choice of colour and design, and customer approval of all the details and components. I’ve become a big fan of stainless steel for road bikes, both for it’s aesthetic possibilities (unpainted/polished sections) and for it’s light weight and robustness compared to the more usual steel bike tubing.

The SRAM groupset is very interesting, this is the first one I’ve installed, the chainrings are 48/35 with a 12 speed cassette going right down to 10T, apparently giving a better spread of ratios than the more common configurations. The shifting is very intuitive, and has an option to shift the whole way up or down the block in one hit.

The bike is far too big for me, so I couldn’t take it for a test ride, but I’m really looking forward to the first ride feedback from the customer, as this should be a fast fast bike.

As far as I know, we are the only framebuilder building in stainless steel on the Island of Ireland, and of course proud holders of the Old Velos “Best Irish bike” award for 2019! For more information, check our website at

– Owen Byrne

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