For 2022's first Above Category Bike of the Week, we're setting off in style with this sublime Prova Speciale All-Road, complete with a custom paint scheme that comes right out of the air.
The Speciale is the pinnacle of the Prova range. With its premium titanium tubing, 3D printed components, and custom-wrapped carbon seat mast, the Speciale has Mark Hester's signature all over it. Of course, we've built many Speciales in road bike form, but we love this all-road variant, which retains all of the style and performance but has room to spare for higher volume tires.
And how about those custom graphics? The historically-minded out there might recognize a certain resemblance to the British Spitfire fighter plane, a scheme that plays out over the frame's bare titanium with its camo-inspired green patches and RAF roundel red and blue wraps.
Fizik supplies the front end of the cockpit. Simple, elegant, and comfortable. The R1 carbon bar is wrapped in plush and grippy Zipp Service Course tape, partnered with the 3D printed Prova seat mast topper's Pro Stealth carbon saddle, the preferred shape for our rider.
Our client preferred a more typical road set-up with a 2x system, so we opted for the popular Sram Red AXS system to handle the braking and gearing. And in typical AC fashion, the cranks are spinning on a CeramicSpeed bottom bracket while the rear derailleur features titanium CeramicSpeed pulley wheels.
With so many excellent options out there, wheels are always a tough decision, but ultimately we decided to do something a little custom. So we took a set of Zipp 303 Firecrest rims, stripped them down for a clean look, and laced them to a DT Swiss 240 hub set.
The selection for all-road tire options is ever expanding these days, but one of our top favorites is the Bon Jon Pass from René Herse, a high volume 35mm slick that rolls plenty fast and has a luxuriously supple casing. It's speedy on the road, inspires unreal confidence on paved descents, and provides ample cushion and contact to take to the dirt.
All in all, we don't think this bike could be any more perfect. An incredible handcrafted frame with a unique finish, custom laced wheels, and a build full of choice details, this is one we're certainly proud to send out into the world.