You'd think that after building so many custom bikes, the process might become a blur. I guess for some people, it could go that way. But we've found that when we commit to bringing someone's dream bike to life, there's a process of continual learning and a curiosity that compels us to see each build through a different lens. And that's an endlessly fascinating journey.
Jose's Prova Mostro went that way. It started with simple inspiration: a limited-edition Bamford Tag Heuer Monza timepiece in our favorite colors of blue and orange, and our favorite material, titanium. Such inspiration called for a titanium hot rod in the same vein.
Before the build started, we sent a photo of the watch to Suzanne, our expert designer in Toronto, co-founder of Velocolour, to get started on the design. Little by little, we (mostly she) worked on bringing the vision to life. Follow along below to see how Jose's Prova went from inspiration to fully built machine.
It's no secret that we hold Mark Hester of Prova in extremely high regard. We could easily put a groupset, wheels and cockpit on one of his bare frames and call it good, but this build was only just warming up. While Mark was finishing up with the frame and Suzanne was finessing the artwork, we were trying to put together a build worthy of both.
The Mostro is Prova's full-on gravel bike. It features eight fantastically finished tubes, some bent, some straight, in a simple and elegant form. Elegant, of course, in the same way the engine of a Ferrari is both jewel-like and thunderous all at the same time. Beyond its looks, the Mostro is ready for any trail you turn it towards.
Jose's Prova might look like a work of art, but it's functional. Use, abuse, then clean, and stare at it some more. Chips and dings only add to the allure. And anyway, those are easy to fix.
The Mostro frameset starts with those eight tubes, but it also includes Mark's own printed seat collar and the most beautiful seatpost in existence - in our eyes, at least. Throw in a matching silver Chris King headset, and we're into the realm of swoons and stoplight compliments.
There were really only two options: some sort of mix with Campagnolo EKAR or the SRAM Red Mullet group. Since Jose has another bike with a SRAM Red road group, we decided on that route. Not to say that Shimano's GRX group would not work, it's just a little long in the tooth, and we'll wait until the next iteration to pull that one out.
So, SRAM Red it is. But with some exceptions. At first, we spec'd the gorgeous EE Wings titanium crank mated to an SRM power meter, but unfortunately that doesn't play well with the bottom bracket design of this bike, so we pivoted to an equally trick, full SRM power meter with a Carbon Ti chainring, with a Ceramicspeed bottom bracket and pulley wheels to finish it off. Brakes came via HOPE's four-piston calipers with the British brand's rotors in silver.
We waxed the chain, of course, as there is no traditional lube in the shop anymore.
The pedals are Shimano XTR, with titanium pedal axles and ceramic bearings thrown in for good measure.
Perched on top of Prova's seatpost masterpiece is Fizik's 3D molded saddle, while up front, we utilized a custom-painted Extralite stem clamped to a Schmolke gravel bar.
Silver Sapim spokes laced to Chris King brushed silver hubs, and a de-badged ENVE G23 rim set shod with Challenge rubber. The hubs benefited from ceramic bearings, and the tires, Orange Seal sealant.
NOTES ON THE FINISH
Velocolour did an incredible job with the paint. There are so many eye-catching details all over the frame. One of our favorites is a small section of raw titanium under the seat collar that we asked Velocolour to transition from the bare titanium post to the paint.
We're so happy with the part everyone had to play in this project, from Jose's inspiration to Mark's work in building the platform and Velocolour designing the final look to our role in realizing the whole cohesive build.
Can this build be topped? We're not sure, but we'll certainly have fun trying.