The Tor Zenith is a Fuss Free, Australian-Made, Steel Trail Bike

May 17, 2021
by Dave Rome  
Tor Zenith custom steel trail bike

Last week we covered a new prototype trail bike from Devlin Cycles, and here’s the other candy red custom steel full suspension from the 2021 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia. This one comes from Tor Bikes out of Beechworth, Victoria who revealed their first trail bike at the 2019 edition of the show.

Shane Flint is the creator and fabricator behind Tor Bikes, a bike brand that specialises in custom steel mountain bikes and dabbles in gravel and road bikes, too. Here, Flint talks through this one-off Zenith trail bike that was off to a customer. Moving forward Tor will be offering the Zenith in both production sizing and full custom.
Details:

Frame material Steel (Columbus Zona, Reynolds 853 & 4130 Chromoly)
Intended Use: Trail
Rear travel: 130mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head tube angle: 66°
Effective Seat Tube Angle: 75°
Price: AU$5,800 (approx US$4,500), stock sizing
More info: torbikes.com.au


Tor Zenith custom steel trail bike
The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia has been packed with stunning custom bikes.

Key details
The Zenith is pitched as a well-rounded, fuss-free 29er trail bike that offers 130mm of travel from the single-pivot rear end. Made by Shane Flint, the frame is TIG-welded steel consisting of a mix of Columbus Zona and Reynolds 853 tubing, and the swingarm features 4130 Chromoly side plates.

Tor Zenith custom steel trail bike
A single-pivot suspension design delivers 130mm of rear-wheel travel.

The frame offers room for up to 29 x 2.5 in rubber, while all the fitment points are kept as common as possible. There’s an English threaded bottom bracket, a 44 mm straight head tube and Boost axle spacing. This latest version of Tor’s Zenith trail bike moves to all stainless steel hardware.

Tor Zenith custom steel trail bike
The bike's finish is super clean.

This particular bike was custom-made. “The bike will be mainly be ridden in Melbourne but with some trips to Tasmania,” said Flint. “Jamie, the guy who I built it for, was after a bike that could do everything, leaning a little on the distance side of things… that can do weekly rides around Melbourne.” Melbourne trails are rather 'pedally' and steep descents aren’t so common. For this, Flint landed on a head angle of 66-degrees while the effective seat angle is 75-degrees.

This customer’s bike has been given the full paint treatment by Velocraft in Melbourne, including painted to match fork and stem. The gold highlights were chosen to match Fox’s Kashima coat, and even the Zipp logos on the wheels have been given matching gold branding.

Tor Zenith custom steel trail bike
Tor Zenith custom steel trail bike
Tor Zenith custom steel trail bike
This bike is fully custom with the candy red and gold colour scheme carried through most of the components

A production version
Tor’s production version of the frame will still be made to order but feature stock sizing. These will feature a simpler (and arguably more durable) single colour powder coat finish.

Tor Zenith custom steel trail bike
It wouldn't be a handmade steel bike without the addition of a chunky head badge.

Australian labour isn’t cheap, and so you can expect to pay AU$5,800 (approx US$4,500) for a stock sizing version of the Tor Zenith frame (including Fox DPX2 rear shock). Custom geometry and/or paint will come at an additional cost.

You can learn more at torbikes.com.au.


101 Comments

  • 45 0
 For everyone on the other side of the pond. Beechworth is a tiny town north of Melbourne. Awesome place to stay and checkout local trails. Guys like Dean Lucas, The Panozzo's and Zwar brothers cut their teeth in around here and it's only a frolic to Bright's Nat champs DH track. So sick to see locals dipping into beautiful steel designs.
  • 7 0
 Cheers mate! Might have to convince one of these boys to put on a white full face and do a Stig lap on a test bike.
  • 42 1
 This is straight up awesome. What attention to detail, huge fan of steel bikes and straight tubes. If you're going to shell out big bucks I'd way rather have this custom ripper over yet another yeti etc. Making ridable sculptures
  • 6 0
 I wholeheartedly agree. Drool worthy.
  • 2 42
flag AFunFox (May 17, 2021 at 5:44) (Below Threshold)
 If you can write the words "Yet another yeti etc" you are either a dentist, or you have too much money. Sorry that's redundant.
  • 15 0
 It really is a beauty but the price is eyewatering , even for a steel , single pivot loving Brit! I guess we are spoiled over here with Cotic, BTR, Starling, Swarf, Stanton etc batting it out the park for quite a lot less $
  • 4 0
 @sewer-rat: Yes, clearly Great Britain is a steel bikes heaven, and when my wallet will be able to, I'll get a british steel FS machine, definitely!!!
  • 5 0
 @sewer-rat: I think if you look closely you’ll find they’re not entirely made in the UK, hence the lower price. Cool bikes though.
  • 1 0
 @simmothebanga: some of the Cotic models are made in the UK (rocketmax and Flare for example), as are BTR, some Starling models and Stanton FS bikes, and they are all more inline with each other in regards to price
  • 1 0
 @sewer-rat: Not exactly. In the case of Stanton (for Cotic as well probably), the front (steel) triangles are welded in UK whereas the rear aluminium parts are made in Taiwan. Then everything is painted and assembled in UK.
Cheers!!!
  • 2 0
 @danstonQ: yes, which supports my original point. Comparing prices of brands such as Cotic, Starling, Stanton ect with 100% locally made brands like Tor or BTR isn’t fair.
  • 27 2
 Spacer stack and no rise bar makes me feel weird. Everything else is money.
  • 1 0
 I agree but it also sort of kind of makes sense with all straight tubing in the frame also being matched in the bars.
  • 13 0
 *Australian labour isn’t cheap. Australia isn’t a cheap place to live. Australian labor is reflected as such.
  • 9 1
 But you have all the European teens workin for pennies
  • 7 0
 It's also worth pointing out that Shane and all our other bike makers source pretty much all the frame components from off shore (so add in freight) and minimum order requirements are a thing...and then there's the equipment cost.

Honestly, I'm glad there are people out there who can afford these things. Otherwise, they just wouldn't exist.
  • 12 11
 We could use slave labor like Apple. Fuck this world.
  • 7 2
 @dark-o: teens working? Rare.
  • 10 3
 According to recent scientific studies, Australia is 1st in the world concerning its ecologic impact per person... If I order a bike there it's gonna be even worse, without mentionning the hole in my wallet.
  • 6 6
 People down vote he use of slaves? How f*cked are you people?
  • 8 0
 @Monsterman156: no matter how accurate you cant speak bad about the approved corporate giants, media companies, or political parties without backlash. Its been engineered that way intentionally. Sorry.
  • 1 0
 @watchtower: Would call the most of the people that do work and travel still teens
  • 5 1
 @dark-o:
1) Everybody went home last year and can't get back in. There's a huge shortage of labour for industries paying minimum wage (not that custom bike building would be one of them).
2) foreigners are entitled to the same minimum wage as locals. The minimum hourly rate is AU$19.84/hour which is more than DOUBLE the US minimum wage of US$7.50/hr.
  • 2 4
 @dsut4392: So what? Prices are as double as in the States plus alls the kids will spent all the money in Australia.
  • 3 0
 @dark-o: You said we had 'all the European teens working for pennies'. They're not working here at all since Covid, and they never were working 'for pennies', so you're flat out wrong on both counts, that's what.
  • 10 0
 If you’re gonna call it fuss free, there needs to be a black and white video of people struggling and failing to install a pressfit bb, non-tapered fork, and 12x142 wheel set. Followed by a color video of smiling people easily succeeding with maintenance on this bike.
  • 4 0
 I would have expected a brace on the front of the 2 halves of the swingarm similar to the Starling, but I'm no bike builder so maybe it doesn't need it? I suppose if you stiffen one area, the torsional loading is transferred to another, so if you brace there, it will probably transfer the side loads to the front shock bushing?

Ps. lovely finishing work and paint!
  • 16 0
 Thanks! They key to this simple swingarm design is the 1/8” 4130 side plates. They’re incredibly rigid and allow very little deflection up at the shock. We’ve been testing these for a couple of years and haven’t seen any abnormal shock wear.
  • 12 8
 That’s useful to know… “Melbourne trails are rather 'pedally'….” Continuing the Tripadvisor(R) theme, Mt. Everest trails are rather ‘hilly’, ones in Saudi Arabia are rather ‘sandy’, trails in Antarctica are rather ‘chilly’, English trails are rather ‘blighty’.

Going off-planet, trails on the daylight side of Mercury are rather ‘sunny’, on Venus they’re rather ‘cloudy’. Lunar trails are rather ‘dusty’, whilst sic> those on Mars are — as we’ve seen recently — rather ‘rocky’ (and not that well marked so far).

Trails on Jupiter and Saturn are rather ‘gassy’ and by the time we arrive at Uranus, everything is beginning to become rather ‘smelly’.
  • 3 0
 Your comment is rather funny
  • 5 0
 Shane Flint... With a name like that shouldn't he be having a six gun quick draw shoot out at high noon, just outside the saloon? Nice looking bike, btw.
  • 7 1
 Call me Tony Stark, cause I need Black Sabbath to ride this Sweet Leaf.
  • 2 0
 ok....... now this bike gets me hot about riding. I think they could name it "the 34" since the entire bike looks like its 34mm and red like fire.
The price is realistically lust worthy and a solid contender for steel is real 2021.
  • 5 0
 Put a decent lock on that bike otherwise I'll steel it
  • 2 0
 Love the tight sharp lines especially the minimal seat clamp arrangement. Still scratching my head over the head tube length/ spacers/ negative rise stem to flat bar but everyone's got their thing!
  • 1 0
 The spacer arrangement is a little odd. My understanding is that the bike was built the night before the show in the building of the painter, and therefore the mechanic (Superbe Velo Service) hadn't seen the customer and didn't want to make assumptions about steerer length.
  • 3 0
 @DaveRome: Yep that's right. This design was based around a bikefit and the correct stack hadn't been tuned prior to the show. This will end up with one 8mm spacer and a set of riser bars.
  • 1 0
 Small correction on what I wrote above. I'm told the mechanic built the bike exactly to the provided measurements. However, as Shane of Tor has said, the customer will move to a riser bar that will allow the steerer to be cut further.
  • 4 1
 How much does it weigth? Not a weight weenie, but talking about steel it is a number that matters.
  • 4 1
 It is also a number that matters when it's carbon. But then again it really doesn't matter at all for its intended use.
  • 6 0
 14.95kg as pictured
  • 2 0
 An extremely clean looking bike without internal cable routing, OMG however did they do it?!?!
  • 2 0
 Matching Kashima? That's a tall order trying to match 3 different shades of Kashima.
  • 2 2
 I thought fuss free was supposed to be no nonsense, practical and affordable, something like Škoda Octavia.
Not enough bells and whistles in this price range!
  • 2 0
 Škoda Octavia ... affordable
what a oxymoron!
  • 2 0
 @VlajiciStrapec: It is, but not in Czechia where our government keeps funding the low cost labour companies and does basically zero to put our economy on the map of the future. So im not surprised that Czech people are slowly getting a few pennies each year compared to the rest of the EU, but prices rises around like in the rest of EU. What most people voted for (ANO), we pay for it now. And it will be only harder to catch up... better to get educated and leave to Germany or so for better life.
  • 1 0
 @kusa:
thank you for educating your poor fella...

maybe you are partially right

my point is not about low wages here in Czechistan...
  • 3 3
 Nice!
( If the short side of the rear triangle was parallel with the seat-stay, and the shock in vertical position, it would be perfect)
  • 4 1
 "If the short side of the rear triangle was parallel with the seat-stay" - then the shock mount would be hitting the seat stay

"and the shock in vertical position" - then it would be a completely different bike, needing a completely different rear suspension design
  • 1 2
 @bishopsmike:
I prefer not to answer you at all !
  • 5 0
 If this bike had two more wheels and a little house in the middle, and an engine and a steering wheel it would be a great car.
  • 1 0
 Excellent
  • 2 0
 That’s a good looking bike !
  • 1 0
 That is a total beauty! Nicely done. Love seeing the steel nowadays as an alternate.
  • 2 0
 $5,800!? It's a steel at that price!
  • 2 0
 Man I sure do love a nice integrated seatpost clamp
  • 2 1
 For this dentist $5800 frame it better comes with a security guard.
  • 31 1
 Nah, this is not for dentists, dentists ride carbon. This one is for IT startup CEOs in mid 40-ties, with spartan beards.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: Tony Stark wants his bike back
  • 13 13
 That bike is more sexy and hot than my girlfriend and probably can ride harder too!!!
  • 6 0
 Yes she can Smile
  • 3 3
 Upvote! who downvoted this?
  • 9 0
 @Monsterman156: his girlfriend.
  • 7 0
 And his wife.
  • 1 0
 @woofer2609: That's a Bloddy lot of Girlfriends Smile
  • 1 0
 'Fuss free' and 'Australian' seem like synonyms in my book
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987 If you're saying that I'm guessing you missed this one from the same show:
www.pinkbike.com/news/trinity-debuts-with-a-steel-high-pivot-gearbox-freeride-bike.html
  • 1 0
 @dsut4392: Point taken. Although the Aussie builders probably didn't make a fuss about it Wink
  • 8 8
 "Looks like a Starling!"

Maybe the new Pinkbike favourite catchphase with all the steel bikes coming out!!
  • 3 0
 You might as well start seeing it as a compliment - the concept works but isn't yours exclusively.
  • 2 3
 @Scout290: Imitation is the best form of flattery!

It's just in a competitive market place it helps to have something that distinguishes yourself from the others!
  • 4 1
 @phutphutend: Well there you go then. But trust me, there's room for all you guys. But you don't need to distinguish yourself anymore - at least not by saying that it "looks like a...". Your bikes have surely outgrown that marketing strategy?
  • 1 0
 @phutphutend: Could it be that if both engineers refine the single pivot design enough they will end up at the same place? The swingarm construction is very different in this bike so is that not the point of difference?
  • 1 2
 Everything is great, except the STA. I bet the problem is that making it steeper would force the rear shock mount to move too much and force it into a digressive spring rate
  • 3 0
 I asked Shane about this and it was chosen to give the tall customer more room on the bike. Steep seat tube angles are really only helpful in truly steep terrain and this bike will rarely see that.

The production sizing of this bike uses a 76-degree STA. www.pinkbike.com/photo/20630346
  • 1 0
 What a stunner! But no chainstay protection?
  • 1 0
 Where’s my candy apple gone ?
The chain ate it !
  • 2 1
 Do they not get thirsty in Auz?
  • 1 0
 Ha! We have humps down here There are mounts for a cage and bottle above the shock but were left off for the show.
  • 1 1
 Dunno. I kind of prefer this bike with the Starling head tube badge and price.
  • 1 2
 Why isn't there any mention of the bike or frame WEIGHT when it comes to these Steel framed bikes? *Holds Chin Emoji* #SupWitDat #WhyHideIt lol
  • 1 0
 The new steel superlight (a high compliment).
  • 1 0
 $4.5k?! Buy a Starling, give it a candy paint job, have cash left over...
  • 4 3
 Steel is real.
  • 3 4
 carbon gives me a hardon
  • 1 0
 Looks Like a Starling
  • 4 4
 So, early 2000s bike suspension and geometry at 2021 prices. Amazing.
  • 1 0
 Early 2000s geo? Alrighty then..
  • 1 0
 Amazing paintings ! :-o
  • 1 0
 Drooling
  • 1 4
 Take this FWIW, beauty bike, but somehow color matched fork and stem detract from the aesthetic. Maybe it's just me. Paintjob reminds me very much of 90's Dekerf in some ways
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