Spot Brand is a small bicycle company that was launched in 1997 and is currently owned by Wayne Lumpkin, the founder of Avid. While Spot might not be a household bicycle brand name, its Golden, Colorado, headquarters is just a few miles from where I live. Spot’s brightly colored cyclocross bikes are in abundance at local races and its belt-drive commuter bikes are frequently sighted in nearby Denver and Boulder.
Long known for steel singlespeed mountain bikes, the company was one of the earliest champions of 29’ers and Gates Belt Drive systems. In light of all that, I was surprised to see Spot had quietly introduced a stainless steel road/gravel bike: the Denver Zephyr, which is named after a polished steel passenger train that once traveled the 1,000 miles between Colorado’s capital city and Chicago.
Spot chose stainless steel—often overshadowed these days by titanium—after being introduced to the American company, KVA, which has been developing high-tech, corrosion-resistant stainless tubing for years and had recently entered the bike market. Spot developed a prototype and loved the frame’s aesthetics and ride quality, which Andrew Lumpkin, Spot’s president (and Wayne’s son), describes as “smooth, responsive and snappy.”
The Denver Zephyr features a tapered head tube, hydraulic Shimano disc brakes and a Spot Brand carbon fork. But it’s not just a go-fast bike; it’s also a go-far bike. Spot added gentle bends to the frame’s seatstays and chainstays for subtle compliance, as well as rack and fender mounts. The bike can accept a 40c tire up front and a 35c tire in the rear on its tubeless-compatible DT Swiss wheels (but no thru-axles). Topping it off, the Zephyr comes standard with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting.
“Some folks are reluctant to add a battery to a bike. Bikes are such cool mechanical tools, like an automatic watch,” said Lumpkin. “But if you can get past that sentimentality, electronic shifting is the gold standard for performance.”
I asked Lumpkin why the company was branching out at this time.
“Pretty simply, we ride all kinds of bikes in our lives and road/gravel is part of that mix,” he said. “The idea for this particular model was conceived on a ride in Taiwan from Sun Moon Lake back to Taichung. The ride starts with fast descents in traffic, then to big mountain climbs, to steep, winding descents down to the city where you have to ride in the groups of scooters on hairy roads for another 30 minutes. [A coworker] and I were brainstorming the perfect bike for that demanding terrain and the [Denver Zephyr] is the sum of our wish list for that demanding ride.”
Starting in November, the Zephyr will be available in limited quantities with one build kit for $5,900. As of now, there is no frame-only option.
For complete specs, visit Spot Brand.