This new stainless steel Affinity Anthem SL-AF road bike just goes to show that rim brakes aren’t dead, and that steel can give carbon a run for its money as a platform for killer weight weenie builds.
Combining the lifetime durability and ride quality of premium steel with race-ready geometry and a mix of classic & modern tech, the Anthem can be built up from a reasonably-priced frameset to a $10,000 Super Light AF build that the UCI won’t even let you race…
Affinity Anthem stainless steel, rim-brake road bike
Known mostly for their urban fixed gear Lo Pro & other track bike creations, Brooklyn, NY’s Affinity Cycles is branching out onto the road with the new stainless steel Anthem road bike. Developed as a race-ready but club ride-friendly option for roadies looking for something different, the Affinity Anthem is a reminder of the beauty & potential of a premium steel road bike.
Anthem – Tech details
The Anthem mixes modern & classic details in the custom-drawn & butted 2205 stainless steel frame, adding flattened seatstays & shaped chainstays to optimize both drivetrain performance and rider comfort.
Classic details include simple things like a rim brakes, QR drops with 100/130mm hub spacing, replaceable derailleur hanger, 68mm wide BB, and a 27.2mm seatpost. But modern features make the bike, like the machined 44mm headtube for a 1.5″ tapered steerer, that threaded bottom bracket is actually a T47, modular internal cable routing with removable plates to work with mechanical or electronic drivetrains, plus room for 28mm tires even inside the rim brakes.
The entire frame gets a sandblasted finish with low-key polished Affinity graphics. And it will come in four stock frame sizes (S-XL). We haven’t seen official geometry, but it is claimed to fit riders from 5’2″ to 6’3″.
Affinity Anthem SL-AF steel road bike, weight weenie build
To be honest, $10,000 for the weight weenie Affinity Anthem SL-AF quickly starts to look like a good deal when you break down the individual components. Affinity calls this their Level 3 complete build for the Anthem, with a claimed weight for a medium frame of 6.58kg, just 14.5lb.
They say they went “full tilt weight weenie” here to craft a “featherweight battle-axe created to smash all carbon bikes”. The idea was to create a road bike as light as top mass-production carbon road bikes, but with a style and uniqueness that big bike companies can’t really match at 1.5x the price.
It’s hard to argue with a Chris King ceramic bottom bracket or SRAM Red eTap AXS; Affinity takes advantage of its rarer rim-brake version, with the option for 1x (Garbaruk 50T chainring) or 2x setups.
A Portuguese carbon Gelu saddle doesn’t add much more at 71g, even said to be comfortable for all-day riding thanks to its integrated carbon spring design & ergo cutout. Plus there are a pair of 10g carbon bottle cages that didn’t make the photoshoot.
The Anthem SL-AF includes plenty of premium lightweight finishing kit, but not those Lightweight wheels, instead getting a “featherweight” 938g, 38mm deep carbon tubular wheelset handbuilt by Affinity around Extralite hubs/skewers with Ultralite Ti spokes, then wrapped with 25mm Vittoria Corsa G tubs.
Anthem – Pricing & availability
The Anthem frameset itself sells for $1,750 and includes the stainless frame, the full carbon fork, and a headset. Affinity’s most affordable Level 1 complete build will sell for $3,500 with a SRAM Force 1x or 2x mechanical groupset, Thomson components & DT Swiss wheels ($1,500 extra to add the lighter Affinity SL-AF carbon wheels).
At $7500, the Level 2 Anthem build is still claimed under 6.8kg/15lb, again with SRAM Force. But it starts delivers most of the ultralight components from Darimo, Extralite & Gelu, plus the eeBrakes & eeWings cranks, Chris King ceramic BB, and the Affinity SL-AF carbon wheels with Vittoria Corsa tires. All it is really lacking is the Red AXS group & power meter of the $10,000 bike, making this probably the best weight weenie value out of the bunch!
Both framesets and complete bike builds are available in June 2020. Independent bike shops around the US can stock Affinity bikes through J&B, plus there are a number of existing international Affinity dealer shops where you’ll be able to find the new bike.