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

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike
photos c. Affinity

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

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike

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.

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike

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.

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike

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

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike

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.

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike

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.

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike

But the Anthem SL-AF really starts shedding grams left & right with an exotic build… Cane Creek eeBrakes handle stopping, and Stages-equipped power meter eeWings cranks put the power down.

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike Darimo

Spanish carbon specialist Darimo lends their 65g T1 Loop seatpost, 118g bar, 78g stem & 4g seatpost clamp.

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike Gelu

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

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike

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).

Affinity Anthem steel road bike, modern ultralight weight weenie premium stainless steel rim-brake road bike

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.

AffinityCycles.com

29 COMMENTS

    • I have 2 Darimo post with the Dyneema loops. Thousands of miles and flawless. I was skeptical at first, but no more.

    • More finicky to install than carbon T1 clamps, sure, but I had no issues otherwise, been using it on my bikes since the loop clamp has been released.

  1. My steel rig is 6.3kg with pedals, cages, computer mount, 2x front chainrings, powermeter, and normal spoked wheels.

    It’s a pretty build though.

  2. I will take a guess that the frame is close to 1800g-2000g based on the components and their weights. I have an steel English build with heavier components and my build is lighter at half the cost. If I put these comments on my built it would be under 12 lbs.

      • I like the build and the components they have selected. As for your post, my frame is 1 pound lighter than this one at 1950g. Rob does amazing work as do these guys.

  3. ordinarily, my eyes glaze over at super light builds. And to some extent, that did happen here. But $10K for the top line spec is a killer deal, even if I don’t want one.

  4. If those binder lines on the seat clamp are Dyneema, they are unbelievably strong. On sailboats Dyneema even replaces steel rigging which saves weight and doesn’t stretch very much.

  5. With a 50-10/33 that bike is useless unless you live in florida….in which case you should throw a 53T on there. What good is a weight-weenie bike that doesn’t have enough gears to go uphill?

    • I think this answers your question: “Brooklyn, NY”. I’ve done thousands of miles in and around Brooklyn. A 50-33 is plenty adequate for the like 3 mild grades they call hills. About the hilliest thing around is like route 9 … and that’s pretty doable on a 50-33.

    • Disagree. You can liive on a 50-33, even in Colorado. It’ll hurt, and you won’t win the race, but it can be done. That said, I wouldn’t do it. Grinding by at 60 rpm uphill hurts, and it isn’t fun, in the “I don’t want to do this anymore” sense.

  6. +1 BMANX. I once put sub 1000g tubular wheels on a pretty normal SuperSix Evo and it was under 12lb. This frame must be an anchor to still be at 14.5lb. But the builds do seem like a good value.

  7. Been using it without a problem, amazing quality from Darimo on this front. when you think about it, the quality of the contact is way better than with a metallic or carbon pieces that won’t adapt perfectly to the rail shape.

  8. That gelu saddle is really an interesting design !
    The rest is not my cup of tea, why put ultralight carbon sophisticated parts on a boat anchor steel frame ? You like steel, fine but assume it and go with steel for most components. At the very minimum fork because it’s a place where steel could make sense (more safety in a steel steerer, some compliance in curved steel leg). Stem (carbon stem are a too compromised item most of the time), but also seatpost, is steel tube are fine why not go with a steel tube for your seatpost ?

    • Steel forks and carbon forks ride completely differently. Steel forks are also super heavy for the strength they offer. I love steel forks but in certain contexts. Choosing a quality carbon fork has been the standard way of doing a performance build regardless of frame material for a decade and a half now.
      Never seen a lightweight steel seatpost in my life.
      You gonna suggest steel rims next?

  9. I saw one of these in person some time ago; really nice looking frame. Once the geometry is published, I’d very seriously consider getting one.

  10. I really don’t get this set-up; the way I see it, this bike is a contradiction in terms: a super heavy frame with super light and super expensive components in order to bring the overall weight down… Just y two cents…

  11. I own a 54cm XCR frame made by Cicli il Massimo, with seat post bolt and rear derailleur hanger and headset (FSA Orbit) it is 1658 grams. I would wager this frame is a similar weight. I have not built it yet but project a weight of 17lbs when complete. For normal weight riders (I am 5’9 165lbs give or take) I feel like 16-17lbs is the sweet spot of weight, performance, durability and cost. I have done WW bikes under 14lbs and to me there is not a ton of difference. But if I get on an 18lb+ bike it feels heavy. All that being said, I have owned my last china carbon bike.

  12. I think this frame is made in China… so no comparison to your English. I have seen Rob’s work and it is amazing. I doubt this frame is 1950. I own a XCR frame and the frame with headset, der hanger and seatpost bolt is 1658g.

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