The ‘unwritten’ Agrafa mountains. Steep, wild and raw. Climbing from the epic plain of Thessaly, pedal stroke after pedal stoke, switch back after switch back, checking over your shoulder to witness the vastness like a huge patchwork sea. Dropping into the Plastiras basin, glancing the snowcapped Agrafa range towering in the distance, as horses graze on the lake side. The terrain switches from fresh black top, gravel, rock fall strewn mountain roads and shady snow covered turns. Climbing into the freezing temperatures of the high Agrafa, lonely and a little hostile, before dropping back down into a late hazy winter afternoon and the warmth and stability of the lowlands. For more info on the DSS3 Gravel tune click here.


Dec 18.18 – Jon’s Custom Kibosh Racing DSS3CX

To carry Jon through the 2018/19 CX season, we put together a special DSS3CX. For those of you that don’t know Jon, he’s the scarily fast CX racer you probably didn’t hear coming. His daily ride is a cargo bike, working as a messenger on the streets of London. It appears to be good training, as you can usually find him stood on the podium steps on a Sunday afternoon. And he’s probably just beaten you on his single speed set up, even though he had to stop and pump his tyre up half way through the race. He’s a real Kibosh kind of racer.

Now the DSS3 doesn’t come as a single speed option. So we had to bend the rules a little on this one and we built Jon’s DSS3 with Paragon Rockers. This allows Jon to swap between a single speed and geared set up. So while everyone else is struggling with transmission problems in the filth and mud, Jon just keeps powering on.

The frame is finished in a cool custom Kibosh splatter and subtle blue wash, making clean up a little easier if you miss a few spots! Look out for this one being sliced through the mud at a CX race this season.







Nov 10.18 – Liv’s DSS1+

After reading glowing reviews of the DSS1 online, Liv got in contact enquiring if we could build her one. Liv comes from Norway and with a host of excellent gravel roads in close proximity to where she lives, she asked if there was anything we could do. Unknown to her at the time, we also offer the DSS1 in a road plus version, the DSS1+. This is essentially a DSS1 with clearance for tires up to 32c.

It’s not a gravel bike, this one we still class as a road machine, but the DSS1+ just gives you more options. Its perfect for someone who may only hit gravel or the odd bridle way a few times a year and the rest of the time, just wants a highly capable road machine. The DSS1+ is incredible for smoothing out 4 season miles down quite country lanes, all while still retaining the fast and fun ride of the DSS1. The DSS1+ also comes standard with thru axles and flat mount disc mounts.

Liv opted for custom sizing for her build and I’m pretty sure this is the smallest DSS bike built to date. Liv wanted to keep the spirit of the original DSS fade but still make it her own. Liv’s love of BMX bikes meant we moved the fade panel up to the top tube as a nod to a BMX pad. We switched out the lime for an incredible pink to teal fade and added the red to the background of the logo band. Shouldn’t work, but boy does it. The red sings. Keep your eye’s peeled for this one flashing by in and around Oslo…

May 29.18 – Pinion driven town hauler

After flicking through an in flight magazine en-route to South Africa, Axel spotted a feature on a fetching custom town bike built by ourselves. Once back on terra firma he promptly flicked his phone off airplane mode and got in contact, wanting to commission his own version and inspire himself to ride more often. He was lucky enough to catch our last fully custom build slot before we stopped taking full custom orders to solely offer our Signature range. And what a final build it is…

So yes, our last (official) full custom build to roll out of the workshop is this incredible Pinion driven, disc braked, dynamo lighted town hauler. Axel is a big guy and wanted a comfortable upright position, this was taken care of with a custom bent bar/stem combo, finished off with Brooks finest leather bar tape. Mechanical disc brake callipers actuated by Paul Components finest levers and a brazed on integrated bell finish off a fine and tactile cockpit.

The heart of the bike is the Pinion gearbox, chosen for its simplicity and function. The Pinion takes the concept of the internal gear hub and puts it bang central in the frame. This makes a big difference to how the bike handles and feels compared to a traditional internal gear hub, which can often kill the liveliness of a bike. Hooked up to the rear wheel via a Gates Carbon Drive belt, this is a super clean, functional, fit and forget set up.

The frame itself is built from Reynolds 953 stainless steel. To complete the set we built a custom steel fork and the bar/stem combo, painted up a Velo Orange portuer rack and Giles Berthound guards. The rack was modified to allow internal routing for the dynamo light set up, as well as the frame featuring internally routed cables, keeping everything clean and elegant.

This in one incredible, functional town bike and we wish Axel many happy miles!


May 29.18 – DSS3 chosen for RCUK100 2018

Road Cycling UK have once again chosen a Signature Steel model for their RCUK100, as one of the hottest road cycling products for 2018. We 100% believe in our range of field and race tested Signature Steel frames, but its always nice for it to be appreciated by the wider press!

The DSS3 is our Gravel and CX racer, available in two different tunes to tune it to the riders requirements and riding style. For all the info on the DSS3, click here. 

May 24.18 – Huntsman x Sothebys

Featuring an array of bespoke pieces from the private collection of Huntsman owner and financier, Pierre Lagrange, alongside commissioned new works that exemplify the Huntsman lifestyle, this collection reflects Lagrange’s expert knowledge and appreciation of exquisite objects.

Amassed over several years and many continents, each item has been hand-picked from some of the world’s leading companies and artisans, and reflects the ultimate Huntsman lifestyle, from a timeless Cartier watch to one of our own DSS3 Gravel bikes.

Explore the collection here. 

Feb 28.18 – A Proper Shake Down

As the first of the DSS3’s rolled out at the start of the year, one stood out in particular. A lively lime green machine, with a scattering of personal tokens to the owner and his friends and family. The bike looked great, but thats not why it stood out.

James, the owner to be, had decided his first ride would be from the Donhou workshop to home. Pretty normal I guess, except James lived just outside of Madrid, Spain. Now thats one way to very quickly build a bond with your new machine!

Once James was safely home he was kind enough to answer a few questions and share some scenes from his ride.

Could you tell us where you live and ride ordinarily?

I live in Alcorcon, very close to Madrid, 30km which I normally ride off road to work every day and return by train unless it’s really muddy. But weekends I normally go to the Sierra of Madrid, where we have a lot of lovely mountains to climb, I combine small roads with off road gravel. And stoping for a good meal is a must. 

Where did you hear about Donhou bicycles and what drew you to a DSS3? 

I had an aluminium cyclocross bike (Giant TCX) which was great, but you know what we are like, we always want more and better, so I changed to the same bike in carbon and with all the best on. With this bike I rode from Madrid to Santiago and back, 1,500 km in 16 days and thats where I started to think about a steel bike, and if possible hand made.

I had read about many frame builders and came across a video on youtube where Tom (Donhou) explained his ride across China and started to follow him. I had the feeling Tom was a rider and he knew exactly the kind of bike I wanted because it is more or less what he likes. A fast gravel all-round classic, but up to date technology bicycle and on top he was just releasing the DSS3 with a gravel setup. So it was easy, mailed him, I asked why should I decide to buy his bike and he convinced me very quickly.

At what point did you start to concoct your plan to ride your new bike back home?

The very first moment I decided to get it. I was born in Redhill, Surrey, so it was easy, from Tom’s to Redhill and from there, home. No doubt. 

That was some shake down ride, were you nervous at all about riding all that way on a bike you’d never seen or ridden before?!

If I tell you the truth, I was 3 months thinking, ” I hope this Tom knows what he is doing …….”  

I already had a really great bike, it was very difficult to go better, so light, stiff, Di2… But when I saw my new bike and lifted it, I just couldn’t believe it. Beautiful. Tom told me to go out for a ride down the river side, that was heaven. All the nerves and fears went in a mile. It was perfectly adjusted, everything, I didn’t move absolutely anything. Perfect.

What route did you take? Can you tell us a little about the terrain.  

I went from London to Redhill following route ?, a bit too much mud and I wasn’t as fast as I thought I would be, from there to Brighton by road, next day to Portsmouth.  Weather this day was great, sunny,  that was around 200km.

From Portsmouth I got a ferry to Santander, there I met my brother-in-law and from there we went down to Burgos and ending in Madrid. 650km more or less.

The original idea was to do it all off-road, but weather was so bad in north of Spain, pouring with rain, snowing, cold wind, everything you can imagine, so we started off-road every day, stopped for lunch, and ended the day on small roads to where we had to sleep. That way we managed to do it on time, we had to be back Sunday 25th.

And how did the English leg compare to the Spanish one

The English part was very nice, I visited places where I hadn’t been for 30 or more years, it was very special. The ride was great getting to know my new bike, I met a bunch of great people , but it was very exhausting, a lot of miles off-road and mud for the first day, I thought would be easier, but Im happy I did it, great experience. And I had a day in the ferry to recover.

The Spanish Leg was longer and very hard weather conditions, more hills and some mountians, from north to centre of Spain, with big changes in flora, culture, buildings, food… a great ride.

I noticed you ate very well on your trip, if you could cycle back to any one of those meals, which one would it be?!

Yes , I told you that is a must!  

Food is a very important part of culture and each place has things that are unique to the area, and that’s what I normally look for.

If I had to choose right now, steak and kidney pie I had in a pub at Lindfield on my way to Brighton. It was so many years I hadn’t had a real one, it was glory!!

How did you get on with your new bike?

Excellent, I could answer with just that word.

It was like if it had been with me for ever, real silk, absolutely firm, very comfortable on off-road and perfectly balanced in all aspects, I’m really thrilled and impressed with the bike .

Riding down El puerto de la Morcuera, one of my favourite, 1,800m  mountain, about 9km, I cried, literally, it was a pleasure, so safe, so firm, stuck to the ground, but rolling silk, braking hard on each turn and the frame was like a block, solid but friendly, not like carbon that is much more aggressive. Thats when I thought “this is my bike”, I stopped and sent Tom a text: Thanks Tom.

Can you tell us a little bit about the set up for this trip? Bags, tires etc…

I hate carrying too much, so I just use three Apidura bags, 14l saddle bag, 4l frame bag, and a bar bag, with the least you need not to smell too bad when you stop at places. :-)

I used Schwalbe G-one, 38c tires which I already knew and are great.

A Garmin 1000 to follow the route.

Lake winter boots, Assos Bonka gloves, Assos Habu 5 jacket, Endura Pro SL Primaloft gilet, and for rain and cold all Rab clothes, merino plus vest and gloves, Polartech trouser, Flashpoint rain jacket . 

Any final words?

I’m so happy I decided to do this, it was great experience. It was great to go personally for the bike, so I saw where the bike was built from nothing but a person I met and had lunch with.

Now I ride a bike that was designed and built by someone I know, and I know it was done with all the care and love as if it was for himself. THANKS TOM.


No problem James, we wish you many, many happy miles!


Feb 18.18 – First of the DSS’3 roll out…

Here’s DSS3002 – a super clean custom sized CX tune. This one also features a Donhou bridge and front mech hanger for a 2x set up. All wrapped up in a cool, subtle, custom paint job, taking a spin on some of our stock paint offerings…

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