Mason’s Definition aluminium bike, designed for going fast over long distances and multiple surfaces, has been super-popular here on road.cc since it was introduced in 2015, and an updated version is in the offing, although we couldn’t tell you exactly when it’s going to be released. Third Transcontinental Race winner Josh Ibbett is riding the new bike in the 2,700km (1,680-mile) Japanese Odyssey endurance cycling event, which started earlier today.
When reviewing the existing version of the Mason Definition, reviewer Stu Kerton said, “It's good. So bloody good that it has been difficult to put into words just how a handful of alloy sticks welded together can leave you feeling so excited. You don't get a ride governed by angles and dimensions here; the Definition seems to mutate as the speed, gradient, or direction changes, leaving you wondering if you are still riding the same bike you were five minutes ago.”
We’d love to tell you more about the new version, but we can’t. It’s not that we have information that’s under embargo until the launch date; it’s that we simply don’t have any details. Brand supremo Dom Mason won’t tell us a thing, so this really is the sneakiest of sneak peeks.
We did, though, quickly catch up with Josh Ibbett ahead of the Japanese Odyssey, and here’s what we could wheedle out of him...
road.cc: What is the Japanese Odyssey, and why are you participating? What about the event excites you?
Josh Ibbett: The Japanese Odyssey is a non-competitive audax event – based in Japan, of course. It involves a series of set checkpoints and parcour sectors [which are compulsory], and riders must create their own route to link them all.
This year's route starts in Kagoshima in the far south and finishes in Hachinohe, which is approximately 600km (375 miles) north of Tokyo.
All the checkpoints are located in the mountainous northern region, and riders will effectively have to ride almost the entire length of the country. This aspect particularly appealed to me, along with the convenient timing of the event.
Have you ever been to Japan before?
This will be my first visit to Japan. I don't really know what to expect, as it will be a completely new culture for me, so I'm very much looking forward to the adventure.
Japan is renowned for its delicious food, epic vending machines, and stunning mountains. What are you most looking forward to on this trip?
Well, I'm a fan of sushi, so I'm certainly looking forward to tasting the real thing! But the route through the remote mountains looks fantastic, so I'm eager for plenty of climbing and hopefully some spectacular views.
Will you be stopping for ramen, the noodle dish?
I suspect it will happen at some point, hopefully more often than not.
What bike will you be using, and could you give us a rundown of your equipment?
I'm fortunate to be riding the latest Mason Definition for the event. I've extensively ridden both of the first two versions of the bike. It’s one of my favourite bikes to ride, so it will be nice to ride an even more fine-tuned version.
I'll be carrying some casual clothes, a tent, and plenty of layers using a Tailfin frame bag, bar bag, and aeropack.
What's your sleep system like for this adventure?
As the event is non-competitive, I plan to get plenty of sleep. I'll be taking a lightweight one-person tent, a full-length sleeping pad, and a sleeping bag.
I'll probably stay in hotels a few times during the ride, but having a tent will give me more flexibility and reduce the need for extensive planning. Hopefully, I can complete the ride in 10 days, which means riding an average of 150 miles a day and still having time for a proper night’s sleep.
We’ll give you details on the updated Mason Definition as soon as we get them.
Get more information from masoncycles.cc.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.