Burls steel and titanium custom built bicycles

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the usual delivery time and ordering procedure for Burls custom bicycles? The delivery time is usually between 4 and 8 weeks. The usual ordering procedure is to discuss the customer's specific requirements by email, phone or in person if it is convenient for the customer to pay me a visit. A CAD drawing is then made of my proposed design and sent by email to the customer for his/her approval. At the point of ordering a deposit of £300 is required, the balance to be paid on collection/delivery of completed frame/bicycle.

2. Why do you not build in titanium yourself and why chosen to have your titanium frames built in Russia?My speciality is in fillet brazing steel bicycle frames. For me to achieve a standard of welding and working with titanium that comes close that of the Burls titanium frames I am able to offer would probably take a life time, added to which the cost of tooling and materials would make a Burls built titanium frame prohibitively expensive (although I'm hoping at some point in the not too distant future to give it a go, but strictly for my own use!).
The reason I chose to use a Russian company to build Burls titanium frames was that after spending some considerable time looking around at various other possibilities (all Chinese or Taiwanese) it became very clear to me that although the Russian offerings weren't the cheapest, their build quality and experience with working with titanium was second to none. They have a very long history of working with titanium and the Russian company I finally decided to work with uses fabricators who learnt their skills in the aerospace industry, and the company itself specialises in building bicycle frames as opposed to being a general fabrication company. Their build quality is so impressive that even Ernesto Colnago had them build his titanium frames during the latter part of the 90s and early 2000.

3. How do Burls titanium bicycle frames compare in weight to Burls steel bicycle frames? Burls steel bicycle frames can be surprisingly light, especially when built with high end tube sets, but to put it in perspective if we take a medium sized steel frame, say a 55cm c-c top tube built from Columbus Spirit, the top end tubeset in the Columbus range with a min wall thickness 0.38mm, its weight will be approximately 1600grams. A similar sized Burls titanium frame built from plain gauge 3/2.5 with a wall thickness of 0.9 mm will weigh in at around 1370 grams.

4. I've heard titanium bicycle frame have a tendency to lack stiffness around the bottom bracket area, is this true?Certainly in the past this has been an issue for certain brands of titanium bicycles. It seems though that with the introduction of oversized and different tube profiles, coupled with building with high quality tubesets with the relevant wall thickness and frame design that if anything titanium frames can have as stiff or stiffer bottom brackets than that of other frame building materials. A test ride on a Burls titanium will bare this out!

5. Do Burls bicycles offer titanium bicycles built from butted tubesets?All Burls titanium frames are offered in plain gauge tubesets only. After some careful consideration it was decided that the extra expense and minimal weight saving does not justify building with butted titanium, indeed there are many people who insist that plain gauge titanium can offer as good if not better ride quality than butted titanium. The huge advantages of using butted steel tubing do not apply to anywhere near the same extent when applied to titanium.

6. Are there problems associated with painting titanium bicycle frames? Titanium bicycle frames can be painted in the same way as steel with no problems. Although Burls offer a paint option for their titanium frames, my view is that part of the joy of titanium is when finished properly the natural titanium finish is quite stunning on top of which the fact you never need worry about annoying chips and scratches is a nice advantage, especially if you intend to transport your bicycle on trains and plains.

7. Will Burls build a frame to my exact specifications/design? Providing the design is a good one, that is to say that it will be safe and will ride nicely, there should be no problem.

8. Do Burls offer a carbon rear triangle option? Yes, a Columbus Carve carbon rear triangle option is available. My view however is that the extra expense and marginal weight saving does not justify taking this route - anyone who test rides a Burls full titanium frame with high quality carbon forks fitted will I'm sure agree!

9. What size seat pins do Burls frames use? Both Burls titanium and steel frames are built to accept 27.2mm and 31.6mm seat pins.

10. Do Burls recommend standard 1 1/8 or integrated headsets? Burls recommend standard headsets every time, especially for touring and MTB applications, although to date we still offer Campagnolo 45/45 degree compatible integrated. Check out Chris King's website for his views.

11. Do Burls titanium frames come with welded bottle/rack bosses as standard? Yes, all Burls titanium frames come with welded bosses as standard.

12. Do Burls offer women specific geometry? As custom frame builders this is one of our specialities. We are very strong advocates of using smaller 650 wheels on smaller frames, this solves the problem sometimes encountered of toe overlap as well being able to keep steering geometry within the parameters of normal tried and tested bicycle design and ending up with a nicely proportioned and aesthetically pleasing bicycle.

13. Do you offer a standard range of bicycles or custom fit only? Burls specialise in offering pure custom bicycles, although they do come under headings of Road, MTB, Touring, Cylcocross, Audax and track/single speed.
Unlike many other custom bicycle companies Burls custom frames are pure custom built, that is that the customer can choose from a wide range of options, for example compact, semi-compact or traditional horizontal frame design. Breezer, Rohloff or plate type dropouts for geared bikes or horizontal rear facing track ends for fixed/single speed. Curved or straight seat/chainstays, standard or integrated headtubes, aero, round, Colnago style cloverleaf or ovalised tubing (Burls can advise on which tube diameters/profiles work best for your requirements) as well as disc or canti/V brake bosses for touring/MTB. Call or email to discuss more tubing and design options.

14. What system of sizing do Burls use? I believe that bicycle sizing is not an exact science, so no one system is used. I will make an assessment of the customer taking into account their existing bicycle (assuming he/she has one) and any comments they have relating to it. I will discuss the intended use of the new bicycle and take into account any limiting factors such as flexibility problems when finalising measurements.
In the case of customers who are happy with their current set-up, but want a new frame/bicycle, I can simply replicate their existing bicycle/frame.

15. Do Burls recommend Campagnolo or Shimano? They're both good in their own way as with most modern bicycle equipment. Personally, I'd go for Campagnolo every time! Call or email to discuss any specific component requirements.

16. Does titanium corrode when exposed to road salt? No, titanium is not affected by salt, in fact the Russians build their submarines from titanium which are constantly exposed to sea water.

17. Does Burls offer 6AL4V seamless titanium tubing? As far as I am aware the supply of such tubing is very rare. Reynolds do however supply seamless 6/4 but to order only and at a very high price. The cost of one of their titanium tubesets and frame components isn't far off that of a complete Burls titanium frame. Several very well known and expensive brands build from seam welded 6/4 which is a sheet of titanium formed into various tube profiles and then welded. One of the problems associated with seamed 6/4 is that unlike seamless tubing where it is formed in such a way that the grain structure runs along the length of the tube and is uninterrupted, the seam weld can create a weakness in the tube thus potential for failure in extreme cases. It still seems to be generally accepted that 3/2.5 is the most suitable form of titanium for the main tubes and stays while 6/4 is used for the dropouts, headtube and bottom bracket shell. This is the specification for all Burls titanium framesets.

18. Do Burls offer a frame warranty?As for warranty, if any of my frames or forks should fail within 4 years of purchase due to faulty materials or workmanship, I will repair or replace the frame or fork depending on which option I feel is fit. This applies for as long as I am working with my current Russian frame builders (I've been working with them for the last 10 years and intend to continue doing so for the foreseeable future!). Some companies offer amazing warranties, but if the company disappears overnight as has happened in the case of several frame builders in the past the warrantee then means nothing.

Bike detail pictures
Bike detail pictures
Bike detail pictures
Bike detail pictures
Bike detail pictures

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