While the majority of my cycling is commuting or off-road, I still don ’t think that anything beats a good road ride,
and a lightweight road bike only enhances the experience, in my view. I ’ve owned a number of custom steel frames
and moved to carbon-fibre more recently. While the carbon bike was very light and fast, it used to "beat me up"
on a longer ride, because of its stiffness and when I was being honest with myself, I actually preferred riding
my early 90 ’s custom Columbus SL-framed audax bike and decided that it was time to consider returning
to a high-end steel frame.
While considering the possibilities, I recalled the quality of Justin ’s early steel frames and wondered
whether he was still building frames locally. A search of this website confirmed that he still was
and was offering titanium frames as well.
Following discussion of the relative merits of steel and titanium, I decided that it would be worth giving Ti a go
and we arrived at a design loosely based on the dimensions of my audax bike. I particularly wanted a good ride,
but without sacrificing stiffness in the bottom-bracket area decided on a simple round-tube design, with straight seat stays
and a curved carbon fork (Easton EC90SL).
Justin suggested going for a 40mm down tube, with 32mm top and seat tubes. I was concerned that this might prove
to be too stiff but was assured that the inherent qualities of titanium would maintain a good ride quality.
In a relatively short space of time, the frame arrived and I must say that I was delighted with its appearance
and build quality. I have transferred the kit from my old road bike, adding only a King headset and Thomson seatpost and collar.
The rest of the kit is Campagnolo in the main and the only gratuitously "frou-frou" addition being a Cinelli RAM handlebar
which is a fantastic thing, but probably no better really than a <64>.
Overall weight is 15lb, with pedals and bottle cages. From the first few pedal strokes, it was obvious that
this was going to be a great frame and in the couple of hundred miles I ’ve clocked up on it over the last month,
I have only become more impressed. The ride quality is indeed excellent and the Easton fork compliments it well in this regard.
The ride quality is accompanied by the hoped-for lateral rigidity and the handling is really superb:
with instantly-responsive steering and a feeling of security in high-speed turns.
I would wholeheartedly recommend one of these frames, particularly at the price, which while not cheap,
represents very good value in comparison with high-end carbon frames and some of the US titanium manufacturers.
Nice one Justin!