Another titanium maker you haven’t heard of (yet)

Matts-Titanium-Stinner-Hardtail-29r-21-1335x890from radavist

Titanium makes for a great off-road material. The tubing diameters are oftentimes larger than steel resulting in a ride quality that’s unprecedented. For Santa Barbara’s Stinner Frameworks, titanium was the next logical material to learn how to tig weld. Their shop now offers titanium road, touring, road and mountain bikes, with Matt’s being one of the recent beasts to be born.

Keeping the Tunnel 29’r frame raw, it’s offset by the razzle-painted Rock Shox Pike fork, Jones wheels, SRAM 1x drivetrain, internally-routed Reverb dropper and a Thomson cockpit.

Matt grew up riding MTBs in Topanga and Calabasas as a kid but hadn’t touched one in over 14 years. This bike will be the catalyst to get him back on the trails in Santa Barbara and hopefully he’ll be shredding with us when he comes home to Los Angeles over the holidays.

For those of you unfamiliar with Matt’s work, he’s the photographer for Stinner Frameworks and goes by the handle @HazardousTaste on Instagram. I highly suggest you give him a follow!

Ti Ti ti ti ti ti Ti TIIIII tanium

REBLOG from and a subject close to my heart …. no mention of my Lynskey lovelies and their great lifetime warranty. DeKerf or Moots but you can’t get everything ….

Steel is a really nice material for making a bicycle frame, but for many cyclists, titanium is an even nicer choice. Once a very rare and exotic material and a luxury choice for those rich enough to afford it – titanium is notoriously difficult to work with – the cost of a titanium frame has dropped significantly in recent years, to the point where it could almost be deemed, if not affordable, at least a viable alternative to top-end steel and carbon fibre frames.

Titanium is desirable because it’s lighter than steel and stronger than steel and aluminium, and its high fatigue strength means a titanium frame should last forever. It’s those traits that have ensured it has continued to be a popular choice with cyclists wanting a fine riding frame that will last the length of time. Plus of course there is the fabled ride quality, which is reminiscent of a steel frame with plenty of spring and high comfort, but it can be used to build a stiff race bike depending on tubing diameters and profiles.

Enigma Evade - seat tube

Most titanium frames are made from 3AL-2.5V tubing (where titanium is alloyed with 3% aluminium and 2.5% vanadium) and 6Al-4V, a harder grade of titanium, is seen on much more expensive framesets. Because it’s hard and expensive to make 6Al-4V into seamless tubes, it’s often used for machined parts like dropouts and head tubes.

The unique colour of titanium ensures it stands out against most other road bikes. Various finishes are available, the tubes can be brushed or bead-blasted and can even be painted if you prefer, but many people buying titanium do so partly for its unique and timeless appearance.  A titanium frame will still look good in 10 years time.

Titanium has been used to make bicycle frames for about 30 years. In the early days, there was only a handful of brands specialising in titanium, and US brands like Seven, Serotta, Litespeed and Merlin built an enviable reputation for their expertise with the material. Titanium frames are now commonly manufactured in the Far East which has led to prices coming down quite a lot, into the realms of affordability for many.

Here are ten titanium road bikes we’ve reviewed in recent years.

On-One Pickenflick £699.99 

On One Pickenflick

Last year’s Cyclocross and Adventure Bike of the Year winner, the On-One Pickenflick, is one of the most affordable 3Al / 2.5V  titanium frames we’ve ever come across. A frame costs a frankly astonishing £699. The Pickenflick is a cyclocross bike at heart, but On-One sells it as a bike for adventure riding and sportive use. It has the versatility that a lot of UK cyclists look for, with geometry designed for comfort and features including disc brakes, space for wide tyres and eyelets for mudguards and racks.

J.Laverack J.ACK £1,500 – frameset

J.Laverack J.ACK - riding 1

One of the newest bicycle brands to launch this year is the J.Laverack, with the debut J.ACK, a titanium frame with disc brakes and internal cable routing. The J.ACK has been designed to conquer any road or off-road surface, with space for wide tyres (up to 33mm) and plenty of clearance around them for mudguards. All cables are neatly routed inside the frame to keep the lines clean.

Reilly T325 £1,599 – frameset

Reilly T325 - Riding 3

The new brand of Mark Reilly, formerly of Enigma Bicycle Works, the T325 is the most affordable in the range. His 30 years of frame building experience shows in the frame, which is lovingly designed with neat details such as an externally reinforced head tube, oversized main tubes, space for 28mm tyres and internal routing for a Di2 groupset. At a claimed 1,275g, the frame is a worthy alternative to a carbon fibre race bike.

Kinesis GF_Ti Disc £1,799 -frameset

Kinesis GF_Ti Disc - full bike.jpg

The Kinesis Gran Fondo is now available with disc brakes, a popular upgrade to a popular bike. We gave the original a glowing review back in 2013, and with disc brakes proving popular on endurance bikes, the update has been a success. With wider tyres getting ever more popular, the new bike will accommodate 32mm tyres without mudguards, or 30mm with mudguards. The cold drawn seamless titanium tubeset has internal cable routing and it’s modular for mechanical and electronic groupsets.

Van Nicholas Chinook £2,458

Van Nicholas Chinook - riding 1

Van Nicholas is a Dutch company that specialises in titanium, and the Chinook is a thoroughly traditional titanium race bike. While modern titanium road bikes are all about oversized tube diameters and fat head tubes, the Chinook is all skinny tubes and slender stays. But it still offers a buttery smooth ride with delicate handling and really wins you over. A very refined ride.

Mosaic RT-1 £2,550

Mosaic RT-1 Riding

US titanium frame builder Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles hail from Boulder in Colorado, founded by Aaron Barcheck who used to work for Dean Titanium Bicycles. That expertise shows in the RT-1, a finale built titanium frame with custom butted size-specific 3Al/2.5V titanium tubes with a full bespoke option available. The ride performance is, as you’d hope, excellent, with a pleasingly taut characteristic that likes to go fast, all of the time.

Sabbath September Disc £2,799

Sabbath September Disc-2

The Sabbath September Disc  is an audax bike that’s right at home on the daily commute, club ride or sportive, with disc brakes and the titanium frame joined up front by a carbon fibre fork. The September Disc was one of the first breed of new versatile titanium road bikes designed with disc brakes, and the 3Al/2.5V takes up to 35mm tyres with mudguards. If you want one bike to do just about everything, with the exception of racing, the Sabbath is a fine choice.

Pretorius Outeniqua Disc frameset £2,299 frame, fork and Chris King headset

Pretorius Outeniqua Disc - full bike

Disc brakes have been popping up on titanium road bikes with increasing frequency, and London-based Pretorius builds the Outeniqua Disc frameset from predominantly oversized tubing to provide the stiffness for what is to all intents and purposes a race bike, with the stopping power of disc brakes. The geometry keeps the handling fast and nimble, yet the bike can be equipped with mudguards, though tyre width is restricted to 23mm with them fitted. Without mudguards, the frame takes 25mm tyres.

Baldwin Titanium £2,950

Baldwin Titanium - riding 1

East Yorkshire-based Baldwin Titanium arrived in 2012 with the aim to provide custom built titanium frames for those cyclists that just don’t want an off-the-shelf bike. Baldwin will measure you up and produce a frame to meet your exact riding requirements, whether that’s racing, touring or cyclocross, or anything in between. You pay handsomely for such custom service though, with a custom frame coming in at £2,950, and a double butted version costing £3,150, but there are few titanium frame builders based in the UK if that’s the route you want to go down.

Enigma Evade Ti £5,000

Enigma Evade - riding 1

The latest bike from Enigma is the beautiful Evade, which combines oversized main tubes with a 44mm head tube to offer a high level of stiffness. That ensures it offers a rewarding ride for those cyclists that like to press hard on the pedals. It’s rare to see a painted titanium frame but Enigma has done a wonderful job here, marrying the decals to the finishing components and wheels.



Donhou bike to win on Rapha


It’s the end of the year, a time for taking stock and making new resolutions. A time, however, when such good intentions are all too easily swept down the back of the sofa with the crumbs of overindulgence. Rapha’s Festive 500 challenge offers an opportunity to avoid a holiday of bloated lethargy by getting out for some on-bike contemplation.The Grand Prize for this year’s Festive 500 is being supplied by a man who knows all about leaving home comforts behind for some time alone, Tom Donhou. The master craftsman behind Donhou Bicycles, Tom is kindly offering his latest Signature Steel bike, the DSS2 (pictured in action here), for whoever puts forward the best submission in ‘the spirit of the Festive 500’ category. The prize is apt because it was while challenging himself on a bicycle that Tom came to a realisation that would change the course of his life.

“I was a product designer, making toys and perfume bottles for the high street – landfill basically – and my conscience got the better of me so I quit and went away,” he says of a nine-month solo cycle tour which took him from Mongolia to Singapore via the Gobi Desert, China and Himalayas. “Riding every day is such a meditative thing that you figure everything out… everything. As I was riding, in my mind I was redesigning the bike I was on into the perfect expedition bike. Then, one day, I was just laying in my tent at the side of the road in China and decided I might as well start building frames myself.”

Tom’s eureka moment is proof that often it takes some time out to realise what has always been in front of you. His love of bikes, skill in product design, background in metalwork and old cars and ability to spend time alone without going mad are the perfect combination of elements for the profession of frame builder – he just hadn’t put it all together. And so, in 2009, Donhou Bicycles was born. Now at the forefront of a young generation of builders bringing this great tradition back up to date, this eloquent man from Norwich in England is brave and forward-thinking, often eschewing the expected for the surprising, and adventurous too, as shown by his Experiments in Speed project from 2013, when he built a bike with a staggering 104-tooth chainring and rode it as fast as he could behind his old Ford Zephyr on a runway.

With the recently-launched DSS2, an adaptable, versatile road bike with a relaxed geometry making it ideal for gravel riding, Tom’s journey with Donhou is beginning to come back to its origins. “After six years of almost non-stop working on the business, I finally had the time to take a bike trip again and test the DSS2 in the process. I wanted to go back to the desert, back to the middle of nowhere.” Tom travelled to Iceland in August with a friend, the photographer George Marshall, and rode the DSS2 across the country’s barren vastness. “As soon as we got off the plane, put the bikes together and got on the road, I thought, ‘This is sweet, I’m away for seven nights, don’t know where I’m staying and have everything I need in my packs.’ I had missed that feeling.”

That feeling, that sense of adventure, which is also at the heart of every Festive 500 attempt, was challenged by truly inclement weather facing the boys as they rode for three days across Sprengisandsleið – an ancient pass whose name means ‘to ride your horse to death, to explode from exhaustion’. Battling 50mph winds and riding along an endless grey plateau of lava rocks broken up by icy river crossings may have been too much for some, but Tom embraced it: “Every time you looked up you would be blown away by what you saw. These big glacial valleys and gorges would suddenly crop up with short sheer sides covered in almost luminescent moss.”
Tom came home happy that his own ‘horse’ had survived everything that the Icelandic elements could muster, and he immediately began production on the DSS2. Just three months later and the buzz around the bike is palpable – unsurprising given its beautiful build and the current off-road adventure riding mania taking hold. Indeed, Tom says that off-road modifications had become such a staple of his custom bike builds that commercialising his own gravel road bike was purely logical. Made of Reynolds’ flagship 853 steel tubing, and equipped with disc brakes, space for up to 35c tyres, and the Wound Up Gravel fork for when you hit the rough stuff, the lucky winner of the Festive 500 is in for a new year’s treat.

The question remains, is the DSS2 that ‘perfect’ expedition bike Tom was imagining as he crossed the Gobi Desert? “No, and it wasn’t intended to be – the DSS2 has its own purpose,” he says. “The funny thing is I’ve never built that bike I imagined and maybe never will. Donhou Bicycles is the same journey for me as when I set off from Mongolia, so I’m not sure I want to do it. I might feel like I’m finished with the journey.” Not yet Tom, not yet. In fact, we think you’re just getting started.

For more information on riding the Festive 500, and on how to enter to win the Donhou Signature Steel DSS2, please visit here.

Steel yourself – metal back in fashion for road bikes

I myself am a ti fan but modern steel especially stainless steel (stronger pound for pound than titanium and also has no rust issue) is coming back onto the road scene. People realising that Carbon – especially cheap carbon bikes are a flawed concept and a waste of money.


While aluminium enjoyed a brief period as the material of choice for professional road racing bicycles, the same can’t be said for steel; it was the dominant frame material during much of the 20th century for bicycles of all descriptions.

In the world of professional cycle racing, each of Eddy Merckx’s 525 victories was aboard a steel bike, but the last time steel won the Tour de France was in 1994. That was Miguel Indurain, who won his fourth of five Tour titles on a Pinarello bike (but it was reportedly actually built by Dario Pegoretti).

– Is there still a place for steel road bikes in the age of carbon fibre?

You might well think the advance of carbon fibre would have rendered steel obsolete, but that has never happened. Steel is (and always will be) a really good material for building bicycles frames, because it’s light, stiff and durable – your local blacksmith will be able to repair a broken steel frame… just try getting a broken carbon frame easily repaired.

Enigma Elite Frameset - riding 2.jpg

Some cyclists refuse to ride anything but a steel bike, so enchanting is its ride quality. It’s not as widely available as it used to be though, but that is changing as it has become more fashionable in the past few years, with the new wave of bespoke framebuilders choosing to work with steel.

If you want a custom bike, steel is the most versatile and affordable option. Bespoke carbon fibre will cost you a fortune and good luck trying to get a bespoke aluminium frame, leaving steel to become the main choice in the growing bespoke framebuilding sector. Aluminium has now become so cheap to manufacture that you can now get it on bikes costing from as little as £165. 

Steel tube manufacturers, such as Columbus and Reynolds, thankfully haven’t given up on steel, and in fact the opposite has happened, they’ve been investing in new tubesets. The latest steel tubesets, which include the latest stainless offerings, are now lighter and stiffer than anything Eddy Merckx used to race, and a viable alternative to carbon and aluminium.

– Custom built frames: The choice, from steel to carbon

Here then are 15 of the best steel road bikes.

Cinelli XCr Stainless Steel (link is external)£3,128.99 (frameset)


When it comes to iconic bicycle brands, there are few quite as iconic as Cinelli. This is the Italian company’s XCr Stainless Steel frameset, which it describes as the “jewel in its range”. We can see why. Handmade in Italy, the TIG-welded triple butted XCr wonderfulness with laser etched graphics has a claimed frame weight of just 1,420g.

Condor Fratello Disc(link is external) £699 (frameset)

Condor Fratello.jpg

London’s Condor Cycles is both a bike shop and bike brand, and its Fratello touring bike is its most popular model, showing that there is a lot of demand for a sensible steel frame. The frame has been carefully refined over the years, and the latest update is a move to Columbus Spirit tubing with some custom shaping taking inspiration from Condor’s racier Super Acciaio. And it’s available with disc brakes now as well, making it the ideal winter training, Audax or commuting bike.

Review: Condor Fratello Disc

Donhou DSS1 Signature Steel(link is external) road bike £4,385

Donhou Signature Steel.jpg

Tom Donhou is one of the new wave of young framebuilders specialising in steel and his bikes have been well received, with a particular focus on disc brakes that led to the development of the DSS1 Signature Steel. It’s an off-the-shelf bike with a frame made from Reynolds 853 and an Enve carbon fibre fork and tapered head tube.

Review: Donhou DSS1 Signature Steel 

Enigma Elite HSS £1,499(link is external) (frameset)

Enigma Elite.jpg

The modern steel tubesets are a long way from the skinny steel tubes of yesteryear, and the Enigma Elite HSS is a fine example of how good a contemporary steel bike can be. It uses the latest Columbus Spirit HSS triple butted tubeset with a beefy 44mm diameter head tube and combined with a carbon fibre fork, it displays the sort of ride that would make you question all other frame materials.

Review: Enigma Elite HSS 

Genesis Bikes Volare(link is external) 10 £999


Even though Brit brand Genesis Bikes now does carbon fibre, it has partly founded its reputation on fine steel bikes. It’s also responsible for raising awareness of race-ready steel bikes, with its Madison-Genesis team racing the Volare at top level races over the past couple of years. By working with Reynolds, Genesis developed new tubesets to meet the required stiffness and weight of a race frame.

It now produces a range of Volare road bikes and it has ensured that a race-ready steel bike can once again be affordable, with the entry-level 10 costing £999. It uses a Taiwanese made double butted steel tubeset with a 44mm head tube, carbon fork and Shimano Tiagra groupset.

Review: (link is external)Volare(link is external) 40

Holdsworth Professional Italia(link is external) £999.99 (frameset)

holdsworth professional.jpg

Britain used to boast many local independent framebuilders, and Holdsworth used to be one of the most famous names in British cycling and framebuilding. The shop closed down in 2013, after 86 years, but the brand has been resurrected by Planet X and it now offers a range of heritage frames. The Professional Italia is the top-end model and features Columbus SL main tubes and polished XCr stainless steel dropouts.

Independent Fabrication Club Racer(link is external) £1,750 (frameset)


It’s not just British frame builders that are bringing steel back into fashion, there has been a similar increase in popularity over in the US too. Long-running brand IF Bikes, started in 1995 out of the ashes of mountain bike company Fat City Cycles, offers a range of steel road bikes including this Club Racer, a traditional road bike with all the fitments for light touring, making it an ideal winter bike, commuter or Audax choice. It’s available with disc brakes as well.

Kona Roadhouse(link is external) £1,699


The Roadhouse is Canadian company Kona’s classic steel road bike, with a Reynolds 853 tubeset and thru-axles front and rear – making it one of the only steel road bikes with thru-axles we’ve ever come across. A tapered head tube and carbon fibre fork beefs up front-end stiffness and it’s bang up to date with flat mount disc tabs and, of course, it has mudguard mounts.

Buy it here(link is external)

Mason Resolution(link is external) £1,459 (frameset)


New Brit brand Mason debuted with two frames, and chose Columbus Spirit and Life tubes for its Resolution. There’s nothing much traditional about this bike, with internal cable routing, disc brakes and space for 28mm tyres and mudguards.

Review: Mason Resolution

Mercian Cycles Professional 853 Pro Team(link is external) £1,020


Started in 1946, Mercian Cycles is another long-running UK steel framebuilding business that is thriving today, using traditional framebuilding methods and building each frame to order and made-to-measure. Choosing a frame involves using the company’s online frame builder tool, which lets you chose a model, tubeset, geometry and other details you want on your future bike. The Professional (pictured) has been selling since the 1960s, when it used to be a flagship racing bike. It can be built from a choice of Reynolds tubesets including 631, 725 and 853.

Ritchey Ascent £975(link is external) (frame only)


Legendary bike brand Ritchey Cycles has introduced the new Ascent for 2016. A little bit of history. The Ascent used to be a mountain bike back in the 1980s, but the name has been reintroduced as a do-everything steel touring bike, with space for big tyres and eyelets for all racks and mudguards, perfectly suited to the latest gravel bikes trend. It’s a versatile bike, including the option of taking a 650b wheel with 2.1in tyre (a bit like Cannondale’s Slate).

Ritte Cycles Snob(link is external) £1,999

ritte snob.png

We were impressed with the carbon fibre Ace from US bicycle brand Ritte Cycles, and the company also produces frames in metal, including the Snob. It’s constructed from stainless steel tubing with oversized profile tubes and a tapered head tube, and compact geometry. You can choose between a regular rim brake or disc brake version.

Rourke Framesets (link is external)– Reynolds 631 frameset from £995


Rourke Framesets offer a wide choice of steel bikes with a selection of tubesets available to meet different budgets. The custom frame business is headed up by Brian Rourke who has 25-years of road racing experience, and uses this expertise to provide a full bike fit service, to ensure your new bike fits perfectly. Rourke offers framesets in a choice of flavours, from road race to Audax, and complete bikes built to your exact specification.

Shand Cycles Stoater (link is external)£1,395 (frameset)

Shand Stoater.jpg

Shand Cycles is a Scottish frame manufacturer and produces a number of different models, but the Stoater is its do-everything frame designed to be as versatile as you need it to be. Like the modern crop of cyclocross/gravel bikes, the Stoater has space for wide tyres and the frame is bristling with mudguard and rack mounts.

Review: Shand Stoater

Stoemper Taylor(link is external) £1,899 (frameset)

01-Stoemper Taylor.jpeg

Portland-based Stoemper takes a lot of inspiration from Belgium for its Stoemper Taylor, a frame made from TIG welded True Temper S3 tubing and a classic road bike geometry. The tubes are oversized but not by the same measure as some more modern steel bikes, with a non-tapered head tube providing a classic appearance.

Dream Bike: Electric Mexican Blanket


RM_tyler_TLD_Custom-3Tyler’s Electric Mexican Blanket Sunday Driver Chromag Road Bike
Photos by Ross Measures, Words by Tyler Morland

The idea was simple: Create a “Sunday Driver” of sorts. I took inspiration from a bike I was currently riding and blended it with that taste I have for old Ritcheys. My dad has this old Ritchey Timberline comp and I always loved the Fillet brazing look and feel. So Ian Ritz at Chromag Bikes and I started the conversation and we talked about every detail. We used raw material that Chromag had in stock and used something that they have refined for a couple of years, like the drop outs and generally put it through the process that all Chromag frames go through. The head tube was machined in shop and follows the taper of the fork. A real pain in the ass to make. Then, we chose curved seat stays to give it that plush steel ride.


He had no idea it would be this long of a process and neither did I. We roped in Chris Dekerf for the internal routing and brazing. North Shore Billet for the machined parts and sent the completed frame in for a crazy paint job at Troy Lee Designs. I visit TLD once a year for various reasons and those guys are just a bunch of beauties. I’ve been part of the family over at TLD FOREVER and this was a great conversation with a legendary painter… Why not electric Mexican blanket? 

The build kit was a no-brainer. That just goes with the territory – All SRAM everything. I still can’t decide if I go ZIPP 303 or 202.

Dream Bike Speedvagen

Hailing from Portland, that hotbed of cycling culture and frame building, are Speedvagen. For 2015 they have introduced new disc-equipped road and cyclocross models, available in stock and custom builds.

Screenshot 2015-02-03 19.22.13

Speedvagen have been producing frames since 2007, which are billed as “purpose-built race machines with the highest level of innovation.” The frames are manufactured in the Vanilla Workshop, a collaborative community with framebuilder Sacha White at the heart. He’s been building frames since 1999, and produces frames under both the Vanilla Bicycles and Speedvagen Bicycles banners. He built the first Speedvagen in 2006, a singlespeed cyclocross bike.

The two brands allows Sacha to express different design influences and cater for riding styles, with Vanilla described as “pure, classic and focused on the pursuit of craft.” while Speedvagen are “modern, rebellious and built to be ridden. Hard.”

For 2015 the latest Speedvagen models are thoroughly modern: they’re now available with disc brakes.

“Discs look clean and mean and they’re a pleasure to use.” says Sache White. “The way we’re mounting the caliper is unlike any other bike out there. It’s stronger and lighter and, well, we’re darned proud of it.”

To accommodate the disc brakes, there are new Berzerker dropouts which mount the disc caliper on the underside of the seatstay. Speedvagen claims this approach dissipates braking stress into the tube and away from the dropout.

Both the 2015 Speedvagen Road Bike and 2015 Speedvagen Cross Bike can be made from True Temper or Columbus steel tubing with every tube being custom drawn to their specific size, shape and thickness. Nice details abound such as the use of a bi-axially ovalised down tube and tapered head tube, to boost the frame stiffness. Both frames also feature the distinctive integrated seatmast with an Enve carbon fibre post head. An Enve carbon seat tube upgrade is available if you want to shed some weight.

Each frame is produced by hand directly for the customer, with a choice of stock or custom frames depending if you want the full tailor made treatment. Stock bikes are available in 2cm size increments from 48 to 62cm. Full custom will consider every measurement so the frame perfectly fits you.

There are a number of paint jobs to choose from, and for this year they have added a new ‘3D Ghost’ graphic along with ‘HollaText’ and ‘Surprise Me!’ colour schemes.

You’re looking at $3,450 for a stock frameset (frame, fork and seatpost) and $4,350 for a custom frame. Waiting times are around 12 weeks for a custom frame, shorter for an off-the-shelf stock frame. There are no UK dealers so you have to buy direct. There are a few upgrades available on the frame, including custom Shimano Di2 battery integration and specific internal wire routing, carbon fibre seat tubes and much more.

Dream Bike: Stunningly sexy steel Merckx Masterpiece

Eddy Merckx Cycles relaunches steel-bike production. With the launch of the EDDY70 racing bike Eddy Merckx Cycles is opening a new chapter. That is, one of modern, high-quality steel racing bikes.

Screenshot 2015-01-28 11.27.16

The first fruit of this project, of which only 70 examples will be produced, is the forerunner of a new Heritage collection, which will be available from September at a selection of bike stores. The EDDY70 bike can be ordered from 7pm on January 28th exclusively via and will cost $17,500. (OUCH)

With the Heritage Line Eddy Merckx Cycles is drawing on the past, but only in terms of the design and color, as the new steel bikes cannot be compared with the race machines from Eddy’s glory years. They are ultramodern, state-of-the-art racing bikes improved with the best Columbus steel alloys and designed for superior performance.


The EDDY70 bike is built completely according to the wishes of Eddy Merckx, and on Jan. 27 the first example, which bears the No. 1, will be handed over to Eddy himself, who turns 70 this year. From Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. precisely, enthusiasts worldwide can order their own example via, where they can choose their personal number (between 2 and 70), as well as the place where Merckx can put his own signature on the steel.

In the months following the order they can follow the whole production process via the Eddy Merckx Cycles Facebook page until they are finally invited to come and collect their personal bike in Faema colours at their local Eddy Merckx Cycles Dealer. At the same time they will receive a unique photo book that has been signed by Merckx. Nice detail: the first bikes will be delivered on June 17th, which is Eddy’s birthday.


For the steel frame of the EDDY70 the newest Columbus XCr seamless steel tubes are used. The ultralight and rigid RFS (stainless steel) lends itself perfectly to the production of racing bikes. The steel is TIG welded in the Eddy Merckx Cycles workshops and fitted with a carbon fibre Columbus front fork, after which the frame is painted.


The bike is then fitted with a Campagnolo Super Record set and Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 wheels; both with the unique EDDY70 signature. The same icon is also printed on the cockpit, seat post and Cinelli seat.

“Everyone knows that I was always obsessively focused on the equipment that I rode on. That is still the case now. And as a result, I wanted only the best and most modern components and materials for this bike. The aim was absolutely to make a high performance, contemporary racing bike and not a replica of my old racing bike,” according to Merckx.


Every release by Eddy Merckx Cycles is a tribute to the rich heritage created by the greatest racing cyclist of all time. That is why Eddy Merckx Cycles wants to produce the best racing bikes and sell them to the widest possible cycling public. The rich history of man and bicycle is thereby linked in a contemporary and self-perpetuating way to the promising future of the brand. The company was created by Eddy Merckx in 1980 and is still based in Belgium. Eddy Merckx Cycles sells high-end racing bikes in more than 25 countries via 20 distribution partners. At the Benelux level the brand is sold by around 110 official Eddy Merckx Cycles dealers.

The best titanium Bikes

I must not watch i must not watch I must not watch I must not watch i must not watch I must not watch I must not watch i must not watch I must not watch I must not watch i must not watch I must not watch I must not watch i must not watch I must not watch ….

Darm i looked at them. I will settle for the De Roas Moots or Punch … thanks

Once extremely rare and oh-so-exotic, titanium might be a lot more attainable these days, but it still commands a premium over many other frame materials. There is also a lot more choice if you’re in the market for a titanium frame these days, and in this video we’ve rounded up six of the best examples we saw at the recent Eurobike show in Germany. There are many more frames we could have included of course, these are just a few of the highlights.

Touring Bike Build #4: The Frame Arrives and Dynamo Light time

out the box - and slip the handlebars on
out the box – and slip the handlebars on

The frame has arrived and 2 forks although think I might stay colour matched for the moment … Here it is in splendour (though nice Fuji Xpro1 and a 1.4 lens and some LightRoom tweaking)

hand cut lugs
hand cut lugs
named lugs
named lugs

mercian frame details-3mercian frame details-6

Nitto Rando bars
Nitto Rando bars
flayed bars
flayed bars

mercian frame details-4

and then bought a dynamo and light for the tourist setup – will piggyback the tail light off the back. Best thing is it generates full power at lowish speed and once you stop it has a stand light which stays on for 10 minutes – enough time to get a tent up ….

hub and revo light
hub and revo light

BLURB The Revo is an all new concept for Exposure Lights. For the first time Exposure Lights is doing away with batteries and embracing the latest in dynamo developments. New super-efficient dynamo hubs enable the Revo to be used both on and off road.

800 Lumens
Ride duration
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The touring bike build #2 – steel frame

I have bought a secondhand mercian frame to be the base for my new touring build. Getting 2 forks with it – one in silver with higher rake to avoid toe overlap esp when using mudguards.

The frame is constructed from Reynolds 631 tubing because I think it’s great for the touring bike I will be building up, Reynolds have an excellent heritage and this combination of high tensile strength enabling thinner tubes and hence light weight seemed the optimum cost effective approach for me.

Mercian say ‘The actual process of frame building is carried out by a single craftsman.
The individual tubing and components for the frame are then set aside or ordered-in by a frame-builder and boxed ready for the build date. When the frame is ready for building, the frame-builder begins by filing the lugs; with skill and patience the lugs are cut and filed with hand-tools to create the cut-outs and intricate designs which make Mercian frames distinctive and beautiful. The Vincitore lugs are crafted from plain lugs with spearpoints welded to the plain lugs then drilled, cut out and filed by hand for many hours to create the intricate distinctive look that is unique to a Mercian Vincitore Special.
The Reynolds tubes are then carefully mitred and fitted into the lugs and placed against an alignment board where the builder can create the right angles for the frame. The lugs and tubes are fitted together and the frame is pinned to hold securely in position while the frame is brazed in the open hearth. This part of the build process takes years of experience to perfect and has been passed down from frame-builder to frame-builder. The open hearth method of joining the tubes and lugs with a combination of air and natural gas has been used since the 1940’s and reduces the possibility of overheating the tubing, this method is gentler and kinder to the tubes than the quicker frame-jig and oxy-acetylene method often used today, a much higher and direct heat which can be too harsh in the wrong hands.Once heated to correct temperature the brass or silver solder is carefully flowed into the lug/tube joint to secure the tubing in the correct position. Each frame-builder has their own preferred methods of manufacture, but Mercian believe their construction methods are the reasons why their frames have longevity. It also means that if a frame tube is damaged in riding, it is possible to undo the brazing and replace a single tube or tubes without problem, meaning the frame can be repaired rather than buying a new one, giving me many years of pleasure.’

Here is an example of someone’s frame in Reynolds 853

Titanium a potted history

Great article on the history of titanium and current and future use ….. From bike radar

Titanium is a metal that has an atomic number of 22 and its chemical element symbol is Ti – which is fitting, as many people in the bike industry often refer to titanium as ‘ti’. This metal doesn’t weigh as much as gold, but like that precious metal it’s corrosion-resistant and can be lustrous in a refined state. And unlike gold or silver, titanium is as strong as steel when properly processed.

While gold has long been sought after as a precious metal, and iron was used to forge tools and weapons for eons, titanium is a relatively new metal. It was only discovered in 1791 by William Gregor in Cornwall, Great Britain. German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth rediscovered the metal about four years later, and named it after the Titans of Greek mythology.

The name is fitting because, for a brief time, it was the material of choice for the titans of the bicycle world. In the 1990s, titanium had its heyday as a viable high-end frame material. It was lighter than steel, stronger than aluminum and easier to work with than carbon fiber. Numerous manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon, but perhaps none of it would have happened had it not been for the Cold War.

“It is fair to say that Russia’s extensive use of titanium for military projects spurred modern day development of titanium,” said Mark Lynskey of Lynskey. “Russia’s development was centered around grade two or pure titanium, as they did not have sufficient sources of vanadium to strengthen the metal.”

A welder in moots' colorado facility: a welder in moots' colorado facility

Unlike carbon fiber, titanium can hold up fairly well on impact

It was in the 1950s and 1960s that the Soviet Union actually pioneered the use of titanium in military aircraft and submarines. But the United States was close behind, and throughout the Cold War titanium was actually considered a “strategic material” by the US government. So important was the metal to the military that large stockpiles of titanium sponge were maintained by the Defense National Stockpile Center, which was only depleted around the year 2000.

Military connections

Just as some of the fastest bikes were made with titanium in the 1990s, the metal was used in what still holds the record for the fastest military aircraft, and it was this project that gave birth to the development of the aerospace-grade titanium that made its use in bikes possible.

“The SR-71 Blackbird project in the US brought the 6Al-4V alloy to production levels,” Lynskey told BikeRadar. “The most direct advance for bicycles came in the development of the 3Al-2.5V alloy. Its primary use was, and still is, hydraulic tubing for commercial aircraft.”

Interestingly, the use of titanium in bicycles actually began during the height of the Cold War. “Titanium in the bicycle frame format has a long history,” said Jon Cariveau, spokesman for Moots. “Teledyne started making bikes made of titanium in the 1960s.”

The Teledyne Titan was one of the first titanium production bikes, along with models from Flema in Germany and Speedwell in the UK. These three brands all experimented with titanium in the late 1960s and produced commercial models in the early 1970s.

While the Flema Super might have been the first titanium race bike, the Teledyne Titan was likely the first mass-produced titanium bike, although not that many were made. One of the problems was the grade of titanium that was available in the commercial markets at the time.

“The first bikes were built of unrefined titanium,” said Cariveau. “There was no alloy at the time, so it was really a very soft material. The development of aerospace really helped make it a material that was usable in bikes.”

And just as the Cold War helped the development of titanium production and its use as an industrial material, the end of the battle opened the door for its use in commercial products.

“It is accurate to say that consumer use of titanium is trickle-down technology from military and aerospace developments, as is carbon fiber,” said Lynskey.

Competing with carbon

By the year 2000, titanium was a reliable alternative to steel in sporting goods, notably golf clubs and bicycle frames. But that other super-material, carbon fiber, also came into its own, taking the cycling world by storm.

“Carbon has without question become the mainstream material for cycling,” added Lynskey. “It’s very workable, able to be mass produced at relatively efficient costs, and has very good strength to weight properties. Titanium’s Achilles’ heel is that it is very expensive.

“As a raw material it’s very costly – you can buy a mass-produced carbon bike frame for about the same cost as the raw materials in a bike frame. It’s also very costly to work with in that much specialized equipment and uniquely skilled labor are needed.”

Moots in colorado has built a loyal following of the brand's titanium bikes: moots in colorado has built a loyal following of the brand's titanium bikes

Moots, in Colorado, has built a loyal following for its titanium bikes

But despite these issues, titanium remains popular with certain riders, which is why companies such as Lynskey, Moots, Dean, Litespeed and Firefly remain in business today.

“Even with its cost constraints, titanium will always remain popular for cycling enthusiasts as it possesses the best balance of light weight, strength, durability and damping,” said Lynskey. “Aluminum and carbon fiber both are lightweight materials but fall short in durability and damping compared to titanium. The best benefit to a rider is – when properly designed – titanium can offer a very solid and stiff frame that is also very forgiving and comfortable.”

Moots’ Cariveau agrees and says that titanium has another advantage that’s often missed by those who watch the pros ride on carbon fiber in the major races.

“Carbon fiber is a really beautiful material. It is only going to get better, but when you’re looking at real world situations where you aren’t handed a new bike when you crash, you see the value in titanium,” he noted. “A bad crash on a mountain bike can just destroy the carbon fiber frame, and while it can be warrantied, you have to deal with stripping the parts and sending it back. Titanium can endure those spills that carbon cannot.”

The shape of things to come

Interestingly, the future of titanium could be in printed materials. While carbon fiber can be manipulated into shapes that require precise bending and welding, its strength is in its long fibers.

But because titanium begins life as a dust-like material – which is often found in sand, making Australia one of the largest suppliers of the metal – it likely has more of a future in 3D printing. It could mean that bikes designed on computers could have frames as aerodynamic as carbon fiber and as strong as steel but printed out and ready to ride.

“We have looked into this, and over the next few years we hope it will give us the ability to create more complex and aesthetically pleasing parts for bikes,” said Lynskey.

Dream bike: one to do it all – steel Zullo Vergine

Zullo Vergine side

With exquisite craftsmanship and a stunning paint finish, Zullo’s Vergine frame is proof, if it were needed, that steel still has a place for the most demanding performance cyclists.

During the 1980s cycling was a simple sport. Racing cyclists trained on instinct and fuelled themselves not with complex sports food, but with jam sandwiches and fig rolls. The bicycles were humbler machines too, made from simple round tubes of steel. A far cry from today’s designed-by-computer and tested in a wind tunnel bikes that are prominent everywhere from the shop floor to the pro peloton.

Steel was the dominant material, and there was little alternative before aluminium made an impact some 10-20 years later. It was during this period that Tiziano Zullo started making frames from his workshop on the banks of Italy’s Lake Garda. His frames would go on to be used most famously by the TVM team, starring Phil Anderson and Robert Millar, for six seasons between 1986 and 1992.

Today, carbon fibre is the standard choice for the professionals (and most amateurs) but that said steel has been enjoying a resurgence of popularity over the past 5-10 years. Zullo decided to buck the carbon trend and, in remaining faithful to his roots, is enjoying his status as one of the few manufacturers of hand-crafted steel frames with a rich pedigree and history. Steel was never dead, it was just biding its time before making a comeback.

Today Zullo provides full custom designed frames, and they are handled in the UK by London’s Mosquito Cycles. With Mosquito’s bike fitting service, you can get yourself a fully customised frame that will fit you perfectly. And, we’re told, Zullo keep customers involved in the process with regular updates, even supplying photos of the frame as it passes through the various stages of its inception.

The frame

The Vergine is made from Columbus XCr. It’s a seamless stainless steel tubeset (unlike the other stainless tubeset, Reynolds 953, which is welded) and is manufactured with chromium, molybdenum and nickel to boost its strength. The wall thickness can be drawn extremely thin (right down to 0.4mm) which keeps the weight down while still having a higher stiffness to weight ratio than titanium or aluminium. It’s also corrosion resistant so doesn’t need treatment and will never rust.

Zullo TIG weld the frame, and it is beautifully finished in every way. It really is one of the nicest steel frames I’ve ever seen. But, as the most expensive steel tubeset in the world and being hand made in Italy, the Vergine doesn’t come cheap. A frame and carbon fork will set you back £2,995. But think about what you’re buying: Zullo only make a couple of hundred frames a year, there’s a lot of love and attention going into each and every one.

There’s loads of paint options you can choose from, take a look at this gallery for a sample of what they can do. They can’t do custom paint jobs though, but I would happily take the frame painted as it is. I’m quite taken with it. Few bikes in the world look as good as this and there’s certainly no mainstream manufacturer doing anything even remotely close to this.

This is Zullo’s frame designed for those who want a stiff and responsive ride. That means the tubes are all oversized and the chainstays are huge (for a steel frame) and combine with 8mm dropouts that counter the forces that cause the rear triangle to flex when putting down the power when sprinting or climbing out of the saddle.

The three tubes that make up the front triangle are equally oversized and this contributes to the crisp feeling when you’re dancing the bike around sweeping country lanes. A classic geometry with a sloping forwards top tube looks out of place compared to the current breed of compact frames, but is a look that gives the Vergine a great presence on the road.

The head tube is a straight-through 1 1/8in setup with external bearing cups, and a Chris King headset is fitted. A Columbus carbon fibre fork slots into the headset. Of particular note is the mirror polished driveside chainstay, to avoid the paint being battered by the chain.

Weight for the frame, fork and headset is a claimed 2.12kg. Our test model weighed in at 7.6kg completely built, which is very impressive for a steel bike. It’s lighter than many carbon bikes.

Some of this of course comes from the fact our test bike was finished with a complete Campagnolo Super Record 11 groupset. The rest of the build kit consists of Campagnolo Ultra wheels and Continental Grand Prix tyres, Deda bars, stem and seatpost and a Fizik saddle. Zullo only supply frame and fork packages and leave it to the customers discretion to build to taste. Mosquito will happily build a frame with whatever components you desire.


Taking it out into the sunlight for its maiden ride, and I have to stop and take a moment to admire its exquisite beauty. Its elegant and classical lines, splatter paint finish and mirror chromed chainstay all contribute to it easily outranking every other bike I’ve ever tested on looks alone. The Vergine has a level of class simply unmatched by anything else out there. It really is a special bike.

Fortunately, as the first test ride on it reassures me, it isn’t all looks. It has the peformance to back it up when it matters, pressing on the pedals. I tested a Reynolds 953 frame when that material first arrived on the scene, and came away from it with mixed reactions. The reaction to this XCr frameset is very different. I’ve been stunned by just how beautifully it rides. This is, without a doubt, the best riding steel frame I’ve ever ridden.

Steering feels crisp and sharp and, at times, it really doesn’t feel like a steel frame. There’s certainly less of that softness that steel frames often exhibit, with a good degree of stiffness tuned in. That said, it still feels far more comfortable than aluminium and carbon bikes on the roughly surfaced roads that make up my testing loop.

With a longer stem (12cm) than the one supplied, and a shuffle of the spacers, I achieved a satisfactory fit that allowed me to fully exploit the frame’s potential. It’s important to note that the frame wasn’t custom made for me, but that it just happened to be the right size. Anyone looking to buy a Vergine will be happy in the knowledge they’ll be buying a frame that fits them perfectly, and can be tuned to their style of riding.

The Zullo rides, if I had to sum it up with one word, beautifully. There are many more words I could have used, but this is the one that frequently crops up. It’s smooth to ride, no mean feat on Surrey’s scarred roads, yet crisp enough to make it really engaging when you get on the gas. It’s not flighty like a lightweight carbon racer; there’s a little more weight to the steering that gives you a little more confidence.

If you’re looking for something special, something that isn’t carbon but won’t compromise on the ride quality, then you can’t go far wrong with XCr, and the Zullo’s use of it is splendidly realised. XCr really shows there is still a valid place for steel and it’s a serious rival to carbon if your intentions are to race.


If you thought steel was dead, think again. A serious alternative to carbon with impressive performance and a unique history.

Great Scot(t) Bike maker of steel beauties in scotland

Following the launch of the Stooshie and Stoater frames at Bespoked Bristol earlier this year, Shand will be heading to Bike Blenheim Palace this weekend to launch the new Skinnymalinky road frame, but we can bring you a sneak peek today.

Fillet brazed from Reynolds 853 the frame is built for year-round and long distance riding. Basically, it’s built to be fast yet comfortable, the frame is versatile enough to be used in summer sportives yet in the winter can don mudguards.

Each frame will be hand built at Shand’s workshop in central Scotland and will cost £960 for the frame, and £140 for the fork. The complete bike shown with Campagnolo Athena will be around £2,800. Expect a delivery of around 6-8 weeks.

It’ll accept 28mm tyres with mudguards fitted and there’s some lovely details in evidence, just look at those polished stainless dropouts. Mudguard mounts and bottle bosses are standard but other braze-ons can be specified, along with hand-built forks.

As for the colour, well Shand haven’t made up their mind just yet. They do know that base colours will be more subtle than those used on the Stoater and Stooshie. Custom colours and graphics are also possible for a small extra charge.

Who are Shand?

Shand have been building frames in Scotland since 2003, the company gets its name from founder Steven Shand. Their speciality is hand-built steel production frames and completely custom frames built to order are available too.

Check out their website for more info

There is something about steel : feather cycles

When you breeze the blogs and read the articles or follow the handmade bespoke scene there are a few names you encounter again and again. Feather cycles is one of them – creating bespoke steel beauties like this baby blue beaut . Apart from the crankset pretty much perfect.

here is the Rapha video of the man himself

[vimeo w=600&h=338]

SA bike maker in UK making the best: Pretorious Bike


The Pretorius Outeniqua is a new titanium race bike with stylish looks and a sweet ride. It’s available as a frameset for £1,950 (with a full bike fit included) although ours came as a complete bike in a £5,999 build.

Here are six key reasons why you might want to buy it.

1 The frame is strong, lightweight titanium.

It’s 3Al-2.5V titanium, to be precise, which means it’s actually 3% aluminium and 2.5% vanadium. This is the alloy that’s used to make most (but not all) titanium bikes.

Titanium has high strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios and an excellent fatigue life. If you’re looking for a bike that’ll still be going strong several years down the line, titanium is a very good choice. It won’t snap if you stack it and will cope fine with the inevitable knocks it’ll pick up during regular use. It won’t corrode when you forget to clean it either.

Don’t get us wrong: we’re not saying that everyone should be riding titanium. Carbon, when done right, can certainly be made into bikes with higher stiffness-to-weight than anything else right now. But titanium certainly has a place still.

2 It’s a well made, tidy frame.

The Pretorius is well put together with classic straight lines and neat welds throughout.

Although the Outeniqua has a fairly traditional air, it boasts some distinctly modern features. The head tube, for example has an internal diameter of 44mm from top to bottom, but it comes with a Chris King 1 1/8in InSet upper bearing and a 1 1/2in external headset cup down below and the fork has a correspondingly tapered steerer to improve rigidity.

The other feature that performance bike manufacturers have increasingly turned to over the past few years for adding stiffness is an oversized bottom bracket. Pretorius have gone with a BB30 design too.

The wall thickness in both the head tube and the bottom bracket is thicker than elsewhere too. It’s a meaty 2mm for extra stiffness rather than 0.9mm of the other tubes.

The tube shaping is subtle. The slightly sloping top tube, for example, tapers from 38mm at the head tube to 34mm at the seat tube and the seatstays slim down 3mm along their length. And while the head tube and the down tube (42mm in diameter) are oversized, they’re not that oversized.

The details are tidily done too. The dropouts are a smart half-moon design and the cable stops are welded into place rather than riveted. And while our test bike comes with mechanical shifting, the Outeniqua is also available in Shimano Di2 options if you want to go down the electronic route. With Dura-Ace Di2 the battery can now go inside the seat post.

The Outeniqua comes with a brushed finish as standard although custom paintjobs are available from £200. You can choose from eight different decal colour options and you can pick the Chris King headset colour to match if you like.

The overall result is a frame that looks stylish rather than one that’s trying too hard.

3 A proven geometry.

The Pretorius’ geometry is racy and efficient without being too extreme, although if it doesn’t work for you, you can get a custom version made.

Road bike geometry is rarely all that radical. People have been making road bikes for a long time now and we know what works. Our Outeniqua is a large (58cm) model which comes with a 58cm seat tube, a 57cm effective top tube, and a 17cm head tube – although you need to allow another couple of centimetres of stack height for the external headset cup.

Compared to a 58cm Specialized Tarmac SL4 full-on carbon race bike, for example, the Outeniqua has a 1.2cm shorter top tube while the head tube and seatstays are about the same. The frame angles (73.5° head angle and 73° seat angle) are the same too, so you know what you’re getting here: it’s a well-proven set up.

The standard Outeniqua frameset (see below) is £1,950 but if none of the seven sizes is right for you, an extra £200 gets you one built to a custom geometry.

4 Excellent frameset components.

Buy an Outeniqua frameset and you get an Enve 2.0 fork and Chris King Inset 7 headset as part of the package. Both are excellent.

The Enve 2.0 fork, which retails alone at £390, is full-carbon right down to the dropouts. It comes with a tapered 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in steerer and, despite weighing in at just 350g, it provides loads of stiffness whether you’re pinning it into a fast turn or throwing the bars about on an out-of-the-saddle climb. It also damps road vibration well without leaving you feeling too isolated from the road; a great combination.

The Chris King Inset sealed bearing headset is a winner too. With this one the upper cup sits inside the head tube while the lower one is external. The high-quality bearings should last an age.

5 You can choose you own spec.

Pretorius will build up the Outeniqua however you like. We had a high-end spec comprising a Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed groupset, Reynolds Thirty Two wheels with Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres, Enve carbon bars, stem and seatpost, and a Selle Italia SLR saddle. There’s an Arundel carbon bottle cage on there too. You’re looking at £5,999 for that lot.

In this build, the Outeniqua weighs 7.2kg (15.8lb). Spend six grand on a bike and you can get lighter without too much trouble – especially if you go for a carbon frame – but this is certainly a highly respectable weight.

I won’t talk too much about the specific build because it’s not set in stone, but you really can’t go wrong with these components. If you prefer Shimano or SRAM to Campag’s shifting, no problem, go with that instead.

The Reynolds Thirty Two wheels are very light and spin beautifully. We have the clincher version and they weigh in at 1,351g. Reynolds’ Cryo Blue pads provide good braking on the carbon rims in the dry, although the braking is nowhere near as good as you get with aluminium rims in wet conditions. That’s always the way.

Getting your saddle position right on the Enve carbon seat post is really easy and the sub-200g Enve bars come in either standard (144mm drop, 85mm reach) or compact (127mm, 79mm reach) versions.

But I wasn’t going to go on about the spec too much, was I? So I won’t. It’s good though.

6 The high ride quality.

The Pretorius offers a quick, agile ride. Put in the power and it responds with a sharp kick forwards. It doesn’t have the all-out rigidity of some top end carbon bikes when it comes to a sprint but it’s still impressively efficient and it whips up to speed in no time. Of course, that’s partly down to the components as well as the frame and forks. The Reynolds Thirty Two wheels in particular make a big difference here, accelerating beautifully when you ask them to.

The ride position is balanced. It’s certainly low and efficient, which is exactly what you want for a bike of this kind, but it’s not ridiculously aggressive. Most people with reasonable flexibility will be happy getting in the big miles on this setup.

You also get a good compromise between stability and reactive steering. The Outeniqua is manoeuvrable enough for last second line changes when a ride mate decides to swing out for no apparent reason, but it’s not so nervous that you can’t relax when you want to.

The ride-quality is the Outeniqua’s most valuable feature. There are no wrist-shuddering jolts coming up through the Enve fork and you don’t find yourself clinging on for dear life when you hit a patch of jagged road. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Outeniqua keeps everything nice ‘n’ smooth. As well as making life comfortable for you in the saddle, that means the wheels stay firmly in contact with the road even when the road gets rough under fully loaded tyres.

Again, the components help with the comfort; I always get on well with a Selle Italia SLR saddle, for instance. To me, it offers the best combination of lightweight and comfort of any saddle out there, although if you’re not such a fan you could go for something that suits you better.

All in all, the Outeniqua offers a sweet ride. Swift, responsive, comfortable, it’s a great performance option with a big helping of style thrown in.


Stylish titanium road bike with a high ride quality; comfortable and it should last you many years.


Dream bike: a classic steel FW Evans

One of the biggest names in the British cycle industry is developing a small range of high-end, steel frames to be handmade in the UK from Reynolds tubing, RoadCyclingUK can exclusively reveal.

James Olsen, who designed the Genesis range of bikes for Madison, is at the centre of Evans’ project to update three classic models from the FW Evans range: the Steelite, the Super Continental and the Ultra.Evans, best-known to thousands who have taken up cycling in recent years as a mass retailer of predominantly entry-level machines, is reviving the brand begun by its founder, Frederick W Evans, more than 90 years ago.

All take their names from classic FW Evans marques, but Olsen insists the new models will be evolutions of their predecessors, not reproductions.

“We’re definitely not making a ‘retro’ project,” Olsen told RCUK. “It’s what would have happened if the brand had never died away. If you look at the tube profiles, the patented drop outs, you realise FW Evans was quite an innovative guy and we wanted to keep that.

“FW Evans had some great bikes in the past. Most were custom to some extent. We have gone right back to the 1930s looking at the model, the style, and thinking about what we would see in the range now if the FW Evans brand had continued. The Ultra was the lightweight, fast, steel bike of the day. We have taken that name and updated it.”

He described the new Steelite, made from Reynolds 631 tubing, as a “lightweight, steel all-rounder”, the Ultra as “racy as a modern steel bike can be” with an oversized 631 head tube to accommodate the tapered steerer of a contemporary carbon fork, and the latest Super Continental as a “lightweight, long distance, audax or touring bike” whose prototype has been made with 853 tubing. Test results will dictate if the additional strength offered by 853 is required, he added.

Olsen has drawn on a close working relationship with Reynolds to develop an idea pioneered by FW Evans: ovalised tubing used by the Evans founder more than 80 years ago. “I was looking at FW Evans’ back catalogue and he had an ovalised tube profile to give what is now cherished as vertical compliance. Everyone else was using curly tube profiles for nominal improvements, where he used something quite different, which I think is impressive engineering,” said Olsen.

“We wanted to get the right level of stiffness in some places and compliance in others. This guy was doing the same in 1928.”

Testing has not been completed and Olsen stressed that the development phase is far from finished. The frames are being developed to an “open-ended” timescale and production will not follow the “model year” schedule typical of mass production frames. “I’m so used to Taiwanese time scales, but this is a very different project,” said Olsen, adding that he would be pleased if production began this summer.

“The aim is to get something with the comfort of a traditional steel tubed 531 frame but by having the tubes flat ovalised, something with a lot of side to side stiffness, without shimmy or flex. We didn’t want the trade off to be a lack of comfort,” he said. “We have done some comparative modeling. On paper, it looks like we have twice the vertical deflection than some of the bikes I know that we have used as a benchmark for comfort.”

Olsen was a visitor to Bespoked Bristol, the UK’s handmade bike show, and highlighted the TIG welded, 953 Brian Rourke frames and the creations of Ted James among the frames that had most impressed him. “It was great to see the revival in handmade British frames, but also to see the kind of things we are up against,” he said. “The quality of handmade bikes in the UK is fantastic. You could do a lot of that in Taiwan, but not in the same customised way. We’re trying to do something half-way between the two with small batch rather than mass production.”

Reviving a “connoisseur’s brand” was a dream project, Olsen admitted, but insisted that designing “second or third” bikes for newcomers to cycling for Evans’ Pinnacle range, was as satisfying as “preaching to the converted”.

“It’s a great project. Not only do we get to build some really lovely bikes in the UK, but we get to surprise a lot of people about what we can do,” he said.

“People won’t expect us to put time and resource into this. They are not going to be cheap bikes. On paper, this isn’t a commercial project, but at the same time, there are so many passionate cyclists in the company, there’s a thought that, ‘wouldn’t this be fun to do?’

Spin Doctors convene to roll out their works of art

FROM WIREDBlack Cat Bicycles

SACRAMENTO, California — A factory worker can turn a handful of tubes into a bicycle. An excellent bicycle, even. But only a craftsman can turn those same tubes into a work of art.

This craftsmanship elevates a bicycle from a commodity to something … more. Something made just for you, by someone who gave you exactly what you want. Something born of a passion for riding and an abiding respect for framebuilding. This much was obvious at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, where more than six dozen framebuilders gathered earlier this month to celebrate their craft and show off their latest creations.

Here are 12 of WIRED’s favorites from the show.

Black Cat Bicycles

Todd Ingermanson built his first bicycle 10 years ago, for one simple reason.

“I couldn’t afford a hand-built bicycle,” he said. “So I thought I’d build my own.”

Here’s the thing, though: Building your own bike isn’t much cheaper than paying someone else to build it, once you pay for tools. And jigs. And painting. And … By the time Ingermanson was done, he’d invested so much time and money in the project that he figured he’d build another bike. Black Cat Bicycles was born.

It hasn’t grown much in the decade since. It’s still just Ingermanson working in a 400-square-foot shop in Santa Cruz, California, doing everything from welding the frames to printing the T-shirts to sweeping the floors. He likes it that way.

Ingermanson builds “35ish” frames a year. Each takes 35 to 40 hours. He works almost exclusively with steel, though you’ll see him use carbon from time to time. He’ll build just about anything, but says his 29er single speed (shown) is his most popular bike. The frame will set you back around $2,500, which seems like a bargain when you consider the quality of his workmanship. The only thing more beautiful than the lugs are the paint jobs covering them. Ingermanson paints everything himself.

“I get to geek out with masking tape and paint,” he said with a laugh. “It’s like doing an art project every few weeks.”

Vibe Cycles

Dave Kelley spent much of his career as a cabinetmaker, which might explain the material he used to build Sleigh Ride, his fat-tired snow bike: Bamboo.

Bamboo was for a time the hot new material. Kelley got wise to it three years ago after Craig Calfee rolled into Interbike with a bamboo 29er that got a lot of attention. “Well,” Kelley thought, “I can do that.”

He can, and did. Kelley and his wife, Christi, spent most of the past three years developing, refining and testing their 29er on the roads and trails around Boise, Idaho. The bike, with bamboo tubes, carbon lugs and big cushy tires, has been bulletproof.

“We’ve been trying without success for three years to break it,” Christi Kelley said. “We didn’t want to sell it if we could break it.”

Sleigh Ride was one of a handful of bamboo bikes at the Handmade Bicycle Show. Kelley says the material has a lot to offer. It soaks up vibrations, she says, and it doesn’t break. Still, bamboo is a niche material, which might explain why Vibe Cycles is developing aluminum and titanium frames.

A Sleigh Ride with straight tubes will set you back $2,295. Go for the more elaborate curved tubes and you’re looking at $3,495. The red and black color scheme looks great, and we especially like the flask holder. It’s a must for riding in snow.

Groovy Cycleworks

Groovy Cycleworks

This bright pink beauty was among the show’s head-turners. It sums up Rody Walter’s entire approach to framebuilding: design the bike the rider wants, involve the rider in its construction and ensure it makes people smile.

Mission accomplished. Seriously, now — how can you look at a bright pink cheetah-print bike and notsmile? So what’s the story with that?

“The customer wanted it for his 40th birthday, but as a condition, he told himself he’d let his 8-year-old daughter choose the color,” Walter said of the $7,500 bicycle. “She chose a pink cheetah-print pattern. He said OK.”

Walter launched Groovy Cycleworks in 1994. It’s a one-man operation, which Walter says “allows me to have a more holistic approach to building.” In addition to road, cyclocross and mountain bikes, Walter also makes gorgeous handlebars and cranks, too. He’ll build a bike out of anything but carbon, because carbon isn’t recyclable.

“Ethically, I can’t be a part of that,” he said.

It takes Walter about 40 hours to build a bike. Want one? It’ll be awhile. He’s got a 56 month backlog. But on the upside, he only requires a $20 deposit.

“I used to be like other builders and require 50 percent,” he said. “But I realized I was holding their money for almost five years. I’d rather they put that in a CD or something and use the interest to buy better components.”

English Cycles

English Cycles

Rob English is so skilled that he can build half a bicycle.

Project Right is a single-sided, single-speed belt-driven road bike commissioned by Fairwheel bikes in Tuscon, Arizona. It’s an intriguing ride, full of amazing details that showcase the Eugene, Oregon, builder’s engineering skills.

Take, for example, the rear hub. English designed and machined it himself. A one-piece shell rides on bearings pressed onto an axle tube welded to the chainstay. An an eccentric bottom bracket allows tensioning the drive belt. And the cog is mounted outside the frame, making belt installation a breeze. It’s brilliant. Largely pointless, but brilliant.

“There’s no engineering reason for it,” English said of the single-sided system. “I just did it because I could. There is one advantage to it, however. If you get a flat, you don’t have to remove the wheel.”

The front fork is a riff on the Cannondale Lefty, and the frame is a mix of Columbus and True Temper tubing. It’s all flawlessly fillet brazed and covered in a paint job designed by artist Geoff McFetridge.

Project Right as a Herculean effort, with a Herculean price of about $10,000 ready to ride. A more conventional frame built to your specs starts at $1,950.

Bruce Gordon Cycles

Bruce Gordon Cycles

Bruce Gordon has been building bicycles since 1974 and is therefore entitled to the occasional extravagant project. Like, say, a carbon-tubed, titanium-lugged bike that perfectly combines old-school aesthetics with modern materials.

No, extravagant is not too strong a term for a bike worth more than your car. And quite possibly the two parked next to it.

The bike is one of two Gordon made with Mike Lopez of Serotta Composites for the 2010 San Diego Bicycle Show. The project started, as these things often do, with a few drinks and the question, “What if…?” and the answer, “Just because.” The bike has been making the rounds ever since, and never fails to draw a crowd. With good reason — it’s stunning.

The carbon was hand-laid, including the fenders, and shines like a mirror. The titanium lugs, fork crown and other components were milled from 15 pounds of solid stock. Time, and money, was of no concern.

“I spent two months, working six days a week for six hours a day, just making the lugs,” Gordon said.

He isn’t boasting, just stating a fact. The lug joining the top tube, seat tube and seat stays was assembled from nine pieces. It’s absurd but inspiring, as it speaks to the level of craftsmanship that permeates this bicycle. This isn’t a show queen, though. Gordon actually puts miles on it.

“It’s the nicest road bike I’ve ever ridden,” he said.

Victoria Cycles

Victoria Cycles

If Bruce Gordon is an elder statesman of framebuilding, David Hill is the new breed. He launched Victoria Cycles just five years ago. Before that, he was a mailman.

Yes. A mailman. But that was what he did. It wasn’t who he is. What he is, and always was, is a bicycle fanatic. So after 20 years in the same job, he decided to follow his heart.

“I’ve always had a passion for cycling,” Hill said. “My first job was working in a bike shop. I loved it.”

That love is reflected in his bicycles, like this 29er commuter bike. Like all the bikes he builds one by one in his workshop in Salida, Colorado, it’s steel. And, as is his preference, it features attractive lugs. He’ll do fillet brazing, but prefers lugs for his frames because they’re stronger and, frankly, prettier.

“I love lugs,” he said. “It’s what I grew up riding.”

Hill will build anything, from road to mountain to track. Don’t let his preference for pretty suggest his frames, which start at $1,550, aren’t meant to take some abuse.

“I’m an artisan, not an artist,” he said. “I want my bikes to be pretty, but ridden. I don’t want to build bikes that are hung on a wall and just looked at.”

Broakland Bikes

Broakland Bikes

Jason Montano builds one kind of bike, and only one kind of bike, for one reason.

“I only build track bikes,” he said. “I’ve been riding track bikes since I was a kid. Build what you know.”

This is their latest model, the S3. As the name suggests, it features a True Temper S3 tubeset and flawless welding by Jason Grove. It isn’t cheap — $3,500 with a Wound Up fork — but it is gorgeous.

The frame weighs less than three pounds. Build it up with vintage parts and you’re just a hair over 15. Use modern parts and you’ll come in at a hair less. As for the paint, well, that’s a story unto itself.

“I was surfing the Internet and came across a photo of a crazy mid-80s French ski-jumping suit,” Montano said. “I sent it to my painter and said, ‘Match that.’”

He did. Perfectly.

Six-Eleven Bicycle Co.

Six-Eleven Bicycle Co.

This cross bike has all the parts to make us drool: Dura Ace components, Wound Up fork, White Industries cranks, the works. But what caught our attention was the paint job. It literally stopped us in our tracks.

The base color is khaki, so flawlessly applied that it looks wet. Laid over that are dots. Hundreds of dots, each painted with the head of a spoke in four shades of brown that resemble flecks of mud.

“It took about three weeks,” builder Aaron Dykstra said of the ornate design.

The bike is, like all of Six-Eleven’s frames, steel. Dykstra loves the stuff because “it’s such a dynamic metal. It can do anything.” He’ll build anything, from track bikes to townies. Six-Eleven frames start at $2,075.

And that name? The Great 611 was a J-Class train built in 1950 by Norfolk & Western’s shop Roanoke, Virgina, where Dykstra’s shop is located.

“It’s always been an icon of my hometown,” he said.

Dykstra took home an award for best cyclocross bike, following up on the best track bike award he won in 2011 and the rookie of the year award he snagged in 2010.

Don Walker Cycles

Don Walker Cycles

Don Walker is the reason all these guys get together each year. In 2005, he and four other guys organized the first North American Handmade Bicycle Show. It’s a family reunion of sorts, a bunch of passionate bike nuts getting together to show off their skills, welcome new builders and educate the public about their craft.

Walker was holding forth this year from his booth at the center of the hall, a broken ankle elevated on a stool and a bottle of scotch not far from reach. He was in his element, surrounded by friends and by bicycles, including this single-speed cyclocross rig built for his friend J.C. Breslin.

It’s gorgeous, with a mix of Columbus and Reynolds tubes, Surly dropouts, a Ritchey fork and flawless fillet brazing. But what we really like is the head tube badge. Breslin wanted a totally custom bike, so Walker designed a one-off badge. It features Walker with a stogie in his mouth, a glass of scotch his hand and a mischievous look in his eye.

“It was the only thing I could think of that was completely silly,” Walker said.

Alchemy Bicycle Co.

Alchemy Bicycle Co.

Dave Ryther has one thing to say about his company: “We make the best damn bikes in the world.” You may disagree, but one thing is sure — Alchemy Bicycle Co. made the best damn carbon fiber bike at the show.

The Aero Road is a wisp of a machine, more of a blade than a bike. It was custom built using Enve tubes made on the company’s own molds, and it sports top-shelf parts from SRAM and Enve Smart wheels. It’s striking. Ready to ride, this bike costs a bit more than $11,000 and weighs a bit more than 14 pounds, a figure Ryther lamented is “a bit heavy.”

Alchemy got started in Austin just four years ago. Ryther is one of seven employees, and they hope to build 200 bikes this year. Everything they do is custom, and they build with carbon, titanium and stainless steel.

“Stainless is the new thing,” Ryther said. “It’s the poor man’s titanium. It has the electric feel of steel without the weight penalty.”

Bicycle Fabrications

Bicycle Fabrications

This was the one we wanted to take home.

It’s designed for dual slalom, downhill and trail riding, but all we could think about was all the trouble we could get into. What else are you going to do with a bike called Pocket Rocket?

Bicycle Fabrications has built just about everything over the years, but it specializes in full suspension mountain bikes that can take heaps of abuse. Pocket Rocket is the San Francisco company’s latest creation. It sports 4130 chrome-moly tubes, a Fox shock and attitude to spare. The frame will set you back $1,600.

Shamrock Cycles

Shamrock Cycles

This is the city bike Tim O’Donnell would build if he were the customer. It is stylish, it is functional and it is, in a word, gorgeous.

“It is designed to be somewhat over the top,” he said. “I operate in a world of want, not need. To do that, I have to offer form and function.”

Ginny is a brilliant meeting of the two, a showpiece to highlight O’Donnell’s vision and skills. It’s chock-full of beautiful details. Brake lines and wiring for the rear light run through the Columbus tubes for a tidy look. Integrated racks and fenders with flowing stays. Carbon belt drive with an internally geared hub. And the racks. Oh, those racks. They feature a mix of birdseye maple, spalted maple, quilted maple, chestnut and walnut. Is it any wonder O’Donnell walked away with an award for best city bike?

If Ginny’s got a downside, it’s her weight. At 36 pounds, she’s a brick and a half. But no one rides a bike like this to haul ass.

“It is designed to get you there in style, in comfort and in silence,” O’Donnell said. “And it does so in spades.”

The bike and the story: Signal Bikes

sometimes you see a bike that just seems so there …. This is just one of those bikes ….. A found a link to Signal cycles and although I read about them in Paved Magazine and seen reference to them on the hand build shows I hadn’t ever explored their site. Like all custom makers they are dedicated to the craft of making beautiful bikes for the right reason. In the days of the giant makers and carbon cyber bikes it is good to see that the artisan maker is entering a new golden age.
Even if I haven’t got the cash to get one myself – it is nice I think to give them a shout out.

Signal Cycles are handmade bikes from Portland Oregon. Each bike is built with the full attention of Nate Meschke and Matt Cardinal. We started our company in the fall of 2007 and have been building momentum and beautiful bikes ever since.

There is a lot of talk of a new golden age of handmade bikes, and the US builders are leading the way. More people are experiencing the joy of working with a custom builder and realizing the importance of being able to collaborate, discuss, design and shake hands with the builder of their bike. Signal is proud to provide this experience. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

Pete’s Racer Equipped Road Bike

Pete is a bike mechanic and has been for a long time. He wanted a fender bike for long gravel rides in the rain and for maybe even doing some weekly races on at Mount Tabor. He sold his carbon bike and decided he wanted a steel Signal with Paul Racer brakes. We used direct post mounts for the brakes to keep things tidy and functional and built a unicrown fork that really goes with the fillet brazed frame.

Pete built the bike up with Shimano Dura-Ace, Chris King, and Thomson parts. The rims are ceramic coated to add durability to the sidewalls and they work great in the rain.


Loving yes Loving the Ti Bride: Lynskey Cooper

The Cooper was drawn from the bloodlines of our top level road race frames. By starting with an oversized cold-worked tubeset, the Cooper has the stiffness, handling and excellent ride quality you expect from a Lynskey frame. The Cooper’s performance far exceeds many similarly priced road frames no matter what material they are made from. All of the great features you expect from a Lynskey Performance road frame, but at a value that will make others jealous. And as always, each frame is hand-made in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“The ride is stiff yet dampens road vibrations with no noticeable flex when hammering hard. Most of my rides are in the mountains and the Cooper does not disappoint. The Cooper handles high speed downhills with razor sharp precision. Very, very predictable handling, point it where you want to go without oversteering or understeering.” -zombiebiker