Titanium makes a new friend with the introduction of Sage Cycles

Sage Cycles Dave Rosen with Skyline Road BIke

Dave Rosen poses with a Skyline roadbike

Recently, I found myself in the same neighborhood as PDW, so I stopped in to say hi and chat with Dan Powell.  It’s these kinds of chat’s that often lead to interesting meetings and knowledge.  In this case it was no different, as Dan informed me of a new bicycle brand launching right here in Portland.  He put me in touch with one of the co-founders, Dave Rosen.

Dave has worked in the cycling industry for a while now, and after departing his last job he decided it was time to do his own thing.  That thing was to partner up with Dave Levy of Ti-Cycles and launch a titanium bike brand dubbed Sage Cycles.  With over 27 years of experience engineering and building custom bikes, Mr. Levy is a good person to be involved with.  The two of them set out designing and refining the lineup that now includes a road frame, ‘cross frame, commuter / light touring frame, and a soon-to-be mountain bike frame.  Each of these frames come in a variety of builds depending on the riders needs.  The design and QC of the bikes is done here in the US-of-A (at Ti-Cycles), and in an effort to keep cost minimized, the manufacturing takes place overseas.

Check out our first look at the bikes here. Click through for some words from Dave Rosen, and a break down of the frames and builds…

Sage Cycles Headtube Badge

Details like this headtube badge give the bikes a premium feel.

I asked Dave to give us some insight as to how this new brand came about.  Here is his response.

“My good days always involve time on the bike. Those days are even better if it’s spent on a titanium frame, whose ride qualities make the miles pass more comfortably. That being said, titanium has always been expensive and there are very few quality, reasonably priced options on the market. I saw a niche that could be filled by creating something that people who love to ride would want to take out (daily) AND be able to afford. That’s how Sage Cycles got started.

As a bike nut and sales & logistics professional, I felt I could bring affordable titanium frames to market. But I knew I didn’t have the experience or training to get the design and quality of the frames perfect. I knew I needed a partner who was an expert in titanium bicycle design and had the experience, the background, and the uncompromising perfectionism, to make sure the ride and quality was there. Unfortunately, those guys are diamonds in the rough. Luckily, there was such a guy in our midst: Dave Levy. So I reached out to him with the idea of forming a partnership to create a bike brand that we would both be proud to put our name on.”

These stock bicycles are heavily influenced by Dave Levy, and could almost be considered a production run of Ti-Cycles bikes.  In fact, they are even made out of the exact same aerospace grade, sports-certified 3/2.5 titanium tubing used for custom Ti-Cycles builds.  The only major differences are that Dave Levy isn’t doing the welding, and you don’t get custom sizing and features.

But, the frames are QC’d at Ti-Cycles once they arrive in the states.  The alignment and geometry are checked, and the frames are faced, chased and reamed as needed.  After that, they are built up to spec and shipped out to the dealers.  Yes, dealers.  Sage cycles is more of a premium boutique brand, with a value price point, and they are doing a good thing by selling through bike shops.

Sage Cycles Skyline 17lbs 10oz

The mechanical Ultegra build weighs in at a respectable 17lbs 10oz

The road bike is dubbed the Skyline, after a very popular road / ride in the West Hills of Portland.  The bike is at home on a multi day stage race or on those epic 100+ mile rides.  It’s designed to have a more neutral handling, and be stable at speed.  We will know for sure soon, as we have one lined up for a long term review, so stayed tuned.

Sage Cycles Skyline Shaped Stays

These heavily shaped stays lend to a comfortable ride

The frame is constructed using double butted top, down, and seat tubes, as well as heavily shaped stays.  It uses a traditional 68mm English bottom bracket, along with a tapered head tube mated to an ENVE 2.0 road fork.  The build packages start off with a  mechanical drive train in the form of Ultegra 6700, it includes an FSA Energy cockpit and crankset, and it’s rolling on Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels.  It runs $4,350.  The Skyline E2 and E1 (E for electronic) step up to Ultegra Di2 with the E2 getting SL-K bits and Mavic Ksyrium Equip S wheels, while the E1 is decked out with K-Force and Mavic Ksyrium SLS wheels.  The E2 cost $5,350, while the E1 gets you for $6,350. Finally, the E0 goes whole hog with Dura-Ace Di2 (9070), an ENVE cockpit, and Dura-Ace C-50 clinchers.  The “money’s no object” build will set you back $10,500.

Sage Cycles PDXCX 0 Full Bike

The PDXCX 0 Shimano Dura-Ace build

If cyclocross is more your speed, this next lot is for you.  Dubbed the PDXCX, its intended use is to get muddy and still double as your winter / rain bike.  The PDXCX frame makes use of a fully ovalized, double butted, top tube.  The down tube is also double butted, and is ovalized at the bottom bracket.  A round seat tube that fits a 31.6 post completes the front triangle.  The stays have a bit of shaping to them, but nothing as major as what you will find on the Skyline frame.  Cable stops allow for full housing to be run, and mounted to those chain stays are fender eyelets.  Speaking of the stays, they are spaced 135mm apart and a disc brake tab is mounted on the non-driveside seat stay.

Sage Cycles PDXCX 2 Full Bike

The PDXCX 2 Shimano 105 Build

As with the Skyline, the builds all use the same frame.  The entry level build (PDXCX 2) starts off with a Whisky No. 5 disc fork (with eyelets), makes use of Shimano 105, adds in an FSA Gossamer crankset and cockpit, and rounds out the build with Mavic Crossride wheels.  This do-it-all ‘cross racer cum commuter cum winter road bike runs $3,600.  The PDXCX 1 steps it up with a Whsky No. 7 fork, Ultegra drive train (including a CX70 Shimano crankset), FSA Energy cockpit, and nicer Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels.  The price jumps too, coming in at $4,900.  And for those that want a dedicated racer, there is the PDXCX 0.  A stiff front end is provided thanks to ENVE, a smooth running Dura-Ace drive train, FSA SL-K bits, and Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels complete the build.  The cost totals $6,100.

Sage Cycles Logan Relaxed Road

The Logan Drop Bar Commuter

Last but not least are the commuter / light touring builds dubbed the Logan and the Burnside.  This frame is engineered with a lower BB, slacker geometry, and is more stable with a rack and weight on the rear.  The frame has full fender and rack mounts, and will clear up to a 40mm tire. The Logan runs $3,700, and for that you get a light touring / commuter rig set up with a Whisky No. 5 fork, an FSA alloy cockpit, Shimano 105 drive train with FSA Afterburner triple crankset, Shimano CX-75 disc brakes, and a Velocity A23 Comp build wheelset wrapped in Schwalbe Marathon 32c tires.  The Burnside comes in at $3,950, and swaps the drop bar for a Ti-Cycles mustache bar, and makes use of Shimano’s Deore drive train.

For more info on the bikes and the brand (including full specs of each build) head on over to Sage Cycles’ website.

Comments

velorider - 04/16/13 - 10:53am

To me, a custom bike is one that will have every last detail scrutinized — compared to a retail bike that is built for the masses and if you want it done “right”…well, do it yourself. Custom is all about the finer points that a mass produced bike just cannot accommodate.

There are a number of nice details in these pics, but I must say: if they knew a photo shoot was going to happen, the bar wrap work is poor for anything commanding a premium price. If I roll my spendy new hand built bike out of the shop I would expect it to be at least as tight as any Protour-prepped machine that lines up in Europe. Not so from what I see here.

Maybe they were caught off guard and were planning to wrap the bars again before delivery. All I have is what is shown in the pics. I do loves me some Ti though!

DT - 04/16/13 - 11:06am

Amen to the reasonable/affordable pricing. Big kudos for that, esp. for a Ti road frame.
*But, how does the Logan cost $100 more than the Skyline?
Still, nice pricing guys! Great to see a company that has their heads on straight.

DRosen - 04/16/13 - 11:46am

DT- Thanks for the kudos as they are greatly appreciated.
As far as your question about the pricing difference, I think you are actually referring to the Logan vs. the PDXC2 instead of the Skyline. The Skyline base model is $4350, while the PDXCX2 is $3600 vs. the Logan’s $3700 MSRP.
When specing these 2 models, we really liked the price point we were able to get with the PDXC2 as it is a great parts build for a reasonable price. We wanted to replicate that for the Logan thinking that consumers would appreciate the parts build. The obvious difference between the 2 bikes are the wheels and tires, while the cockpit and cranskets variations are a bit more subtle.
Hope that answers the question.

Mindless - 04/16/13 - 12:43pm

I would rather order from bikesdirect. They do not charge extra for excellent titanium frames made overseas.

Superstantial - 04/16/13 - 1:09pm

Re Mindless’ comment above:

I’m not going to say that Bikesdirect doesn’t turn out ridable bikes. I bought a CX bike, liked it, rode the hell out of it, and sold it. But Sage is a different degree of bike, from the looks of these bikes and their website. A well-respected custom building is checking these out and then they’re sold through a local bike shop you trust. There’s just no comparison in terms of peace of mind, R & D, and (hopefully) finish.

These just don’t seem to be in the same market.

Superstantial - 04/16/13 - 1:09pm

I meant “custom builder” above.

Bayard - 04/16/13 - 2:10pm

That guy is so happy in the first photo. I can support that.

Nick Burklow - 04/16/13 - 2:36pm

@velorider – what should have been noted and was not (my fault of course) is that these are both pre-production samples, and test rigs. They have been ridden hard, and even raced by Dave himself to prove that the bikes work. The bar tape you see in these images is worn. What is mentioned in the article is that these bikes will be sold via local bike shops, not delivered direct to the customer. Therefore, you only have to worry about a bad bar wrap job if your local bike shop sucks at wrapping bars.

Topmounter - 04/16/13 - 3:29pm

Glad to see more quality Ti frame availability.

(thankfully) There IS (still) life after carbon.

Dr.Unk - 04/16/13 - 4:18pm

“I would rather order from bikesdirect” is the same as saying “I only think about price and I don’t understand how the extra money for these bikes keeps bike shops open”

Mindless - 04/16/13 - 4:31pm

@Superstantial: It does not matter how website looks. It is only marketing. I do ride BD’s titanium MTB frame for several years now – it is build straight, great tubing and great welds. Everything else is bollocks, and paying anything extra is overpaying. If they had been building locally, then you know what you pay for, but overseas? I hope it is Taiwan at least, like BD, not mainland.

@Dr.Unk: Yes, it is all about getting the best deal. Nobody cares about keeping anybody open, it is not a charity. I certainly do not expect my customers to pay extra just because I want it.

Chad/Plaid - 04/16/13 - 4:48pm

Dave does have a great spirit and it shines through to all that he does business with.
I have known Levy since 1998 and you can bet these frames have been very well thought out — not a flash in the pan, but more timeless and worth every penny. For any frame to pass his QC the frame is a champ and not a cookie cutter. Besides, if you really value your riding experience then put your $$ into something you are actually excited about.

Dr.Unk - 04/16/13 - 8:17pm

Nobody cares about keeping shops open? I understand there are some bad shops out there; i’ve worked for a few. But who will you talk to when something goes wrong with your bike? Bikes Direct? Amazon.com? YouTube? I have yet to meet a mechanic that can fix your bike over the phone or via email.

Price is important, I agree. But if that’s the case, why not ride overseas aluminum? Or a $100 Walmart bike? If you’re gonna be cheap, go all the way!

(Can’t believe i’m arguing on the internet.)

K11 - 04/16/13 - 9:10pm

“to keep cost at a minimum production is overseas” just another company slapping a name on a frame made overseas, oh BUT it is designed in the USA. BUT everything is checked over in the USA and final finishing also done here – who cares. I respect the american attitude, BUT…

Hell Yeah!!!! - 04/16/13 - 9:28pm

i love the look of ti.

Brad - 04/17/13 - 4:02am

I’d be very interested in the Logan/Burnside if they become available as frame-only (depending on geometry, including at least 75mm BB drop).

Ajax - 04/18/13 - 9:50am

I love that Davy Levy is supporting Chinese people. The poverty level in China dwarfs the US by about a million kajillion to one. Good for Mr. Bikesdirect to also to help out people in need. Thumbs down to the people who cry that American jobs are being lost because of business owners just wanting to do a nice thing by helping out people in need, regardless of their location. Humanity knows no boundaries.

Adamizer - 04/20/13 - 10:49am

Saving up for one of these cross bikes. I’ve seen them here in Portland and they rock !!!

Bill - 05/14/13 - 10:21am

Much has been said about all the benefits of a custom built frame. Frankly I have my doubts. If your body dementions are in typical proportions, and you have no physical problems that have to be accommodated, I suspect a stock frame can be the equal of any custom build. If you believe a quality frame builder like Ritchey is designing the best bike his expertise allows, it follows that changing that design, by customizing, will sacrifice some of the qualities of the bike. Just my opinion, but would welcome rational push back on it. Best of luck on your Ti bikes. I have two Ti bikes and, for me, it’s the only way to go.

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