Titanium makes a new friend with the introduction of Sage Cycles
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.