NAHBS 2014: Engin Revs Up Titanium Bicycle Frames, Shows One of Each
In short order, Engin went from showing an early (and impressive!) titanium build last year to a complete collection this year, making it his primary frame material. We got a peek into his change with our pre-show interview, then we got a look at the real bikes in Charlotte.
Not too many people opt to paint titanium frames, but when they do, they usually go for broke. The red one above gets a gorgeous candy apple gloss with masked sections to show the metal. Click through for detail pics and a look at road, ‘cross and a bare ti mountain bike, too…
Even the masked sections get subtle paint detail to create shadows where the lines overlap. This hardtail 29er comes in at 3.2 lbs for the frame with one heck of a paint job. The entire bike as shown was right at 20lbs with Stan’s new Valor carbon rimmed wheels.
Builder Drew Guldalian has done more than just start welding titanium sticks together. He now has tooling to butt titanium tubing in house, which he says saves 115g per frame. That’s about a quarter pound, and he says everyone who’s ridden one says it feels more lively. By butting them that way, it lets him use larger diameter tubes, which lets him utilize the material as it should be and better fine tune the ride.
Titanium butting is done on a centerless grinder, which grinds away the metal in the center of the tube. Contrast that to steel tubes, which are bent and stretched around a mandrel from the inside. Drew says it’s dangerous in that titanium likes to spark, but the process isn’t terribly difficult to learn.
The ti hardtail 650B (two photos immediately above) has his new 1″ diameter chainstays. The default has generally been 7/8″, but Drew says the benefit is that it’s stiffer. But it took a lot of work to fit it into that application and still have good tire and heel clearance. It’s an option on all ti frames with a Pressfit BB shell -road, cyclocross, etc.- and a few threaded BB shells (mainly 73mm MTB) can take it.
Not shown, he also had a raw, unfinished titanium 29+ frame with their own box sectioned, CNC’d clamshell yoke. It’s headed for Paul of Paul Components. It has a steel fork, titanium stem and the new Paragon Toggle Drop thru axle dropout.
A titanium cyclocross bike.
And a ti road bike. All road bikes now have clearance for 28c tires, but they keep the tight chainstay around 410mm for most. Guldalian says the shortest they can go is 405mm and not have a 28mm tire hit the seat tube. It’s custom, of course, so it should suit your style.
New road dropouts made by paragon but proprietary for them, and they look fantastic. Note the sculpting on the back edge of the replaceable dropout – that’s the kind of attention to detail we like from small builders.