• 03-09-2004
    lanpope
    New SS Ti 29er (and too long review)
    I have been on my SS KM for about a year and I love it…but..like (almost) everyone else I was looking for something just a little lighter and more compliant.

    After reading some of NCJ and TiSingle's posts about their XACD Ti frames, my curiosity was piqued.

    I did a little work in Bike CAD and on the Comparator and then ordered a frameset for myself. The frame came about a month later.

    Here it is built up:

    <img src="https://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/106-0639_IMG.jpg">

    I have two rides on it.

    The first was with the KM fork, and a few different components. The ride was on a trail that I have never ridden before (Pigeon Creek in Ar) so it is a little hard to give an accurate review. The thing that struck me the most was the traction. When climbing out of the seat on the KM, I would often loose traction near the top of the climb. With the new bike, I could maintain traction all the way up most of the loose climbs. The ride of the bike was hard to judge, because the trail was rockier than my local trails. The bike felt a little stiffer than I was expecting, but it rode nicely.

    Today I did my standard afternoon ride with the Ti fork and the components in the above picture. My normal ride is about 8 miles of tame wooded singletrack, 3 miles of gravel service roads, and about 3.5 miles of fairly technical wooded singletrack for a total of just under 15 miles.

    Two things struck me the most about the bike:

    First, it was very easy to keep right in the middle of the trail. On some of the fast sweeping turns with my KM I would find myself drifting to the outside edge of the trail, and then having to pull myself back toward the middle (usually via overcompensation). With the bike today, in those same turns, I was able to keep the bike dead in the middle of the trail the whole time. I am not sure what caused this, maybe it is the longer wheelbase on the new frame (1090mm), but I could really carve into the corners on the ti frame. The bike just felt very stable at speed even in the sand.

    Second was the traction. This was the same feeling as the trail in AR. I could get traction all the way up to the top of the short bursty climbs that we have here. I am not sure what caused this either, again I suspect the longer wheelbase. I was able to approach the hills slower and then power all the way up, as opposed to the KM, I would have to hit the hills with a lot of speed and then just try to give it that extra bit to get up and over.

    I have never even ridden a Ti bike before, and I can say that the ride is definitely more forgiving than the KM. I have always ridden the KM fully rigid, and after today’s ride on the same trails, I felt much less beat up. Not sure if it is the fork or the frame, but the bike is much more compliant.

    I know everyone that gets a new bike raves about how it rides, but today on my ride I made a conscience effort to try to evaluate the ride of the new bike objectively. The ti is definitely flexier than the KM. I am 6'1 and weigh about 165 in riding gear, so I am not sure if someone much larger would be comfortable with the flex in the bike. This may just be a characteristic of ti that I am not aware of, but the flex or spring was noticeable, and probably lead to the compliant ride. Also I did drop the chain today which I have never done in the past on any of my SSs. I have built them all (other than the SISS) so I am knowledgeable about chain line and chain tension. I do not know if this has anything to do with the bike, but I did happened and it struck me as strange.

    Overall, I am very pleased with the design and quality of the ti bike. The welds look very good to my untrained eye, and I had no problems at all with the buildup. The ride is very nice and does justify the cost in my mind, though I do not know if I would pay the price that some builders are asking for custom Ti merely for the ride qualities. Don't get me wrong those bikes are beautiful, but I personally would not pay an additional $1000 solely for the difference in ride over steel...even the cheap Surly steel.

    I have the bike built up with very comparable weighing parts as my SS KM which weighed just under 25lbs. This bike weighs just over 21lbs.

    Thanks for reading.

    Lance
  • 03-09-2004
    ncj01
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lanpope

    After reading some of NCJ and TiSingle's posts about their XACD Ti frames, my curiosity was piqued.
    <img src="https://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/106-0639_IMG.jpg">

    The first was with the KM fork, and a few different components. The ride was on a trail that I have never ridden before (Pigeon Creek in Ar) so it is a little hard to give an accurate review.

    The ti is definitely flexier than the KM. I am 6'1 and weigh about 165 in riding gear, so I am not sure if someone much larger would be comfortable with the flex in the bike.

    This bike weighs just over 21lbs.

    Thanks for reading.

    I've had mine for a while and I'm still waiting for my White Brothers Fork. It does look very nice though. I hope that my double-wide butt doesn't make it tooo flexy...oh well....

    Thought of one of those chain keepers you put on there to keep the chain on the front ring?

    What'd you think of the Pigeon Creek Trail system? That's fairly typical Arkansas trail...as I think I told you in email, we race there every year as part of the State Series. Hey, if you are close at all, you should come down to race that race...check it out at www.ambcs.com and click on calander.

    I'll be posting up photo's and ride reviews if/when my 04 BW .8 comes in...its been 6 weeks or so in the waiting process at present...
  • 03-09-2004
    C-Hog
    Bars???
    What bars are those? I've been thinking lately I might want something with just a minimal amount of rise. Those look just like what I've had in mind.

    Thanks,
    Jim C.
  • 03-09-2004
    cursivearmy
    Thought of one of those chain keepers you put on there to keep the chain on the front ring?[QUOTE]


    You actually don't need a chainring guide if your chainline is setup properly, but they do look nice, like the ones from Spot and the others as well. I've got a couple bikes without a guide, never had any problems. I have a Spot on the Chester, don't really need it, and could have saved a few bucks, but again, kinda nice looking.

    Oh yeah, Nice rig C-hog, seems to fit you pretty darn well. anyway, nice build up. i'm sure you're going to like it quite a lot, hopefully its nice and comfy.

    good work.

    over and out
    nate, the other one.
  • 03-09-2004
    lanpope
    Titec Hellion Ti
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by C-Hog
    What bars are those? I've been thinking lately I might want something with just a minimal amount of rise. Those look just like what I've had in mind.

    Thanks,
    Jim C.

    The bars are Titec Hellion Ti riser bars. They have 1 inch rise and 9 degrees backsweep I think. I like them quite a lot. The ti version is no longer made (I think), but Titec has some bars that are the exact same rise and sweep called Titec Hellbent XC risers. Cambria had some of the Hellbents in the past for around $20.

    Good Luck

    Lance
  • 03-09-2004
    lanpope
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ncj01
    I've had mine for a while and I'm still waiting for my White Brothers Fork. It does look very nice though. I hope that my double-wide butt doesn't make it tooo flexy...oh well....

    Thought of one of those chain keepers you put on there to keep the chain on the front ring?

    What'd you think of the Pigeon Creek Trail system? That's fairly typical Arkansas trail...as I think I told you in email, we race there every year as part of the State Series. Hey, if you are close at all, you should come down to race that race...check it out at www.ambcs.com and click on calander.

    I'll be posting up photo's and ride reviews if/when my 04 BW .8 comes in...its been 6 weeks or so in the waiting process at present...

    Pigeon Creek was fun. The trails were a little rockier than I am used to, but the up and downs were real fun. I wish I would have had more time. We ended up fly fishing most of the weekend (caught a real nice brown), and I only rode for about 3 hours. I did all the trails on the east side of the road (the 100's), and explored around on some of the connector trails and gravel roads. I never got to the trails on the west side of the road. All in all the trails were fun and they had some real nice views.

    The race looks fun, I'll have to check the calender.

    Lance
  • 03-09-2004
    SingleSpeedSlave
    Nate, you gotta be kidding me!! Your fork has not come in yet? What's the holdup?

    SS Slave
  • 03-09-2004
    Cloxxki
    Cool ride! What were the mayor changes over the KM design that may have resulted in the different riding charactereristics, other than the tubeset? Where did the extra wheelbase go?
  • 03-10-2004
    toddre
    white bros fork
    hey nate... get your fork ordrered fron BTI.. i got mine a couple days ago and it took less than a week
  • 03-10-2004
    lanpope
    That is a good question
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Cool ride! What were the mayor changes over the KM design that may have resulted in the different riding charactereristics, other than the tubeset? Where did the extra wheelbase go?

    My KM is a large and the top tube always felt a little long to me at 23.4 inches (594mm) with my 110mm stem, so I shortened the top tube to 23 inches (584mm). The wheelbase increase came from stretching the chainstays from the 431mm of the KM to 450mm (to the front of the horizontal dropouts) on the custom. The wheelbase on the KM is 1071 and on the custom it is 1090 that is basically the same increase as the increase in the chainstay length, but I shortened the top tube, so this leads me to believe that there are some discrepancies in the reported KM geometry (probably somewhere in the STA due to that radiused seat tube).

    Other geometry points:

    -HTA and STA are 72 and 73 respectively, ST is 20in (C-T), and BB drop is at 65mm
    -Built around a 468mm axle to crown fork with 43 mm rake (same as KM fork)

    Clox, let me know what you think causes the change in the way the new bike rides. The only thing I can put my finger on is the wheelbase, but an increase of 19mm does not seem like it would make all that much difference. Who knows...but I like it so far.

    Lance
  • 03-10-2004
    ncj01
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SingleSpeedSlave
    Nate, you gotta be kidding me!! Your fork has not come in yet? What's the holdup?

    SS Slave

    I don't know man, LBS says that WB was out until 1st week of March...my guess is that WB sent their entire first run to that BMI/BTI re-seller!!! hahaha, oh well. My LBS is takin' care of me REAL GOOD on the price, so I'm trying to be patient, I assume they wouldn't be able to do as good if they ordered from a distributer.....apparently WB called Monday this week to confirm that we still wanted the order...crossing fingers for late week/early next...I am a tourguide/trail sweep for the Oauchita Challenge at the end of the month, so it's high time to dust off the legs, and see if that new frame works or not...
  • 03-10-2004
    mvi
    chain stay
    Chainstay length makes a considerable difference IMHO. I never understood that minimizing them for tall guys.
    Nice bike!
    But... climbing on a SS? My knees hurt even thinking about it. Look at Lance 100 rpm up the mountain!