Utilitarian. I've touched on this topic in a previous post and how form must always follow function for something to be worth its weight. Yet here I am, looking at and writing about a frame that brings both together in the best way.
A few cyclists I hold in high regard have always raved about their own titanium frames and, when combined with my own childhood definition of the material (comparable to gold from Mars, wrapped in kevlar because of its durability and scarcity), it was a no brainer once I came across my first Ti Romax. There it was, tearing up a cyclocross race and being wielded like a mythical sword... between the legs of a racer.
A new bike needed to be race worthy, while also comfortable enough for entire days in the saddle while exploring the back roads and trails of Vancouver Island. This frames geometry makes for an agile but stable ride and is close enough to a road frame that it could act as a multi-discipline bike for any cyclist. Ideal for my own intended uses.
Discs were a must after having some bad luck with rim brakes over this past season, and a single ring set-up seemed the most logical after watching a few mechanical tragedies unfold before my eyes at pivotal races.
The partial Shimano groupset has been paired with a Race Face 40T Narrow/Wide ring for a 1X10 set-up, and after the first few rides it has run flawlessly. Using a rear derailleur with no clutch had me a little worried about chain slap and even dropping the chain altogether, but the narrow / wide technology has proved very effective so far.
I've never owned anything better than the standard hoops supplied with a build, so the prospect of having something a little more custom was pretty exciting. ZED Wheelworks out of Victoria does a lot for the cyclocross community here on Vancouver Island and after seeing him build up some wheels for prizing at Cross on the Rock, I knew I wanted to approach him about this project. After a few emails we decided on a set of H Plus Son Archetype rims that would be laced to Hope Pro 2 EVO hubs. Even with the added weight of the rotors, this combination ended up lighter than my road wheels and offers a ride quality unlike any I've experienced.
An Easton EC90 XD fork was on the first Romax build I saw and it seemed like such a good pairing to the frame that I needed to compliment the oversized head tube in the same manner. Not only is it the burliest fork I've ever ridden, but it's so light I thought I was sent an empty box in the mail. There's fine line writing on the inner of the Easton fork that perfectly matches Brodies own branding on the frame. Accidental aesthetic jack pot.
With just 150 kilometers logged on the new ride, I already feel more comfortable on this bike than I ever did my last CX set-up. These may just be a few initial thoughts, but plans are already in the works to give this thing a true shakedown on every road or trail surface imaginable.