As those who have been following us recently know, this has been a year of big change at No. 22 Bicycle Company. Between opening our new manufacturing facility, updating our current bikes, developing new models and growing our dealer network, we’ve managed to pack quite a bit into the last few months. The following are the highlights of these changes.
Our new production home in Johnstown, NY.
As we announced in the spring, we have opened a new manufacturing facility in upstate New York. Occupying space in a former textile mill, we have taken advantage of this fresh start in titanium framebuilding and have assembled the perfect mix of new and old equipment. Mitering takes place on a row of dedicated US-made Bridgeport vertical mills, each cutting as precisely as they have for the last 50 years. At the other end of the spectrum, our HAAS CNC lathe butts tubing with perfect precision, allowing us to remove exactly the right amount of material from our tubing to make sure every frame rides exactly as intended.
A collection of legendary Bridgeport mills.
After months of setup, we are all excited to get back to doing what we love: building some of the finest titanium frames currently available. We have resumed taking orders for frames and complete bikes, and our current turnaround for a new frame is approximately 2-3 weeks.
We have also started accepting orders for custom frames—both variations of our current bikes, or fully bespoke one-offs.
The new Great Divide in both finish options.
To take advantage of our new manufacturing capabilities we have reworked the Great Divide, and the result is a bike that is better in every way. The 2014 Great Divide is dramatically lighter (200g lighter in a 56cm frame), stiffer under power thanks to more rigid chainstays, and even better looking than before in each of our two finish options—both done completely by hand, and to a show-bike finish quality.
What we haven’t changed what has made the Great Divide such a success. The bike still has its legendary titanium comfort coupled with geometry that is equally at home in a paceline or on a solo century.
With frames starting at $2,499 the Great Divide remains an extremely strong value. We are particularly proud of our $4,799 Ultegra-level build: at 16.3 lbs with components including a tapered Enve fork, Thomson Masterpiece seatpost, Fizik saddle with braided carbon rails, Chris King headset and Reynolds wheels, the Great Divide Ultegra lines up favourably with any carbon bike from a major manufacturer, with titanium’s durability and ride quality as a bonus.
Beyond the Great Divide, we have been hard at work on the rest of our lineup. The Little Wing is also receiving an update in line with our improved manufacturing chops. The final version will be released in the coming weeks, but the new Little Wing will keep the core elements of the current model (including the great looks, seat mast, and very aggressive ride quality), but with less weight and even higher quality finishing.
Our forthcoming cyclocross model has been in development for over a year, and we are excited that it will finally enter full production this season. Full details will be released along with the bike’s official release, but the basics are a disc-specific frame with titanium’s ride quality in spades to help tame typical ‘cross course vibration. Beyond our hallmark construction and finish quality, expect a few special touches to help this frame excel in all conditions.
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The No. 22 welding team is led by Frank Cenchitz, who personally has over 20 years of welding titanium bike frames. Sam Dries, our young prodigy (and hotshot CX racer) has added nearly three years of training under Frank to his previous welding experience. The knowledge and experience of our weld team is a key element of what makes every No. 22 special. Click through to read more about our welding process.
Many different materials can be used in the manufacturing of a bicycle, each with their own set of benefits and challenges. Before launching No. 22 Bicycles, we put significant time and energy into considering the type of performance, comfort, durability and aesthetics we wanted to offer to our customers.
With the frame qualities established, we researched which material would best deliver the ride experience we were working towards. In the end we agreed that titanium was the best solution.
In this post we examine some of the attributes of titanium, and how its properties deliver the ride experience every No. 22 frame offers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but may help point you in the right direction when choosing your next frame.
Trade shows are a logistical challenge at the best of times, and this year the Toronto International Bicycle Show and the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) were separated by four days and nearly 2,000 miles. The whole No. 22 team was scrambling: from late nights anodizing tube samples, last-minute catalogue production, nerve-wracking customs clearances and coordination with our suppliers to make sure not just the bikes, but all of their parts, were there on time. Throw in a blizzard at home and the result has been one of our more ambitious show schedules to date.
So, was it worth it? Absolutely.