September 17, 2019 2 Comments

Despite what you might expect, No. 22 head welder Frank Cenchitz spends a lot of time in front of an alignment plate: a huge, precision-ground aluminum tablet used to check alignment of a frame. “For each frame, I’ll go back and forth about 10 times to it, just to make sure it’s straight.”

When welding a frame, Cenchitz starts with the bottom bracket and the seat tube, before adding the dropouts and the chainstays. The frame is placed in a fixture which sets the tubes for the precise geometry of the frame, and each set of tubes are welded together followed by trips to the alignment table. Once the initial tubes are joined, “I tack up the rest of the frame, he says, tacking all the way around the bike. Once Cenchitz is satisfied with the initial passes and alignment, finish welding is completed freehand to allow for the best access to tight, complex tube junctions.

Titanium is known for its strength, but its also an exceptionally finicky and demanding element to manipulate. “Welding titanium can be unforgiving if you don’t know what you’re doing; it’s really sticky sometimes,” Chenchitz says. And he would know, as he’s been working almost exclusively with it for his entire career.



Cenchitz has been playing music for about as long as he’s been welding, and he views working with titanium as perfectly analogous to playing an instrument. “You need a steady hand and good rhythm,” he says. “It’s tough to align, and it’s got a lot of spring to it.” Cenchitz knows titanium perhaps better than anyone else in the industry. He’s been welding it since 1997, after his high school metal shop teacher identified his talent and set up a machine for him. Cenchitz landed a summer internship at Serotta, nearby where he grew up. He’s worked on titanium ever since.

Frank was a part of the founding team at No. 22's factory, and he’s had a part in building every frame that’s ever come out of the Johnstown, N.Y. facility. “It took us four months to get that first bike up,” he remembers. Today, the team creates about a bike a day, on average. “A Little Wing takes me around a day, whereas a mountain bike takes twice as long—each one is like building a prototype,” Frank points out. The model he gets most excited about building? “The Drifter X,” he says without hesitation. “It’s a hot bike. I love all the details on it. The are just a really enjoyable build.”

The key to building a truly special bike, according to Cenchitz, is that it remains truly handmade. “We are not mass-producing frames.” At mass production, he points out, many people touch a bike. The less hands that touch it the more love, care and ownership of the finished product gets put into it. “Only five sets of hands will touch your bike,” he points out of a No. 22 build. “Everyone has a specific skill. We’re doing it the right way.”

To Frank, titanium is the ultimate material, both for a bike frame and as his partner of sorts. “We have a bond, me and titanium,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a really particular material to work with. I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

 


2 Responses

Ben C
Ben C

October 29, 2019

Frank’s skills are well-known and admired among titanium fans. I was stoked to see his sign-off on the build sheet for my Drifter, same as for my old Serotta.

Ben C
Ben C

October 29, 2019

Frank’s skills are well-known and admired among titanium fans. I was stoked to see his sign-off on the build sheet for my Drifter, same as for my old Serotta.

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2019 Geometry Charts

Great Divide Rim Brake

Size 48cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Effective top tube length (mm) 495 510 525 545 560 580 600
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 445 462 490 518 540 565 590
Head tube length (mm) 90 100 120 140 160 180 200
Seat tube angle (deg) 75 74.5 74 73.5 73 73 72.5
Head tube angle (deg) 70.5 71.0 71.2 72.2 72.5 73 73
Front center (mm) 567 574 584 586 594 609 623
Chain stay length (mm) 412 412 412 415 415 415 418
BB drop (mm) 78 78 75 75 75 73 73
Reach (mm) 357 364 370 379 383 397 406
Stack (mm) 506 517 534 558 578 597 617
Standover (700x28mm tires) 730 743 767 793 813 836 858

 

Great Divide Disc

Size 48cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Effective top tube length (mm) 495 510 525 545 560 580 600
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 445 462 490 518 540 565 590
Head tube length (mm) 85 95 115 135 155 175 195
Seat tube angle (deg) 75 74.5 74 73.5 73 73 72.5
Head tube angle (deg) 70.5 71.0 71.2 72.2 72.5 73 73
Front center (mm) 567 574 584 586 594 609 623
Chain stay length (mm) 418 418 418 418 420 420 422
BB drop (mm) 78 78 75 75 75 73 73
Reach (mm) 356 364 369 378 382 397 405
Stack (mm) 508 520 536 560 580 599 619
Standover (700x28mm tires) 731 744 768 794 814 837 858

 

Drifter

Size 48cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Effective top tube length (mm) 502 510 526 545 560 575 595
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 460 478 503 520 535 552 577
Head tube length (mm) 105 115 130 150 165 185 205
Seat tube angle (deg) 74.5 74 74 73.5 73 73 72.5
Head tube angle (deg) 70.5 70.5 70.8 71 71.2 71.2 71.5
Front center (mm) 572 576 589 603 612 627 640
Chain stay length (mm) 430 430 430 430 432 435 435
BB drop (mm) 73 73 73 72 70 70 70
Reach (mm) 353 353 365 374 379 389 398
Stack (mm) 529 538 553 572 585 604 624
Standover (700x38mm tires) 762 775 795 813 828 845 861

 

Drifter X

Size 48cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Effective top tube length (mm) 502 511 525 545 560 575 595
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 460 478 502 520 535 552 576
Head tube length (mm) 110 120 135 155 170 190 210
Seat tube angle (deg) 74.5 74 74 73.5 73 73 72.5
Head tube angle (deg) 70.5 70.5 70.8 71 71.2 71.2 71.5
Front center (mm) 571 576 589 603 612 627 640
Chain stay length (mm) 427 427 427 427 430 432 432
BB drop (mm) 73 73 73 72 70 70 70
Reach (mm) 355 356 363 376 382 392 400
Stack (mm) 521 530 546 564 577 596 616
Standover (700x38mm tires) 758 772 790 809 824 842 863

 

Reactor

Size 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Effective top tube length (mm) 515 530 545 565 580 595
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 456 475 496 514 545 568
Head tube length (mm) 100 120 140 160 190 210
Seat tube angle (deg) 74.5 74 74 73.2 73 73
Head tube angle (deg) 72 72 72.8 73.2 73.2 73.2
Front center (mm) 571 582 586 595 608 623
Chain stay length (mm) 410 410 412 412 415 415
BB drop (mm) 72 72 72 70 68 68
Reach (mm) 374 379 388 395 400 409
Stack (mm) 503 522 545 564 590 609
Standover (700x25mm tires) 739 757 779 800 829 850

 

Aurora

Size 48cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Effective top tube length (mm) 495 510 525 545 560 580 600
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 445 462 490 518 540 562 588
Head tube length (mm) 100 110 130 150 170 190 210
Seat tube angle (deg) 75 74.5 74 73.5 73 73 72.5
Head tube angle (deg) 70.5 71 71.2 72.2 72.5 73 73
Front center (mm) 567 574 584 586 594 609 624
Chain stay length (mm) 415 415 415 418 418 418 420
BB drop (mm) 78 78 75 75 75 73 73
Reach (mm) 355 363 369 378 382 396 405
Stack (mm) 510 521 538 562 582 601 620
Standover (700x28mm tires) 731 745 770 795 814 838 859

 

Broken Arrow

Size 48cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Effective top tube length (mm) 505 510 525 545 560 575 590
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 467 490 510 533 545 567 590
Head tube length (mm) 90 100 120 140 150 160 180
Seat tube angle (deg) 74 74 73.5 73.3 73 73 72.5
Head tube angle (deg) 70.5 70.5 70.5 71.3 71.3 71.5 71.8
Front center (mm) 571 577 588 594 607 620 627
Chain stay length (mm) 425 425 425 425 425 425 425
BB drop (mm) 68 68 68 68 66 66 64
Reach (mm) 353 355 360 371 381 392 396
Stack (mm) 524 533 552 576 583 593 611
Standover (700x32mm tires) 763 778 797 820 830 846 867

 

Little Wing

Size 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Effective top tube length (mm) 515 525 540 555 575 590
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 477 499 524 552 575 596
Head tube length (mm) 100 120 140 160 180 200
Seat tube angle (deg) 75.5 75 74.5 74.5 74 74
Head tube angle (deg) 72.5 73 73 73.5 74 74
Front center (mm) 566 569 579 590 601 613
Chain stay length (mm) 393 393 393 396 396 396
BB drop (mm) 58 58 58 58 58 58
Reach (mm) 382 383 387 397 407 416
Stack (mm) 506 527 546 567 588 608
Standover (700x23mm tires) 765 785 806 830 851 871

 

Old King

Size Small Medium Large Extra Large
Effective top tube length (mm) 580 605 622 642
Seat tube, center-center (mm) 380 410 445 481
Head tube length (mm) 100 110 120 140
Seat tube angle (deg) 73.5 73.5 73.5 73.3
Head tube angle (deg) 70 70 70 70
Front center (mm) 655 680 698 719
Chain stay length (mm) 435 435 435 435
BB drop (mm) 58 58 58 58
Reach (mm) 401 423 437 451
Stack (mm) 599 609 619 637
Standover (29x2.3" tires) 799 816 838 863