Why Our Butting Process Is Special
One of the special aspects of a No. 22 build is the care we put into constructing the frame. A unique feature of each build is that we butt each main tube we use on almost all of our frames.
We start off by procuring the finest titanium material, then perform all work on those raw tubes with our own equipment in our Johnstown, N.Y. factory. Butting a tube refers to changing the tube's wall thickness by removing excess material that isn’t needed for strength or performance. Because we do all of our butting in-house, we’ve been able to calculate exactly how much material can (and should) be removed along every millimetre of our main tubes. The result is a highly responsive and incredibly strong build.
Doing our own butting also allows us to spread the stress points away from the welds, making the frame altogether stronger. And while purely dropping weight is by no means the only reason why we do our own butting, we are able to cut away an astonishing amount—up to about 130-150 g per frameset.
We use a Haas CNC lathe for the butting, which is an impressive machine. Our team on the factory floor have been able to experiment in order to discover the ideal weight ratios for all of our models, be it for the Reactor, our performance-oriented road bike, or our highly versatile mixed terrain Drifter design. The Haas’ software is able to produce perfect results each and every time we put a tube through the process, based entirely on our specifications. That’s why we’re able to make such exacting frames, engineered to perform under a wide range of conditions.
We generally start the butting process with tubes with wall thicknesses of less than 1mm, and begin working away areas of unneeded thickness. This custom butting process allows us to increase the tube diameters on our frames for increased stiffness, while reducing weight compared to a straight walled tube. We’re able to nail that nearly impossible balance of producing an extremely lightweight, strong and stiff build.
We’ve all heard the terms “double butted” and “triple butted” used when referring to frame construction, and this is how steel tubes have been marketed for many years. The "double" and "triple" terms refer to the number of changes in the wall thickness of a tube. Our butting process is somewhat more nuanced, and isn’t done in such staggered steps. Because we get to continuously vary the wall thickness wherever we want in the tube, there aren't the distinct notches stepping down the wall thickness that a double- or triple-butted tube would have. This is one of the significant advantages of doing the butting ourselves. Think of our process as “continuously butted,” even though we usually just say "butted" to avoid any confusion.
Our process ultimately produces a smoother ride, with each of our designs able to more subtly embrace road noise and bumps. By doing the butting ourselves, we’re able to maximize titanium’s already extraordinary strength-to-weight-ratio, and continue to evolve our lineup for your specific riding needs. Make sure to check out the above video about the butting process at our factory, as well as the other videos in our series about our entire process.