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.
Above all else, our priority when launching No. 22 Bicycles was ride quality. We want every frame that exits our factory to provide a smooth ride with a great feel for the road.
Using titanium as our frame material allows two things that significantly enhance ride quality over other materials. The first is the elasticity property of titanium: the metal itself stretches and returns without breaking or deforming. This property, when used correctly allows us to design the frame with a feel for the road that other frame materials just cannot offer.
The other element is the ability to alter tube diameters, wall thickness, and the tube shapes and sizes used. By working strategically with these three variables our craftsmen can build in compliance where we want, and ensure there is stiffness where we need it.
A great example of the steps we are able to take with titanium to positively affect the ride quality is the Reactor. This frame is designed with massive chainstays to provide the stiffness required to properly power the frame forward with each pedal stroke. Conversely the seat stays on the Reactor are strikingly thin, which provides the compliance needed for a comfortable ride.
The next goal on our list was durability. Not only do we want every No. 22 frame to provide exceptional ride quality, but we want that quality to be consistent over time, and using titanium provides that.
The hard nature of titanium means not only will it not rust or corrode, it is also extremely resistant to scratches and dings that can occur from daily wear and tear. The tensile strength of titanium allows it to face most impacts with little to no damage. However, if a serious impact results in damage, titanium can often be fixed, re-finished and returned to near new condition, while frames of other materials would be trashed.
Titanium also offers a tremendous fatigue life. While most materials will either soften or “work harden” over time affecting ride performance, your No. 22 frame is able to handle years of heavy usage, surpassing the limits of other frame materials. The real beauty of titanium is that it is able to provide all of this durability at a weight that is comparable to top-end carbon frames.
Each No. 22 frame is going to turn heads, and its durability means you are going to be riding it for a while, so we worked hard with our design team to make them as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
Using our knowledge of titanium’s characteristics our design team opted to stay away from paint and clear coat that can chip or fade over time. Instead, we developed our graphics into the frame material itself and used anodization from electric current instead of paint. This means that not only will your frame perform for years to come, it will look good doing so.
The added beauty of the clean graphics approach to our frames, is that it allows us to really showcase the craftsmanship that goes into every bike. Nothing is hidden behind paint, each weld and finish is obvious to the naked eye. This further showcases the time and dedication that goes into every No. 22 frame.
While we could go on about the benefits and beauty of titanium, nothing showcases a bike better than throwing a leg over and turning the pedals. Take some time, head into your local shop and test ride one for yourself.
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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.
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.
We are occasionally asked why we offer a ten year warranty, in contrast to the so-called "lifetime" warranties that are advertised by other titanium builders.
We are tremendously proud of the craftsmanship of our frames, and we have built our brand around offering what we believe are the best made titanium frames currently available. We strive to be open and honest with every element that goes into our bikes, and our warranty is no exception.