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Our Toronto dealer Blacksmith Cycle has published a long-term review by customer Seetoh Lang on his Great Divide Disc, and especially his experience with road disc brakes. We've posted an excerpt from that review below along with some of the post's great images. Be sure to check out Blacksmith's blog for the full review.
"When deciding on a new road bike a year ago, I was nervous about the idea of potentially switching brake systems. I’ve happily ridden thousands of miles on caliper rim brakes, and they’ve been tried and tested by riders for decades. But my experience with disc brakes on mountain bikes got me curious - how would the all-weather prowess of a hydraulic disc brake system translate on a road bike?
My curiosity got the better of me, and I got delivery on a No. 22 Great Divide Disc a few months ago. I’ve since ridden 4,000 km on it in various conditions - from group rides in tropical downpours, to solo descents in desert heat, to hating the weather in winter ice and snow. [Note: now Seetoh lives in Austria, so add the Dolomites to that list]
This is what my experience with disc brakes on a road bike has been so far.
From the time the first No. 22 rolled out of our Johnstown, NY factory in 2014 we have been building our unique titanium frames to order. When each new customer places an order we cut, butt, miter, weld and finish each frame one at a time. We have been fortunate through our history that orders have often outpaced our production capacity, and the lead time for a new No. 22 frame has grown as a result of this popularity to 8-10 weeks.
While 8-10 weeks is still on the short end for many high end custom framebuilders, we saw an opportunity to do better. With that in mind, we are excited to announce our new stock bike lineup for 2018. Our three most popular models, the Great Divide, Great Divide Disc and Drifter will be available as complete bikes with no-corners-cut builds. These bikes will ship within two weeks of ordering to get you on the road and loving your new bike in the shortest time possible.
One of the defining characteristics of No. 22 is that we are continuously searching for innovations and improvements to our frame designs, down to the smallest components that go into them. While readily available ‘off the shelf’ solutions are often the easiest solution, they’re limited and do not allow us to make No. 22 the unique and innovative brand we want it to be. A great example of this approach is in the dropouts on each of our bikes.
One of the most crucial components on a bike, the rear dropouts determine the size and shape limitations of the rear triangle tubes, connect the drivetrain to the wheel and in many cases impact the performance of your bike’s shifting.
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.
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.
It's not every day that we get to announce a new model, which made our launch of the Aurora at the recent Philly Bike Expo even more special. Blending the sublime handling of our Great Divide Disc with the smooth ride quality and increased stiffness under power of the Reactor, the Aurora has been one of the most anticipated bikes we've ever released.
Up front, the Aurora uses a tapered head tube with an integrated headset, shrink-wrapped around the thru-axle tapered steerer carbon road fork. Taking a page from the Reactor's playbook, the Aurora features a CNC-engraved head tube "badge", saving a few grams over our conventional solid titanium badges.
After many, many requests, we are proud to be launching our official line of No. 22 kit. Like our frames the kit is built using premium materials throughout, with subdued graphics and a wide range of fit options to suit all riders.
We're so excited about the launch that we are running a pre-sale for the first order. Until July 29, 2016, shop our new clothing options at special launch pricing. Pre-orders will close on July 29 at midnight EST, and kit will ship 3-4 weeks after the sale ends.
Check out the full range of kit options here.
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