We’ve posted previously on the Hotspur – a handbuilt, oversized, Titanium-tube frame with a carbon seatstay – and I raced it this weekend on a rolling course in Ravensdale Washington. The bike performed as expected with a solid ride that was very similar to the Modal, but weighing less, and riding like a straight-up racing bike. Bill Davidson and Mark’s design achieved a lighter, stiffer Ti bike with that distinctive “springy-road” feel that Ti aficionados love. The bike climbed, accelerated, and descended, like I’d expect and excelled at rolling.
Most remarkable about racing the Hotspur was it reminded me of my old 853 frame – a ride that set a benchmark for my future reviews. I could subtly feel the road and the frame reacting to it. By all accounts (including our own) the new Madones, Tarmacs, et al, are all excellent racing bikes, and the intent of the Hotspur was to demonstrate that Ti can compete with carbon.
Reacting to the popularity of carbon, Ti tube manufactures and builders are continuing to innovate, especially with mixed-frame materials. I understood the benefit of ti/carbon mix firsthand when 3 of us hit a large pothole during the race. The 2 racers ahead of me, slammed into the hole at about 28 mph (curses to the racers ahead of us that didn’t call the hole out), and I rolled over it, feeling the carbon seat stays take the hit. For a bespoke bike, tuned to a rider, with lots of thinking going into the design, the Hotspur proved that Ti is back or moreso that it never left. It also stands out as a unique bike in an industry fixated on carbon. The handbuilt industry is flourishing with bikes like this from Davidson and other skilled builders.
Summary is that the Hotspur project produced an OS Ti frame that rides like you’d expect a custom Ti frame to do, but stiffer and lighter than traditional 3.25 tubes. The Hotspur is a kermesse-style racing bike, built for crits, circuits, and the roleur-type of rider. Light, strong, fast, and built to last.
Note that we didn’t weight-weenie out on the Hotspur: lighter components and smaller tube diameters would reduce the weight further.
The Hotspur is built with Feathertech custom-profiled, oversized, titanium tubing; Reynolds UL fork and seatstay; Dedacciai titanium chainstay, Paragon titanium derailleur hanger, and fittings; the components include
I wasn’t having that much stem stub and requested an urgent removal. Later, an informal study at the race on Sunday found many varying degrees of stem stubs. How much stem stub do you tolerate? Mark noted that there were anti-anxiety medications for worrying about stem stubs.
Also, green bar tape, while the subject of ridicule from your racing bros, does work well on St. Pat’s day.
We just got my gf’s Kappa BMX frame(seen above before work was done) back from Sycip Designs. Jeremy Sycip fixed the headtube problem, added some braze-ons to steady the sissy bar, and then powdercoated the bike. Soon after opening the shipping box, I had the bike reassembled, but this time with all the best parts from my previous BMX bike. She rode the bike to work today, and I’ll post the pix tomorrow. The bike was cool before, but now it’s awe-inspiring!
All in all it was a nice day for a ride – to windy, not sunny enough, but most importantly I was actually out riding which made it all OK. In the afternoon I got to load up the xtracycle with the kiddies to take Little J. down to the pool for his first swim. Big sister tagged along for the ride and the ride down was great. The ride back? Harder. 60 pounds of kids doesn’t get any lighter even if they’re cheering.
Earlier in the day I managed to put in a few miles through down town and on the Burke Gilman trail. I was almost home when I spotted this beauty and asked if I could take a photo. Unfortunately my phone-cam failed me and the photo you see is the best I could pull out of my editor.
The frame is an aluminum Schwinn Panther cruiser, but Jake (I think it was Jake, sorry if I got it wrong!) has it set up as a geared bike with disc brakes up front and very nice moustache bars heading the whole thing up. It was obvious he’d done a lot of work to get it where he wanted it and it’s a great looking bike.
I love seeing folks out riding bikes they’ve obviously put careful work into. This guys clearly got the bug, he has almost as many bikes as I do. Hope to see you around, and I’ll try to bring a better camera and memory for names next time.
My son is a bike hugger…at 18 months. The kid gets all excited and looks for approval whenever he spots a bike. “Daddy nGike!”. I’ve been getting killed at work of late, but on those nights where I have gotten home early enough to catch him awake, he runs up to me yelling “nGike!” while pointing at the logo on my BikeHugger kit. It’s pretty darn cute. This last week he got into the laundry and found his favorite pair of daddy’s socks and put them on himself, and proudly wore them around his room. Thanks to my wife for capturing that moment.
I was surfin’ around and I found this image from Blonde Fabrications. A 36-inch-wheeled mtb. Appropriately named the Amazon Blonde 36er, the builder apparently races it too. I’m sure it handles like a tank, but I love it when people are willing to push a concept (in this case, 29er wheels vs the standard 26 mtb wheels) to the extreme.
When you look at this picture, keep in mind that the my whole bike could pass thru the rim if it were not for the spokes.
Uploaded by photo_history, back in the day of the Safety Bike, that was some hotness. Also see this photo and the lyrics, “She had the sightless eyes, Telling me no lies
Knockin’ me out with those American thighs,” came to mind.