Racing the Hotspur

hotspur_rear.jpgWe’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

and it weighs in right at 17 pounds with the Jet 60s and under with the Ardennes.


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