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Ti Cycles

Matt Butterman

Saturday 27 February 2016

Ti Cycles: In for the long game

Ti Cycles is a Portland, Oregon institution, having produced frames from titanium and steel for 26 years now.

Ti Cycles: In for the long game
Matt Butterman

Ti Cycles is a Portland, Oregon institution, having produced frames from titanium and steel for 26 years now. According to founder and President Dave Levy, the all-around race/century ride bike remains their most popular offering, followed closely by the randonneuring and gravel/adventure bike categories. A line of stock, Asian-produced frames helps Ti Cycles maintain sales volume and meet customers’ needs in as little as two weeks, but they still produce about 25-30 fully custom frames per year.

The Ultralight standard race bike is Ti Cycles most popular fully custom option, drawing upon Levy’s thirty years of industry experience from his beginning when he was one of only three titanium builders in the U.S.. Constructed to the rider’s specifications from butted and strategically ovalized titanium main tubes, thinned dropouts and a monostay rear end specifically produced for Ti Cycles, the frame weights start at a svelte 2lbs, 8 ounces. Levy said that the combination of specially designed, all titanium tubes produce a very stiff but also very comfortable frame with “unrivaled durability.”

Levy showed us a couple of interesting bikes outside of Ti Cycles’ normal offerings that illustrated their ingenuity and desire to meet clients’ specific needs. Among these were a steel track bike with beefy round chainstays and oversized thin-walled tubes all provided by tubing supplier Nova Cycles, and which was constructed for comfort - an unusual feature for a track bike, but a necessary one given its intended venue: Portland’s bumpy-surfaced Alpenrose Velodrome.

Ti Cycles

Another interesting application for Ti Cycles’ ingenuity are their custom tricycles for para cycling athletes, including  2012 Paralympian Steven Peace, and another trike Ti Cycles produced for a para cyclist who needed two wheels at the front, instead of the rear.

Levy is particularly excited about e-bikes, which he believes have the potential to increase total numbers of cyclists as well as the amount of bicycle usage among current cyclists. Ti Cycles’ e-bike offering uses an Italian Zehus self-contained rear hub that produces 250 watts, is bluetooth-enabled and can be controlled with a smartphone app, and uses regenerative, dynamic braking that kicks in automatically if the rider backpedals or as she goes downhill. Levy said that a multiple speed, disc brake version is in the works that he thinks will have a future application for fully-loaded cyclo-tourists.

Ti Cycles

Dave Levy with the Ti Cycles e-bike

Ti Cycles are also huge proponents of the Gates Carbon Drive, employed on their e-bike and single-speed offerings. Levy showed us a simple and mechanically sound solution to the long-standing issue of having to disassemble a chainstay to replace or mount the belt: an expanding wedge screw that threads into the chainstay from where the seatstay comes down to the junction.

Learn more about all of Ti Cycles’ offerings at www.ticycles.com