Remember the Silk Emperor from British designed titanium bikesmiths Sabbath which made its public debut at the 2009 Cycle Show and turned most heads whilst dividing more opinion? Who could forget a bike that dared to be that different.
Six months later and the good news (or bad, if you were one of those naysayer stick in the mud types) is that the Silk Emperor is now available to buy, and Sabbath has also added two more new models for 2010.
Sabbath believe their role is to constantly innovate and challenge, they don't think out of the box because there is no box. Top of the innovative and challenging list is the range-leading Silk Emperor, showcasing the “New Wave” titanium technology in, all its glory, with every frame tube being bent or bulged in some way, if Salvador Dali had ever turned his hand to high end titanium bicycle design you can't help feeling the result might have looked something like this. In fact the Silk Emperor is the work of Sabbath's Technical Director Dr Iain Roche, who says the distinctive is the result of a unique cold working process that allows Sabbath to use thinner walled tubes and create larger weld areas so decreasing frame weight whilst at the same time increasing stiffness. Cycling's Holy Grail attained then. Tim explains the thinking behind the Silk Emperor in more detail in our video below.
The one-piece pierced top tube and wishbone seat stay design add to the frame's avant-garde character while Sabbath point out that the CNC machined, integrated 6AL/4V head tube ensures pin point handling - given the grade of titanium it certainly should be super-stiff. Completing the individual features is the BB30 bottom bracket shell, making the Silk Emperor one of the few titanium frames to adopt the new standard. The Silk Emperor is available only as a fully customised frameset at £3300 with bike builds starting at £4999… daring to be different doesn't come cheap, but then neither does art, or in this case science, and as its fans point out history is littered with examples of designs that at first looked outlandish but went on to conquer the world.
Next in line is the Silk Road Pro, a frame “designed with speed in mind”. Updated from last year’s model to share some of the tubing features of the Silk Emperor, they say the performance geometry will be just at home in a stage race as it will be in helping you to get a personal best on your favourite sportive course. Sounds like the bike for me then. The 3al 2.5v double butted, cold worked seamless titanium Silk Road Pro frame is £1799 with complete bike builds from £3500.
Third up in the new for 2010 Sabbath bike-shed the Silk Road Alp is designed for day long comfort, with light weight performance for the sportivist (sic) and as the name suggests, features geometry perfectly suited to demanding terrain, say Sabbath, though we’d simply say that the frame stats show a shorter and higher frame than their racier models. Using the “New Wave” technology least obviously the double butted Ti tubeset is quoted as being 200g lighter than the classic Silk Road frameset. There’s no compromise in comfort, however, with custom formed thin-wall seatstays to give refined rider comfort, without compromising handling, according to Sabbath. The Silk Road Alp frame is £1350 and complete bike builds start from £2999.
Sabbath are keen to point out that each of the 8 models in their range has a dedicated end user in mind with specific geometry differences, tubeset tweaks and profile changes that make them uniquely suited to the style of rider. Add custom fit options, a Sabbath bike fit chat through your friendly local Sabbath dealer, and Sabbath are confident that every rider will find something in the range that suits them exactly and fits like a well tailored glove, so not just any old glove then.
All Sabbath frames are available in five standard sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL) as well as a custom fit option and available in three frame finishes; Satin Matt (standard), Bright Brush (semi-polished) and Mirror Polish, add to that mix a whole range of graphics packages and branded components and if you want something uniquely yours Sabbath can pretty much give it to you.
To find out more check out www.sabbathbicycles.co.uk