First Look: Titus Vuelo
An exotic blend of Titanium and carbon
Yesterday we highlighted a British titanium bike manufacturer, qoroz, today it's the turn of Titus from the good old US of A.
New manufacturing technologies such as hydro-forming and new methods of folding the highest grades of titanium sheeting seem to be giving what was alway a desirable bike building material a new lease of life when it comes to building top end performance machines just when it looked to have been eclipsed by carbon fibre.
Most of the titanium bikes we saw at Cycle 08 were pure titanium but there manufactrers who are seeking to blend Ti and carbon, Litespeed and Independent Fabrications both have carbon tubed Ti lugged machines. The idea is give is to show that when it comes to top end materials you can have your cake and eat it too.
Probably the most eye-catching example of a bike mixing titanium and carbon fibre is the Titus Vuelo, a bike that combines 3AL/2.5V titanium and unidirectional carbon and which says the Titus website should be thought of “as a genetically engineered superbike with pedals”… sounds pretty scary.
Anyway the Vuelo certainly looks the part and boasts Titus's patented Exogrid technology which, they say, allows them to give you a very light but also very comfortable bike. Titus have been using the Exogrid process for five years.
The process involves machining out the the titanium tubing and then blowing through pre-preg unidirectional carbon fibre so that you get a carbon tube inside the titanium which extrudes flush with the outer surface of the Ti where it has been machined away. The carbon acts as a stiffener for the titanium and you end up with a tube that displays the performance characteristics of both materials where they are needed most. Think of it as a more sophisticated version of Ti lugs and carbon tubes – theoretically we're guessing it should be stronger, whether it is in practise is probably up for debate. Titus also make an aluminium/carbon bike using the Exogrid process.
There are two other models in their road range: the Solera, and the Estrella. Super light and Isogrid technology (carbon tubes reinforced with internal carbon ribs) and Bi-Fusion are the common themes here. All the frames have dropouts machined from 6/4 Titanium.
The all titanium Estrella is available in 10 sizes from 49cm through to 60cm, while the Solera, like the Vuelo comes in six sizes from 50-60cm in 2cm increments.
Frame price for the Vuelo is £3499 fork and build kit options are available. The Solera is £2500 and the Estrella £1999. To find out more contact Axel Imports www.axelimports.co.uk.