Sabbath Mondays Child  £3699.00

8/10

High-end titanium speed machine with superb handling and lovely ride quality

Weight 7860g   Contact  www.sabbathbicycles.co.uk

by Mat Brett   June 23, 2010  

At a time when most manufacturers were moving from metal to carbon fibre for their top-end frames, Sabbath came into the market producing high-quality titanium bikes. The UK brand – originally called Sunday Bicycles before a swift name change for legal reasons – certainly seem to have found their niche and, after some major growth over the last four years, their bikes are now available through Evans Cycles as well as a network of other dealers. The Mondays Child – along with the Silk Road Pro – is their top road race model…

The frame

The main triangle of the Mondays Child (Sabbath don’t bother with the apostrophe so we won’t either – saves on ink. Or pixels. Or something) is made from double-butted 3Al 2.5V grade seamless titanium that’s custom shaped to Sabbath’s own design. The oversize ovalised down tube shifts its axis along its length so it’s tall and slim at the head tube junction and short and squat at the other end to reach across nearly the full width of the bottom bracket shell.

The seat tube is slightly ovalised down by the bottom bracket shell too, while the triangular profile top tube slopes gently down to keep the standover height low. The head tube, which houses an integrated headset, is machined out of a block of 6AL 4V titanium for added stiffness, and the same is true of the bottom bracket shell.

The Mondays Child’s seat stays are butted, as is the non-driveside chain stay, although the driveside one is plain gauge – the wall thickness is uniform throughout – to cope with the greater forces. That’s internal, though – they look exactly the same so there’s nothing unbalanced to offend your eye.

The seat stays arc away from the centre of the bike rather than towards it, which Sabbath reckon results in greater road-feel and a more “positive” ride, while the dropouts are machined 6Al grade titanium rather than the aluminium that many manufacturers use here. These dropouts are rolled laterally for extra lateral stiffness and they’re large with a sizeable welded area, again adding to the rigidity. The gear hanger is replaceable should it ever get bent out of shape in the event of a stack or mechanical mishap.

The geometry is race orientated. Whereas the Silk Road models in Sabbath’s range offer a more upright, sportive-friendly ride position, the Monday’s Child is low and fairly stretched. Our XL model (suitable for riders measuring 6ft 1in and above, and equivalent to about a 59cm frame size in traditional geometry) comes with a 59cm effective top tube and an 18cm head tube.

A whole stack of headset spacers meant the front end wasn’t especially short out of the box, but if you want to take them out and cut down the fork steerer, you can get yourself an aggressive setup without any problem. Add some clip-on tri bars and it’ll see you through the odd time trial too, if that’s your thing. Or you can go down the custom route if you prefer. It’ll cost you an extra £200 and take about eight weeks, but the option is there if you don’t fit one of the five stock sizes.

The build quality is excellent throughout with neat welds, a brushed finish and subtle sand-etched logos – ‘classy and understated’ is the usual phrase used in these situations. You can opt for a matt satin finish if you prefer, or a mirror polish look, and you get to choose from six different graphic colourways or three sand-etched logo finishes. Essentially, you can personalize the bike so you’re unlikely to see anyone else on the self-same design at your next club race.

Oh, and one more important point: the frame is lifetime guaranteed. Sabbath say they’ve not had one returned in three years. Being titanium, it’s tough enough to survive some harsh treatment out on the road and in the back of your car, and it won’t corrode either so you can look forward to masses of trouble-free miles together.

Kit

The Monday’s Child is available as a frame-only option for £1799. You can build it up however you like, or get your dealer to do it for you, or you can opt for the £3699 complete model we have here…

This comes with Sabbath’s own Fluid full-carbon fork, SRAM’s second-tier Force groupset and Sonic C Max Ceramic wheels (which we’re going to review separately, so hold your horses on those). The chainset is a compact matched up to a 12-25T cassette, the cockpit and seat post come from Deda, and Selle Italia provide the saddle.

The ride

The first thing you notice about the Mondays Child is just how stiff the frame is. We were surprised. In these days when the vast majority of high-end bikes are carbon, you can easily get sucked into believing that anything else just isn’t going to be good enough… but that’s really not the case.

Whether we were out of the saddle and throwing the bars around or chucking the bike through the tightest turns as fast as our bottle would let us, the frame was perfectly well behaved. That front end really isn’t going anywhere when you muscle it about in a sprint. Okay, Sabbath have used quite a lot of material in the head tube to get that rigidity but it has worked, and the smaller sizes are likely to be even less prone to flexing.

It’s a similar story through the middle of the frame with very little unwanted movement around the bottom bracket. Everything is firm and stable when you jump on the pedals in a way that, to be honest, it sometimes isn’t with titanium bikes when you compare them to super-stiff carbon models. The Mondays Child transfers power efficiently and picks up speed keenly even though, at 7.86kg (17.3lb), it’s light rather than featherweight. It’ll lose out to a bike a couple of pounds lighter on steep hills, but the difference is marginal.

When you talk about titanium you have to talk about its comfort. It’s the law. But while we don’t subscribe to a lot of the baloney that gets attributed to titanium as a frame building material, we have to say that this is a very comfortable bike.

You know how the roads are all shot to bits at the moment after the winter frost? And you know how that means you get a kick in the pants every time you hit a dodgy section and your teeth rattle so much it sounds like smashing milk bottles? Well, the Mondays Child helps smooth over the rough bits. Not completely – it’s not a miracle worker – but it keeps you just that little bit more comfortable. And it does the same on normal road surfaces too. What we’re saying is that the ride quality is really good.

Sabbath reckon that their Silk Road bikes have a softer ride feel to them – we can’t comment because we’ve not ridden them – but we’ve been happy enough to get back from our long rides on the Mondays Child still feeling fresh and raring to go rather than bruised and forlorn. You certainly get road-feedback here, but not so much that it becomes a pain in the whatsit.

Why, though, would you buy titanium these days when carbon fibre offers so much in terms of its strength to weight ratio? And, despite what some titanium aficionados would have you believe, we don't think there's anything you can achieve in terms of Ti's ride quality that you can't achieve in carbon. Well, we've ridden loads of titanium bikes over the years and one thing that they really have going for them is their durability. We've seen ti bikes that have been ridden hard for five years old that are as good as new. They really do go on for ever, and if that's an important issue for you the Mondays Child is a high-quality choice.

Verdict

High-end titanium speed machine with superb handling and lovely ride quality; it should last you an age too

road.cc test report

Make and model: Sabbath Mondays Child

Size tested: XL

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame: 3Al 2.5V grade seamless titanium, custom shaped, with 6AL 4V head tube, bottom bracket shell and dropouts.

Fork: Sabbath Fluid full carbon

Front mech: SRAM Force

Rear mech: SRAM Force

Shifters/brake levers: SRAM Force

Chainset: SRAM Force Compact (50/34T)

Bottom bracket: Truvativ

Cassette: SRAM 1070 - 12-25T

Chain: SRAM 1030

Brake callipers: SRAM Force

Handlebar: Deda Zero 100

Stem: Deda Zero 100

Headset: Cane Creek Integrated

Wheels: Sonic C Max Ceramic

Tyres: Continental Grand Prix

Saddle: Selle Italia SL

Seatpost: Deda Magic Stick

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Greg Roche of Sabbath says, "Mondays Child is really aimed at club racers and people looking for a fast-handling, race-oriented geometry and a quality ride. They can do some third or second cat racing (or elite, if they want) knowing that the frame is lifetime guaranteed and will take the odd crash without having to worry. This is a race bike for the rider who’s prepared to spend the money and know they have something they can use for the next few years without it fatiguing or breaking."

That pretty much sums it up.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The build quality is excellent and you can choose your own finish from a choice of options. Being titanium, it should continue looking immaculate for ages.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

The frame is mainly 3Al 2.5V grade seamless titanium that's butted and shaped every which way to keep the weight down and fine-tune the ride.

The head tube and bottom bracket are machined from 6AL 4V titanium for increased stiffness in these key areas.

The Sabbath Fluid fork is full carbon.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

It's a road race geometry (72.5°/73.5° seat and head angles on our XL version) with a short (18cm) head tube.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

Pretty standard for a race bike: low and comparatively stretched.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes, the ride position is aggressive but not crazy. The frame is pretty good at soaking up vibration without isolating you completely from the road.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too felxible?

Yes, a very stiff front end and stiff through the centre too.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Very well. Yes, there's no wallowing when you put the power in.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

None.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

It handles well. It's accurate through fast bends giving you the confidence to attack them at speed.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
8/10

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
8/10

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
8/10

Your verdict

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Personally, I'm on carbon from here on in

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
8/10

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 184cm  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

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