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Old 02-17-12, 10:54 PM   #1
ilyasemail
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titanium loaded touring frame with horizontal top tube

Hi everyone-- thought I would try to crowd source the answer to this question that I've been researching for days online but can't find the answer to. Does anyone make a loaded touring-worthy titanium frame with a perfectly horizontal top tube? Seven cycles used to make two called the Muse and the Vacanza, but they appear not to make them anymore. (Side question: anyone know if they will still put one together for me even though those frames are out of production?) Lynskey makes one with an almost-horizontal top tube, but not quite there.

Thanks!
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Old 02-18-12, 12:32 AM   #2
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If you have >$5,295, then Lynskey will make whatever custom geometry frame you specify. Seven, Moots and other Ti builders will probably do the same.

http://www.lynskeyperformance.com/store/custom.html

If you drop the HTT requirement, you can get one of these (also made by Lynskey) that will work just as well, and save enough to pay for racks, panniers, tent, pad, sleeping bag and a month's touring expenses:

http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya_ti_frameset/

Last edited by seeker333; 02-18-12 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 02-18-12, 01:02 AM   #3
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I bet Bruce Gordon would know, if he doesn't do it himself.
http://www.bgcycles.com/
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Old 02-18-12, 01:02 AM   #4
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Habanero offers custom geometry on most of their frames. Looks like they've done a custom horizontal tube touring bike for at least one customer:

I've never done business with them and don't know anything about the quality of their products...
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Old 02-18-12, 10:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilyasemail View Post
Hi everyone-- thought I would try to crowd source the answer to this question that I've been researching for days online but can't find the answer to. Does anyone make a loaded touring-worthy titanium frame with a perfectly horizontal top tube? Seven cycles used to make two called the Muse and the Vacanza, but they appear not to make them anymore. (Side question: anyone know if they will still put one together for me even though those frames are out of production?) Lynskey makes one with an almost-horizontal top tube, but not quite there.

Thanks!
The real question that needs to be asked is why does it matter? A sloping top tube has some advantages in that the front triangle is smaller which makes the frame stronger and better able to handle a touring load without noodling down the road. This is particularly important with more flexible materials like titanium. If the frame were large (>54 cm), this would be even more important.
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Old 02-18-12, 12:05 PM   #6
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i had to look for a stiffer frame , not liking the way the bike flexed, sideways,
with every pedal stroke, tail wagged the dog, some.
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Old 02-18-12, 12:12 PM   #7
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http://vannicholas.com/

Dutch manufacturer makes titanium touring bikes. Van Nicholas has been recently reviewed on "Lovely Bicycle" as well for more info.
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Old 02-20-12, 09:39 AM   #8
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Any of the custom frame makers who use titanium would be glad to make you a ti touring frame -- Erickson, Lynsky, Strong, Spectrum, Merlin. If you visit their websites, I am certain that you could find photos of ti touring frames they have built for customers. It won't come cheaply, but the cost shouldn't be much different than a ti racing or cross frame. For less money, there is Habanero (already mentioned) as well as the Salsa La Cruz Ti (which is a compact cross frame but could be used for touring).
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Old 02-20-12, 11:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The real question that needs to be asked is why does it matter?
//snip

One reason why it matters is the ability to use the water bottle attached to the seat tube.
I'm a short guy, and on a few of my builds, utilizing 50-52 cm frames with sloping tubes, and pumps under the top tube as in the Habanero photo above, pulling out - and especially placing back - said water bottle is a huge challenge while moving.
I have overcome it by stopping once my down-tube bottle is empty, and swapping it for the full bottle from the seat tube, thus only needing to use the bottle from the down-tube mount while moving. Doable, but it's a hindrance and irritates me - and oftentimes my riding buddies as well. A horizontal top tube would eliminate the issue.

Another possible reason I could think of is the ability to utilize a frame bag of a certain geometry....
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Old 02-20-12, 04:12 PM   #10
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One reason why it matters is the ability to use the water bottle attached to the seat tube.
I'm a short guy, and on a few of my builds, utilizing 50-52 cm frames with sloping tubes, and pumps under the top tube as in the Habanero photo above, pulling out - and especially placing back - said water bottle is a huge challenge while moving.
I find that "side loading" cages work well for frames that have limited clearance inside the triangle. Look for the Zefal Side Mount (a.k.a. Wiiz) bottle cage, the Specialized Zee Cage and Zee Cage Left, or Arundel Side Loader and OtherSideLoader as examples. They require quite a bit less space above the bottle than a normal cage.
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Old 02-21-12, 09:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
//snip

One reason why it matters is the ability to use the water bottle attached to the seat tube.
I'm a short guy, and on a few of my builds, utilizing 50-52 cm frames with sloping tubes, and pumps under the top tube as in the Habanero photo above, pulling out - and especially placing back - said water bottle is a huge challenge while moving.
I have overcome it by stopping once my down-tube bottle is empty, and swapping it for the full bottle from the seat tube, thus only needing to use the bottle from the down-tube mount while moving. Doable, but it's a hindrance and irritates me - and oftentimes my riding buddies as well. A horizontal top tube would eliminate the issue.

Another possible reason I could think of is the ability to utilize a frame bag of a certain geometry....
In certain size frames having, or not having, a sloping top tube won't make a difference. My wife's bikes have never had a water bottle cage that is accessible on the seat tube and, often, the bottle has to be a particularly short bottle because her frames are so small. Not only can she not access the bottle while riding but she has to transfer the contents of the short bottle to the tall bottle. A 50cm or smaller frame is going to have water bottle fit issues no matter if the frame is horizontal or not.

The solution to all these problem? A Camelbak. Put Gatorade in the bike's bottles which you won't be accessing all that often and drink ice water from the bladder on your back.

And it looks like feitsbob has already experienced what I mention in the parts you snipped. You really don't want to have to have a do-over on a $3000 frame.
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Old 02-21-12, 11:06 AM   #12
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A custom touring bike design with a horizontally ovalized top tube , in my thinking ,
would be stiffer where it needs to be , the mass on the rear rack bending the frame
OD and wall thickness of Titanium tube would have to be greater,
because of its relatively greater bendy-ness.

Steel would be so much more practical, Call Bruce Gordon ,
Buy one of his frame-sets, and definitely his pannier racks.
all made there..
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Old 02-21-12, 12:53 PM   #13
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Maybe Moots and/or Independent Fabrication would build you one--for a price.
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Old 02-21-12, 02:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
One reason why it matters is the ability to use the water bottle attached to the seat tube.
I'm a short guy, and on a few of my builds, utilizing 50-52 cm frames with sloping tubes, and pumps under the top tube as in the Habanero photo above, pulling out - and especially placing back - said water bottle is a huge challenge while moving.
I have overcome it by stopping once my down-tube bottle is empty, and swapping it for the full bottle from the seat tube, thus only needing to use the bottle from the down-tube mount while moving. Doable, but it's a hindrance and irritates me - and oftentimes my riding buddies as well. A horizontal top tube would eliminate the issue.
I have a 52cm tourer and a 51cm road bike, both with sloping top tubes. I have no problems using large bottles (24oz) on the seat tube cage (I'm currently using Chris King steel cages but I was using aluminum cages). I don't typically drink from the seat tube mounted bottle but I routinely swap the empty down-tube bottle with the full seat tube one while riding.
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Old 02-21-12, 03:10 PM   #15
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Watch CraigsList & ebay for an older Litespeed Blue Ridge. I found a great deal on Cl a few years ago on one in my size. Built like a tank, long chain stays & horizontal tt.
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Old 02-21-12, 05:51 PM   #16
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Chris King steel cages
"King" cages. Chris King is a different company making different parts.
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Old 02-21-12, 06:24 PM   #17
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Habanero (already mentioned) offers a very attractive price point for Ti bike. There are some fellow members who own one and could give more feedback.

Rodriguez Bikes have tons of experience building touring (custom and semi-custom) bikes and will build in Reynolds steel or titanium. They also have a higher-end "pure custom" division called Trillium Cycles and will build you anything you want. They are great working with customers long-distance which is key to insuring a perfect fit.
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Old 02-24-12, 12:10 AM   #18
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Dean make a nice frame, plus they are small enough to make it just the way you want it. Hand made in Boulder Colorado, how's that for la-dee-da?

http://www.deanbikes.com/touring/touring.htm
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