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Titanium AM/FR hardtail frame from a new company

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by Wicked Jamie, Feb 12, 2008.

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  1. Wicked Jamie

    Wicked Jamie Chimp

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    Hi all -

    We're posting this for feedback to hear what you'd like to see in a dream AM/FR frame.


    As we strive to become innovators in extreme/action sports, we're looking to offer something unique in a bike frame. Below are some of the benefits and the direction we're going after many months of research and years of riding:


    Ti hardtail frame designed for maximum versatility, durability and fun - just the way we like it. The frame design will allow the use of a range of fork travel (130mm to 160mm) to enable a range of riding styles.


    We will utilize seamless, straight gauge aerospace grade titanium (high quality, non Chi-Ti) with properties similar to 3-2.5. This provides the ideal combination of strength, stiffness, and toughness resulting in a very light yet extremely durable frame with that classic Ti ride quality.


    ISCG mounts


    Reinforced rear disc mount


    Vertical drop outs


    Target Frame Wt: 4.0lbs




    What do you think??? We encourage discussion and to hear your thoughts. If you're building your dream hardtail frame, what other design features would you like to see incorporated. We have our design nearly completed and have been working not only internally but with leading experts in the industry. However we'd love to hear what, you the user, has to say so we can build the best Ti hardtail possible.



    Thanks much for your time and we look forward to hearing from you.
     

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  2. spec-rider88

    spec-rider88 Monkey

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    You should also make a version with horizontal drop-outs as well. I know that some other companies give the option of going with a "semi-custom" frame. You pick a frame, and then add on the features that you want: i.e. Disc tabs, cable guides, horizontal v.s. vertical drop-outs, ISCG mounts etc. There could be two frames to choose from: one with a street/park/dj oriented geo and one that tailors to the hard-tail freerider or DS/4x racer.That way, if someone wants a clean frame for brakeless street/park or a fully decked out DS/4X/FR hardtail, they can have it. Although, I think the cost of the frame will make most of the dj/park/street crowd look the other way, so your main market would probably be racers, who typically seem to be willing/able to spend more. Who knows? Ti is beautiful, and I think it would make a lot of people consider saving up to own something like that. I wish I could!
     
  3. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    See scrublover's Titanium frame - his is awesome.

    The hardest thing you guys have to overcome is making it affordable. Ti ain't cheap!
     
  4. wncunderground

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    sounds like a good idea as long as you keep the price reasonable. the last thing the mountain bike world needs is another overpriced frame. make it in sizes big enough for the larger guys too. it is hard to find a frame that fits for both the ride down and the ride up. give it strong roots in the am/dh world and you will be good. and if you need test riders i would be more than glad to help you out. hehe
    good luck
     
  5. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    Here is scrublover's frame for reference -



    Can you duplicate something like this at a reasonable price? If so, people would be interested methinks.
     
  6. Slugman

    Slugman Frankenbike

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    I guess I'm just not seeing the benefit of a Ti hardtail for Freeride.

    I've built an AL hardtail to be 30lbs - and it was a little squirly on bigger stuff.

    My CroMo bike now is about 3lbs heavier and feels just right.

    Superlightweight is fro XC and 29ers, for Freeride I want strength.
     
  7. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    Lightspeed made a AM HT years ago - forget what it was called?
     
  8. scrublover

    scrublover Monkey

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    depends on what you want to call freeride. this is my bike that is the do it all machine. a bit over 4# for the frame -my steel frame it is a copy of is 5#. i feel the ti frame is just as durable for my riding. works well with the pike (68deg head angle), and i've been playing with a 160mm travel nixon (67deg) coil on it as well. room for 2.5" minumim tires in back. plenty of 2.6-2.7 meats look to be able to fit. for my daily driver, it rocks. 27# in this pic, though with beefier tires and the nixon on, it easily hits 30#. durable and light can be done.

    now for truly burlier freeride stuff, bigger forks, bigger constant drops and jumps, i'd agree ti is probably not the best. spendy, and for that bigger stuff i'd think you'd run into some sort of bike law of diminishing returns. you'd not really save weight over alu, though it'd be lighter than steel.

    i had this bike built with a stay side brake brace. headtube rings and upper/lower gussets. 0.3mm thicker chainstays and downtube. the seatube also has an insert welded in to drop the inner diamater down to 27.2mm and give more material with the seatstays are connected.
    gene spicer did it (yes, via outsourcing to xacd in china) for a price no domestic builder could touch. and i still ended up supporting a small american builder. (he does his own steel and alu, but doesn't with his ti stuffl)
     
  9. HAB

    HAB Chelsea from Seattle

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    What MMcG said. I like Scrublover's bike a lot.

    I'd prefer sliding vertical dropouts. I'd want the option of running it SS, but I'm not a fan of EBBs or horizontal drops.

    Otherise, what you said sounds good. Additionally, I'd want somthing along these lines:
    68.5 degree HTA with a 140mm travel fork. Strong enough HT to take up to a 160mm fork. 12.25-12.5" BB. 24" ETT. 17" ST. 72 degree STA. 16-16.75" chainstays, adjustable via sliding dropouts. Tire clearance for a true 2.5, with room for mud. Guides for full lenght housing. Maybe an extra guide for an adjustable seatpost. Put the slot for the seatpost clamp on the front of the seat tube. Make sure an 8" rotor clears in the rear.
     
  10. scrublover

    scrublover Monkey

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    pretty much what mine is. though 68deg with a 140mm fork. 13" bb. 70deg sta. 22.5"TT my stays only go down to 16.5" though.
     
  11. Slugman

    Slugman Frankenbike

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    Don't get me wrong - that bike is sexy.

    However I think that even for an AM bike, you could probably save more money and weight with higher end components.

    1lb savings with Ti? I'm not sure that the value would justify it by the consumer (or at least ones like me) get their hands on a mass produced verson.
     
  12. Eric @ WA

    Eric @ WA Chimp

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    All thanks for the replies. We have spent nearly a year developing the frame constantly making changes to the geometry. We've tapped experts in the industry as well as our sponsored DH racers. All this while using our knowledge of mountain bikes from countless years of riding and racing.

    More affordability is certainly the goal. We've been there and done that as enthusiasts seeing companies put out expensive frames. Our intent is to use very high quality Ti (yes not Chinese Ti) and decrease our margins to keep costs down.

    We encourage further discussions and want to incorporate what the enthusiasts want to see and not what companies think they should see.

    Lastly, what is "reasonable" to you for a Ti frame?

    Thanks again and look forward to our discussions :)
     
  13. pedro_sandchez

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    how about replaceable dropouts so we could choose between vertical and horizontal. May not be the best for weight savings, but I really like frames with that sort of design.
     
  14. scrublover

    scrublover Monkey

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    oh, i agree. i don't see it as being able to sell enough to be a mass production thing. most of the companies that have done runs, now don't. the longest running seems to be cove bikes with its hummer frame (similar to litespeeds - litespeed makes the cove frames for them...) dekerf makes a ti implant that is sexy as hell, but ridiculously expensive. there are some off the shelf/semi customs in europe, but getting them to the states is not cheap. kona made the score a few years back, but dropped it long ago.

    mine was a mix of weight, durability/no paint/corrosion worries, and a what the hell, it's the bike i've wanted, i've got the money, so i'm gonna have it made sort of deal. doing it again? i'd probably go steel, and just have the build refined from my previous steel frame, which was what this ti frame was anyhow.

    i could run some lighter parts to save more weight, but they wouldn't be parts that i'd trust for me and my riding. i'm no huge hucker, but i have no desire to run some of the crap you can see over on the mtbr weight weenie board. the bike has all the features i wanted in my "what if you could only have one bike" scenario. thankfully i don't only have to have one!

    for the AM kind of thing/light freeride/whatever you want to call it, the bike rocks. for heavier duty than this, i'd stick with steel or alu. ti for burlier than this would end up losing the weight benefit, and just be stupid expensive.

    my frame was 1700. for a full custom ti frame like this, that's damn cheap. ithat the most i've ever spent on a frame, and it gave me one hell of a gut check when it came to committing to buying. many domestic builders i talked to flat out said they'd not even be willing to build a "burly" ti frame. the willing ones would have either taken forever, or cost way more than i was willing to pay.
     
  15. scrublover

    scrublover Monkey

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    not all chinese ti is crap, you know. i've seen some pretty crappy ti come from domestic sources as well.

    reasonable? depends. stock sizing, or custom sizing? IMO, if i'm paying over 1000 for a hardtail, there better damn well be some custom options, be it steel, alu, or ti. with ti prices creeping up and up over the last few years, i'm pretty curious to see what you guys are going to offer.

    not gag over the price priced domestic ti burly frame at a price that'll let you guys not live in your parent's garage and eat ramen? no offense, but i'll believe it when i see it. i'm just basing this off all the research i did when i was looking into getting my ti frame built, and looking for stock stuff.
     
  16. Eric @ WA

    Eric @ WA Chimp

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    Yes I agree...not all Chi-Ti is crap. They have some decent Ti and good prices. The reason we're not going with Chi-Ti is the consistency of quality. We've dealt with Ti and countless other materials for a long time in our careers as well. Every designer at W.A. is/was an Aerospace/Defense Engineer (ranging from Senior Materials Engineers, to Mechanical Engineers, to Manufacturing Engineers). So the connections world wide run deep :):busted:

    Thank you for your input and hope to hear more if you're willing to share it :)
     
  17. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    I think a FR hardtail that's going to cost $1500+ bucks is hard to justify. I have a Norco Torrent from 2001 which is still going strong.

    An All-Mountain hardtail is a much better idea. A little air never hurt anyone (unless you crashed), and I think a reliable bike which can do everything is a positive.

    On that note, I bought a Seven hardtail last year, and I felt that they knew nothing about current trail and all mountain designs. If I left it to them, I would have a 71/73 deg angle bike with about 2 inches of standover built around a Rockshok 80mm SID.

    I tweaked the design, leaning still to an XC bike, but with a slacker head angle, more standover, and most importantly, built around a 120mm Marzocchi. Here it is:



    I think you will have to handle all the custom options and be able to talk the language of FR if you want the big buck customers.
     
  18. Wicked Jamie

    Wicked Jamie Chimp

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    We want to focus on AM/FR due to the price point since likely customers have the spending capability. This would be a niche frame, not mass production, but we plan to hold stock so customers don’t have to wait to get one. We originally were thinking of a DJ/slopestlye frame but soon realized that market likely would not pay for Ti.

    Our frame is not a huck-anything-montster. As mentioned earlier, FR is how you define it, and we are focusing on the lighter end of FR, with all the AM aspects. Single crown forks only, up to 160mm travel. Anything you’d want to huck with such a setup (6-7 footer??) should be do able.

    We believe Ti is every bit as durable as steel, much more so than Al, while still being lighter than steel. In all frames there are areas that are inherently non-optimized, so a lower density material will usually result in a lighter frame. Combine durability (fatigue, toughness, crack growth resistance) and Ti offers the most optimized frame, vs. steel and Al, with higher cost being the most significant draw back. We are well aware this issue has been debated ad nauseam, but we’re focused on Ti and are confident in it.

    We have a strong relationship with a supplier who enables us to offer a high value Ti frame without sacrificing quality. They have 17 years experience working exclusively with Ti. They are not Chinese, but they’re also not American! They’ve been making a sick Ti trials frame for a while that we plan to leverage for design details.

    As for price, we haven’t set one yet, but a non custom would be for sure under $1400. I like your custom suggestions, but we’ve got to get off the ground with a standard offering first.

    Scrubblover: How does the 13 in BB work out? Seems tall, but I bet you have great clearance and quick handling. Can you send us your frame design and tell us what details you would change in retrospect? Did you consider a steeper ST angle to increasing pedal-ability?

    Spec-rider 88: What are you thoughts about horizontal drop our based on? Do you ride them on an AM bike? Do you feel there is a demand? I’m curious.

    Thanks again everybody. :busted:

    Jamie
     
  19. PepperJester

    PepperJester Monkey

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    No everyone is going to need sliding drops but there are many who will want them. I personally will NEVER buy another hardtale that does not have sliding or regular horizontal drop outs. Having the option to run the bike as a proper single speed is key. As is being able to stretch the wheel base. Long stays = stability at speed. You don't want a all mountain / free ride bike to be twitchy when rocketing the side of a ski resort.

    slack angles please! 67º with a 6" fork. If you build it to take a 170mm single crown I'd be pretty stoked.
     
  20. scrublover

    scrublover Monkey

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    sliders are key. i may never run it as a SS, but like the option. had mine done up as rohloff compatable, for possible future use. plus i can tweak the wheelbase a touch longer if wanted. i like my 16.5" stay length, but for something like this on a larger production scale, would probably have the wheelbase start at 16". the sliders would allow you to go out to 16.5-16.75" or so.

    15" seattube c-t. 13"bb height is awesome out on the east coast trails i'm riding. high enough for good clearance, but not too high. you could go as low as 14", but then taller riders might have toruble getting full leg and post extension. gobs of standover, of course changes with taller forks.

    22.5" toptube. the 70deg seattube angle works fine for me; same as i had on my steel hardtail that i pedaled all over colorado for several years, up and down, hitting the lifts a few times, urban rides, xc rides, all day high elevation rides. so long as you take into account the steeper seat tube angle altering your effective toptube length the higher you have your post, it works. IMO, for a bike like this, a steeper seat angle works. i get stretched out just fine for pedally stuff when the seat is up, and it gets the seat nice and out of the way when its down for other stuff. easy to get behind the seat.

    i'd say focusing on the 160mm fork max light FR/heavy AM crowd is better. i can't imagine a full on ti hucking FR bike selling well. the guys riding those bikes aren't likely to want to do ti. the sluggo. eveil imperial. knolly free radical. guys riding those frames aren't going to be looking at ti for that application. 68deg head angle minimum, and 67deg designed around a 160mm fork is a good goal. i had mine built around 68deg with a 140mm fork for starters, but meant to be burly enough to take the 160mm and a degree more of slackness.

    0.9mm walls on the seatstays, toptube, seattube. 1.2mm walls on the chainstays, downtube, 3mm on the headtube. seatstays are 19mm dia, chainstays 22.2mm dia. seattube 31.8mm, down and toptubes are 38.1mm dia. there is a sleeved insert to reinforce the seattube/seatstay junction, and bring the seattube inner diamater to 27.2mm post size. forward facing seattube slot. a chainhanger in back, because i could, and i like them.

    it's about 4.25#. heavy for a ti frame, but light for a burly frame. sure, it's not a ton lighter than my steel bike (all 853 and high end columbus tubes) and you could make an alu frame about the same.
    about 26# is the lightest the bike will get for me, up to 30-31# depending on fork and tires.

    largest tire in so far has been a kenda 2.6" with no trouble at all. i'll have issues with front derailleur clearance before hitting my stays; running only a single front ring though, so no issue. should be able to fit a kenda 2.7" without any trouble. tire clearance is key. i've seen to many damn AM/FR frames out there with really crappy tire clearance. stupid mistake for a frame designer, IMO. tough with hard to manipulate ti tubes and short stay lengths - it's a lot of work to get the clearance for big tires, but keep it for heels. more labor to bend/crimp, right?

    if you guys can do it right, and at a price to sell bikes and not make foils gag, it'll be a good thing. i tried like mad to find a stock ti frame i was happy with, but couldn't do it. closest was the cove hummer ti, and the voodoo djab. both would be close with the 140mm fork, but i didn't feel good about a taller fork on them, and the tire clearance wasn't there. joe murray personally e-mailed me in response to my question about a 140mm fork on the frame meant for 100mm - said he thought it'd be fine with it, but no taller. good service, even though i ended up not buying a frame from them!
     
  21. scrublover

    scrublover Monkey

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    that was my experience with most of the domestic ti guys i talked to (at least those willing to even entertain the idea of a burly ti frame) it was uncharted territory for them. and would have cost me an arm and a leg.

    once up and running, a certain level of custom is going to be needed, particularly to help justify the price of such a frame in the eyes of prospective customers.
     
  22. Jeremy R

    Jeremy R <b>x</b>

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    It was the Litespeed Kitsuma.
    Named after one of the best trails on earth.
    Not exactly freeride by todays standards.

     
  23. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    Hence I called it AM...
     
  24. Jeremy R

    Jeremy R <b>x</b>

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    which is honestly as burly as any hardtail needs to be.
    One setup for AM.






    runs and ducks.;)
     
  25. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    Yeah I'd focus on All Mountain/Light Freeride as others have said.

    Also it often seems that folks opting for a hardtail for this type of riding are folks that aren't super rich or are younger - so the price of a Ti frame might be unobtainable for a lot of the riders you are trying to reach.

    But again - if you can do it for a reasonable price - under a grand for the frame - then go for it. But I haven't really seen anything made from Ti for under a grand that was US based/built.
     
  26. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    There are occasional riders here or there that could use a FR HT but for the vast major - yeah AM is as burly as it needs to be and would be the ideal market segment.
     
  27. Jeremy R

    Jeremy R <b>x</b>

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    Yep, if I was going to build a ti frame, I would look closely at a bike like the Chameleon. It makes a hell of a trailbike. You can race it for slalom or XC, use it for DJing etc.....
    Make it where is balanced with a 120 fork.
    Guys who want to rake it out with a 140 and have a higher bb can do so, and also guys who want to have 100mm fork and low bb can rip as well. And unlike the Chameleon, make a size that has a 23.0 top tube, so all the 5'10 riders do not have to flip a coin on the frame size.
     
  28. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    I'm 5'10" and I say 23.25":monkeydance:

    That really depends on your body and XC oriented people would go larger than either of us at the same height.
     
  29. scrublover

    scrublover Monkey

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    No freakin' way they could do it for under a grand in the U.S. they'd be hard pressed to do it properly for that price overseas. I just don't see the demand as being there to sell enough units to really bring the price down.

    This
    http://www.covebike.com/hummer.html
    is the most readily available ride like this stateside at the moment, and I think its msrp was around 1500 or so. The Voodoo Djab is sorta' next closest, and it's done overseas and sells for ~ 1300.
    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=15599&category=2755
    I just have a hard time thinking anyone is going to come up with a frame like we're talking about here for anything less than that.

    Stock sizing for starters - do some form of sml/med/lrg. 15"/16"/17" seattubes, 21.5"/22.5"/23.5" toptubes - only need to produce a couple sizes. At a nice low pricepoint. Slider drops. Beefy enough to handle the range of forks from 100-160mm. Fat tire room. Standard sizing for your frame fittings/parts. Don't get crazy with extras or there goes your low pricepoint.

    If those sell or look to have enough demand, then bust in the custom stuff. The custom would have an upcharge I assume. Getting too crazy with custom stuff mixed in with your standard production lines if farming the building out could get real messy unless you have a guy onsite (wherever it is) to be on top of production. Which would cost more to have a guy overseas...
     
  30. Eric @ WA

    Eric @ WA Chimp

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    Excellent feedback all! We're happy to see other enthusiasts engaging in this topic. We have several design with varying geometries spec'd out however continually tweaking it for optimization. This is another reason why we went outside our design team and sponsored riders to illicit feedback from users on likes and dislikes. There's no point putting out a product with characteristcs that people are already displeased with. We've researched and deigned for about a year now and whenever we believed the design is fully optimized, we find another area that can be tweaked for added durability, stability and better characteristcs while staying true to frame geometries.

    When it comes to Ti it's unfortunate that the actions/quality of a few hurt the whole. Case in point when people think of US Ti. To them nothing compares. However most don't realize that there are other Ti that nearly exhibit Ti 3-2.5 qualities(I'm sure most don't even know what that type Ti is). We also believe in American Ti (as we've used it extensively especially our design experts who came from the Aerospace/Defense industry). However there are also "non-US" Ti that are very comparable. It's a matter of knowing who they are, their reputation and their experience. Many of which don't publicly advertise because their niche is so specialized in applications calling for extremely high quality, characteristics, and demanding applications. The public or commercial consumer would most likely make up less than 1% of their business. So that leaves less specialized suppliers that don't require as stringent requirements (hence sometimes varying degrees of quality in their Ti) these are the ones that are more commercial and easily found in Internet searches due to the public being nealy 100% of ther business. I'm not saying US Ti is bad or foreign is good...it's a matter of knowing who you're getting it from and what their core competency is.

    Again thanks for the feedback and keep 'em coming. We want to build a frame that the enthusiasts want and can afford.

    Sorry for any typos...it's a PITA typing on my Blacbkerry while nearing the 50 min mark on the elliptical (I'm about to fall off. LOL)
     
  31. Jeremy R

    Jeremy R <b>x</b>

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    Yep, everything is a compromise.
    I just ordered a medium chameleon, because of all the different types of riding I am going to do on it. XC races on it are going to be interesting.
     
  32. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    I think 23 would be good for play bike (sizing I've gotten for some HT) but not a do everything rig at my size.
     
  33. Wicked Jamie

    Wicked Jamie Chimp

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    We don’t plan to be able to offer frames for under a $1000, but will be less than the Cove. I think we’ll be close to, and maybe under, the Voodoo frame. Price is not yet set, but we fully plan to offer a frame that people want at a fair and reasonable price - a win-win for Wicked Adrenaline and YOU.


    That about sums up our plan, but we're not making any promises for ride quality with a 100mm fork. It may in fact work out, but we're focusing on the 130-160 travel AM setup. The 100mm XC Ti market is full, and I don't think the DJers will bite at this price.

    The frame design detail that we so far were considering as a custom upgrade (later on), but that I’m reading is a general desire, are the sliding dropouts. They add significant flexibility to the frame design. I like the idea as a standard offering.

    Scrublover – what are the details of the sliders on your Ti frame? Do you like/recommend them? Seems like Paragons are the standard by which most are measured.

    What specific features of sliders do people like? Would you mind have a der. hanger even if you have a SS setup?

    TELL US WHAT YOU WANT AND WE'LL DO OUR BEST TO OFFER IT!!!!


    We certainly hope and plan to get a strong enough standard offering that will allow us to step up to custom later on.
     
  34. Wicked Jamie

    Wicked Jamie Chimp

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    One thing we are varying and comparing on our prototype frames is a steaper seat angle to improved pedaling while not streching out the top tube too much and maintaining a relativley slack front end.
     
  35. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    I like what you have to say, and I think the AM/FR market is ready for a Ti frame. I rode with a retiree who kicked my ass uphill and on all the stunts. He would be an excellent choice for one of your frames.
     
  36. Wicked Jamie

    Wicked Jamie Chimp

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    We will make this frame a reality and something that both kids and retirees will want!
     
  37. spec-rider88

    spec-rider88 Monkey

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    Well, I like the horizontal style because I run singlespeed and I can get proper chain tension. It's simple. I use it for mostly DJ/Street/Park, but I also ride XC/AM with it as well. I am not sure about all of the AM crowd, but horizontal drop-outs are definitely attractive for the FR/DJ community. You can also equip them with "sliders" that allow for the use of a rear der without a der. hanger on the frame. The Specialized P-bikes and a few other companies have set-ups like that. There is also the option that is appearing on some 29ers, where a vertical drop-out is used, but it can slide back and forth to accommodate a s.s. set-up use if desired.
     
  38. scrublover

    scrublover Monkey

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    If you actually read the thread, you'll note that sliders have been mentioned as a smart option already, several times. Not everyone will be happy with whatever drop design gets chosen, but...

    For fewer tooling and machining/setup costs, seems like the sliders would be the best/easiest/most versatile. SS or gea
     
  39. spec-rider88

    spec-rider88 Monkey

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    I read the posts. I just thought that I'd respond to the question WickedJamie asked me, that's all