Just being a titanium frame tells you something of the era

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Bike messenger holding his titanium bike

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Pick your decade, titanium is still a brilliant ride

“It is a Russian built, titanium frame, from the eighties, I think. But there is almost nothing about it on the internet. I built it myself with parts I found. I put shifters on the downtube instead of the brake shifters I first had so the bike would be closer to the period. When it was done, that night, I had to take it out for a shift, but I won’t do that again.”

Notes: For me, titanium frames speak of the seventies and eighties. I remember John Howard, one of the greatest American cyclists and a pioneer on so many fronts, rode one in the Tour of Newfoundland. He broke it in two. These frames went through evolutions of design and build as they got better and better. But the first generation were known for being super rigid —- until they broke. And John Howard was the kind of rider who could do that.  And Newfoundland was the place to test a frame.

Titanium was one of those products that were so far out of reach for cyclists like me. But they were stunning. Decades later, they have the same attraction. I wonder if carbon fibre will have the same allure.

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