The imperium of titanium

About three years ago, I cycled the 75 miles (120km) over to Hunstanton on the north Norfolk coast, pitched my tent in a small campsite, and headed over to a bike shop with the unusual name of Fat Birds don’t Fly. Believed to be the largest retailer of titanium bikes in Europe, it’s the premier place to spend a day trialling a variety of different models.

At the time, I was merely toying with the idea of acquiring a titanium bike, but I spent the best part of a whole day trialling at least five different models, all of which were carefully set up to my requirements. Although I hadn’t firmly resolved to pitch in for a new bike at the time, I certainly came away with a clear idea of what to expect from titanium, and like many important purchases, I put the idea on the back burner…….until three years later…….

My habitual road bike had done about 40,000 miles of faithful service, and bits were wearing out on a regular basis, so I re-visited the idea of replacing it with a titanium model, but wasn’t ready to shell out about £3000 for a new bike. IMG_20170825_120620724My subsequent foray into the second hand market took me down to Royston, and I found myself a more-than-decent Litespeed Siena, kitted out with some reasonable accessories, including Ultegra brakes and gears, and the first ride turned out to be ‘love at first flight’. Though a smaller frame than I am used to, with steeper angles and a shorter wheelbase, the feel is light (2kg lighter than the old bike) and springy…..and I find my average speed has increased by at least 2kph.

The additional benefit was that it came with a spare set of wheels, just what I needed to replace the disintegrating wheels on my old bike. So it looks like following the usual tradition of roadies and having a ‘best bike’ for the summer months, and an ‘old hack’ for the winter. Not sure I approve of this unbridled multiplication of bikes in the garage……IMG_20170826_170746147_HDR

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on August 29, 2017, in Cycling UK and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Keith Watkins

    My principal bike is a custom ti frame that I have been using for about five years. My winter bike, with fenders and generator light set, is a Waterford steel touring bike. I haven’t compared my speed on the two bikes, but I sometimes think that I prefer the older Waterford. If I had to reduce my stock to just one bicycle, I’m not sure which one it would be.


  2. I did reduce the ‘stable’ a few years ago, but you replace worn out bikes and dither about getting rid of them. Like old spare parts, you hang on to them as a ‘just in case’……..


  3. You can never have enough bikes (are you listening Charlotte!) 😉


  4. I see you are a man who uses the N+1 principle….


  5. Hi, I’m Tomo. I’m not sure if you remember me or not but a japanese who met in Londonderry. I just backed Japan and now I had a look what you’d written. Only a few story I read for now but quiet interesting for me how you felt when you were running in japan. I’m gonna discover your blog!


  6. Hi Tomo, glad to hear from you again. Yes, let me know what you think of my trip through Japan.


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