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.

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  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’……..

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

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

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  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!

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  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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