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A LITTLE HISTORY
They may not have been the first but Merlin Cycles began producing bicycle frames in Titanium in 1986. At that time, the best racing frames were using Reynolds 531C, Reynolds 753 and Columbus SLX tubesets (among others). Titanium appeared on the scene offering similar qualities for a significant weight saving and arguably claimed the top-spot in frame tubing – for a while.
However, Reynolds, Columbus, Dedacciai, True Temper, Tange and others have been pushing the boundaries of steel tubing technology over the years and the developments have been phenomenal. The steel super-alloys have, arguably, claimed their spot at the top – once more.
Reynolds 931, for example, is strong enough to be cold-drawn to tube walls around 0.4mm thick, offering frames with a tensile strength approximately double that of 3Al/2.5V for a comparable weight to titanium.
Titanium has a lower density but the tubesets most commonly used have tube walls of around 0.9mm with butted sections in the region of 0.7mm.
As we frequently say, the frame is the heart of the bicycle and a bicycle is the sum of its parts. Consequently, we think a little extra ‘fat’ is allowed if it means greater strength, durability and ‘feel’ – the qualities we look for in our frames.
That said, our X R931 frame weighs just 1.8 kg (3.96 lbs) for our 18.0″ and all sizes are sub-4 lb. With the same acclaimed geometry and ride qualities as our other frames, we believe we’ve created something truly special.
For more information on materials, take a look at the following tubing comparsion chart.