Bike Test: Sage Skyline Disc

The Sage Skyline lets you do it your way

AN A-LA-CARTE TWIST ON TITANIUM

Based in Beaverton, Oregon, Sage is a titanium-specific brand that is taking the made-to-order concept seriously. As with all Sage bikes, every detail of the Skyline road bike build can be chosen and customized meaning no compromise, just a bike built the way you want. Working with one of the country’s top titanium builders allows Sage to deliver a premium frame made here in the USA with their stock geometries.

THE FRAME

The Skyline is made of 3/2.5 titanium tubes with an oversized 44mm head tube and an English threaded bottom bracket. The downtube is ovalized for added strength and stiffness. Hooded rear dropouts and a 12mm thru-axle are a mix of modern and classic. The short 41cm chainstays are shapely for a compact rear end that still leaves room for a 32mm tire.

Our test bike has a steep 73.25-degree head tube angle that is fitted with an Enve 2.0 Road fork, and both the frame and fork are drilled for a flat-mount disc caliper. The bike has a 99.3cm wheelbase on our size 56 with a stack of 39.5cm and reach of 56.4cm. The geometry on the Skyline has been slightly updated for a more aggressive and race-oriented design. The frame is fitted with a patented Cable Clip System (CCS) that routes electronic wires internally or, like our test bike, mechanical cables externally.

Sage mixes the classic hooded dropout with modern standards. The 12mm thru-axle and flat-mount brakes keep it on the leading edge of today’s standards.

THE PARTS

The build kit is where Sage truly steps away from the industry norm and allows you to choose nearly every aspect. Our test bike was built with a Shimano Ultegra R8000 mechanical drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes. A 140mm rotor in the rear and a 160mm up front help slow our tubeless-ready Enve 3.4 carbon clinchers with Enve alloy hubs. A pair of tubeless IRC Formula Pro tires in size 28mm is a great balance of performance, traction and protection.

“Owing to the titanium’s celebrated durability, at the end of the day, a titanium bike is a reliable investment, and thanks to Sage’s selling model, it makes it easy to stay within a specific budget.” 

Enve carbon parts include the stem, bars, as well as the seatpost with a Sage Beccus saddle to keep things comfy. Lizard Skins’ DSP 2.5 bar tape is also a point of customization, and we chose red of course. For gearing, the 52/36 Ultegra cranks are matched to an 11-30 cassette for great all-around riding. 

There is room to fit 32mm tires on this modern Ti frame.

THE RIDE

Since we tested the rim brake version back in September of 2015, the Skyline disc has been modernized, with the two biggest improvements being the conversion to disc brakes and 12mm thru-axles. On top of that, some slight geometry changes makes the all-around solid titanium road frame a bit more fun and aggressive. The short chainstays help aid in the responsive but still-stable handling.

At just over 18 pounds it’s not the lightest kid on the block, but climbing with it is a breeze. The bottom bracket is stiff, and the ovalized downtube does a great job of keeping the platform solid and lively. All the Enve bits are a nice touch, but the seatpost is still not a favorite of the RBA crew, thanks to its over-thought saddle-angle-adjust mechanism. The short Beccus saddle had all the test riders comfy on long and short rides. 

A Chris King headset is pressed into the oversized 44mm head tube.

Descending on this bike is fun, and the titanium tubes offer a bit of road feedback, but the IRC tires do a great job on the bigger imperfections while maintaining traction. Big efforts and sprints do see a bit of flex but nothing to fret over. One of our test riders did complain that the shape of the chainstays mixed with his cleat position meant he hit his heels on them on a few occasions.

THE VERDICT

Owing to the titanium’s celebrated durability, at the end of the day a titanium bike is a reliable investment, and thanks to Sage’s selling model, it makes it easy to stay within a specific budget. We like that there is still room for 32mm tires, even with the short chainstays and compact geometry. The addition of disc brakes and thru-axles brings the Skyline into the modern era.

While still far from inexpensive, our Shimano Ultegra-equipped bike was pushing a higher price point, thanks to the carbon fiber accessories, and different choices could save loads on the complete build. For us, we would have downgraded a few of these choices and instead opted for the L/R Stages power meter upgrade. For those that might already have parts, the frame alone sells for only $2900. Add the Enve 2.0 Road fork and Chris King headset for $3652. No matter what you have in mind, the Sage Skyline is a contender for a variety of budgets.

PUNCH LINES

• Made in the USA

• Not painted plastic

• Classic look with modern performance

STATS

Price: $8853 (frame: $2900)

Weight: 18.36 pounds

Sizes: 50, 52, 54, 56 (tested), 58, 62cm

www.sagetitanium.com

THE GEAR

Helmet: Kask Infinity            

Jersey: Audi Best Buddies Challenge      

Bib: Audi Best Buddies Challenge             

Shoes: Shimano RC9    

Socks:  Audi Best Buddies Challenge     

Glasses: Oakley Jawbreaker 

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