Year in and year out, we ride, test, and see plenty of bikes on the road. And whether it’s a road, cyclocross or gravel bike, titanium remains as much a popular and reasonable frame material to consider as any other. How do we know? Because the Wall Street Journal says so!
“Titanium has become the last refuge of artisans in an industry dominated by international brands that source the vast majority of carbon frames from factories in China or Taiwan.” The Wall Street Journal, 3.2.19
Artisans aside, we’ve been riding titanium bikes of every variety for years and have not only seen firsthand how they’ve evolved, but who they endure. For titanium frame designer Dave Rosen, having an endorsement from The WSJ certainly qualifies as a marketing assist that you can only be thankful for. Rosen started his Sage Titanium brand back in 2013 and has been pumping out a succession of interesting models, the most recent seen at the Sea Otter Classic where we caught up with him before he traveled down south to compete in the Belgian Waffle Ride.
RBA: How many different models do you sell?
Dave Rosen: Currently we offer 4 models. Road (Skyline), Gravel (Barlow), CX (PDXCX), and All-Mountain (Flow Motion). We just launched our updated Skyline Disc road bike and our new World Cup inspired 29er XC Optimator. The XC bike would be model #5. Of course, we also do full custom designs, so just about anything the client wants, we can do.
RBA: Where are the frames made?
DR: All of our frames are made in the USA. Every single bike is unique to Sage- the tube shapes, geometry, everything. The builders may change, but I still QC every frame that comes back from our team of US builders.
RBA: What’s the inside info on the new bike? What changes were made?
DR: The inside scoop on the Skyline is that we have upped the “Aggression” factor with an updated geometry that improves stiffness and still has the same handling characteristics that the Skyline is known for. The big news is that it is now able to run 32mm tires with short chainstays. It handles great on the road, but if the ride gets into “mixed-surface” territory, then you can still throw down if you need to.
The news on the Optimator mountain bike is that it is a World Cup inspired XC race hardtail. Dropper post, 100mm fork travel, 29×2.3 inch tire clearance, and an aggressive geometry mean you can attack the course no matter how gnarly it gets- for an XC course. This was a one-off project bike for one of our Factory Team riders and it morphed into something more when people started requesting it. This is a completely new design for us, so we started from the ground up.
RBA: Is there any one thing you have learned about titanium (bikes) since you started that has you doing things differently?
DR: Something I have learned is about using different tube shapes and diameters to help fine-tune the ride of the bike. The new Skyline is a great example where I am using the smallest diameter seat stays I have ever used for compliance purposes on the rear of the bike as I increased the downtube diameter for better stiffness and responsiveness. Also, from a general design standpoint, being able to come up with creative solutions that are still pleasing to the eye when it comes to working around issues like flat mount brakes for example.
RBA: When did the saddle business start for Sage? What saddles do you sell?
DR: The saddle business started late last year and has really taken off this year. Right now, we offer one saddle in two different widths. It’s called the Beccus saddle and it is short/ snub nose design that takes the pressure off the “sensitive areas” that a cyclist will have with a traditional saddle. It’s super comfortable and can be used on any style of bike for both men and women.