BIKE TEST: Sage Skyline

Titanium was once the premier material of choice for bicycle frame builders and, thanks to several talented artisans, still remains a viable option for many cyclists due to its ride quality and durability. But since the material can be cost-prohibitive for many consumers, the Oregon-based company Sage has taken it upon itself to offer a unique way for someone to build their titanium dream bike. Meet the Skyline.

THE FRAME
The Skyline frame is a unique design created by Sage and manufactured by titanium bike company Lynskey at their Tennessee factory before being shipped to Sage’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon, for the build process. It’s crafted from 3/2.5 titanium tubes and includes a 44mm head tube, a classic external English-threaded bottom bracket, and, thanks to Sage’s patent-pending cable-guide system, can accommodate either external cable routing for mechanical drivetrains and easy maintenance or internal routing for electronic wires and clean aesthetics.

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Seven frame sizes are available, and our size-50cm test bike featured head and seat angles of 72.25 and 74.5 degrees, respectively, as well as a 122mm head tube length. Considering that Lynskey’s builders has been manufacturing titanium bicycle frames for over 30 years, it’s no surprise that the Skyline evokes terrific craftsmanship.

THE PARTS
Key to a Skyline purchase is that they now customize every bike to the customer’s wishes. The company’s website even includes a full customization feature where you can pick out every component and order your new bike directly, with the transaction going through your local Sage dealer if applicable.

Our test bike came equipped with a Shimano Ultegra 6800 drivetrain, a cockpit made up of aluminum bits from Thomson, and a set of Rolf Prima Vigor aluminum clinchers with custom, color-matched graphics wrapped in Michelin Pro4 Endurance tires. Our test bike build, which also included an Enve 2.0 carbon fork and Chris King headset, would retail for $6300.

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THE RIDE
The Skyline’s 44mm head tube helps give it plenty of front-end stiffness for aggressive riders and makes for a very responsive steering feel. We found the bike’s rear end to be relatively compliant compared to some other titanium bikes we’ve ridden, although there is still a fair bit of road feedback that comes up from the rear wheel, particularly the high-frequency, low-impact vibrations one finds along chip-sealed roads. The threaded bottom bracket has been a bike industry standard for a long time, and while the Skyline’s is still perfectly functional, it doesn’t offer the same noticeable power transfer that one would find in a comparably priced carbon bike. Overall, the Skyline proved comfortable enough for long-distance rides and offered a great steering feel, even if the more racing-focused rider would prefer a stiffer chassis. And, sadly, we were only able to fi t up to size 25mm tires on our size 50cm test bike.

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THE VERDICT
Sage aimed the Skyline to be a solid all-rounder with relatively neutral geometry to appeal to the masses, and to that end they’ve succeeded. With titanium in the right hands, you’ll get a frame that will last you a lifetime as well as a unique and enjoyable ride quality.

Because custom titanium frames can be relatively expensive, what Sage offers is a production frame that the vast majority of cyclists out there would enjoy riding for a long time at a good value. No, it’s not the most comfortable ride, nor does it offer the highest performance, but it provides an impressively nice middle ground that gives it the versatility to take on most any riding situation. And since Sage will build up your frame with nearly any part you desire, what more could you want?

PUNCH LINES
• Great handling characteristics
• Made in the USA
• Countless custom builds available

STATS
Price: $2500 (frame); $6300 (as tested)
Weight: 17.1 pounds
Sizes: 50 (tested), 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62c

Check out the craftsmanship at sagetitanium.com

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