Dirtbox 9 – Titus X Carbon reviewWritten: June 10, 2010
General Brain Farts
I’ve been lucky enough to get my grubby little mitts on a few demo bikes after the last month or so, having had a chance to get to know them reasonably well I’ll be posting a few reviews over the coming couple of weeks.
First off the mark though we have the super lushness that is the Titus X Carbon. Now as you can see from the picture this is a top drawer bit of kit and the importers had spared no expense when speccing it. Although we never had an actual price for the bike I’m guessing it was definitely in the region of a £5K build and as such it had a lot to live up to. Surprisingly it was a build that I don’t think I’d want to change any part of and as those who know me will tell you that’s quite unusual as I am a bit of a tart!
It’s specced as a lightweight XC race / trail slaying weapon, and tips the scales at a scant 22lbs 13oz. This obviously came as a bit of a shock to me as the week previously I had been riding my El Guapo which weighs in at a slightly more portly 32lbs! This has the immediate effect of making you feel like someone has stuck a rocket on the bike, it feels light an nimble and it is just a blast to ride.
One of the interesting things on the bike was the Rotor chainset, I had seen these cranks before as Slim has a set on his road bike. You could be forgiven to think that you had travelled back in time to the days of biopace! The theory goes that because the chainring is elliptical you have more teeth on the part where your leg produces the most power and less on the weaker part of the stroke. Does it work? Well I can’t really say for sure, the bike was so much lighter than my own it simply flew along anyway. It would be interesting to get a set to try on my own bike so I could make a proper comparison (perhaps Slim would like to add something in the comments as he has been using them for a while…..) .
Next up is the Industry 9 wheelset. Built up with Stans 355 rims this is one light set of hoops. I’m used, and quite happy with, a £250 set of Hope wheels, so I was intrigued to see what the difference between them and a set that costs over three times as much would be like. Obviously a major factor is the weight and you notice this straight off with easier acceleration. Also the straight pull spokes make for a noticeably stiffer wheel, despite the fact this was an XC wheelset it was noticeable that you could stuff them into a corner pretty hard and they felt very solid. The best part though was the pick up on the freehub. I’m not sure how many degrees you have to turn a Hope hub through before the freehub engages, but with the I9 wheels it is a mere 3 degrees! It’s quite a revelation though, as soon as you pedal the power is down.
So what is it like?
Well let me start by saying it wasn’t a bike thought I’d get on with. It has fairly traditional XC geometry and I haven’t ridden a bike like that since I sold my Hei Hei a few years ago. I was expecting it to be a bit of a handful with the steep geometry, but I’m pleased to say it was a really sure footed, stable and a joy to ride. Blatting through Angmering Park on several sections I found myself keeping pace with Hoops and ASBO, which although does happen occasionally it is a rarity. The fact that I totally forgot what I was on and got on with the job in hand can only be a good thing, although I was a bit nervous of clouting the chainrings on some of AP’s logs!
Climbing is accomplished with ease, the light weight of the bike and the fast acceleration of the wheels shine through, it would make a great race bike, but equally if specced carefully a great trail bike too. At the end of the day it’s the type of frame that someone will buy and spec exactly the way they want.
It would be difficult to say a bike that cost this much was necessary, however the Carbon X has that ‘X Factor’ (sorry!), everyone that has come in the shop has drooled over it and you will be seeing a few of them around on the south downs from now on…….
The full gallery can be seen here
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