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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 122 > TI HARD

TI HARD

firee titanium hardtails fit for an action hero.
PHOTOGRAPHY JAMES VINCENT

Titanium. Four syllables that in the bike world may well hint at a significant birthday, or a recent (or impending) divorce. But just as Die Hard is not just a Christmas movie, so a titanium hardtail need not be a once in a lifetime purchase. Well, it probably will be, because that’s half the point – it’ll still be going when John McClane is fighting terrorists over the River Styx. The point is, you shouldn’t wait for some sort of crisis or Big Life Moment to consider buying yourself a piece of the sexy silver stuff. And if you are having a Big Life Moment, well, it’s cheaper than a Porsche and less painful than a tattoo.

While the question of whether Bruce Willis in a vest is a sex object might be up for debate, there can surely be no division of opinion over the appeal of a titanium frame. Smooth tubing, tidy joins and frame flourishes and finishes make a titanium bike the little black dress of the cycling world – always classy, with timeless appeal. But it’s not all aesthetics: as well as the longevity of a titanium frame, they’re light and comfortable to ride.

Yes, there’s a price to pay for being strong, light and sexy, but the tag might not be quite so high as you’d expect. Indeed, our trio of rides here are almost half the price of the last titanium bike test we did for the magazine, so there should be no need to set up any elaborate robbery plots to add one of these to your shed. We’ve got an international line up for you: the Danish Kingdom Bike, the British Sonder, and the Nordest from Tenerife. Which one will have us shouting ‘Yippee-ki-yay’ as we hit the trails? There’s only one way to find out. Get the detonators.

KINGDOM VENDETTA X2

Price: £3999.00 (as tested) From: Kingdom Bike, kingdombike.com

Kingdom Bike is based in Copenhagen and like many other brands from around the world, it designs and develops bikes at its HQ, then has frames manufactured elsewhere in the world. In this case, China.

While some bike manufacturers might offer steel, alloy, and even carbon frames, Kingdom only uses titanium for all of its bikes, even the full-suspension models. Part of this decision is simply down to the brand’s love of titanium frames, and how high-quality Ti frames make the Kingdom team feel. Looking over the brand’s website you’ll learn that they are all quite nostalgic about some of the original titanium frames, so when the company formed in 2013 this is the material that they decided to use.

Titanium also has characteristics that make it perfect for building a hardcore hardtail frame. Its ability to dampen vibrations and shock make it perfect for a bike without bouncy bits. Corrosion or rust isn’t an issue either, not to mention the fact that its resistance to fatigue is legendary – just what you need from a bike you’re likely to chuck about.

For our Ti Hard review, Kingdom sent over the Vendetta X2 built up with a collection of rather tasty titanium and carbon parts. The X2 is the most affordable frame in the Kingdom range and costs just €999; however, it gets the same geometry and design as the more expensive €1,899 Vendetta frame.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Finding Your Place Chipps is away in Moab, so Hannah has taken over. She thinks Moab is all very well, but there might be even happier places to be. UK Adventure: Snowdon All Ways Tom Fenton thinks that riding all the bridleways on Snowdon in one go is a good idea. Surprisingly he finds friends willing to join him. Will they ever join him again? Column: Jason Miles Jason asks us to mind our manners while we’re riding, or in the supermarket. International Adventure: Vancouver’s Treasure Islands Ryan Stuart takes a tour of the slow paced islands where quiet trails lie waiting. Classic Ride: Borders of the Borderlands Olly Townsend takes us on a classic moorland yomp in Northumberland’s quiet fringes. Interview: Tracy Moseley - Mother Hucker The queen of enduro isn’t slowing down as she adds motherhood to her titles. Bike Test: Ti Hard Our very own Bruce Willis lookalike, Andi Sykes, tests out three titanium hardtails from Kingdom, Nordest and Sonder. Editors’ Choice Our team pick out their product, place and bike highlights of 2018. International Adventure: Risking It For Polish Champagne Dorota Juranek goes on her rst bike packing trip, through the snowy urban decay of Poland. Charlie Says: Abus Alarm Lock Charlie the Bikemonger checks out the Abus Alarm Lock. Beyond The Review: In My Shoes Products don’t just get tested, we live with them. Hannah looks at the relationship between her shoes and her riding. Climbing Up In Trentino, Stepping Back In Time Pete Scullion and trials rider Ali Clarkson take their ill prepared bodies round 100km of history in the Italian mountains. Last Word: Highland Heist Charlie the Bikemonger reveals his criminal past.