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Old 08-07-2019, 11:48 AM
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William William is offline
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Builder Spotlight: No.22 Bicycle Co.

Vitas from Wittson Custom Cycles has been at the front of the Paceline for a while but its time for him to peel off and let the team (Bryce, Mike, Scott, Frank, Sam, Bryar, Josh, Owais, and Patrick) at New York based No.22 Bicycle Company come to the front and take a pull. So, this week keep your eyes open and watch their wheel...


Quote:
... Our mantra is:*Contemporary Performance. Artisan Precision. So, we'll be digging into the latest innovations in component and frame design as we always do to see what makes sense on our bikes. We always seek improvements in our production techniques, even if the most marginal of gains...

Our point of departure is frame material: we fell in love with the ride of titanium and named our company after it. We then took to the task of sweating details of fit and finish. Our frames are based on carefully considered geometries and tubing profiles. We use the highest grades of titanium tubing available, build our frames in our own production facility in the United States with our veteran craftsmen, and confidently back them with our ten year warranty. We carry this meticulous approach through to our clean-lined and contemporary finishes that showcase the beauty of raw and anodized titanium.
https://22bicycles.com


The guys were kind enough to take a moment and answer a list of questions for us that are a mix of standards and member contributions...plus a few off-the-wall thrown into the mix. Our hope was to convey the builders love of their craft, hard details, and offer a few questions that bring out a bit of the human element that that helps them create the works that we love.





Q&A with the team at No.22


How / why did you decide to become a frame builder?

I should start this out by noting that we operate as a team in almost every aspect of our business, so I will try to formulate my answers in a holistic manner. Every bike that goes out the door has been touched by multiple craftsmen as it works through the production process.

To the question, I would say we came to this from life-long passion for bikes and turning a dire situation into an opportunity.*

For some background, I came into road cycling in my late teens and was pretty passionate about it up until starting my Master of Architecture program which left me with little to no time to sleep, let alone ride. Mike Smith, my partner in No. 22, got his start ripping on mountain bikes as a kid, picking-up part time work in bike shops to support his habit. He ventured pretty heavily into road biking as well before undertaking a joint JD/MBA degree. Fast forward to 2012 when school's out and Mike and I both dove back into cycling and had been riding together for a couple years in Toronto, Canada. Mike was about to set on a ride from the coast-to-coast of Canada and needed a bike for it. I suggested titanium as I had recently been reacquainted with the material having had a track frame built up for my daily commuter. We used the overseas fabricator that built my bike for his and he hit the road for 3 months. When he got back he proclaimed that, "we have to do something with this material" and No. 22 Bicycle Company Inc. (named after the periodic # of Ti) was born.

Our first year saw us doing a test of concept, designing some basic frames made by the same overseas fabricator to see if we had any interest. That went well enough for us to take it to the next step, designing the bikes that would become the flagship/signature models of the brand, the Great Divide road frame and Little Wing track frame. These were contracted to Lynskey in TN with pretty solid results. When it came time to step up the quality again in late 2013, Saratoga Frameworks, the latest iteration of the former Serotta factory, had just made an announcement that they were open to contract frame building. Ben was out of the picture at this time and the business was owned by private equity company. Fortunately, the key artisans from the Serotta team were still involved: Scott Hock, head frame designer who'd been working in the bike industry since age 16, Frank*Cenchitz, head welder who had seen thousands of bikes pass through his hands, and Bryar Sesselman, who excels at extremely skillful machine and metal working, as well as finishing work. They agreed to build us two prototypes which Mike and I drove down to inspect in person and meet the team. The bikes exceeded our expectations by a wide margin and we really hit it off with the guys mentioned above. So, the next step was putting down a deposit on a full run of bikes, only for the factory be shuttered shortly afterwards (really). For a time, we were out our money and the guys were out of jobs.*

In a huge stroke of luck, we were able to get most of the deposit money back given the method we used to pay it, but the bigger issue remained; how are we going to get bikes of this quality from this team? The answer staring us in the face was to open our own production facility and hire the crew, with no previous plan to do so. We purchased what equipment was still of use from the Serotta collection and started hunting for the rest of it and a building to house it all. We ended up in an old knitting mill in Johnstown, NY, about 45 minutes away from the former Serotta space in Saratoga Springs. We found a bunch of Bridgeport mills in NJ and scooped those up, with the smaller pieces coming together in the next weeks/months. By the end of summer, 2014, we were starting to ship bikes.

We're still in the same space, having taken over the neighboring bay with an expanded amount of equipment, almost one thousand bikes out the door, a nice amount of hardware from the NAHBS exhibitions we've participated in, and most importantly, a larger team: Sam Dries, our second welder, Josh Mock, another former Serotta employee in finishing, and an intern from the local trade school, Owais Husain.

Oh - and we’re happy to announce that Patrick Gillham has just joined us. Patrick worked with the guys at Serotta, and continued on in the industry afterwards. His most recent appointment was a two year tenure as production manager at Speedvagen. We’re extremely excited about having him join the team!


What influences the artistic side of your designs?

The majority of the design work falls on my lap, given my background. I would say it is most influenced by my architecture career having learned how to focus on the gestalt of the bike: how all the separate pieces, some made by us, others by component manufacturers, come together as a whole.*

We keep our aesthetic pretty minimal, allowing the natural beauty of titanium and its unique anodizing capability to shine through. Our logo and graphics package were helped in development by Andrew Di Rosa, a graphic designer and cyclist based in Toronto. In the last iteration, we developed a unique language for each model that reflects the discipline of that particular bike.


What is your method to determine fit?*

We have developed a collection of eight models which each represent our philosophy of how a bike built for each discipline should ride. All of these models are offered in stock sizes from 48cm to 60cm. If a client requires customization, we work with their fit points to place them on one of these models, without compromising the philosophy/intended ride characteristics of the bike. We don't put bikes out in the world as 'one off' geometry approaches that we haven't thoroughly vetted.


What is it that keeps you passionate and focused?*

I would say we're most motivated by continuously honing our product. With bike design, you can really examine and spend time with and on (riding) the product to see what sings and what could be made to sing even louder. Over the years we've made an increasing number of the parts on our bikes uniquely No. 22. Examples include our custom take on the Syntace X-12 dropout, our cast titanium seat mast topper that adorns our ISP bikes, our tapered head tube design made specifically for us by Paragon, and now our own line of carbon forks that allow us to get the tire clearance we're after while maintaining the performance oriented mission of our frame geometries.


Can you tell us about your first bike? What did you love*
(or love to hate) about it?*


My first bike was a Lemond*Alpe d'Huez.*I loved the first experiences of a riding what was a contemporary bike for the time, and hated the ride quality of the aluminum frame. I was able to buy a riding buddy's used Litespeed shortly after, which sparked my love affair with Ti.


How many times have you burned yourself or get carbon*
splinters?


I would have to defer to the guys at the shop for that one, and I can almost certainly say they'd answer "too many to count" or similar. I get calluses and carpal tunnel from typing and drawing all day: is that as “legit”?


What's your favorite beer or wine?

We all love beer. There are some amazing craft breweries popping up in our area such as Stump City Brewery which plays host to our factory CX team very often... I'm starting to wonder if they're just in it for the beer. There's actually a brewery in the old Serotta facility as well. Frank always has a Guinness close by, Mike and I partake in many of the new craft breweries that have been opening at a rapid number in Canada (he in Toronto, I in Calgary). I'm on a sour kick, namely those offered by local favorite, The Dandy Brewing Company.


Heard any cool music lately?

Frank is still actively playing in punk bands and takes in a lot of shows in Albany. There's always music playing at the shop which tends to lean to punk, metal, and rock. We just had two great festivals here in Calgary, Sled Island and the Folk Fest. My standouts from those events were Cass McCombs and Cedric Burnside.


How did you meet your spouse or significant other?

Scott and Mike are the only ones hitched at this time. Scott and his wife, Erin, met in 1999 and have been married since 2004. They have two children Soria and Asher; Asher is already starting to race bikes and join his dad on the MTB trails. Mike met his wife Shannon at the University of Toronto Outdoors Club eight years ago, and they have been married for three years. They have a two year old girl, Morgan, who hitches a lift to daycare everyday on her parents Tern cargo bike.


What's there to do for fun in your town?

In Johnstown, the guys ride a lot. Being in the Hudson river valley offers some amazing riding for both road and MTB. I'm not sure Mike has time for fun right now given his family obligations, but they do get out to the family cottages as much as possible and ride when they can. I've recently moved back to my hometown of Calgary, AB where we're near the Rockies, so lots of biking, catching up with friends and family, and venturing back into skiing.


Do you put mustard or ketchup on your _Hot Dog_?

I say mustard. I won't ask everyone else as I don't want to create an irreconcilable rift amongst the team.


What person or people in your life has influenced you the most on your path as a builder?

I don't know if there's just one. We've all had our mentors whether within the industry (the crew coming-up under the guidance and tutelage of Ben Serotta, Dave Kirk, etc.) - as well as those that have guided and influenced us in our lives in general. I would say that we're collectively influenced by the talent we see at NAHBS every year. We try to make a point of giving everyone from our team in attendance a chance to walk the floor and soak it all in. Whether it be observing the incredible skill of builders and finishers, or seeing how others are attempted to push the materials they work with in forward thinking ways.


What type of bicycle is requested the most for you to build? Road, cross, track, fixed gear?*

We were really surprised by the interest in our track bike, the Little Wing. We didn't think there would be too much of a market for Ti track bikes, but we were proven wrong. As of the last couple seasons, it has definitely been our gravel bikes, the Drifter and Drifter X.


Who would you want to build a bike for you?

Toss-up between Chris Bishop, Rob English, and Dave Kirk. Maybe they could be convinced to work together? The English Bishop, and Dave could be the 'ghost' fabricator.


What is it about your approach to building/designing bikes that makes you unique, or separates you from the other builders out there?

I think what I touched on earlier: our desire to keep honing our product and overseeing the production of as many elements on our bike as possible. With every revision to our models, there's fewer off-the-shelf items. That is, strip our bikes of any graphic identifiers and they would always be unmistakably a No. 22.*


Through your growth and progression as a frame builder, can you share a high point, and a low point that you feel helped shape who you are as a builder today?

I'm sure the whole team would agree that the 2019 NAHBS show was a high point. Taking Best in Show, Best in Show Campagnolo, Best Silca Incorporated Build, and ribbons for Best Finish, Best Tig Weld, and Best Road Bike blew us all away. Funny enough, the finishing of that bike came down to the wire and had to be somewhat compromised - it was really keeping me up the nights before the show. Having not seen it in person, I was panicked into considering having it stripped in the eleventh hour - sure glad I didn't give into the anxiety!

Low point? There are times when keeping up with demand is tough to handle. These bikes aren't easy to make, especially at the tolerances and standards we hold ourselves to. We saw a pretty big increase in demand over the last two seasons and we work as hard as we can to keep up. Unfortunately it’s just not an option to double our production staff when demand doubles: there just aren't Ti welders with 20+ years of experience standing on the corner looking for work. That said, we've made some pretty significant breakthroughs in our production efficiency and are currently putting out more bikes a week than ever before.*


In any line of work, there is always something in the process that people feel they really excel at. What is that part of the process for you?*

My strengths would be in design and sleuthing-out material and parts suppliers. Mike has a great technical sensibility and is a sound decision maker. Scott is incredibly skilled at custom bike design and one hell of a mechanic. Frank's welds are some of the best in the game, Sam is catching-up to Frank at a pace we're very proud of. Bryar is a machine of a machinist—ask him to do just about anything from tube manipulation to anodizing and he'll figure it out and nail it. Josh has really come into his own in the finishing department.*Patrick doubled the production output during his tenure at Speedvagen, really excited to see what he can do to improve our efficiency.


How long is your wait list?

Approximately 12 weeks. We're always seeking to find efficiencies in production without compromising quality to get that time down.


How long have you been building frames.*

When we add up the collective experience amongst the team, we're over 80 years; wow...funny to look at it like that.

Bryar - 14 years
Bryce - 7 years
Frank - 22 years
Josh - 4 years
Mike - 7 years
Patrick - 10 years
Owais - 1 year
Sam - 4 years
Scott - 14 years


Is there any type of bike, or request that you would decline to build?

As noted earlier, we only build bikes that we can confidently know how they will ride. We respectfully decline customers who give us a drawing and say "build me this".


What does the future hold for No. 22 bicycles, where do you see the business in 5 years? Any top secret innovations on the horizon?*

Our mantra is:*Contemporary Performance. Artisan Precision. So, we'll be digging into the latest innovations in component and frame design as we always do to see what makes sense on our bikes. We always seek improvements in our production techniques, even if the most marginal of gains. As of concrete explorations, we're taking a look at fully integrated cockpit routing, hydroforming, and finish options such as Cerakote... all of these things are still in their preliminary stages, so please don't ask for a Cerakoted frame with fully integrated cockpit and a hydroformed tube set just yet .


Do you have a favorite part of the building process?

I'm a fan of seeing the whole product come together - it's not a bike until it's fully built.


What is the most unusual / unique bicycle you've ever*
built?

We don't venture into the realm of novelty or eccentricity. The Aurora road disc bike that we built for NAHBS likely had the most unique features we're ever included, from our own fork design, custom titanium fenders, and a finish composed of anodizing with multi-layers of gloss and matte paint.*


What is your favorite non-cycling obsession?*

I have a pretty obsessive personality: right now my attention is split between Hi-Fi stereo equipment, vintage Rickenbacker bass guitars, and contemporary furniture design.



Many thanks to Bryce and the Team for taking the time to answer our questions! Please feel free to ask any questions that pop up while admiring No.22's work. They can answer any questions you might have.

William


PS: In case you missed it, the previous Builder's Spotlight can be found here...
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Last edited by William; 10-21-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2019, 06:57 PM
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Hilltopperny Hilltopperny is offline
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Location: Lassellsville NY
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My two go to bikes are the Drifter and the Great Divide. I have been through tons of bikes and usually find myself passing along the majority of them after one season. My No.22 bikes are not going anywhere. They are that good!

Sent from my LGL423DL using Tapatalk
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:24 PM
SoCalSteve SoCalSteve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilltopperny View Post
My two go to bikes are the Drifter and the Great Divide. I have been through tons of bikes and usually find myself passing along the majority of them after one season. My No.22 bikes are not going anywhere. They are that good!

Sent from my LGL423DL using Tapatalk
As you may know, I’ve owned a bike or two over the years ( probably close to 50, but who’s counting? ) and I’ve owned 3 variants of Moots. The craftsmanship on my Aurora is up to par with all 3 of the Moots that I owned. And, the detailing of the Aurora far surpasses the Moots on every level. The shapes of the tubing is absolutely gorgeous.

Oh, it rides as well ( and is as comfortable as my last Moots - RSL ).

And lastly, both Bryce and Mike were a pleasure to deal with, truly. There was a hiccup along the way on their end, but they came through like champs!
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:07 AM
roguedog roguedog is offline
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Hey Team 22 - have had the pleasure of speaking to each of you over the years during NAHBS. Always look forward to seeing how you've progressed and watching what you all come up with next. Have been a fan of yours for a number of years now. Go 22!

Question

You say that for each model you have an ideal ride that you strive for. Can you describe what those are for each model?

If I have a preferred shop who already has my fit, can they contact 22 even though they are not in your dealer network?
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:42 PM
GonaSovereign GonaSovereign is offline
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My Broken Arrow, which is slightly custom with some minor geo adjustments. It’s been exceptional for racing CX, doing gravel races, going on adventures, punching well above its weight in the singletrack, and subbing in for my road bike occasionally. This is a super versatile race bike, although officially a CX bike.

Great people making super bikes.

Tour of Pelham 2_web
Untitled
Lakeshore 22
22&mosaic
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Old 01-29-2020, 04:11 PM
BigLips BigLips is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GonaSovereign View Post
My Broken Arrow, which is slightly custom with some minor geo adjustments. It’s been exceptional for racing CX, doing gravel races, going on adventures, punching well above its weight in the singletrack, and subbing in for my road bike occasionally. This is a super versatile race bike, although officially a CX bike.

Great people making super bikes.

Tour of Pelham 2_web
Untitled
Lakeshore 22
22&mosaic
Wow I love that matching fork and stem in the last picture!
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Old 02-07-2020, 06:43 PM
GonaSovereign GonaSovereign is offline
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Originally Posted by BigLips View Post
Wow I love that matching fork and stem in the last picture!
It’s Vélocolour work.

Last edited by GonaSovereign; 02-16-2020 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 04-08-2020, 05:26 PM
Bryce22 Bryce22 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 15
Hi all - I'd be remiss if I didn't bring our current promotion to your attention.

In short: receive 22% off all framesets and complete bikes, with only 60% down, until April 10th*. All support through this trying time is extremely appreciated.

*We will honor that price for a few more days given the late notice here.

Our official release below.


AD MELIORA TEMPORA | TOWARDS BETTER DAYS

COVID-19 is impacting all of our businesses in dramatic and different ways. For us at No. 22 this unprecedented time has lead to a hard hitting, state-ordered “pause” at our Johnstown, NY factory. While our machines sit idle and our talented and dedicated team waits on the sidelines, we are launching a program to help drive sales and make our bikes more attractive to your customers than ever.

We're offering the only discount we've run in more than seven years.

Save 22% off MSRP of any No. 22 frameset or complete build, including 22% off finishes and custom geometry (accessories excluded).
Please note that given the current closure of our factory, we can't currently commit to our normal 12-week lead time.

We will be promoting the sale through all of our channels beginning April 3, and each promotion will have a specific call-out to purchase through that customer's dealer.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to any of us here at No. 22 with any questions.

-

No. 22 Bicycle Company Inc.


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Old 10-31-2019, 01:21 PM
Bryce22 Bryce22 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roguedog View Post
Hey Team 22 - have had the pleasure of speaking to each of you over the years during NAHBS. Always look forward to seeing how you've progressed and watching what you all come up with next. Have been a fan of yours for a number of years now. Go 22!

Question

You say that for each model you have an ideal ride that you strive for. Can you describe what those are for each model?

If I have a preferred shop who already has my fit, can they contact 22 even though they are not in your dealer network?
Thanks for your questions!

In regards to the dealer query, we don't offer dealer margins to non-dealers as we don't want to step on the feet of the shops that have invested in the brand. Please send me an email to bryce <<at>> 22bicycles.com to discuss how we can get your sorted.

A quick top-of-head geo summary below. Feel free to reach-out if you have any specific questions.

Overview

All of our bikes have a performance oriented focus. That is realized in the geometry and tube selection.

Road

Great Divide / Great Divide Disc:

- Our flagship model we call a '9/10ths' race bike
- Aggressive enough for spirited club rides, comfortable enough for long days in the saddle
- A lower bottom bracket height and a little more trail upfront for predictable handling and descending

Aurora:

- Similar approach to the Great Divide with a slightly tighter wheelbase/rear end
- Wears our 'premium' features of a tapered/integrated head tube and carbon ISP with our cast Ti topper resulting in about a half-pound weight savings over the Great Divide

Reactor:

- Our race oriented geometry
- Higher in the bottom bracket for tight cornering, a little less trail for a more lively front-end
- Wears our 'premium' features of a tapered/integrated head tube and carbon ISP with our cast Ti topper resulting in about a half-pound weight savings over the Great Divide

Gravel

Drifter:

- Our most popular model, a gravel bike that has more of a road geo heritage than a touring bike allowing for spirited riding while retaining all-day/week/month comfort.
- 700c/650b swappable for maximum versatility

Drifter X:

- Designed as a gravel race bike
- A tighter rear-end than the standard Drifter and a little less stack for a more aggressive rider positioning
- Wears our 'premium' features of a tapered/integrated head tube and ISP with our cast Ti topper resulting in about a half-pound weight savings over the Drifter

CX

Broken Arrow:

- Our CX race bike
- A tight geo with a high bottom bracket to clear ground obstacles, slacker in the front end for stability through nasty course conditions
- Horizontally ovalized top tube and for shouldering

Track

Little Wing:

- Our track offering with a fairly conventional pursuit geo, with an eye to being equally suited to urban fixed gear riding

MTB

Old King:

- A XC race-ready hardtail
- Relatively tight chainstays and quick yet stable front-end handling for tight single cornered single track
-Comfortable enough for endurance / 24h events

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:26 PM
Bryce22 Bryce22 is offline
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Thanks for posting up your No. 22s!

Thanks to everyone who's been posting-up their No. 22s and feedback on their bikes!

Those first-hand impressions are invaluable for a relatively young brand such as ours.

-B
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Old 10-31-2019, 05:01 PM
OtayBW OtayBW is offline
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^
^
Anyone who names his product bike 'Little Wing' is Otay By Me! Just saying....
And BTW - your descriptions (above) are great - more helpful (to me...) from an overview perspective than what is shown on your website.
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Last edited by OtayBW; 10-31-2019 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 11-01-2019, 01:35 AM
Bryce22 Bryce22 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtayBW View Post
^
^
Anyone who names his product bike 'Little Wing' is Otay By Me! Just saying....
And BTW - your descriptions (above) are great - more helpful (to me...) from an overview perspective than what is shown on your website.
Glad they helped! We are planning on a massive site overhaul for the 2021 season. Would love to get to it sooner, but building bikes takes precedent over building sites.

-B
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:15 PM
vincenz vincenz is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 692
Builder Spotlight: No.22 Bicycle Co.

I’ve put over 2000 miles on my Great Divide in one year, competing with 2 other bikes. I reach for it most of the time. I find it’s tuned for the perfect balance of ride quality, stiffness, comfort, and handling. No22 have done such a great job with it. Build quality and craftsmanship are off the charts. It’s my forever bike!


Last edited by vincenz; 11-14-2019 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:45 PM
dziekiel dziekiel is offline
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Absolutely drool worthy. Can you please post the standard geo for the 60cm: Great Divide and Aurora?

thanks!
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:34 PM
Toddtwenty2 Toddtwenty2 is offline
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Posts: 313
Tube manipulation

Hello,

In my humble opinion, you all at No 22 make some of the nicest bicycles available today. Your bikes get incredible praise and I have no doubts that they are wonderful.

Seeing as this is formerly a Serotta forum, and your organization houses many of the individuals previously employed by Serotta, I can’t help but compare your bicycles to the bicycles coming out under that advanced bicycle-fabricating organization. Would it be possible to elaborate further on your tubeset butting and swaging processes in comparison?

I have always believed that the Serotta Legend was the most thoughtfully considered titanium tubeset. Whether this is true or not is debatable. However, Ben did a thorough job of educating everyone on his butting, swaging, and bending of tubes to create the best ride he could produce. I was wondering if you’d be open to divulging where you decided to include butting/swaging decisions versus do away with them in comparison. Your bicycles certainly have advancements beyond Serotta in areas like the head tube, your prices are more amenable, and your bikes have a more broad use-case as far as I am concerned. However, Serotta went deep into the rabbit hole of tube manipulation to constantly work toward the desired ride characteristics they strived for at the lowest weight they could achieve. Since many individuals in your organization were within those walls, I would be very interested to hear more about your thought process behind butting, swaging, and tube manipulation.

No worries if this is not something you’d like to delve into at a detailed level. Again, your bicycles garner unanimous praise, and I would love to own one. I am sure that these tubeset manipulation decisions have been thoughtfully considered, but I don’t understand the logic and reality behind the considerations and choices. These are fun details to know and great selling points on nerdy bicycle forums.

With much admiration and respect,
Todd

Last edited by Toddtwenty2; 11-14-2019 at 09:39 PM.
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