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Quest for N=1 Waltly Custom Titanium breakaway all road bike

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Quest for N=1 Waltly Custom Titanium breakaway all road bike

Old 05-21-20, 01:07 AM
  #1  
pinholecam
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Quest for N=1 Waltly Custom Titanium breakaway all road bike

Not exactly "folding", but I post on this sub-forum the most and the bike breaks down for ease of travels / packing.
Its also a confluence of all that I have been trying to achieve / get from my quest for a bike that can handle road / trails during tours and rides fast on local weekend rides.
Is it an ideal bike and since I posted it here an ideal folding bike? - or course not. Just what I hope will fit needs within a certain window of criteria and trade offs.

I already have the Change Bike MTB setup as a gravel bike, it has been fine, but it does have 2 limitations.
1. It folds down to be rather wide. There's no escaping it, since its a full sized bike folded up. It gets a bit more narrow for packing if I remove both wheels.
2. At a more competitive level of riding (weekend warrior level only), it does suffer because of the heavier weight. Yes, its no problems if the pace is fast but steady, but once the roadies try their best to drop me, the weight and 1x makes it harder to accelerate and climb fast.


So I sat down and made an initial list on what I want as a "do it all" bike for my needs.

Use Case
1. Fast local rides - must be able to match my Tri bike performance in the group rides
2. For Credit card touring or light touring (using strap on bags )
3. Mostly road based touring with the ability to do light trails when its necessary (to get to a scenic spot )

Must have
1. Breakaway
2. Fit
3. Straight top tube with a more traditional bike look
4. Thin chainstays for compliance
5. Threaded BB
6. Try to be as light as possible with 8.5kg as a guideline weight (based on how well I like my Bike Friday which is about this weight)
7. 700c but takes at least 38mm 650b tires

Good to have
1. Straight 1 1/8" headtube to reduce weight and give compliance
2. Fender mount points
3. Rack mount points
4. Seatpost 27.2mm for softer ride


I engaged Waltly based on online reviews and this is what they gave me from my very vague "I want a gravel bike that fits me " request....

V1 of the Bike once I engaged Waltly (see how the design changes over time )


More on the engagement process with Waltly Titanium in a future post.......
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Old 05-22-20, 03:00 AM
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I chose Waltly Titanium because of the good reviews that I can find on the internet.
The often 3 companies are Waltly, Titan and XACD.
XACD, the common comment is that they are pushy though they are very capable. So I skipped on them
Titan, fewer examples on their site and less info than Waltly on the internet. (though I do know a local seller who sold their frames for many years)

I guess one can't go wrong with any of the 3 builders, I just chose what I chose.

Upon my first query, I was directed to Sumi from sales.
She would be my liaise point from now on and handle all my un-informed / silly design requests as well as patiently wait for my delayed responses.
My thumbs up to her for the patience to my many queries, odd requests, slow responses and many changes to the design.

A brief of the ordering process.
1. Submit plans - give the design idea, fit requirements, general requirements; A quote will be given for the bike
2. Design - Upon agreement and payment of 50% of the price, the design process starts with lots of back and forth on requirements and drawings;
3. Order / Fabrication- More like finalizing the design and giving the approval to build the frame
4. Graphics - adding the desired logos and finish to the frame
5. Shipping



Submit plans
My initial idea was to look for an existing design from a manufacturer as the starting point and size it down to XS or XXS size.
It just had to look the way I liked (straight top tube traditional bike look) and have some all-round/long distance riding aspect to the design.

In the end, I found that I liked the Enigma Excel, but it was not available in XS size.


Initial inspiration - the Enigma Excel



So I sized down the bike based on the geometry chart and passed it to Waltly with the instruction "design me a bike that looks like this with this geometry"

Sized down dimensions in RED.

The size down was based on a lot of referencing to my current bikes, other XS models so I had a rough idea where I wanted to go with the size, but not the full design implications.

Last edited by pinholecam; 05-22-20 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 05-28-20, 08:44 AM
  #3  
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Design

This will be the longest part of the process.
I officially have 6 drawings but in reality, it was probably 7-8, the other 2 being quick edits to see if an idea would be viable or what I had in mind.
That speaks tons of how patient and accommodating Sumi had to be to get me through the process.
All in, I think it took the whole of 1.5mths of back and forth to get thru the design phase.
A lot of this involved me having to take a few days to a week to review and think thru a drawing and design.

Often, I had to make a small A4 print of the drawing and tick on the dimensions to make sure they were what I wanted and had checked them.
Sometimes it was to draw over the design in a photo editing program to see if certain aesthetic considerations made sense (eg a straight / sloping top tube or a thicker thinner downtube )

In the end, sizing down a Enigma Excel while keeping to some of my design objectives was not totally possible and I had to make some changes to my criteria.
Stand over height while retaining a straight top tube and wide tires were design considerations that I had to get a balance of the most as they were in conflict with each other.
A sloping top tube would have solved the issues easily, but since it was to be my dream bike, the straight top tube aesthetic was a must.

Must have
1. Breakaway
2. Fit
3. Straight top tube with a more traditional bike look
4. Thin chainstays for compliance
5. Threaded BB
6. Try to be as light as possible with 8.5kg as a guideline weight (based on how well I like my Bike Friday which is about this weight)
7. 700c but takes at least 38mm 650b tires : 700c but takes at least 32mm tires and 38mm with 650b

Good to have
1. Straight 1 1/8" headtube to reduce weight and give compliance : 44mm headtube for better access on fork options
2. Fender mount points : Aesthetic considerations to keep lines as clean as possible
3. Rack mount points : Keep weigh down for what ever it was worth (and I'd use it with strap bags anyway for light touring )
4. Seatpost 27.2mm for softer ride

The final design I decide on was this one
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Old 05-29-20, 07:25 AM
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BTW, bike arrived. More on that later.....
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Old 05-30-20, 10:42 PM
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Order / Fabrication

Once the design is finalized, the approval is given and the frame will be built up.
Then nothing more but to wait for about 1 month for the frame to be ready.


Graphics

I had some time to think over the graphics, but mostly squandered my time not actually doing up the logos themselves.
Inspiration came from some bikes.
I even played with the idea of having the words in Tengwar ( LOTR Elvish ) and went as far as downloading and reading up on how to use the font.

In the end, I decided on a few ideas I have had playing in my head for a while.

A pseudo bike brand "element 22" which is the element number for Titanium.
Short form of the brand would be a "e22" the play of the "e" on Cervelo and "22" from No22 bikes.
A gear icon would form the basis for the logo on the seat tube.
I wanted a few other elements to make the bike my own, so added the logo on the top with "element 22" and the bike name "Sojourn" on the top tube.
Topped that off a dragon motiff to symbolize the typical things dragons are associated with Exotic, strength, toughness, - a forge in fire aspect of the material..
Finished it all off with a signature on the top tube front right.


Some frame photos
Shipping was very fast.
I got the Tracking Number 1hr after final payment and item arrived at my door 1 week later (via DHL Express)





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Old 06-21-20, 07:29 PM
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Bike setup



A bit of a delay with the setup due to low parts availability locally, and some last minute part purchases.
Happy with how it turned out with the weight at 7.78kg all in.

Parts
e22 Sojourn (frame made by Waltly)
Waltly fork
3T Superleggera Team handlebar
Waltly titanium stem
Cane Creek 40/44 Headset
Selle Italia SLR Titanium
Stainless steel bottle cages
Pro Carbon Seatpost

Ascent 30mm carbon wheels
Vittoria Diamante Pro tires
Continental Supersonic tubes

TRP Spyre brakes
Ashima 140mm rotors
SRAM Rival Groupset
Red Crankset 52/34
SRAM Force 11-28
KMC Chain
Hawks Racing BB
Ultegra R8000 pedals

Last edited by pinholecam; 07-01-20 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 06-22-20, 09:34 PM
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porschetoyz
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Congratulations!
That is a nice looking bike ... and the Breakaway in Ti is fantastic.
I need to rethink my N=1(?) strategy :-)
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Old 06-22-20, 11:40 PM
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pinholecam
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Originally Posted by porschetoyz View Post
Congratulations!
That is a nice looking bike ... and the Breakaway in Ti is fantastic.
I need to rethink my N=1(?) strategy :-)
Thanks

Its still many rides away for me to get a definitive answer if this bike is N=1, but I do think for now that its a bike that there is "no harm" considering since its like a regular road bike in most ways.

Good luck on your N=1 quest.
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Old 06-26-20, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Bike setup



A bit of a delay with the setup due to low parts availability locally, and some last minute part purchases.
Happy with how it turned out with the weight at 7.78kg all in.

Parts
e22 Sojourn (frame made by Waltly)
Waltly fork
3T Superleggera Team handlebar
Waltly titanium stem
Cane Creek 40/44 Headset
Selle Italia SLR Titanium
Stainless steel bottle cages
Pro Carbon Seatpost

Ascent 30mm carbon wheels
Vittoria Diamante Pro tires
Continental Supersonic tubes

TRP Spyre brakes
Ashima 140mm rotors
SRAM Rival Groupset
Red Crankset 52/34
SRAM Force 11-28
KMC Chain
Hawks Racing BB
Ultegra R8000 pedals
When designing the frame did you have a choice of tubing options to suit your weight for each tube and did they suggest best options based on your weight and the ride compliance you hoped for?
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Old 06-28-20, 12:51 AM
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pinholecam
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
When designing the frame did you have a choice of tubing options to suit your weight for each tube and did they suggest best options based on your weight and the ride compliance you hoped for?
In my case, they initially offered a more standard tubing dimensions which is often used and been done before by other customers.
I had a rough idea (from existing and prev bikes) what tubing diameters I wanted to save on weight, more compliance and not over spec it for my weight and riding style so I spec'ed down the seat stays and top tube.
They would give suggestions if things don't make that much sense, though I did not ask for tubing diameters that were too "off"
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Old 06-28-20, 05:31 AM
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The Ride



Took the bike out for a 90+km ride and then a 60km one during the weekends.

Overall, I can't be happier as the bike turned out as I had planned it to be.
The 415mm chainstay length, gives a good balance to comfort and snappy handling.
The ride is stable at speed and the front end feels light and nimble in the handling.
I was pleasantly surprised that the bike was all round stiff for all intents of acceleration and climbs, yet there is about a right amount of compliance in the thin seat stays and chain stay length.
Indeed, I was prepared for some sacrifice to stiffness for compliance, but seems like the balance turned out just right.

Over here, its still under Covid19 restrictions, so the riding group was 5 pax.
I never felt that the bike was at any limitation save for my own abilities to push it to close on the lead or sustain an effort pulling the pack in a headwind.
The breakaway system works flawlessly such that there is no reminder that the bike has it.

The cons?
1. Head tube could have been longer so that I can use less carbon spacers, but its a devil of a detail to get right (especially to keep a straight top tube and wide tire capability which pushes up the stand over height; or a less symmetrical head tube to top/downtube join )
2. The handlebar with the integrated cable routing gives quite a bit of resistance to the SRAM Rival shifting. (not that big a deal though after riding a while and getting used to it)
3. Ashima 140mm lightweight rotors are as light as they claim (67gm each) but braking performance is about that of a carbon rim brake wheel. (ok locally as its mainly flat, but I will have to swap out if riding overseas)
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Old 06-29-20, 04:20 PM
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I have one brake setup using Juin Tech R1 + compressionless housing and KCNC lightweight rotors (around 75gm).

Recently gave the rotors a good clean and did quite a long bedding-in. Now the braking power is actually pretty good.

A little surprised these thin rotors perform like this (I weigh 60kg though), as for a while I'd changed over to 110-120gm 2mm rotors with more material in them.
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Old 07-14-20, 07:26 PM
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Incidentally, ChinaCycling has just done a video piece on Waltly Titanium

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