Discs are the perfect partner for this material, creating a durable all-weather bike for life
economy, but for the challenges of producing a titanium bike. ‘The choice for 3AL/2.5V is down to good mechanical properties and good weldability,’ says Moorman. ‘That’s why we are able to offer a lifetime guarantee.’
The bike is far techier than one might assume. For instance, it was designed with Finite Element Analysis techniques in its construction. This is possible partly because Van Nicholas is not actually an independent brand – as the name and look might suggest – but part of the Accell group, which also includes Lapierre, Koga and Haibike. ‘That gives us more knowledge, extensive test facilities, quality standards and high assembly standards,’ says Moorman.
The frame has been constructed to take electronic and hydraulic components with internal cable routing and a clever 3D-casted dropout.
‘We have taken advantage of that casting technique to put the more technical features in the dropout rather than the tubing,’ explains Moorman. ‘For example, the flat mount, cable stopper and Di2 junction are all based in the dropout. This makes it possible to offer 1x, 2x mechanical and electronic shifting in one modular frame, without sacrificing the look of the frame with unused holes.’
Unusually, my test of the Van Nicholas began not on the road, but at my computer. Van Nicholas has a neat customisation tool that means the customer can design the bike from top to bottom in terms of build kit and finish. It’s a smooth and visually impressive system that had me wanting to up the spec at a financially perilous rate – and even offers custom painting options.
In terms of the bike’s final look, I think the disc brakes do jar slightly with the traditional lines and appeal of titanium. But I also accept that discs are the perfect partner for this material, creating a durable all-weather bike for life.
When it comes to the ride feel of titanium, I’m often a little conflicted. When done well, titanium can offer a sturdy yet comfortable ride. But trying to introduce a stiff, racy quality to the bike can sometimes spoil the balance.
Setting off on the Skeiron, that was my fear. I had just come off the back of a long stint on the S-works Diverge, a gravel bike with 38mm tyres and front suspension, so switching to 25mm tyres was initially a bit of a shock. The bike certainly pinged over the rougher patches of the road