First new model since acquisition by UK’s Planet X Bikes
It’s a year since Planet X rescued famed US bike maker Titus by purchasing the brand after it ran into difficulties. Today we’re excited to announce that the first new edition Titus Rockstar full suspension 29ers are ready to ship from Titus’s new home in Portland, Oregon. But we’re also a bit sad that this could be the last new model of bike to be built by Sapa Extrusions. More of that later.
The 2012 Rockstar has been significantly modified based on rider feedback about the 2011 model. The 2012 edition has a slightly higher bottom bracket for more pedal clearance and a shorter top tube so you can get more weight over the front end. We’ve also sorted out the seat tube shape so there’s more clearance for the rear triangle and wheel. We haven’t changed the Rockstar’s proven suspension action or pivots though.
Rockstar main frames are made to our design in Portland, Oregon by Sapa Extrusions, one of the world’s most advanced aluminium-manipulating companies. Not many people have heard of Sapa, but they have been building high-end aluminium frames for years. If you ride a US-made aluminium bike built in the last decade or so, chances are it was manufactured by Sapa. They’re good.
After they have been powder-coated the frames go through a final quality check by Sapa before we fit the shocks and all-carbon rear subframes.
We’re really proud of the Rockstar. Our sister brand On-one got an early start in 29ers, back in 2003, when everyone still thought they’d never catch on. We’ve been through all the geometry possibilities and come up bikes that exploit the speed of big wheels, but still handle well. And in the case of the Rockstar, that look as great as they ride.
Because we buy direct and sell direct, riders can get a US-made, ultra-high quality frame for a terrific price – just $1299. A Large frame weighs just 6.4lb with a Rock Shox Monarch RT3 shock and handles like it’s on rails thanks to the tapered steerer and tight-tracking 100mm travel carbon fibre back end.
At this great price, Rockstars are already selling fast, so riders who want to get their hands on one of the last bikes from a great American frame shop should get over to the Titus web shop immediately.
Made in USA
Unfortunately, Sapa have decided to cease making bike frames, though they will continue to make the tubing we use. Over at Bicycling magazine’s website, Chris Lesser covered this pretty thoroughly last week. Bottom line: the demand for high-end aluminium frames has shrunk to the point where it’s not feasible for Sapa to continue making them.
Sapa’s Ray Goody says he thinks consumers don’t care where their bikes are made. For the mass market, he’s probably right, but for a brand like Titus, making frames in the USA is a vital part of our heritage, and we’re determined to carry on.
As long as we can get tubing, which is no problem from Sapa, making frames in the USA has several advantages. Shipping from Asia is increasingly costly, and we can do small runs in the US, with quick turnaround. US manufacturing has business advantages as well as heritage values for us.
We owe a vote of thanks to Sapa for stepping up and supplying us with frames despite being one of the old Titus’s biggest creditors. They believed in our rebirth, and helped us get going again.
For more on the new Titus, see http://www.titusti.com/.
Source: John Stevenson, Head of Marketing, Planet X Bikes