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God/Devil in the details…

All cables run along the top tube with a neat crossover near the seat tube.

All cables run along the top tube with a neat cross over near the seat tube.

So now you’ve got the angles and measurements all sorted is that it?

Blimey no, this is a custom frame! All the little things that someone else normally deals with are now your responsibility.

Where the cable guides go is often a matter of personal preference – I like them running over the top of the top tube and on the top of the seat stays. It’s direct and means that the cable doesn’t have to be wound around the tube like it does if it’s secured on the underside of the seat stays. It also leaves the underside of the top tube free so you can pick the bike up more comfortably and hang battery packs under it.

I’m even more fussy as I run the top tube gear guides either side of the central brake hose guides, this reduces the rubbing of the cables on the head tube with the price of a small crossover between the brake hose and the rear derailleur cable just before the seat tube. Gear cables are standard stops with the brake hose using those neat ‘zip tie’ guides.

XACD should be able to run them anyway you like though, so just ask and then check the drawing like a hawk to make sure everything’s where it needs to be.

What’s 5 degrees here and there? Just being extra picky I even specified a 5 degree tweak in the angle of the cable hanger on the seat tube so it lines up with the front mech better. Having thought about this now I might keep it straight next time (!) as the cable line isn’t so good if you’re using a ‘top swing’ front mech where the cable attaches to the right hand side of the bike. I’ve got a ‘bottom swing’ front mech on there currently but find it catches mud something terrible and the top swing design is more pleasingly minimal.

Gusset between head tube and down tube - not the worlds prettiest!

Gusset between head tube and down tube - not the worlds prettiest!

Gussets, or extra plates welded to tube junctions, are an area where opinion is divided. Some people think they need to be welded on leaving the ends free, others that they can actually risk making the joint weaker due to the extra welding involved and shouldn’t be used at all! Titanium needs to be welded in an oxygen free environment to prevent contamination of the joint which causes weakness, the more welding you do the more it risks a join being weakened.

Having had a look at what other people do I think I can get away without putting any on. If you look at the Ragley/Lynskey Titanium frame they use very similar tubing specs to ‘Love You Long Time’ and they’re happy to offer a big guarantee! It’s probably safe to assume that they are on most frames as a ‘cosmetic’ enhancement to reassure people rather than being strictly necessary.

If you feel the need though XACD are quite happy to put gussets wherever you fancy, although there is a small charge ($15-$25) and it has to be said they’re not the most attractive things you’ll ever see!

Crud Catcher bosses under the down tube are another area where some people are happy to use them (Van Nicolas) and others say it weakens the tube in an area of critical stress (Ragley). I decided to go with the safest option and not put them on, although I did have them on Ti-Bride, it also saved a few quid and I wanted to keep the cost as low as possible.

Water bottle bosses are another option, On-One don’t put bosses on the seat tube so the saddle can be lowered as much as possible. I’m not sure anyone lowers their saddle that much and I like the option of being able to carry bottles/light batteries as needed, so I specced both seat tube and down tube bosses with XACD taking care of exactly where they went.

You might have noticed some frames using a small tube between the seat stay and the chain stay to brace the rear disk mount (Cotic do this). Having looked at how Ti-Bride seemed to cope fine with just the simple ‘mounting plate welded to the seat stay’ I was happy to not bother. It’s pretty unlikely I’ll be using anything other than a 160mm rear disk rotor, if you go bigger you might want to think about beefing up the disk mount.

Breezer style dropout gives plenty of area for welding on the stays.

Breezer style dropout gives plenty of area for welding on the stays.

Dropouts are another area to be customised, if you look on the XACD website you can see there are a variety of models to chose from, most people though will be going for one of the three main types:

Regular flat plate dropouts are the cheapest but I’m not keen on the area you get for attaching the stays – I’ve seen pictures of the Lyndsky On-One’s which have broken at this junction and there didn’t seem to be much metal for the weld to hold on to!

That’s why I prefer the hooded ‘Breezer’ style you can see here on Ti-Bride. The Breezer style gives a decent weld area and also means the stays don’t have to be manipulated so much at the ends. There is a small surcharge on this design (about $35 I think).

The only problem is there isn’t enough clearance between the quick release nut and the derailleur hanger to get the wheel out without unscrewing the quick release completely! You can get around this by using an ‘X’ type Shimano derailleur which has a much lower profile connection to the dropout.

The hanger here isn’t replaceable as on some bikes but as they wanted $85 to fit the Breezer style dropout with a replaceable hanger I think I’ll give it a miss!

The last type of hanger you’d be looking for would probably be a sliding or horizontal dropout for a singlespeed/Rohloff style bike. XACD offer a few of those including one’s with the disk mount built in, I’ve not checked on the cost of those myself but be sure you’ll be paying quite a bit extra (one thread I found said it was an extra $150 for Rohloff dropouts!). Have to say I’m a little nervous of those ones the result in the rear wheel being held on by four small bolts in shear but, hey, they could be fine…