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Ti22’s Custom Titanium Newsboy Fat Bike from XACD

It’s always interesting to see how different trends and styles evolve around the world. Jeroen from Ti22 dropped me a line the other day to say ‘Hi’ from the Netherlands and let me know about his unique projects, including an awesome looking Newsboy fatbike!

He’s a big fan of the Belgium based Sandman who promote their fatbikes for all types of riding, not just the traditional snow and sand use. Not content with producing the first XACD fatbike I’ve seen, Jeroen wanted to push the idea as far as he could. The result of that ended up being a belt driven, Rohloff geared, Newsboy style fatbike with an upside down fork!

I asked Jeroen what he was looking for when he designed his bike:

I rode a Sandman fatbike before, to test its capabilities in a cross country environment, it’s a nice setup if you want something a bit different. I don’t think that it’s a substitute for full suspension, but it is better than a soft-tail design. I need to do more testing now to work out the best combination of tyre width and fork travel for comfort and efficiency.

The geometry of the bike started off being based around a Mountain Cycle San Andreas, although I’ve modified it somewhat. The bike weighs in at around 31lbs.

Many fatbikes are fully rigid, partly to save weight and partly because the tyres provide a fair degree of suspension anyway. The fork that Jeroen’s using is designed by Sandman specifically for the fatbike market and has 90mm of travel. I  wondered how difficult it was to tune a suspension fork to work well with a large volume 4″ wide tyre that’s often only inflated to 15psi:

The combination of a fat tyre in front with the suspension is really something to recommend. You do need to have a little bit more pressure in the front tyre though. My rule is that if you can hit a curb head on at 15km/h with no snakebites than you’re OK. Too soft a tyre will role sideways during high speed cornering and nobody likes snakebites 😉

Detail showing the extra cable routing and special dropouts needed for a Rohloff hub

Checking out the drawing I noticed a very interesting circular plate used to create a chainstay bridge and re-enforce the stays. Jeroen says he was inspired after seeing Santos Bikes, a local Dutch company, doing the same thing. It’s a great way of creating a strong junction with loads of clearance.

A Santos Bikes frame showing the unique chainstay plate.

Another thing that I spotted in the drawing are the holes in the tubes to allow for internal cable routing. I really like the ‘clean’ look that internal cables give but I’m always a bit nervous of putting holes in frame tubes. Especially in the down tube so close to the headtube junction where it will be highly stressed, I’m also thinking that those junction loads will be greater due to the heavier front fork and wheel. I mentioned this to Jeroen:

I’ve got some history with experimental frame building and so far I’ve never had any problems with regard to the positioning of internal wiring. Luckily! I agree on the fact it is pretty close to the headtube, but nevertheless I am confident that it will be OK as a lot of stress will be absorbed by the fork and wheels…

It’s a shame that all the cables can’t be run through the ‘seatstays’ as the Newsboy design is perfect for that and it would keep the holes away from the load bearing tubes.

Jeroen has also beefed up the chainstays and seat stays to 1.2mm wall thickness (from the usual 0.9mm) which is probably fair enough given the intended use of the bike.

I’m also surprised that the fork uses a standard headtube given the various oversize ‘standards’ that are out there now that would seem ideal for a fatbike setup. Although having said that I think oversize and tapered headtubes often spoil the proportions of a titanium frame and look a bit odd!

The Netherlands and Belgium aren’t that far away from the UK but it’s suprising to see what’s considered ‘normal’ over there 😉 It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut thinking about bike design and it’s great to see a fresh take on the fatbike phenomena which seems to be taking hold as the ‘next big thing’.

Jeroen looks like he’s made an excellent job of a really unique bike, he’s already got a few tweaks in mind for his next model. If you like what you see then drop him a line as he’s offering his services as a designer, you can get in touch via his website if you’d like to discuss pricing. You’ll find more over here at Ti22 Bike Design

If you’d like more of a fatbike fix you can take a closer look at Sandman Bikes or if you fancy some additional info on belt driven Rohloff machines you can check out Santos Bikes too.

Have you had a frame made by XACD? If so I’d love to hear about it and maybe feature it in the Gallery so drop me a line via the contacts page.