Here’s a collection of sites I’ve browsed and learnt stuff from, I’ll try and keep it ordered but we’ll see how it goes. I guarantee you’ll find something here you’ve not seen before 🙂
Friends of Spanner:
Les roues d’Olive – Speed Demon wheels Olivier has had a few frames featured in the blog and is a big fan of the hardcore hardtail even for Apline riding! He also runs his own bespoke wheel building business.
Far Eastern frame builders happy to deal direct:
DengFu Bikes are a friendly Chinese carbon frame and parts wholesaler who are happy to deal direct. Check the site for more info and contact details.
GoToBike friendly Chinese wholesaler of carbon frames and parts, both road and mountain bike. Email firstname.lastname@example.org who’s a very nice lady and will be able to give you more details (her English is fine like Porters, although she’s not prone to be as grumpy!).
MaxWay are an approachable Taiwanese company who are happy to make steel frames – but sadly only in minimum batches of 100 off!
Ora Engineering are the go-to Taiwanese company for production titanium frames. Used by Jeff Jones, no less, so they can’t be half bad. Good reputation for customer service but will they deal direct for one-off ‘samples’?
Titan Product One of the ‘big three’ you’ll see featured on this site. Quality seems good and the price is keen too. You can read an interview with the founder Eric Zhang over here: http://www.spanner.org.uk/2014/12/interview-eric-zhang-from-titan-titanium/
Waltly Titanium Are a popular direct Chinese fabricator you’ll see featured on this blog. Flexible and keen on price they’re polite too!
XACD (Old site over here: XACD) “XACD are absolute lunatics who I had the utmost difficulty even getting past the drawing stage”, Brant Richards. The original direct to the customer Chinese titanium fabricator. Probably the highest quality but also the most expensive and occasionally ‘interesting’ to work with 😉
Micro brands that use XACD:
Amaro Bikes from Spain produced some great looking XACD projects before going in house to design bespoke bikes in steel for the discerning customer. Worth a peek at their blog to see what they are up to.
Carver Bikes have, err, carved a niche for themselves making unusual bikes – their latest is a Pinion gearbox fatbike! Their titanium frames are (or at least were) XACD made.
Habanero Popular US site that resell XACD frames with the backing of a local supplier. Not the cheapest way of doing things though and their website could do with a bit of an update!
Jeronimio Cycles are a Spanish company that design some very interesting looking bikes made by XACD. They make one of my favourite ‘mad bikes’ ever – belt drive, hub geared, cross/road/hybrid bike anyone?
Useful frame building references:
BikeCAD by Bicycle Forest a very handy online CAD package that lets you sketch out designs and check things like the effect that fork length has on head angle.
BikeChecker home of the Linkage software that helps you map out and tinker with your own full suspension designs. Not strictly titanium or hardtail related but rather interesting to have a look at – some of the Chinese fabricators do offer suspension frames that you could customise!
Geometry Calc want to know how changing the length of a fork will affect the head angle etc? You’ll be needing this handy on-line geometry calculator.
rattleCAD is an Open Source bike design software written by Manfred Rosenberger. Slightly tricky to get on with but worth a look if you fancy getting involved in frame design drawings.
SlikGraphics look like an excellent answer to the question ‘Where can I get some custom bike decals done?’. Also have a sniff on eBay as there are quite a few people offering similar services on there too.
Other small ‘interesting’ brands and framebuilders:
Charge UK small seller with frames made in the Far-East. Good reputation for kit, now on the 27+ tip the Cooker 5 is their latest titanium offering (perhaps made by Ora?).
Cotic another man in shed getting frames made in the Far-East – now no longer do the Ti Soda but they are famous for making what many consider to be the definitive steel hardtail frame, the Soul.
Enigma bikes actually make things in the UK! Although their stock size titanium frames are made in the Far East for a fairly reasonable (but not sparkling price). They also offer a repair service for titanium frames, drop them a line via the website.
Kingdom Bike Project Euro based company offering Far East build custom/semi-custom frames. They produce a definitive ‘nu skool’ boosted hardtail and a full suspension enduro frame.
Quiring Cycles custom frames from Scott Quiring. Scott does have some of the nicest titanium welding that I’ve seen. Although he has the prices tags to match he’s competitive for a US builder.
Sabbath Bicycles only do road bikes now, although they used to offer a mountain bike. Not sure who makes them but their ‘Monday’s Child’ does look a little like it’s trying too hard 😉 Facebook and Twitter haven’t been updated for a while.
Sandman Bikes are Belgian based fat bike fanatics who even have their own suspension fork made. They have a titanium option but I’m not sure who makes it.
Skyde Bicycles a French company designing and selling frames and other accessories made in the Far East – quite a lively company with a wide range of machines on offer.
Stanton Bikes are a micro UK brand that offer titanium versions of their Switchback and Sherpa frames.
Travers Bikes are based in the UK over in that there Essex, and will make you anything from a full custom to a full fat titanium framed machine with many different options in between.
Triton Bikes Russian based titanium frame builder. Check out their blog and gallery for more info on their rides; they’re not the cheapest but are certainly popular as they currently work to a 3 month lead time. Interestingly they source their tubing from China and Italy…
Wittson Titanium Cycles hail from Lithuania and sell Russian made stock and custom frames, in both road and off-road flavours, not that cheap though at around €2500.
Other large titanium brands:
Hi-Light, aka Beijing Hanglun Sports Apparatus, are another large scale Chi-Ti manufacturer, although for folks in the UK I believe they work through their European agent Van Nicholas. I’ve not approached them so I can’t say how they compare to XACD but I don’t think they deal direct. They used to make the titanium versions of On-One frames.
Lynskey US titanium frame manufacturer who’s able to produce surprisingly cheap batch frames sold in the UK by Ragley, Salsa, Cove and probably some others I’ve missed.
Van Nicholas Dutch based company with bikes made by Hi-Light in China, they might have been Airbourne Titanium in a previous life, who also used Hi-Light. Frame from around £1400 but often sold on huge discount via the On One site.