Originally published in Road Bike Action

It’s true that while titanium frames were once found in the catalogs of many of the biggest bike brands, they have largely been replaced by carbon alternatives. However, equally true is that there are actually more builders offering titanium frames than one might think.

Lighter than steel, more compliant than aluminum and with greater impact resistance than carbon, a titanium frame brings with it plenty of perks, especially when it comes to building a gravel bike. Portland-based Sage Cycles is a small-batch frame design shop that is bringing some unique qualities to the market of titanium gravel bikes.

Sage is in their third year and continues growing their line with the Barlow, a bike that falls under the gravel banner. Even though Sage already has the PDXCX ’cross bike in their three-bike lineup, company owner David Rosen wanted something a little more oriented to all-around riding than what he currently had. “The goal for the Barlow was to design a bike that I could take out on group rides, and be equally at home riding on the pavement as off. It’s a tall order, because if you make a bike too general, it doesn’t do well anywhere”.

Merging the two types of riding is what gravel or adventure riding champions, yet there are still multiple schools of thought in how to achieve a balanced bike. “I was www.roadbikeaction.com 95 looking for the stretched fit of a road bike with [steeper] headand seat-tube angles closer to a cyclocross bike. I based geometry around Enve’s GRD fork that has an axle-to-crown height that splits the difference between road and ’cross forks. The chainstays are short with a low bottom bracket for a quick accelerating bike that stays straight at speed.”

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