Frame Builder Talk: With so many mass-produced carbon frames available on the market, it makes a nice change to see hand-made artisan built titanium frames. Darren Baum has been producing frames beneath his own title, first in steel and now in titanium, for 24 years. Ed Hood heard all about it.
Not Stephen Hodge, but Phil Anderson with Darren Baum
When we interviewed Aussie ex-Once professional, Stephen Hodge not too long ago he mentioned to us that his favourite frame builder, Darren Baum had received hold of and sliced up a kind of gorgeous LOOK ‘Bat Bike’ TT machines which Hodge had ridden back in his skilled days. Our interest was piqued -. After we heard mentioned Mr. Baum was an artisan builder of titanium frames in a world the place ‘carbon is king,’ we thought we finest, ‘have a phrase.’
PEZ: What was the craic with slicing up the LOOK, Darren?Darren Baum: At the tip of the season, after the Sun Tour right here in Australia the European professionals would promote off their bikes. Stephen bought his machine to a chap who came to work with us. When the frame broke we thought it can be a superb alternative to take a look inside. We sliced it up and there was all sorts in there, bits of cardboard and many plastic baggage to push the matt out in opposition to the mould – they were utilizing what would have been fibre glass moulding techniques at the time relatively than modern carbon fabrication methods. We’re not averse to slicing things as much as see what’s inside, we don’t just take people’s phrase for it.
PEZ: titanium bar frames, titanium alloy with which you might be synonymous, are mild, durable and have good journey high quality so why is carbon, ‘king’?To begin with, let me say, there are no dangerous body materials as far as I’m concerned, simply bad purposes. titanium tubing is a material with wonderful properties but the talent stage required to build with it is excessive, you want a sure culture – plus it’s not low-cost and begin up is costly. It’s additionally time consuming; if aluminium takes one unit of time to execute a certain task, it’ll be two models for the same operation in steel however four units in titanium. Carbon is straightforward to teach by comparison, you only have to teach how to lay up the fibres.
Baum Rapha Norwood
PEZ: I notice that you’ve got your personal titanium tubes drawn rather than just utilizing, ‘off the shelf’ tube units?I’ve been concerned in frame constructing since 1989 and constructing underneath my own marque, commercially for 24 years – my philosophy when building with steel was that the standard of the tube shouldn’t be influenced by the value, Reynolds 531 isn’t as gentle or as costly as 753 however that doesn’t relate to the trip high quality, I at all times ‘mixed and matched’ tubing, selecting the most applicable tubes for the highest and down tube, using custom Columbus seat and chain stays whilst I found that most tube manufacturers seat tubes have been good. I take advantage of the identical methodology with titanium, butted tubes of constant diameter but ‘personalised’ – nonetheless that doesn’t go well with mass production. However the well-known TaylorMade golf club manufacturers are close to us and have lots of expertise of customized titanium shafts and heads, we have been ready to draw on that. The thing with titanium, is that should you had been to watch me weld it you’ll suppose; ‘that seems to be simple.’ But it surely takes a very long time to be taught, which is costly. Then there’s the tubes, it’s a really exhausting materials and in case you don’t know what you’re about when it comes to drill pace and lubricants you’ll burn out a drill earlier than you bore one hole but if you recognize what you’re doing that same drill will bore 500 holes. Luckily, I have quite a lot of expertise of the material having come out of the aircraft business where it’s extensively used. As a small enterprise proprietor I get pushed and pulled in all directions however when you place on your gloves to weld titanium there’s a sure pace you’ll be able to go at – I find that comforting and predictable.
« When you set in your gloves to weld titanium there’s a sure pace »
PEZ: You’ve adopted 3D printing for some components?It’s an exquisite manner to solve problems, we 3D print our cable inlets for example and elements for our gravel bikes – however it’s costly.
PEZ: But your titanium frames have carbon forks?Forks are tapered and you can’t taper titanium, it’s the unsuitable material for the appliance. Aluminium forks have a fatigue life and can finally fail, not a characteristic you want in a fork. Steel is the following finest option to carbon however to get them right it’s heavy. Carbon is the optimal material for forks.
PEZ: Do you still build in steel?I nonetheless ride my steel bike, I love the texture and trip character of a steel frame. Next yr can be my twenty fifth anniversary so we’ll be building a particular run of steel frames to have fun that – with tweaks to take 28mm tyres.
Paint – Crucial
PEZ: Compare the opposite frame materials for us, Darren.For me, titanium is probably the most ‘tuneable’ and predictable materials. Carbon fibres are strong in one path but not the opposite, to tune the body you have to experiment with the thickness and orientation of the weave – construct it then check it. We hate obsolescence, so Aluminium with its fatigue life and the very fact that it’ll ultimately break just isn’t for us. If you liked this posting and you would like to receive a lot more details with regards to titanium alloy [https://www.nintendo-master.com/profil/birchlilac2] kindly go to the page. I didn’t get pleasure from welding it, it’s an extremely hot weld – and i didn’t benefit from the experience high quality. Absolutely the pinnacle of aluminium building for me was the Klein Quantum Pro, I’ve one in my collection.
A bit of gravel for Phil Anderson
PEZ: What’s the demographic of a Baum buyer?As large as you can imagine; Cadel Evans has one, then we had a grandmother in who’s not ridden a bike for 40 years. We’ve had individuals fly in from New York on private jets. Other folks who’ve saved for five years to buy one. We consider in worth, not fashion. Even our color schemes are to confirmed graphic design rules; when you just like the paint job now then you’ll nonetheless like it in 10 years time. We enchantment to individuals who appreciate high quality and need to cling on to it, not those that need a change every six months.
There’s an enormous highway on the market
PEZ: Are discs ‘it’ now?The first thing we do when somebody comes to see us a few bike is to talk to them about what they’re going to do with the bike. If you’re going to be touring loads then I wouldn’t recommend discs, you don’t want to be in a resort room with disc hassles, callipers are best in that instance, you can alter them easily. Similarly, in that situation you don’t need to go tubeless or digital, those options are fine if you’re riding from house however not in case you journey quite a bit; you don’t need sealant issues in a hotel room. Those are just cases however we have now an in-depth conversation about what you’re going to use the machine for. The bike is tuned to the person who’s going to journey it. We actually said ‘no’ to discs for two years as a result of there was no industry commonplace. Things have been everywhere in the place but now the market has settled down we’ve been again constructing with discs for the final three years.
Artisan work on the chainstay
PEZ: Gravel bikes – you’ve been building them for years?For 15 years and extra. Folks spherical here have been riding gravel roads for a very long time, I first constructed them with 26″ wheels and Panaracer tyres, now we’re constructing to take 35 mm tyres. Brakes-sensible we’ve gone from side pulls by means of ‘V’ brakes to the early discs.
A Giro influence?
PEZ: The future?‘Back within the day,’ there was restricted selection of gear ratios, groupsets and part finishes – now the selection is enormous and you have all the new tech like energy meters. I feel that what we’ll see over the next 5 years is refinement relatively than innovation; tubeless will get manner higher with huge enhancements in ride comfort. There might be more integrated electronics – with extra annoying batteries and sensors. Disc brakes will get quieter, these annoying squeaks will be labored out – and drive trains will get quieter. All tough technical stuff that’s troublesome for guys such as you to write down about. But we’ll simply proceed to focus on making the precise selections for our prospects.