Titanium Test Ride
Carbon fiber bikes are everywhere, from grand tours and spring classics in the professional peloton to your average weekend group ride with friends, having the opportunity to test ride a DEAN Titanium Bicycles El Vado road bike was a breath of fresh air. The route chosen was a fifteen-mile climb up Highway 39 to the Crystal Lake Café and back down. The climb averages around 6% and offers beautiful views of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National forest.
Immediately after swinging a leg over the top tube and taking those first pedal strokes, I knew I was in for one enjoyable ride. The titanium frame offered an incredibly smooth ride, while the carbon ENVE fork managed tight handling and stiffness up front. The surly 28mm tires paired with the bombproof alloy Ksyrium wheels added even more comfort to the already plush ride. Because of this combination, the bike particularly excelled over rougher roads, and even inspired confidence to hit some hidden gravel single track between photo shoots. The bike climbed superb, offering a springy yet stiff exchange when rising out of the saddle to power down on the cranks.
The springy-ness of the bike reminded me of the benefits of an aluminum frame, but without the inherent trade-off of frame flex. The smooth ride and lateral stiffness of the titanium frame balances appropriately with the rigidity of the carbon ENVE fork, especially when pointing the bike downhill. The stable ride provided assurance when diving into and accelerating out of corners, as well as when getting into an aerodynamic tuck for max speed. I also came away very impressed with the SRAM Rival 22 group set. Rival 22 offers the same trickle-down technology as the pricier SRAM groups, with quick double-tap shifting, reliable braking performance, and individual reach adjustments of the brake lever and shifter paddle.
Smooth. Stable. Confident. The DEAN El Vado is surely a jack-of-all-trades and, most importantly, you’ll have a BLAST on this bike. Whether it’s climbing a mountain, exploding out of a corner in a race, or tearing it up on a gravel ride, the DEAN does it all. As people seek alternatives to carbon and aluminum, the titanium option becomes even more appealing with bikes like the DEAN El Vado.
Photos by Krystof Anders