Titanium is a wonderful material to make a bicycle frame from, and there’s never been a better time to buy with prices falling and more choice making spending your hard-earned easier than ever. Launching with just a couple of ti frames last year, Sunday Bicycles has something new up its sleeve.
First there was the Silk Road and the slightly more expensive Silk Road Pro. Both perfectly capable, competent frames at reasonable prices. But this brand has higher aspirations. This is clear when you consider the company’s supplying of bikes to the KFS/Special Vehicles race team, which has competed in the Premier Calendar and other top national events. With Rob Sharman at the helm, the team have had some good results.
But what the team wanted was what every racer, and aspiring amateur wants: a fast, highly responsive, no-compromise frame for lapping a race circuit as quickly as possible. Just a couple of weeks ago, Sunday Bicycles sent us a prototype of its new frame, so fresh that the decals were still drying, and asked us to give it go.
The beauty of supplying frames to a race team is the accelerated testing period. They ride further, harder and faster than most of us and they’re sufficiently more demanding on frames and components. All this feedback has been gathered up, digested, analysed, and designed into the new Monday’s Child.
And the result is a dramatic looking frame, worlds apart from the Silk Road. It’s the rear of the frame is where much of the work has been focused. The large oval seat stays curve gorgeously throughout their length, and meet a pair of wide dropouts. The chain stays too are on the large side, and are braced just behind the bottom bracket with a huge piece of tubing. The large machined dropouts provide a large contact area to brace the stays, with excess material removed to save weight. The drive side chain stay is butted, whereas the left-hand isn’t, and there’s a replaceable dropout – a useful feature if you happen to knock the rear mech loading the bike into your car for instance. It’s titanium, so it shouldn’t bend easily anyway. Up front, the head tube is hour glass shaped, the massive downtube is ovalised at both the head tube and bottom bracket for maximum contact area, and the top tube is slim,yet the tear-dropped shape bumps up the directness of the frame.
So. It’s stiffer. And more responsive. It’s also a lot more exciting to ride. In fact, just from the first couple of pedal revolutions, the feeling you’re aboard a race frame is clearly apparent. It’s not just more willing to leap forward with an aggression that isn’t often found in a ti frame, but the handling is seriously quicker than the Silk Road. Flowing delightfully through wider bends, with a precise feel when turning into sharper slower corners. One of the reasons titanium is a great material to build frames is the way it can provide a smooth ride. The Monday does this, but not to the extent that others do: it’s noticeably seat-of-the-pants on some rougher roads, but not harsh with it.
Sunday Bicycles supplied the frame bereft of components, so a bit of digging around in the parts bin (not so much a bin as a pile on the desk) turned up most of an Ultegra groupset. On went some Race Face bits (cranks, stem and bars), as I’m been keen to see whether the previously MTB-only company could make the transition from the off-road to on-road, and I slipped a Museeuw MF9 fork into the head tube.
There’s been a lot of buzz surround the launch of frames containing flax fibres by Johan Museeuw last year. The Museeuw MF9 fork is available separately. Made from 50% flax and 50% carbon fibres, the fork is a good match for the stiff frame, adding a small degree of comfort without sacrificing stiffness and road feedback. The flax fork has an amazing ability to float over the bumps and ripples in the road, without appearing in any way soft and mushy. Look out for a full review on RCUK soon.
The frame is just about to come into production, and the price not quite finalised, but expect it to be in the region of £1400-1500. Head over to www.sundaybicycles.co.uk for more info. Also thanks to Silverfish, Onimpex, Chicken Cycles and Ultimate Pursuits for supplying the parts used in this build.