New-ish brand No. 22 Bicycles only sell two frames, but we considered anyone seeking inspiration from Neil Young to name their creations worthy of further investigation.
Naming their company after Titanium’s place in the periodic table, the Canadian brand’s founders focus on design and contract construction to one of America’s most respected Ti frame builders, who in this case have deployed a 3Al-2.5V construction.
The Great Divide frameset is an intriguing beast: the 120mm head tube of our 52cm test bike seems low enough to command an aggressive position; the conservative 52cm top tube and seat-tube does not. The relatively relaxed 72 degree head angle suggests stability has been prioritised over knife-edge steering. We’ll hedge our bets at this stage and suggest that this is a bike better suited to the enthusiast than the racer. Testing will tell of course, and we’ll report our findings in the subsequent review.
Elsewhere, the Great Divide contains features that move the game on from the titanium norm by employing many design cues typical of contemporary carbon bikes. These include a PressFit 30 bottom bracket attached to a substantially oversized (for titanium) and biovalised downtube, united with a 44mm diameter head tube, which, in this context, creates a noticeably oversized item. The swaged chainstays are stout and welded to a pair of large, cowled dropouts. The seat stays are slender affairs, presumably with the intention of inducing greater comfort from a more compliant rear end. We’ll report on the success or otherwise of this design in the following review.
The frame finish is the most immediately obvious quality of the Great Divide: a brushed affair onto which the graphics have been anodized. The clever detailing does not finish there: the metal head badge is an attractive detail and the 22 logo on the rear brake bridge is a nice touch.
The designers at No.22 have rightly set the bar high when finishing their frame package by supplying a Chris King Inset 8 headset into which they’ve slotted an Enve Road 2.0 tapered carbon fork. The carbon theme at the front end continues with Thomson’s new composite handlebar. There’s a Thomson stem and seatpost too.
Drivetrain and braking duties are handled by Shimano’s new 6800-series, mechanical Ultegra 11-speed groupset. The wheels are Pacenti’s new SL23 rims laced with Sapim Laser spokes. It’s worth noting, however, that this build is purely for test purposes. Full builds will be a subject for discussion between customer and retailer.
We’ll be piling testing miles onto the Great Divide in the weeks ahead. Check back soon for a full review.