Expected to be in production in good time for the 2009 season, the Van Nicholas Astraeus was one of the big stars of the 2008 Eurobike show and looks set to take the Netherlands titanium specialists to a new level of frame performance. The Astraeus uses hydroforming - where a round tube is placed in a die and subjected to tremendous internal pressure, exerted by incompressible fluid, that conforms it to the shape of the die - to create complex cross sections in seamless double-butted 3Al/2.5V titanium tubing. Developed with the assistance of the Delft University of Technology, the tube shapes are claimed to offer greatly enhanced frame stiffness without compromising on the supple ride quality for which titanium cycle frames are renowned.
The frame also has a unique 'H' shaped chainstay bridge also designed to increase stiffness in this critical area for a competition frame, and a pre-production version of the Astraeus has been successfully campaigned in Netherlands domestic competition this year. In addition to six standard sizes from 50cm to 60cm in 2cm increments, the frame will also be custom made to order.