Van Nicholas' aim is to make the best bikes possible for their intended application. We believe Titanium is the best material to achieve our aim. This is why:
Nothing looks like Titanium
The soft glow of brushed and polished Titanium is unique. We hate to see the beauty of Titanium hidden under gloss and lacquer, that’s why we choose not to paint our frames. It needs no embellishment; the allure of naked Titanium is hard to resist, impossible to ignore.
Nothing rides like Titanium
Titanium has in inherent flexibility ideally suited to frame building. Road vibrations are for the most part absorbed before they reach the rider, so it is as though you are gliding across the tarmac. Once you experience the magical ride of Titanium, you’ll want to continue riding on it forever.
Nothing lasts like Titanium
Its high tensile strength and superior fatigue resistance mean, with standard use, the material properties of Titanium remain identical for life. And a natural coating of Titanium Dioxide ensures it will never corrode, even in high acid or alkaline environments. No wonder our frames last a lifetime.
When trying to pick a material for a bike frame, there are many really important material considerations; weight, stiffness, strength, toughness, impact resistance, ride quality, corrosion.. We’ll discuss all of these issues in the context of choosing a bike.
Permanent deflection, or plastic deformation as it is also known, is much higher in Titanium than other materials and accounts for its fabled ‘spring’. This is why a Titanium ride is so much more comfortable than other frame building materials.
The inherent flexibility and high tensile strength of Titanium allows the energy stresses of regular use to be effectively dissipated without degradation of the material, ensuring Titanium frames stay stronger for longer.
The high tensile, or ultimate, strength and low elastic modulus of Titanium combine to create unparalleled impact resistance, meaning Titanium frames can soak up much harder punishment than frames built from other materials.
Titanium’s natural coating of Titanium Dioxide prevents it from oxidising in the atmosphere, so it will never rust, unlike steel, and, unlike aluminium, it will not corrode when exposed to acidic or alkaline environments. So aesthetic and performance quality will never be compromised by the weather.
Strength to weight
The tensile strength to density ratio for Titanium outstrips every other frame building metal. Simply put, for the same weight frame, Titanium will be twice as strong as steel and three times as strong as aluminium.
Stiffness to weight
Rigidity is essential for efficient power transfer and Titanium’s stiffness to weight ratio is superior to all other metals. Titanium combines low weight for easy climbing, high rigidity for blistering performance in the sprint and the perfect balance of both to deliver Titanium’s legendary ride quality.
3 AL/ 2.5 V
All our frames are made from aerospace grade 3AL/2.5V Titanium, which contains 3% aluminium and 2.5% vanadium. This offers the perfect balance of strength and plasticity for use in thin-walled bicycle tubing.
The 3Al/2.5V Titanium alloy we use was developed for use in high pressure hydraulic lines and is found on virtually all new military and commercial airplanes.
Type of Tubing
We use two types of tubing to make our frames: cold-worked, drawn, seamless tubing and seamless hydroformed butted. Both types of tubing create extremely strong, lightweight frames, but the seamless hydroformed butted tubing is even lighter and more durable. Only our very best bikes are made from this tubing.
Once produced, Titanium is an environmentally friendly metal. All of the scrap we generate through the manufacturing process can be fully recycled.
Titanium is twice as strong as aluminium and half the weight of steel.
Titanium has an incredibly high tolerance and will maintain the same properties up to 600°C.
Titanium’s extreme oxygen reactivity (the same process that makes it so impervious to corrosion) makes production of the seamless tubes a very long and expensive process – hence the premium price tag.
Despite being developed primarily for aerospace applications, Titanium is now used in numerous industries. Marine, architectural, medical and petrochemical industries all regularly make use of Titanium components, and you can also find its magical properties gracing consumer goods like golf clubs and jewellery.
Titanium is so-called after the Titans of Greek mythology, symbols of immense strength.