26 inches ain’t dead!
Today I will introduce you to my favorite bike: The Spartacus
It is a 26 inches “All Roads” Full titanium bike I envisioned first while riding Japan Alpine roads around Takayama (高山市), Gifu Prefecture when living in that area more than 10 years ago.
I wanted to build a totally versatile bike that is equally at ease on roads and off roads, able to be climb up Alpine roads and enjoying the snaking, hair pin cornering exhilarating down hill roads in total comfort.
I started the concept of designing 26″ wheeled road bikes in 2009 by building a first Beta version. Back then Disc brakes where not yet in full bloom for drop bar bikes so the 1st version was equipped with V-Brakes.
Now a decade passed since my first 26″ All Road bike iteration and along with some frame geometry fine tuning and the emergence of various standard helping me to create the perfect all mighty 26″ road bike.
As anybody riding in Japan’s scenic country side knows, road surface and width often change without much prior notice. It goes from smooth newly rolled out asphalt to sudden no more asphalt little “jeep” track, not forgetting those missing grid that keep sharp edged holes ready to bite any low section road bike wheels passing by.
The Spartacus is designed to be fitted with 26″ wheels with a tire section up to 26x 2.4 . It took me a lot of testing to find great tires that provide a good balance ratio between weight/performance as most slick tires in this diameter are either low quality (low TPI) or heavy duty designed for commuting or touring.
My luck arrived with the Compass tires which are exactly what my concept bike needed; Lightweight, large section, high TPI and excellent rubber that provide grip on all surface.
These tires mounted on the full titanium bike makes the bike feel like a flying carpet, the ride is smooth whatever the road surface. It is fantastic on long rides like Brevet, ending 200km without feeling I have been seated on a hardwood vibrating bench.
Another great technology is the advent of Thru axle hub type cross standard between road bikes and Mountain Bikes (MTB).
This standard opened the gearing and brakes combination from each type of bikes.
The gears are 1×11 speed type with a 40T front and 11 speed rear MTB cassette allowing a good combination gear ratio good enough for climbing steep Alpine roads and still good enough for 35~40km/h paced ride.
The disc brake technology is now well accepted in road bike culture and it is here to stay. The advantages are plentiful and I will not go much deeper in details to convince you that braking under any weather condition and ground surface is definitely superior than with rim brakes. Long down hills breaking is done with one finger.
The bike overall weight is around 9kg which is not a really lightweight as I did choose to build a reliable bike over lightweight.
The wheels can definitely be replaced with much lightweight models, the advantage of MTB 26″ wheels is that they are much stronger and stiffer than 700c and 650B wheels as spoke length is shorter and rims diameter is smaller. You can grab lightweight 26″ wheels for a fraction of a 700c wheel set for the equivalent weight.
DMCX Spartacus Ti 26 set up:
- Frame: Order Made DMCX Ti 3AL-2.5V double butted
- Fork: DMCX Ti Jules 100mm TA Disc
- Handlebar: Easton EC90 Carbon
- Stem: Thomson Elite X2
- Headset: Cane Creek
- Seat post: 3T
- Seat Clamp: Thomson
- Saddle: SMP Drakon
- Wheels: Fulcrum Red Power XL 26″
- Tires: Compass Naches Pass Extralight 26x 1.80
- Crank arms: Sram Force
- Chainring: Garbaruk 40T
- Shifters: Shimano ST-RS685 11s
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT RD-M8000-GS
- Cassette: Shimano XT CS-M8000 11-40T
- Chain: Shimano CN-HG600-11
- Brakes: Shimano SM-RT99 160mm discs / BR-RS785 calipers / Metal pads
- Bar tape: Fizik
The Spartacus is a fantastic smooth ride perfect for Cafe Racer and/or long Audax rides.