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Just In: Mosaic RT-1 - Titanium elegance from Colorado

Custom titanium frames brought to you from Mosaic via Prestige Cycles

Prestige Cycles, the boutique bike shop in Hove actually, have just started importing Mosaic frames into the UK and they’ve let have this RT-1 to have a go on. Who are Mosaic we hear you ponder, if you can actually hear a ponder.

Mosaic hand crafted bicycles come from Boulder, Colorado in the U.S.A. and were started by Aaron Barcheck. Aaron worked for Dean Titanium Bicycles for seven years where he rose to become head builder and welder with over 500 Ti and steel frames under his torch before breaking away to form Mosaic in 2009. You might not have heard of Dean frames but they had quite the select following in mountainbike circles back in the day when titanium was the frame material of choice and they certainly had a reputation for quality.

You can have your Mosaic frame in titanium or steel, and they’ll build you a track, road, cyclo-cross, gravel racer or mountainbike out of it. The RT-1 here is their top-of-the line Ti frame, made from custom butted size specific 3/2.5 titanium tubes to your custom geometry. The RT-1 frame on its own costs £2,550, the straight gauge Ti tubed RT-2 is £300 less spendy, and if that’s still too rich for your blood you can get a True Temper S3 steel road frame for £1,400.

This RT-1 frame has been built up by Prestige Cycles with quite the bling kit as a £2.5K frameset might warrant. Full Campagnolo Record 11 groupset, Reynolds 72 Aero clincher wheels and Continental GP 4000 tyres, ENVE tapered fork, Thomson bars, stem and seatpost, topped with a Fizik Kurve saddle. All that finery brings the total cost for this bike up to a healthy £7,590, at a weight of 7.57kg (16lbs 11oz) which is respectable for a non-carbon machine, obviously you can opt for a less expensive creation, or more, as your wallet and desires see fit. If you wanted a cheaper build for example Prestige Cycles could offer an 11 speed Athena, Mavic Cosmic Elite, Easton EC70 bar and Prologo Naga EVO saddle machine that would bring the price down to a meagre £4,999.

As it’s a custom frame you can have anything you like done to it; internal brake and shift cable routing, EPS internal routing, disc brake mounts, seat mast or seat post, even S&S Couplings, and custom paint as you’d expect. To make sure your Mosaic fits you perfectly Prestige Cycles offer a BikeFit service, a 2 hour session working towards getting a personalized fit to optimise your power, efficiency and comfort.

Titanium was the poster boy for frame materials a few years back when its comparative light weight and oft lauded springy ride made it the go-to material for top-end frames, then carbon came along and knocked it off its perch, but it’s still a viable frame material. Its inherent qualities make for a comfortable bike frame: it’s durable, resisting the dents and knocks of day to day life better than other materials, and in a crash scenario is likely to survive better than others. It’s easy to cut the tubes to custom sizes, and can still be built up competitively light, it’s corrosion-resistant so it doesn’t have to have a protective layer of paint over it, and it scrubs up well so will look good for years to come. All qualities that some riders look for, meaning there are still firms specialising in titanium bike frames.

A quick finger trace over the frame reveals there’s not much in the way of tube manipulation, which seems odd in these times of everything being bent, squashed or bulging in some way or other, and what there is is incredibly subtle, although most of the tubes do look slightly oversized to what you’d expect a titanium tube to be. The 44mm headtube flares out ever so slightly and very elegantly at the ends to accommodate the Chris King headset, the fat chainstays curve out from the bottom-bracket and the seatstays are elegantly tapered but that’s about it, unwonkified double-butted tubes rule.

Those tubes are joined together with incredibly neat fish-scale welds, it’s rare to use the word ‘craft’ when talking about bikes nowadays but the Mosaic has it dripping all over. The entire frame is clean, tidy and beautifully executed. The top-tube is slightly sloping, with the rear brake cable internally routed through it, while the gear cables are directed more traditionally externally via the down tube and minimalist stops. Emerging from the oversized bottom-bracket shell the chainstays are chunky, for better power transfer, whilst in stark contrast those tapered seatstays are pencil skinny, presumably to give a little bit of compliance to the rear-end, and dead straight with not curves of wiggles in them, as is the usual trend. They meet up at deep-cowled dropouts to offer both a full weld area to the tubes and stiffness to the rear end.

Although there is the option for a custom paint job this frame oozes class with nothing as common as paint or stickers hiding its panache, all graphics, what there are of them, are polished and reversed out of a bead-blasted frame. Stylish eh? The down-tube graphic isn’t a repeated logo down each side, it’s just a single shiny ‘Mosaic’ logo along the top of the tube and the only other adornments are a “R-Series” graphic on the seat tube and top of the seat-stay. The headbadge is an intricately shaped piece of stainless steel. On looks alone I like, let's hope it rides as beautifully.

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

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