Doddy's new Charge Duster...

OK, so this may be a big mistake for the self-confessed full suspension addict, but I always used to race hard tails, and used to love the lively feel of a well-made frame. Since my recent visit to Charge Bikes HQ I've been staring at my new frame wondering what to spec her up with, but now I've got some stuff on order, I thought you may as well take a peek at the slender little number...

Titanium is a beautiful material to have a frame made out of- it's 30% stronger than steel, but nearly 50% lighter. Titanium is 60% heavier than Aluminium, but it’s twice as strong.

In it’s raw state, it isn’t ideal for use in bike frames, so it’s alloyed with combinations of Aluminium, Mangenese, Iron, Molybdenum and other materials to increase strength, monitor weight and make the material more ‘workable’ for our fat tyred use.

Undoubtedly Merlin and Litespeed have the most prestigious names in Titanium bicycle manufacturer, but their products are somewhat specialist in their market- Merlin’s frames are very much XC race bikes of stupendous weight- as are Litespeed.

The Charge Duster is a UK bike, designed to cope with the more aggressive Trail riding that’s become so popular of recent times. Not that you wouldn’t be able to build this frame up whippet like though- my size large weighs a scant 3.5lbs.

Enough on the Duster though, or they’ll be nothing to talk about when I get her built up…

Check out these nice Charge saddles- a pimping white XC number, and a neat grey jump seat, of alarmingly small size.  I figure it’s to suit the miniscule legs and bony arses of the matchstick and rather unhappy looking Emo generation…

Also, I took these shots a while back and forgot about them- I’ve been riding the new budget Freeride wheel-set from DT, called the E2200. They’re available in 135mm rear, and either standard QR front, or 20mm- which suits the ‘Ride Free’ image.

They use DT double-butted spokes, a neat looking rim with a simple sleeve join, and DT hubs with a twin pawl system that is fairly silent. So far, so good.  I’ve been running them for a few weeks on a couple of different bikes but am about to take them out for a few sideways landings, so I’ll let you know how they hold up to a 14.5stone sideload. And the hubs will be getting a drenching to see how well sealed they are, and if the Freehub stands up to significant abuse- the joys of testing, ho hum…

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