Regardless of price, the Planet X is a superb balance of high-performance handling, decent power delivery and the unique smoothness of quality titanium. The fact that it’s under £1,000 for the frame makes it an unbeatable choice for anyone after a conventional titanium ride.
Ride & handling: Precise, planted, well proportioned and always composed
Even with a workmanlike rather than bling spec, the quality of the Planet X's frame shines through immediately. It felt smooth and silky on our carefully picked pock-marked test descents.
The Planet X fork and curved rear stays start to suck out sting at much lower speeds than its price rivals, so even when you’re soft pedalling the Ti’s advantage is still very clear.
In fact, it’s often when you’re easing off the gas that the underlying titanium character of the Planet X is at its most obvious. It just seems to roll you over the tops of gears or maintain momentum more easily than more clattery carbon and alloy bikes.
This tailwind built into the tubing is exactly why the nearly £1k frame price tag justifies itself as soon as you sling a leg over it.
If you’re expecting us to say that obviously impacts pedalling stiffness, then don’t worry. Start spooling that big ring round and the whole bike lifts and flows, making every effort you put in a rewarding and addictive experience.
While it doesn’t seem to lose anything in power transfer to its carbon and alloy competition, it’s noticeably more consistent in power delivery and more assured in its tarmac connection. In other words, the Pro Road kept gripping on climbs when other bikes skipped.
As you’d expect from its aggressive competitive breeding, the position is naturally predatory and poised, putting you in a high control, high performance state of mind at the start of every ride.
It’s precise, planted, well proportioned, and when the rain came down it always felt composed. If you do manage to tweak it out of line, it slips and grips with minimum drama and there’s no headshake or braking judder either.
Chassis: Top US Ti construction with UK race-honed geometry at a bargain price
Planet X were one of the original collaborators with titanium masters Lynskey after they split with Litespeed (which they’d set up back in the ’80s). This combination of Doncaster’s finest championship-honed handling and Chattanooga Tennessee craftsmanship is no fumbled first date though.
The ring reinforced head tube backs on to double-butted main tubes. A lazy ovalised twist to the down tube means there is maximum overlap at the head tube and bottom bracket junctions too. The Pro Road gets gently curved round section seatstays, while the tapered seatstays are as straight as a die.
If you’re wondering why it’s £500 cheaper than the equivalent Lynskey, then the major reason is that Planet X sell direct rather than through shops. This means they don’t have to add a margin to pay staff, pay rent and other costs.
Simple dropouts and fixtures (no cloverleaf on the brake bridge here) also save fabrication time and money, although the weld and finishing quality is no less exacting. You do get down tube rather than head tube cable guides, though.
Equipment: Workmanlike spec including heavy seatpost, but Model B wheels are light and tight enough
As well as being excellent frame value, Planet X are legendary for offering built-bike bundles at a super-aggressive price. The carbon K Force crankset may not be the latest FSA unit, but it’s still a cracking way to turn the Shimano transmission.
While the Planet X kit lacks pose value, it all works as well as any other mid-range equipment and Planet X will let you specify size and shape of all the relevant bits.
The Model B wheels are light and tight enough, and Planet X have spiced up the menu with ultralight CNC-machined and Ti-enhanced brake calipers. Our only gripe is with the heavy seatpost, but that’s not a costly item to change.
Overall, you’re getting a lot more performance for your payout than usual and as we went to press, Planet X were offering Dura-Ace or SRAM Red versions of the Ti Pro from £1,999.