Burls Custom TT£2,500.00

Affordable titanium time trial rocketship

BikeRadar score4.5/5

UK framebuilder Justin Burls applies his design expertise to a titanium frame for his specialty, time trialling.

Ride: intense stance

The Burls’ steep seat angle is ideal for the extreme intensity of a short distance time trial, and the Oval Jetstream fork’s twin-bladed design directs the airstream away from the front wheel for even greater speed. 

The arm rests of the aluminium Oval A701 tribars felt best with the height spacers removed but we could have done with a 1cm longer stem to provide more knee clearance when riding out of the saddle.

Frame: tidy micro-style

Sourced and welded in Russia, the Burls uses 3Al-2.5V titanium tubing (the numbers indicate the alloying additives that increase the material's strength) and the welding is neater than we’ve come to expect of a frame produced in Eastern Europe. 

The geometry is the classic ‘micro-style’  with a level top-tube and Ritchey-type dropouts that add strength. 

On the basis that the tribar dimensions determine frame size on a micro-style frame, we opted for a 54cm top-tube that would suit the Oval A701 tribars – a current favourite at £235. We also opted for an Oval A900 Jetstream fork, probably the most aerodynamic fork available.

Equipment: Oval at heart

The Burls is suitably equipped with Campagnolo’s middle of the range Centaur gears together with bar end shifters that fit on the end of the tribars, though specifying a barely heavier Campagnolo Veloce chainset would have saved £70. 

The finishing kit includes a USE Alien seatpost, Hope cartridge headset and Oval 9cm stem. 

The Oval tribars are at the heart of this time trial set-up as they provide the means to get an effective aerodynamic riding position, by adjusting the height and width of the arm rests as well as the length of the extensions, and the gel pads cup the forearms comfortably. 

The Selle San Marco Rapide saddle has enough foam in the nose to let you adopt a forward-over-the-bottom bracket riding position without any numbness.

Wheels: Quick Corimas

For the Burls we selected wind-cheating, deep section Corima Aero wheels, costing £1077 in total, plus £70 for Vittoria CS tubulars. We chose these in preference to the popular combination of a disc rear wheel and deep-section front wheel as they’re easier to cope with in blustery conditions. We opted for the sprint versions as their boxed rim construction is more resistant to pothole damage than the hooked section of a clincher wheel. The cartridge bearing hubs are built to the French firm’s usual high standards and the bladed aero spokes are easy to true.

Summary: easy purchase, affordable

Using simple online correspondence, Burls has succeeded in achieving what it set out to do in providing a frame that fits, and is a more affordable alternative to other titanium time trial frame designs from Van Nicholas and Enigma.

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