Pilot Locum B+ first ride review

Plus-size hardtail with that classic Ti feel

Pilot is a firm of Dutch titanium bike designers who specialise in custom options. While the Locum B+ is one of the company's off-the-shelf offerings, this titanium plus bike still impresses on the trail.

Pilot Locum B+ spec overview

  • Frame: Double-butted 3Al-2.5V titanium
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float FIT4 Boost, 120mm (4.7in) travel
  • Wheels: 9th Wave Dirt-SP27+ wheels
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO 27.5x3.0in (f) and Rocket Ron 27.5x2.8in (r)
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT M8000 (1x11)
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 180/160mm rotors
  • Bar: Fouriers, 720mm
  • Stem: Fouriers, 70mm
  • Seatpost: Fox Transfer dropper
  • Saddle: Selle Italia SLR X-Cross
  • Weight: 11.72kg (25.84lb), large size without pedals

Pilot Locum B+ frame

Twenty-five years ago titanium was the undisputed ultimate frame material, but newer design elements such as internal cable routing, through-axle dropouts and tapered head tubes can be hard to reconcile with the supple, sprung, lightweight ride feel that characterises a classic titanium frame. The good news is that Pilot has done a superb job on the Locum B+'s structure.

The welding is immaculate and, while it sounds like a small detail, the superbly neat, recessed, smooth-edged exit and entry ports for the internal routing are a sign that Pilot is fanatical about its fabrication.

Thru-axle dropouts can stifle that springy Ti feel but not here on the Locum
Thru-axle dropouts can stifle that springy Ti feel but not here on the Locum

Neat, cowled rear dropouts with 148mm Boost spacing and a plate rather than a tube bridge at the head of the chainstays leave room for up to 27.5x3.25in tyres. It’ll also handle chunky-treaded 29er tyres with room to spare. 

Stock Locum geometry is bang on for a balanced cross-country/trail hardtail, with a 69-degree head angle and 624mm effective top tube on the large size.

For a relatively reasonable (for titanium) €250 you can specify your own geometry and for another €250 Pilot offers custom tubes to suit your weight/riding style.

You can also have your Locum fitted with sliding dropouts for singlespeed use, splittable stays for a belt drive, Rohloff hub gear fixtures or even a Pinion gearbox.

Pilot Locum B+ kit

Pilot will let you play with the standard €4,599 build kit too. The test bike came with a conventional Fox 34 Float fork (adding €99 to the price) rather than the cantilevered carbon Lauf Trail Racer that comes as stock, and super-light 9th Wave carbon wheels (for a further €999) instead of the default DT Swiss XM 551 aluminium rims on 350s hubs.

Tyres can be switched for anything in the Schwalbe range, and the Fouriers finishing kit can be upgraded to carbon versions (adding another €100) or, if you want to go totally titanium, Pilot’s own Titan gear can be added to the mix (for an extra €300). The frame is also available on its own for €2,500.

Pilot Locum B+ ride impression

The stock Locum geometry is bang on for a balanced cross-country/trail hardtail
The stock Locum geometry is bang on for a balanced cross-country/trail hardtail

While a lot of recent titanium bikes have been a disappointment, in terms of living up to the expected ride quality and low weight, that’s definitely not the case with the Locum B+.

For a start, both the 9th Wave wheels and the Schwalbe tyres are really light for their size. That helps keep the overall weight well under 12kg and inject rapid acceleration into the mix.

The large-volume tyres and titanium tubes offset the stiff wheel feel to keep the ride more forgiving and sprung-feeling than most carbon or alloy frames. Add neutral geometry and you’ve got a bike that manages to combine the classic feel of titanium with contemporary performance and plus-tyre capability.

It does this with real dynamic and structural style too, making it a light, lively and worthwhile result for your heavy investment, especially if you’re after custom shape, feel or drivetrain options.

Pilot Locum B+ early verdict

Sweetly-detailed, customisable titanium XC/trail plus/29er frame that rides as good as it looks.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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