Richards Sachs-RGM Watches rider Dan Timmerman stood out from the field at last month’s US cyclo-cross national championship not only because of his mountain man beard but also due to his ‘old-school’ rig, built around a classically proportioned lugged steel frame and matching fork.
Naysayers would be quick to point out its heft – it’s a full kilogram heavier than other elite-level machines at 8.72kg (19.22lb) complete – but Timmerman let his legs do the talking in 2009 with six UCI wins, 10 UCI podium appearances, the VERGE series overall win and an impressive eighth-place finish in the men’s elite race at the nationals to cap off for his best season yet.
“To a certain extent, obsessing over weight makes more of a difference in a rider’s head than it does on the course,” Timmerman says. “Sure, it makes a difference to some degree, particularly rotating weight, but the engineering, experience and wisdom that goes into the frame geometry, tube shapes and the overall ride quality make so much more of a difference that it can easily make a pound or more completely negligible.”
Sachs builds the team’s bikes with a special lighter-weight version of his usual Columbus PegoRichie tubeset. The “way shorter” butts shave grams but also require more careful tubing selection, and the niobium-enhanced alloy is highly resistant to impact damage – a key attribute in a sport that regularly sees extensive travel.
In place of TIG welding and radical shaping, Sachs instead prefers to use his own brazed short-point lugs and round profiles that he’s continuously developed since first building frames in 1972. And to prove that Sachs knows what is required of his racers, he’s no slouch on the bike himself, finishing the season ranked fifth nationally overall in the men’s master category.