Titanium has a reputation for comfort, compliance and ‘springiness’ but you can also transform titanium into a stiff and aggressive machine, which is what Sabbath has done in its newest Mondays Child.
It’s the usual very neatly welded 3Al/2.5V titanium, made with custom-drawn seamless metal, but this Mark II model has a PressFit 30 bottom bracket shell and a tapered head tube – with a 1.5in diameter lower bearing race.
- Best road bike: how to choose the right one for you
- Best titanium bikes | Frames that are good enough to ride forever
These combine to offer a claimed increase in front-end stiffness of 23 per cent with 19 per cent more at the rear, while still losing weight over the earlier version. But has Sabbath managed to combine the “low, fast riding position without compromising on titanium’s legendary ride comfort”? We’ll see…
As with all of Sabbath’s bikes, the Mondays Child is available in numerous build options and I went for the Shimano Ultegra-equipped model. You can also get it with Mavic Ksyriums and Yksion Elites but I chose handmade wheels with Kinlin rims and Schwalbe Pro One tyres.
They come set up as tubeless, which is one of the themes running through this test. It does appear that road tubeless is finally gaining some traction. I’ve gone tubeless this year on my own bike and without a puncture to date.
It seems a sensible companion to titanium because comfort is usually given as one of the prime movers for going ti, and it helps here with the rim’s width, ballooning the 25mm Pro Ones out to a healthy 28mm-plus.
Schwalbe claims that the Pro One is “the fastest road tyre in the world”, but while it’s definitely fast that is only part of the equation. The tyres’ extra volume adds comfort – especially compared with the 23mm that the 2014 Mondays Child was running – but you can also run them at a lower pressure, giving a further uplift in plushness.
In Sabbath’s case, the tyres help to balance out what is a noticeably stiff frame – one that shows carbon isn’t the only way to go in 2019 or 2020 if you want something aggressive and racy.
In fact, my Sabbath came with a printout from Germany’s mechanical testing lab for bicycles, EFBE Prüftechnik, showing that the Monday Child Mark II’s out-of-the-saddle rigidity has increased from the 110 N/mm of its predecessor to 120 N/mm, which is very much at the upper end of things.
The Sabbath is not quite as light as a similarly priced carbon equivalent, but the performance is on a par and I’d say there’s an added immediacy and directness.
Out-of-the-saddle climbs? Tackled with a no-nonsense, flex-and fuss-free forcefulness – the translating of those German tests into riding reality. Throw it into corners and it behaves impeccably, the tapered head tube and oversized bottom bracket shell offering you great control.
The Sabbath is also a very good descender. The frame’s stiffness, taut wheels and excellent high-grip tyres all work together with the Ultegra rim brakes.
The seemingly unstoppable takeover of disc brakes makes it easy to forget just how good the newest generation of Shimano’s caliper rim brakes are. They’re great, offering more than enough stopping power and bringing you to a safe, controlled halt.
An unusual feature these days is the 31.6mm seatpost. The USE-Sabbath titanium post creates a nicely coordinated look and a ride that’s firm and efficient, though it stays the right side of being overly stiff.
The Sabbath’s ride isn’t super-soft, but its comfort is acceptable and the dynamism and directness of its ride incredibly appealing.
If you’re looking for a fast, aggressive machine with enough comfort for big days out, the newest iteration of Sabbath’s Mondays Child is both fair of face and of pace. The frame’s lifetime guarantee means that it’s pretty fair of value too.
Sabbath Mondays Child Mark II geometry
- Seat angle: 73 degrees
- Head angle: 72 degrees
- Chainstay: 41.2cm
- Seat tube: 47.3cm
- Top tube: 54.8cm
- Fork offset: 4.7cm
- Trail: 6.1cm
- Bottom bracket height: 27cm
- Wheelbase: 998mm
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Tyres||Schwalbe Pro One 25mm tubeless|
|Stem||FSA OS168 90mm|
|Seatpost||USE titanium 31.6mm|
|Saddle||San Marco Aspide Open|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra|
|Handlebar||FSA Wing Compact 42cm|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano R60 in SRAM PressFit 30 to BSA|
|Cranks||Shimano Ultegra 50/34|
|Cassette||Shimano Ultegra 11-34|
|Wheels||Kinlin XR22T/RT hubs, Bitex RAF10/RAR hubs|