The titanium Foundry Flyover Force 1 has a different take on the cyclocross race bike. While the standard for high-zoot racing today is swoopy carbon frames — and the Minnesota-based company has a few — it differentiates with a full line of svelte titanium frames and bikes built for going fast and hard to the finish line. Even though the Flyover is Foundry's competition bike, it has a few touches that give a nod to everyday practicality.
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While some bike brands have made their names in titanium, such as Litespeed, Seven and Moots, Foundry is a relative newcomer on the scene. What's interesting (and refreshing) is that the complete Flyover at US$4,695 comes in at a price close to a frame alone from more boutique builders.
In contrast to its modest (for titanium) price tag, the construction and finish look impeccable and sophisticated, with clean, stacked welds and a gorgeous sky blue paint job that partners with just the right amount of the brushed titanium's beauty.
Foundry Flyover ride
Certain bikes are easy to get along with, other bikes take a bit of getting to know you before discovering their true potential. Foundry's Flyover falls into the first camp. After building it up, and taking the obligatory shake down laps to dial in the touch points, I rolled out on a 30 mile ride.
On that inaugural outing on familiar territory, there was no eye-opening handling, no "ohhh, crap" moments, just confident, smooth sailing. Thanks to the neutral geometry (65mm BB drop and 72.5 degree head angle), it was as if the Flyover and I had been rolling along for years.
Off the bike, picking up the Flyover, whether shouldering or suitcasing, felt wonderful and nostalgic at the same time. The thin, straight titanium tubes felt small in my hand like a chromoly frame, but the heft and lack of any superfluous cables or anything in the front triangle made it simple and as mindless as jumping off a moving bicycle can be.
While titanium may or may not get the wrongful rap of being overly flexy, the Flyover is anything but. Stomping on the pedals is rewarded with quick, purposeful response. Wrenching on the Zipp handlebars and leveraging all my weight trying to sway the bottom bracket proved fruitless with zero rubbing or unwarranted movement. Granted there's a load of clearance between the stays and the 33mm Clement tires. Also, the chainstays are pretty tidy at 425mm, which encourages aggressive riding and steering from the hips through your feet.
The eager ride was bolstered by the stiff Whisky #9 CX fork up front. The tapered steerer flows down into broad shoulders and sees a 15mm thru-axle on the business end. It's a confidence-inspiring front end when working through the bends or when grabbing a handful of brakes.
The SRAM Force hydraulic has a 160mm rotor up front and a 140mm out back. As with the Force CX1 drivetrain, the disc brake's function was crisp, controlled and completely consistent. Given the versatility of the Flyover, having a 160mm rotor on the front is a smart spec.
Foundry Flyover Force 1 versatility
Beyond racing, the Flyover has a few thoughtful touches. First and foremost is the ability to squeeze in up to 40mm tires. Adding bigger rubber opens up the potential for gravel grinding, off-season training on nasty roads, and takes the edge off when ultimate speed isn't the top priority.
A front derailleur can be added if more gearing is needed. It'll take some work and parts though, as the front lever is just that, only a brake lever, so adding front shifting would require a new shifter/hydraulic brake lever. But the frame's internal routing is ready for a front changer, whether it be mechanical or electric. The stock gearing of 40t chainring pulling an 11-32 cassette is workable when going full-tilt for an hour, but for longer rides on seriously hilly terrain, a bit more modest front ring could be necessary.
Foundry's true nod to versatility lies in the fender mounts front and rear. They're easily identified on the fork just above the thru-axle, but very integrated and clean on the Flyover frame. Small threaded holes in the dropouts accept an eyebolt for the fender struts to fasten to and a bolt in the back of the BB shell fastens the fender in the front. Mount up some winter wheels, add your fenders and ride, train or commute with zero off-season.
In a world of carbon superbikes, the confidence-inspiring Flyover proves there's still room for the magic of titanium. It certainly isn't the lightest and doesn't have the most technological acronyms plastered on its side, but the Flyover does have a timeless aesthetic and the speed, handling and ride quality to back up those looks.