Dolan Titanium ADX review£2,198.00

Top value titanium from a British institution

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Magic carpet! Bike for life! Springy! All titanium bikes, including Dolan's Titanium ADX, should ship with a card listing the appropriate clichés to deploy in cake-stop conversations.

You can confidently assert that titanium offers the comfort of steel but at a lower weight; that it is at once timeless, traditional and yet achingly modern. Club mates will nod in agreement at such truisms and your Twitter followers will quietly get on with their lives.

As it happens, titanium bikes do pull off the rather clever trick of not looking particularly cutting edge, but also never appearing too dated. A titanium bike from the 1990s with a set of modern shifters won’t look radically different to one bought this year, because the way the material is used hasn’t changed all that much.

Despite its conservative appearance, it’s a lively and rewarding ride
Despite its conservative appearance, it’s a lively and rewarding ride

The ADX’s frame is traditional in some respects, with slim main tubes that are more or less round and a straight head-tube. To the delight of mechanics, the bottom bracket is threaded and the cables are external, and it’s got bosses to take mudguards and/or a rack (we requested our bike with the former already fitted,and they work a treat).

It’s a fine all-rounder even if its geometry tends towards that of an endurance bike

Fairly substantial stays give a clue to the ADX’s road-going manners and we couldn’t help but marvel at the rear dropouts, which are so impressively cowled you could shelter from the rain under them.

The ADX has rim brakes. Yes, using technology that dates back decades, this bike contrives to stop using calipers that grab your wheels just next to your tyres. In fact, Ultegra rim brakes are among the best out there so it would be churlish to complain.

The rest of the groupset isn’t bad either, besides Dolan will build your ADX pretty much however you want, although you’ll get the best deal by opting for one of the ‘special editions’, which still afford some leeway on the finer details.

My Ultegra-based spec starts at a very reasonable £1,999, with the addition of mudguards and some finishing kit upgrades pushing it a couple of hundred quid higher.

Mavic Ksyrium wheels gain low weight and stiffness points
Mavic Ksyrium wheels gain low weight and stiffness points

This build gets you Mavic’s Ksyrium Elite wheelset, which scores points for low weight and stiffness, although it’s looking awfully skinny in this day and age. If you are planning to subject your ADX to the indignities of winter, it’s arguably a bit too nice.

As the name suggests it’s targeted at the audax (long distance rides to be completed in a set time) crowd and really it’s a fine all-rounder even if its geometry tends towards that of an endurance bike.

Despite its conservative appearance, it’s a lively and rewarding ride; the rear triangle is impressively stiff and an out-of-the-saddle sprint or a quick burst of wattage when the road ramps up is always amply rewarded.

This racy persona comes with a side-order of rear-end firmness and neither the huge Alpina carbon seatpost nor the firm Selle Italia Flite saddle help. Still, it’s a smooth ride that does live up to the titanium stereotype and we like it very much.

If you buy this as your winter bike, it won’t feel like second best unless you just can’t stomach rim brakes. If you buy it as your only bike, we don’t think you’ll be missing out.

For international delivery and shipping check the Dolan site for costs.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
  • Waist: 71cm / 28in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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