Shop Window: Sage Cycles unveils new Barlow titanium adventure bike

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Last fall I met up with David Rosen of Sage Cycles to get the story of his new bike brand, Sage Cycles. Watching a brand take off from the ground floor is always interesting, so I was happy to see Rosen has launched a third model, the Barlow adventure bike.

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Built by Lynskey Performance Designs in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Sage’s specifications, the Barlow is made from 3/2.5 titanium for a lifetime of use. It has a 44 mm head tube to run a tapered steerer tube fork, an English-threaded bottom bracket (yay!) and mounts for a third water bottle cage as well as a rack and fenders.

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The drive side chainstay attaches with a titanium plate for maximum stiffness and tire and chainring clearance. The dropouts are also interchangeable between quick release and 142×12 thru-axles.

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The frame also uses a smart, interchangeable cable routing system Rosen designed. The removable clip holds the barrel adjusters that route the shift cables along the down tube. If the bike is outfitted with an electronic group, it can be detached for a super clean look.

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Sold as a frameset (in seven available sizes) with a carbon fork and titanium seatpost, the Barlow will retail for $3,325 with complete builds available at $5,265.

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First look: Sage Cycles

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David Rosen is a passionate guy. So passionate, in fact, that he has devoted himself—and a larger portion of his garage—into creating a new brand that represents his vision of the ideal performance bicycle. After a few false starts, Sage Cycles has started rolling with two models of titanium bikes that are 100 percent unique designs, but crafted by the Ti experts at Lynskey Performance Designs in Tennessee. [Editor’s note: Take a factory tour of how Lynskey bikes are made here.]

Quality, performance and durability are the hallmarks of two bikes currently in the line, and it’s not hard to imagine a Sage Cycles customer as someone who is as meticulous about the details as Rosen. Based just outside Portland, Oregon, the brand’s raison d’être is a good match for a city where cyclists take their bicycles, and racing them, quite seriously.

There are two models in the line: the PDXCX and the Skyline. The former is a purpose-built race bike, designed to be flogged week in and week out through the season; while the latter is the road-going version of the same, an all-purpose race bike that can also put in some serious training miles.

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Rosen has also teamed up with Portland-based Ruckus Composites to create a unique, removable cable guide that can accommodate both cable and electronically controlled derailleurs without ugly holes, unused protrusions or other compromises. As pictured it holds the derailleur cables, but the whole piece can be removed thanks to a small set screw underneath through which the electronic routing enters the frame.

It’s this attention to detail that Rosen says set Sage Cycles apart, including from Lysnkey’s own designs.

“Lynskey builds amazing bikes and they have the years of experience to back that up. However, a Lynskey bike is not going to perform the same way as a Sage bike due to the differences in design characteristics.”

Sage bikes are available as stock units, with stock build kits, though one of the merits of small batch manufacturing is that if you really want a feature tweaked, it can likely be accommodated. New for 2015 Sage will also be offering customized build kits that can be configured through the new website currently being built. Customers will complete the basics, pay a deposit fee, then get a phone call from Rosen himself to hammer out the details.

“People want to be able to do something on their own,” he said. “It becomes a very personalized, intimate process.”

Creating a new niche in the market between big brands and the ultra-luxury offerings from the likes of Moots and Eriksen can be treacherous, but Rosen is confident that there are customers looking for something unique.

“I want to make the customer comfortable as possible knowing they’re getting something that is absolutely going to blow their mind.”

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