Monday, March 8, 2010

Heintz 57


That's another term for mutt. And it fits a bike I'sa gots in my stables....a MUTT!

See, there's this crew of folks who weld titanium frames in the pacific northwest, and these guys pump a bunch of stuff out. Mostly Sandvik tubes, all assembled by a closely related company called TST or Titanium Sport Technology (or TiSports or Titanium Sports or whatever!) You can even contract with them to have titanium golf clubs or wheelchairs made. The dudes can flat out bend, miter and weld titanium like no body's business!

From their web page...

"Since 1989, the highly skilled men and women of TiSport have been fabricating road, mountain, cyclocross, triathlon and recumbent bike frames for a number of foreign and domestic customers such as Bachetta, Bontrager, Colorado Cyclist, Dean, Diamondback, Fuji, Gary Fisher, GT, Ibis, Kona, Marin, Mongoose Pro, Sampson and Yeti... All frames are made in the U.S.A in Kennewick, Washington using cold relieved Ti-3%Al-2.5%V seamless tubing, the same tubing used in aerospace high pressure hydraulic systems.

Now here's where the here-say starts. As I understand it...many of these frames are spec'd to their contractor's standards and design, and then welded up by TST. That part is pretty standard. The weirdness starts when TST is contracted to build frames that never get delivered...or if they bend up some seat stays or cut some seat tubes or whatever, and then the contractor doesn't step forward with the cash. No, that titanium doesn't go to waste, and those frames don't hit the trash, oh no. Not by a long shot. They hit the market. And then the game starts...If you buy a TST frame, and not from a contracted buyer labeling them as their own, it shows up with nothing on but a serial number. Nekkid as a jaybird, so to speak.

The game then becomes...what the heck exactly IS my TST anyway??? You saw the list of brands earlier in the post here...any design characteristic, or dropout style, or seat tube exposure, is possible. Sometimes it seems, these frames have a little bit of more than one design in them. A titanium mutt as it were. Albeit a darn nice mutt, granted! My mutt came to me in 2005, from Cambriabike.com, for the paltry sum of $345. If I know then what I know now, I'd have bought them all. These Tisport frames are wonderful! Hint...if you're shopping used, save yourself some dough and skip the Konas and the Deans and buy a Mongoose or Diamondback or something else with a goofy brand. Stickers come off, after all!

Me?...well I LOVE my mutt! When I scope out my bike, I see a bit of Kona in the seat tube exposure and top tube slope, a little DBR in the seat stays, and Mongoose Pro dropouts.

And the cool part?...because it's made from aerospace grade titanium, I can take it apart and make a toilet for NASA! Weeeee!

2 comments:

Dan O said...

Nice mutt bike - looks great.

In a lot of way - nowadays - you're paying for paint and stickers. Only the super high end stuff is made by the actual people selling it.

Nothing really wrong with that - just the way it is...

Utahdog! said...

yup yup. Theres a bad side to that obviously. But the good side is mutt bike heaven!

Been like that for years with some folks...Marin, Kona, Mongoose, Diamond Back...lots of brands that barely made anything of their own at all, ever.