If ever there was a type of metal that we could eat, it would be titanium. Undoubtedly the most delicious of all metals, there is something so alluring and exotic about titanium that just seems to get us salivating every time we see it. And what about when we actually get the chance to touch it? Best we keep that to ourselves…
Looking to sate cyclists appetite for titanium, Wittson is a bespoke frame manufacturer based in Lithuania that only builds with European Grade 9 Ti. Our attention was first brought to the Wittson name when the company launched a drop-dead gorgeous welded titanium rigid fork. In addition to that striking piece of art, Wittson also produces a full mountain bike hardtail frame, called the ‘Bestia’. Whilst being equally as lovely, there’s actually a lot of features on the Bestia that aren’t so common with titanium mountain bike frames.
Firstly though, some background. Wittson is still a relatively new name in the cycling scene, but its master frame builder, Vidmantas “Vitas” Zukauskas is not. Having previously worked with the likes of Colnago, Argon 18 and a host of other high-end companies, Vitas has over two decades of experience with building titanium road, cyclocross and mountain bike frames. Vitas has such a reputation amongst high-end Ti frame builders, because it’s the only material he chooses to work with.
Most of the frames that Wittson produces are custom numbers, but the Bestia is a stock mountain bike frame that’s available with 27.5in wheels (Small, Medium, Large) and 29in wheels (Medium, Large, X-Large), and is designed around a 100mm travel suspension fork. Like all of Wittson’s frames, the Bestia is made from Grade 9 Titanium that’s welded up in their small Lithuanian-based workshop.
“All of the frames are made of European Grade 9 Ti supplied by a Swedish company called VSMPO Titan Scandinavia“, states Vitas. “This is one of the world’s number-one titanium suppliers. It’s the same titanium that BOEING and AIRBUS use. The key difference to Chinese suppliers is that VSMPO don’t use recycled titanium, so that means better alloy characteristics.”
The Bestia is built as a purist XC race machine, and has the geometry to match. For 2017, Wittson has actually sharpened the head angle to 70.5-degrees, and shortened the top tube length, which would appear to be going against current trends. But Wittson don’t care. The new frame also features Wittson’s wishbone seat stays, which is a very unique feature for a titanium frame, as it requires quite a complex process to achieve. At the rear wheel you’ll find a 142x12mm Syntace screw-in axle, along with US-made Paragon dropouts. Possibly the most striking feature of the Bestia is that full-length integrated seat mast
The Wittson Bestia Features:
- XC hardtail race bike
- 27.5in or 29in wheels
- Grade 9 Titanium
- Oversized externally and internally butted headtube for conical 1.5″ fork
- Bi-ovalized toptube
- Hydroformed curved downtube
- Integrated seatpost with an support on toptube/seatsatays cross section
- Ti seatmast with ti bolts
- Hydroformed wishbone seatstays
- Hydroformed chainstays
- Internal brake and gear routing
- PressFit 30 bottom bracket
- Made in USA PARAGON x SYNTACE X-12 thru axle dropouts
- Hand brushed finish
- Custom sandblasting
- Ti headbadge
- Anodized bolts
- Max tyre clearance: 2.25in
- Claimed weight: 1870 grams (size M / seattube uncut)
- Includes: Chris King InSet 7 headset, Wittson seatmast (grade 9 ti), removable Syntace alloy hanger, 142x12mm Syntace thru-axle
- RRP: €2489
While the Bestia is a stock frame, there are multiple custom features available. Rather than the stock PF30 bottom bracket shell, you can get a new T47 BB, and you can even spec Boost 148x12mm dropouts too. Want a belt drive? Maybe you want the frame built with a Pinion gearbox? Wittson will do that for you, and they’ll even build the Bestia around a longer travel suspension fork. So be prepared to waste A LOT of time choosing options!
Head to wittson.com for more info.