Things made of carbon. And Titanium. In Italy.
Things are different on the Continent, aren’t they? For some reason, the stereotypical German, French, and Italian approaches to riding are slightly out of sync with the Anglophone world. Not that we’re pointing fingers- each country is mad in its own way (you don’t see many Germans on big-forked steel hardtails). With that in mind, it’s fun to turn across the water and to peer into the parallel universe that is…. Italy.
Hailing from geography’s most famous boot, Carbon-Ti is a boutique manufacturer of “high-tech bicycle components.” A subsidiary of LLS Titanium, which specialises in the manufacture of hardware from special alloys and carbon fibre, it’s no surprise that Carbon-Ti do a lot with the gray and the black. That isn’t to say that they turn their noses up at more common metals- more likely that Carbon-Ti-Al (With a Touch of Steel) was a bit ungainly.
Being Italian-based and building all of their components at home, it’s no surprise that the company’s focus balances light weight with… flair. Visible carbon, naked titanium, and anodised alloy fill the catalogue- sometimes taking shape as quite clever solutions and upgrades.
As much as an aesthetic as a weight-saving upgrade, the X-Lock thru axle is available for RockShox and Fox 15mm thru axles, replacing standard fork quick releases. Seeing as we all (should) carry a tool set while riding, bolt-through axles are not a terrible compromise- and have been used successfully by Formula and Magura for a number of years. €84/£76 in seven colours.
Brakes aren’t usually our favourite place to save weight, but Carbon-Ti’s recently updated carbon/steel X-Rotor SC2s are pretty enough to make us look twice. Since the SC1, the braking surface has been redesigned to increase heat dissipation, improve mud performance, and more evenly distribute pad wear. How do 75g for a 160mm or 65g for a 140mm sound? (Sorry- no 180s.) Brace yourself for the bill: €183/£208.
If wear on your alloy narrow/wide chainrings is an issue, then Carbon-Ti’s X-MonoSync chainrings may edge into justifiable upgrade territory. Available in numerous configurations for direct- and spider-mount cranksets, the chainrings feature a now-common chain-hugging narrow/wide tooth profile. Given that they’re CNC machined in Italy and that most of the starting titanium ends up as chips on the machine shop floor, the €156/£140 price doesn’t seem far out of line.
Finally (for us, anyhow- there’s lots more on their website), are chainrings in the comapany’s namesake materials. Combining carbon and titanium in a single chainring yields a 33g chainring (104mm x 32t) with a claimed three-fold wear improvement over more pedestrian alloy ‘rings. Exactly €199.01/£228.99, because that is the price.
It’s not anything that many of us will see -let alone own- but it’s good to see companies pushing materials and weight envelopes and providing fodder for those lotto-win dream builds. Carbon-Ti is sold in the UK by Evolution Imports. More at carbon-ti.com.