deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 2
Steel Vs Titanium

Knolly Tyaughton Titanium Review

Words Deniz Merdano
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Nov 16, 2022
Reading time

Knolly Tyaughton Titanium

Titanium… The wonder metal so light, hard, and shiny that some people make bicycle frames with and some use it to keep their bones together. Working with Ti (as the cool kids call it) has its challenges. Being a material with the aforementioned characteristics, it is not easy on the tools or the people holding them. The bits wear out more quickly, welds are trickier, and paint… well it just doesn’t stick to titanium. The last one is not entirely true but there is a phenomenon called the Ti Effect that is so rampant that no frame builder will brave tough cycling critics and paint over the natural finish of Ti on a product. The material has an aura that defeats all pigments and invokes an unspoken invitation; touch me and leave greasy fingerprints all over me.

This results in nearly all Ti bikes looking the same, which makes preserving a distinct brand identity a challenge. Can Knolly’s Titanium Tyaughton win the hearts of mountain bikers over the steel, ‘budget’ option?

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 3

Knolly Tyaughton Titanium in Medium XT build

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 4

When I reviewed the Steel Tyaughton just over a year ago, the plan was to get the Ti version shortly after for direct comparison. The idea of a complete Ti build was floated but I wanted to see if there were any discernible differences between the steel and the Ti frame by using the same components. So the waiting game began...

10 months later, there was a frame ready for a swap. Knolly’s Burnaby headquarters was packed to the ceiling with bike boxes. Noel appeared through a cardboard maze to hand me the Medium frame. I figured the supply shortages were sorted for the time being and there would be lots of excited owners, eager to take home bikes and frames they ordered a while back.

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Steel Tyaughton that donated all the parts for this build

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 11

Badge Envy

My first thought out loud was; I wonder if I’ll be able to tell the difference between the two frames. Noel jumped right in to remind me that, if they had done their homework right, I shouldn't be able to tell any ride quality differences.

What? Nothing? Nope..

Well what's the point then?

The first few Ti Tys were welded in Canada. Some lucky long timers jumped on these before the word even got out to the public. They roamed the Shore and beyond with unmatched exclusivity but soon there would be copies made in Taiwan that put them in their place, with matching attention to detail. Knolly decided to use their own tubing and hydroforming on the Ty to squeeze out every little bit of advantage over the Steel one from their hardtail.

Compared to the Steel version, the Ti Ty has significantly larger Top and Downtubes. The increase in diameter was possible with the use of titanium and butting it to shave the extra fat. The Ti frame weighs 2lbs (907g) less than the Steel version in the same size. That alone may be good enough reason to pick the Ti over Steel for some riders.

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 14

The headbadge to rule all headbadges..

Frame swap

I was dreading the frame swap I had to do to get the Ti going with my busy schedule but once I sat down and visualised the process, I quickly realised it was a chill, 2 beer job. One during and one for after while admiring the bike. The Rear derailleur and the brake routing are external. The cables come from the same side of the bars and go around the headtube. A shrink wrap at the first zip tie spot keeps them tidy together and made the swap even easier.

On the steel frame, the dropper housing follows a rather unrefined path down the side of the down tube, loops under the bottom bracket and enters the seat tube just in front of the rear tire’s forehead to meet up with the dropper post actuator. As primitive as this is, the path it allows for the cable to follow 2 larger radius turns that require no special skills to route while avoiding weak points or extra friction. The titanium frame however has a more refined visual approach to the whole system.

The larger tube diameters and overall strength of the material makes internal routing feasible. There are no internal guides for the housing but there is a little hatch that can be opened just in front of the bottom bracket to guide the dropper housing through the rather sharp turn up to the seat tube. This design choice disappointed me as it seems like a fashion decision rather than a user interface one. This will eventually be a weak spot for unwanted friction on the rusted cable. A 31.6mm seatpost is nice and if you desire, the AXS Reverb will take care of this routing issue quite nicely. The SDG Tellis seatpost however lost its grip on the cable end a couple of times making it a rather frustrating routing and length calculating process. Once installed, this is not a regular occurrence but merely a beer justifying moment to sit back and take a swig of your preferred juice in the workshop. Knolly also provided some foam for the housing to keep the sound to a minimum in the frame. The whole tear down and rebuild process took about 45 minutes start to finish and only a slight adjustment to the derailleur was required to get the Ti Ty shifting nicely. The brake mount and the brace are really cool elements of the frame and I admired the shapes as I lined up the caliper with the rotor.

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 10

Hatch to access the BB cable junction

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 23

157 rear spacing is a polarizing one. What's your opinion? 148 or 157?

The built up bike gathered some ooohss and aaaaahhs in the shop by fellow titanium enthusiasts. The ironic moustaches twitched in envy... I cracked open another beer. The Knolly made a looker of a bike, and with the 150mm Fox 36 up front, it rides damn well too. Definitely well enough for testing the flexibility of these 39 year-old ankles. The tire choice will change after this article goes live. The MaxTerrafiying DHF up front has no place on a Shore bike, and the 2.3 DHR II is just a Covid spec. I have some meatier, stiffer and way grippier tires in the pile to put on this thing. The uphill sprightliness may take a hit with the heavier rubber, but I think it will be worth it for the quality of the ride they will provide. As Noel promised, the Titanium Tyaughton does indeed ride, just like the steel one. There is a little more cable noise coming from the down tube with the dropper routing being internal.

The stock Raceface Next R bars and 60mm stem came off immediately. I find the Next R components to be too stiff for comfort. And 60mm stem was too long for the already long reach of this frame. The Medium, with the 468mm reach and steep SA, has a good cockpit length for my longish arms. I am 5’9” with a wingspan of a 6’2” person. I like roomy top tubes and the 75 degree seat angle is perfect for a front suspension-only bike. The deeper you are in the travel, steeper the head angle, Seat angle and longer the reach is. The modern hardtail sometimes gives you false confidence by putting you in a familiar, slack, roomy almost-enduro bike riding position. And while your mind is working a million miles an hour trying to dissect the trail and find the smoothest lines, it nips at your ankles and lower back with shark teeth because you forget you're not on your both-end-squishy bike. All is well however on this Ti boat as the ride is calm and controlled unless you wander too far off the beaten path and end up on some steep chutes and big G-outs. That is no place for a bike like this. Sure you can get down those once or twice but don’t push your luck kid. This is the sensible bike.. Go for a run on the blues, maybe a black, find some single track, climb until your legs fall off. Oh also, technical climbs are way harder when you don’t have as much traction on the back wheel.

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 37

This is not the stock cockpit. self provided 40mm Stem and 780 bars

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 26

The bare chainstay is not a good look and doesn't sound great. I'd love to see a custom rubber sleeve for this.

But all is well. Hardtails are easy to justify in any fleet; you just have to decide if you want one or not. Titanium Hardtails like this Knolly creation will require a longer conversation with yourself and possibly your financial advisor. They may tell you that it is a great investment! It’s a bike for life! They could also remind you that it costs 7900 CAD for an XT build and you are out of your mind. But then you’ll show them the incredible headbadge to rule all the headbadges; a CNC-machined thing of beauty. Would I spend my own money? Probably not. There are way more sensible ways to spend that money to get a torture machine like these Shore hardtails. The Steel frame is still excellent and is a better value with the awesome parts it comes with. Kona's Honzo ESD is again a wicked value for how much fun it offers.

deniz merdano knolly titanium tyaughton 39

"Are you shooting an advertisement?" multiple passer bys

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Rear brake mounts and braces are pretty

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nice curves and 160mm rotor direct mount. here with a 180mm rotor

I was in the market for a Titanium hardtail, I probably would have made a few better life decisions. Maybe I would have splurged for something a bit more custom and exotic. Moots? maybe a Naked? Or lasso Dekerf and put him to work. Thats where I think the magic of Titanium hardtails are. Custom applications. But Knolly has come up with a tasty hardtail with the Titanium Tyaughton. It rides so sweet that you want to ride it more and more. I just wish I was 10 years younger with fewer back and ankle issues. Oh yea, my knees are also seized shut...

If you have the means to rock this semi-exotic ride...by all means.

Knolly Tyaughton Titanium

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Fall is the best time for bike product shots

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I like the colour combo I created. Usually not one for bright grips

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano

5'8"

162lbs

Playful, lively riding style

Photographer and Story Teller

Lenticular Aesthetician

www.blackbirdworks.ca

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Comments

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 week, 4 days ago
+6 Andrew Major Lu Kz Andy Eunson Blofeld bushtrucker Tremeer023

I had a line on a discounted steel Ty frame, but the 157mm hub kept me from pulling the trigger. If I owned a Knolly FS bike with a 157mm hub it would have made sense, but I just got my fleet setup with 29er/148mm wheels and I'm not ready to mess that up. 

I think Knolly missed an opportunity to design in swappable dropouts so folks could run 148 or 157mm hubs and ideally with sliders for adjustable CS length and SS. That would have opened Ty sales to more people. Some of whom could be lured over to the Knolly 157mm FS darkside since they had a HT frame that was cross compatible. 

I'm Ti curious, but the cost for a production Ti frame being right up there with a custom steel frame has made that a hill I haven't been willing to climb. 

I will add that if you haven't ridden a nice modern geo hardtail [steel or Ti] it's worth a shot if you can make it happen. The ride quality/capability is great and they are more than just a backup bike option.

Reply

monsieurgage
Gage Wright
1 week, 3 days ago
+3 Andy Eunson Vik Banerjee Tremeer023

I really like the idea of drop out that can swab hubs standards and adjust CS length.  The option to have a drop out that can accommodate single speed is nice too.  Why not?

Reply

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
1 week, 1 day ago
0

Swappable dropouts would not work on a 157 frame. You must run a super boost specific 157 crank with a 58mm chainline. That would not be compatible with a 148 rear hub. Well, the chainline in your largest cogs would be borderline unrideable.

I'm building up a fugitive right now and have first hand experience trying to make my 148mm wheels and standard cranks work just on a temporary basis.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
1 week ago
+2 Tremeer023 Andrew Major

Yes they would. The We Are One bikes are super boost 157 with a boost chainring/crank. You get a better chain line in the lower gear. I use a non boost ring on my Chameleon with a boost rear end. Works well. Zero issues.

Reply

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
5 days, 20 hours ago
+1 Andy Eunson

^Guess it comes down to the frame manufacturer and how much tire clearance they designed into their superboost frame.  On my knolly, tire clearance is massive and only superboost cranks fit.  A standard chainline cranks chainring will collide with the frame yoke.

Reply

hbelly13
Raymond Epstein
1 week, 4 days ago
+5 Andy Eunson Lu Kz Timer bushtrucker Tremeer023

Both this and the steel version are dope-looking bikes. I would not buy either though as I just do not feel like the benefits to move to 157 spacing is worth the extra hassle. I've owned a bike with 157 spacing and it was great. However there are tons of other bikes that are just as good without it and 148 is much more readily available.

Reply

Ride.DMC
Ride.DMC
1 week, 3 days ago
+4 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer bushtrucker Tremeer023

45 minutes to drink 1 beer, eh?  One of us must be doing it wrong...

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 1 day ago
0

And it ain't you!

Reply

monsieurgage
Gage Wright
1 week, 4 days ago
+3 Cr4w Mammal Andy Eunson

I personally love the attention to detail.  The cable routing, perfect welding, cnc head badge....thru axle has a handle sticking into oncoming trail detritus.

Ok negative nelly comments aside I think all people should go wild and try a decked out aggressive HT.  Make it inspired by DH or DJ and rip as fast as your legs can handle before the thigh meat falls off the bone like 20 hour slow roast.  Mmmm mmmm good.  Be shore to the core and drop to flat just to feel like the old school NSX dudes.

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
1 week, 4 days ago
+3 Deniz Merdano boomforeal Tremeer023

“Someone misplaced my klipex plastic side cutters”- in a pinch, toenail clippers do a good enough job. Beautiful build, and I’ll have to try using shrink wrap to tidy things up

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
1 week, 4 days ago
0

Totally.. still need to find the knipexs though

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
1 week, 4 days ago
+1 Deniz Merdano

Totally, I'd move heaven and earth to find mine if I had/lost them. Almost as bad as losing a 4mm Allen or that blasted 10mm socket

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
1 week, 4 days ago
+2 Lu Kz Endurimil

If I was looking for a frame only and transfer my chameleon parts over super boost is a hard no. My current bike is normal boost which would mean a new hub or adaptors and that’s more than I’d want to do considering many other frame only options where I would not need to do this. If I was buying a complete bike it wouldn’t bother me much. I don’t see super boost as adding anything though. I can’t say I notice my We Are One wheels as being flexible. I haven’t had to true them after a full season. So what would super boost get me? And the rear centre is a bit shorter than I like.

Reply

Blofeld
Blofeld
1 week, 3 days ago
+6 Andrew Major Andy Eunson Velocipedestrian bushtrucker Tremeer023 kcy4130

To follow up your question with another question, why is the tire clearance only 29x2.6 on this bike? A 157 hardtail could have a limit somewhere around 3.8 with a 57mm chainline, with minor concessions to this maximum for big chainrings and short chainstays. I feel like big tire clearance could have made the 157 rear a feature instead of a bug.

Reply

NotEndurbro
Dustin Meyer
1 week, 4 days ago
+2 Vik Banerjee jmvdigital Tremeer023 badgerracer

The frame looks really nice but I have to admit I stopped reading when I saw "Super Boost". I get it for certain full suspension builds, but for a hard tail? No way.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
1 week, 3 days ago
+6 Mammal Velocipedestrian badgerracer bushtrucker momjijimike Grant Blankenship

Don't stop reading because you see super boost.. Be more resilient! You can get through this article!! :)

Reply

skooks
Skooks
1 week, 2 days ago
+2 NealWood Pete Roggeman

I got the steel version and it is so much fun to ride. Super sporty and capable. I tried the ti version. It's beautiful for sure, and you notice the weight difference when you pick it up, but no compelling reason to pay extra for it. I have never wished I had the ti version while riding the steel one.

The 157 spacing is a non issue. Just get the wheels that fit the bike. No problem sourcing them. It helps that my fully also runs 157, but honestly I have had to swap wheels exactly zero times.

Reply

Coarsebass
Glenn Bergevin
1 week, 4 days ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I'm a steel guy, just from a practicality, budget, value perspective, but I'm lusting after Ti right now, thinking I may give it a try next year...

At the end of the day, did you notice any real difference in ride between bikes? Lots of mythology and marketing goes with Ti... But it's also just metal. That said, tube profiles, diameters, etc, that are differentiatiors between the Ti and steel frames could definitely influence feel. I find weight is something you notice hoisting the bike off the rack or stand, feels good in the first quick sprint up to speed on the trail... Then I forget about. Wheels are different, light wheels feel great and it takes a while for that sheen to wear off, but straight bike weight... My bikes lose a pound every ride as I drink my water and I never notice.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
1 week, 4 days ago
+4 Merwinn Mammal cheapondirt Tremeer023

The weight.. that's all i can tell. Which as you mentioned, disappears immediately when you start riding.

Reply

Heinous
Heinous
1 week, 3 days ago
+1 IslandLife

The quality of the welding in that frame looks very good. That's not always the case with overseas sourced Ti. I'd love to see it checked for alignment too, as weld quality, tubing, and final alignment are the places mass produced Ti often gets in to trouble.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
1 week, 3 days ago
0

I didn't take tools to it but there is no problem with the alignment that I can see.

The welds are top notch!

Reply

Ripbro
Ripbro
1 week, 4 days ago
0

Very cool bike. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t stock chromag bars on the bike. I’m running some FU40s and like them:)

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
1 week, 4 days ago
+1 Ripbro

It was peak parts shortage when the steel bike was delivered. The spec has changed slightly i believe. Chromag cockpit and maybe even wheels .

Reply

sandy-james-oates
Sandy James Oates
1 week, 3 days ago
0

The only thing missing from this bike is a Kona P2 titanium fork.

Reply

pae_montero@yahoo.co.uk
pae_montero@yahoo.co.uk
1 week, 3 days ago
0

To all the Ti-curious/Ti-sexuals....worth checking Stanton bikes in the UK. Exchange rate still pretty good in your favour. 

They also have swappable dropouts and will do customised final paint details.

(I don't work for stanton)

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
1 week, 3 days ago
+4 Velocipedestrian badgerracer Vik Banerjee Tremeer023

stanton has just gone into administration, so best to avoid.

Reply

Heinous
Heinous
1 week, 3 days ago
0

I just saw that. I've got to wonder is their full suspension bike wasn't a throwback to cannondale's motorbike?

Reply

pae_montero@yahoo.co.uk
pae_montero@yahoo.co.uk
1 week, 3 days ago
0

I guess they'll be even cheaper shortly then!

Seriously though that sucks for them.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
1 week, 3 days ago
+3 Perry Schebel Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman

Oh, I didn't know you'd ordered one.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
1 week, 3 days ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

i understand this joke!

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
1 week, 3 days ago
+2 Cooper Quinn Pete Roggeman

How is that Lahar going?

And would you mind buying an Ellsworth? And something from one of the headset routing progenitors?

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
1 week, 2 days ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

i recently did a refresh on the lahar to get it rolling again (been in parts for a while). can't kill that thing. 

i think my curse has lifted; commencal seems to be doing just fine.

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 1 day ago
0

@Velocipedestrian: That is a gofundme worthy idea.

@Perry: we're gonna need pics.

dbozman
dbozman
1 week, 3 days ago
0

Beautiful. I guess I did expect a lot more detail on ride quality differences, than basically a throwaway line. Although, if reality is that there’s no discernible difference, I suppose that’s just the answer.

I very nearly purchased a steel complete last month during the “big and tall” sale or whatever clever name Knolly gave it. Despite Phoenix being so hardtail unfriendly. But I didn’t and the price went back up to a level where I’m happy just to buy another short-travel trailbike.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
1 week, 3 days ago
0

“The Ti frame weighs 2lbs (1800 g) less than the Steel version”. 

Hmm, I’m guess the “2” got stuck in your head, you up, and so you doubled the 900g difference again after converting from pounds to grams?

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
1 week, 3 days ago
0

Anything is possible!!! My bad!

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
1 week, 4 days ago
-1 Vik Banerjee bushtrucker Joseph Crabtree IslandLife jmvdigital

I find that machined headtube badge to be slightly ostentatious. But maybe it's just me.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
1 week, 4 days ago
+3 Lu Kz IslandLife jmvdigital

You'd love it if it was your bike! Sure the design could use simplification but really interesting detailing up close

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
1 week, 3 days ago
0 bushtrucker IslandLife

It's more that it's purely cosmetic. If the head tube needed to be in a cnc mill in that orientation for a functional reason and they added engraving as a bonus it'd be one thing. But that's not the case, they made a fixture and added machining only for the engraving. It just rubs my function over form, utilitarian soul the wrong way.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
1 week, 3 days ago
+10 GB LWK Timer Pete Roggeman T0m Mammal Andy Eunson badgerracer Nologo IslandLife

But the Ti bike as a whole *IS* form over function. So...

Reply

bushtrucker
bushtrucker
1 week ago
0 kcy4130 jmvdigital

Totally agree. Idea is cool, but the execution is over the top.

Reply

jmvdigital
jmvdigital
1 week ago
0

It’s my favorite part of the frame. I like the attention to detail and craftsmanship. If it was function over form, we’d all be running around with sticker badges like Ibis.

Reply

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