Dolan Titanium ADX road bike, The wonder metal at an equally wonderful price £1,800
Terry Dolan is more familiar than most with titanium. He built his first frame more than 20 years ago for Chris Boardman.
Dolan made it at Liverpool University but the components had to be shipped from Seattle. Boardman rode it to fourth place in the Grand Prix des Nations and again in Italy a week later. Then it was damaged on the plane and that was the end of that.
Today, Dolan has his titanium frames built by a team of five Russian former submarine welders. Manufacturing techniques have come a long way.
The ADX is made from 3Al/2.5V titanium — the commonest Ti alloy used for bike frames. As titanium is about twice as flexible as steel (and half the weight), the tubes have bigger diameters to stiffen them, but a titanium frame still ends up lighter than a steel one.
The ADX is aimed at endurance and sportive riders and has geometry that allows a slightly more upright position — though not too upright, thankfully. Mudguard eyes and rear rack mounts give it an extra layer of versatility.
You could find cheaper, but we were interested to try out SRAM’s brand new 11-speed Rival 22 groupset. So far, we’ve found it isn’t as easy to set up, and shifting doesn’t feel as predictable as it was with the older 10-speed SRAM system. However, we’ve found in the past that DoubleTap shifting gets better as the cables age, slowing down slightly and giving you less speed but more ‘feel’ through the lever.
SRAM has changed Rival’s hood shape in line with Red 22 and Force 22. Although possibly an improvement ergonomically, the rubber covers don’t fit tightly and twist slightly when they’re being gripped for climbing.
Mavic Aksiums are dependable and not excessively heavy, but would probably be the first thing to upgrade.
Read more about this and the rest of the Dolan range at dolan-bikes.com
In all situations, the ADX handled fabulously. Because it’s marketed as a sportive or endurance bike, the expectation is that it will be flexible with a too-upright geometry. It’s comfortable, but has an authoritative ride quality that belies its unracy designation — and any preconceptions about titanium. At speed, it feels totally connected to road and rider, giving the right amount of feedback. The 56.5cm size we tested has 73.5° parallel angles — steeper than the Forme’s — so it’s not surprising that it feels responsive. But it’s a measured type of responsiveness that isn’t out of place in a bike with mudguards. The ADX could well be the perfect all-year-round road bike.