Siddington, Macclesfield, UK – Sabbath Bicycles only makes titanium racing bikes. Such a high tech material is usually associated with aerospace applications and is not an easy metal to work with, but brings with it a host of advantages.
Titanium doesn’t rust or degrade, and it is light and strong. From the standpoint of a cycle manufacturer, it has the dynamic properties to design a frame that is at once stiff (so efficient at coupling rider effort into road speed) and yet comfortable, even over the longest rides. From the point of view of the rider, a titanium frame should last a lifetime. Other components will need replacing as they wear out, but unlike carbon fiber or steel, titanium won’t deteriorate.
Thus, given a frame that lasts, it is no surprise that most titanium frames are not painted or coated in any way, but Sabbath Bicycles offers its bikes (see Figure 1 above) in a range of finishes, from natural to brushed or polished. The company can further finish the bike with a range of coloured decals: applied branding graphics that look great but, of course, are not in keeping with the long life of the frame itself as in time the graphics can become damaged.
Greg Roche, Sabbath founder, looked to find an equally high-tech method to mark titanium frames. Seeking a mark that looked special and was permanent, he approached ES Technology, a laser marking specialist. A multimode Q-switched YAG laser was used to mark the titanium frames. The result is a smooth, black, shiny annealed graphic (Figure 2 below), which won’t degrade or wear off. ES turns around batches of various frame types dispatched by Sabbath to its job shop.
ES Technology, based near Oxford, builds special purpose industrial laser systems as well as operating a laser marking service for decorative, functional, and identification marks on metals, plastics and ceramics.
ABOVE: Figure 1. Sabbath titanium racing cycle is light, strong, and impervious to rust.
BELOW: Figure 2. Laser-marked titanium cycle frame produced by ES Technology using a Q-switched YAG laser.