What We Ride (Part 2): 333fab Titanium Randonneur

Posted by: Jan Heine Category: Our Bikes

What We Ride (Part 2): 333fab Titanium Randonneur

In this mini-series, we’re looking at the bikes that the BQ Team rides. These are the bikes we’ve bought with our own money (or built with our own hands). These are the bikes we ride most of the time, whether we’re heading for a quick 2-hour spin or a multi-day adventure in the Cascade Mountains. These are the bikes we think work best for us and our style of riding.

Ryan’s custom titanium bike was built by 333fab as a modern interpretation of a randonneur bike. Like the rest of the team, Ryan’s bike rolls on the 650B x 42 mm tires, it’s got aluminum fenders, generator lighting and compact cranks. That is where the similarities end: Ryan’s bike is a reminder that there are many different ways to build a fast long-distance bike.

Ryan tells the story: “As background, I’m 6’4” and I’ve cracked the frame of every road bike I’ve owned since 1980 — Motobecane, Gitane, Pinarello, 2 Cannondales, 3 Lemonds, and Boulder Bicycle. For this bike, I wanted a titanium bike that could accommodate 42 mm tires with fenders, and had the same riding position as the most recent Lemond. I chose a local builder, Max Kullaway, and he quickly came up with a design that has become my current – and favorite – bike.”

Ryan decided to forego a rack and mounts his bag with a bracket on the handlebars. This leaves room underneath not only for the headlight, but also for his GoPro camera.

The titanium frame includes S&S couplers for travel. Max from 333fab made a custom titanium mount for the Rene Herse taillight. There’s a reinforcement for the rear fender to compensate for the lack of a direct fender mount.

Ryan’s bike uses a T47 bottom bracket, and he runs a Rotor crank. Ryan’s rear fender attaches to the back of the seat tube (there is no chainstay bridge), so he fashioned a neat rubber mudflap to extend the fender downward and prevent his legs getting sprayed from behind.

There’s a Whisky carbon fork up front and disc brakes in another nod to modernity. Ryan reports: “There were a few tradeoffs. The S&S couplers make traveling with the bike easier, but preclude using butted tubing which might have been nice. The bike is heavier than many bikes because I prioritized reliability and longevity over weight. These have been worthwhile tradeoffs.”

“Most of the parts have been completely reliable, but the original carbon fork started to rattle when the threaded insert for the thru-axle detached from the carbon. An identical replacement fork has recently come loose in the same place. The Velocity Blunt rim on the rear failed with cracks where the spokes attach. A replacement quickly developed cracks in the same manner. The original front Blunt is pristine, and the HED Belgium replacement on the rear is going strong.”

The 333fab is a neat bike. It took a while to make it all work, but now it’s a competent machine that can handle even the most challenging rides. Ryan’s conclusion: “I’ve had this bike for 3.5 years, and I’ve ridden it 20,000 miles (32,000 km). I’m always happy on this bike, and it has transported me on countless adventures, mixed-surface rides, errands, afternoon rides, and Paris-Brest-Paris. I enjoy riding this bike day or night, rain or shine, gravel or pavement. I also really like the way it looks.”

  • Frame: 333Fab Custom Titanium with S&S Couplers, low mount disc, OS headtube
  • Fork: Whisky No9 Carbon.
  • Cranks: Rotor Rex double 175 mm; Sugino Compact Plus 46/30
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Dura Ace FD-9000/RD-9000
  • Pedals: Shimano PD-M780
  • Front hub: SON 15TA
  • Rear hub: White Industries CLD
  • Cassette: Ultegra CS-R8000 11-28.  11 speed.
  • Rims: Velocity Blunt (front); HED Belgium (rear)
  • Tires: Rene Herse 650B x 42 mm Babyshoe Pass Extralight
  • Tubes: Schwalbe SV14A Extralight
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-R785
  • Brake levers: Shimano Ultegra R8000
  • Headset: Chris King i7
  • Stem/decaleur: Thompson X4
  • Handlebars: Deda Zero 100
  • Seatpost: Thompson Elite
  • Saddle: Brooks C17
  • Headlight: Schmidt Edelux 2
  • Taillight: Rene Herse
  • Fenders: Honjo 58 mm
  • Pump: Silca Impero Ultimate
  • Handlebar bag: Swift Paloma
  • Bottom Bracket: T47 30mm Chris King

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