EVOLUTION IS A FINE THEORY FOR NATURE, BUT WHEN IT comes to bikes, Intelligent Design reigns supreme. As much as we like to personify our bikes, they don’t just “evolve” on their own into lighter, stronger, faster beasts. Instead, bikes are given life by designers and product managers, and in the case of the Titus FTM, those guiding hands managed a near-miraculous job.
The FTM began life years ago as the Titus Motolite, a widely acclaimed Horst-link bike with 127 millimeters of travel. But as trail bikes grew from 4 inches of travel to 5, losing weight in the process, the Motolite was left in the evolutionary dust. It was replaced this year by the FTM, a modiﬁ ed version that boasts an extra 13 millimeters of travel while trimming a bit of fat in the process.
The new model, made by Sapa in Portland, Oregon, features car- bon seatstays and asymmetrical chainstays with forged and CNC’d dropouts. The seatstays also lose a structural bridge that was prone to clogging with mud. Those changes shave 230 grams from the old rear end, yet the bike remains every bit as stiff, Titus claims. The FTM also jumps up to a larger 30.9-diameter seat tube to accommodate adjustable-height seatposts. The geometry stays mostly the same, but the bottom bracket was slightly lowered to keep a 69.25 headtube angle with the longer travel fork.
Despite the increased travel and the new name (FTM stands for “Full Tilt Moto”), this is not just a Motolite built for bigger trails. This is a decidedly lightweight trail bike. The bike we tested came with a 140-millimeter Fox TALAS RLC 15QR fork, but the rest of the kit screamed XC: Magura Marta SL brakes, FSA Team Issue carbon cranks, Maxm carbon post and carbon Ritchey WCS bars. With pedals, the bike weighed 27 pounds.
When it came to ripping around the trails, the FTM, like its orange anodized ﬁnish, was as hot as the Arizona sun. It scorched climbs, and even with the sag set at 30 percent of travel the bike delivered a solid pedaling platform and reacted quickly to pedal input. Climbing will never be an effortless task, but everything from ledgy switchbacks to steep and loose ﬁreroads seemed a little more tolerable aboard the FTM.
The suspension also offered smooth small-bump absorption, and despite the lack of a seatstay bridge, the FTM tracked true while cornering. The geometry was spot- on for most terrain.
The FTM doesn’t pretend to be an all-mountain bike. This is a pure trail bike, and it excels at its job. Anyone who likes to rip singletrack, sprint up climbs, and possibly enter some endurance or XC races should give the FTM a spin….
“The FTM is a Near-Perfect Evolution of the Trail Bike“ – By Bike Mag after testing on the new Titus FTM