Dave Levy – Ti Cycles

After the visit to Chris King, we headed to a very secluded forest road in the hills overlooking Portland to take a look around Dave Levy’s Ti Cycles workshop.

The workshop

My knowledge of working with titanium was patchy to say the least, so I pestered Dave for the following nuggets of information..

– Increased cleanliness is needed. Dave’s Ti tubes are cleaned abrasively inside and outside, then cleaned with an ultra-sonic cleaner before being dried carefully with towels.

– Ti has less thermal conductivity than steel, and so holds heat in one place for longer.

– Ti is more flexible than steel, so requires more flexing than steel to align a tube or frame and overcome any “memory effect” where the metal tries to return to its pre-cold-setting position.  This necessitates a higher BB post on the alignment table:

Higher BB post on alignment table (although the frame seen here is steel).

– Ti is a reactive metal, and so Argon is needed to back-purge inside the tubes as well as to shield the weld area to prevent oxidisation.

– Ti doesn’t like having a hard line pressed into it as this can cause the tube to fail from a stress fracture.  That means, unlike with steel, where you can press a dent into a chainstay to give more tyre or chainring clearance:

Chainstay "denters" for steel (the longer one is for use with track ends).

Dave ovalizes his titanium chainstays.

Ovalized chainstays

This device is used to ovalize larger titanium tubes, like tandem downtubes:

The tube is placed between the angle iron lengths and squeezed in a vice to the desired amount.

– Ti is good for manipulating and ovalizing.

Most of Dave’s frames are left bare metal and just Scotchbrite finished with a Dynafile.

Air-powered Dynafile.

A nice bit of tig welded titanium.

Ti Cycles seat tube decal.

Here are some more pictures from around the workshop:

Bike Machinery frame jig.

Made in Italy

Tig welded steel - Dave also does oxy-acetylene brazing.

On the Ti frames Bottle cage bosses are Rivnuts - they work like a pop rivet, but screw on to the tool.

Rivnut tool.

Files and other hand tools.

Hydraulic bender

These next shots are from upstairs in the office area:

Titanium tandem.

Demountable frame fitted with S&S couplers.

Detail of Titanium S&S coupler

So, that concludes the Ti Cycles shop tour.

My next post will be from my visit to Mitch Pryor at Map Bicycles.

One Comment on “Dave Levy – Ti Cycles”

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