If you’re a regular masters racer in South Carolina you’ve probably raced against the imposing figure of Eric Christophersen. Built more like a power lifter than a cyclist, Christopherson has cracked all of his off the shelf production bikes – road and mountain. For the amount of power he puts out combined with his weight carbon fiber isn’t an option when it comes to frame construction. He was forced to look elsewhere for a frame that he could train and race on without cracking.
Titanium with it’s resilient characteristics seemed to be the only suitable material to construct a frame with. From there Christophersen designed his frames to his exact specifications which were then physically constructed by a Chinese bike manufacturing company he contacted. For the 2010 road season he had been racing with great success with his foreign made titanium road frame. However now it’s the cyclocross season and Eric needed a bike that could handle the abuse that ‘cross throws at a bike.
Using the same company that had made his ti road frames, Eric once again went to the drawing board and designed his own unique ‘cross bike. With disk brake now legal for ‘cross he incorporated them into the design. Instead of 700c wheels Eric went with 29er wheels paired with wide Maxxis tires. These wider tires run afoul of the UCI’s new rule regarding the maximum tire width of a cx tire (33cm) but as Eric said he isn’t worried about that as UCI accredited cyclocross races are not on his race schedule. The frame is constructed from double butted titanium with sliding drop-outs so he can trade out the rear wheel for a single speed. Up front the tubular shaped forks can also be removed and a shock can be installed making this a truly all-purpose bike. He kitted the bike out with SRAM Force and an X9 rear derailleur. The top and down tubes meet at a reinforced box section which keeps the front end stiff and tracking straight. At the bottom bracket the ti down tube is oblong shaped to maximize stiffness in that crucial junction. You’d think that with the wide tires and 29er wheels this would be a heavy rig. According to Christophersen the bike weighs 21 pounds with pedals – a respectable weight for a bike that can go from ‘cross to mountain biking.
At the South Carolina ‘cross championships, Christophersen piloted his un-named ti bike to second place – not bad for its maiden voyage. Look for the battleship gray ‘cross bike to show up at non-UCI cross races, as well as mountain trails, near you. And if you ask real nice maybe Eric will make you a version of his winning bike design.