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Here's Why You Should Dish Out $8,600 on the Titanium Illuminati 296 Road Machine
Ok. Let me lay it out like it is. Not all bicycles are meant for you. Sorry. Some machines are built for none other than those podium-placing gold medalists you see on TV. That seems to be the case with this custom road racing machine.

Here's Why You Should Dish Out $8,600 on the Titanium Illuminati 296 Road Machine

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That's exactly the sort of machine you have before you today, a wild and bucking bronco that can literally outlive its owners. Folks, it's called the Illuminati 296, a road-race machine built out of nothing more than titanium and aimed at the sort of rider that brings home the gold daily. Heck, with a price tag of €8,189 ($8,597 at current exchange rates), you'd better be a world-class athlete or do a whole bunch of lawn work.

If you're wondering why you're being asked to drop over $8.5K on a road bike that's clearly not built out of carbon fiber, it's because it's made from another timeless material, titanium. Yes, folks, and if that's not enough, some titanium machines can even outlive their owners. Not to mention you get a lifetime warranty on this sucker.

The crew behind the Illuminati is none other than Wittson, a designer and manufacturer of custom bicycles. Over the company's history, they've specialized in nothing other than titanium frames and components. When asked, "What types of frames do you produce?" Vidamantas Zukauskas, the founder of Wittson, answered, "As long as it's from titanium and has two wheels, it can be manufactured." Did I mention that they work closely with teams like Campagnolo, Vitus, Mavic, and countless others?

There aren't any details regarding the bike's geometry except that it's tuned for road riding. However, other features are highlighted, and one of them is how the tubing was shaped and the sort of butting in place. For example, the top tube is hydroformed and diamond-shaped, and an "oversized" down tube is added for more stability and stiffness. Both the seat tube and down tube are double-butted. Because titanium has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, it doesn't take much to get just the right touch of flexibility versus stiffness, and the chain and seat stays are the best examples of this.

If you ever reach out to Wittson for an Illuminati, you will ultimately be buying a bike tailored to your needs and likes, including the secondary components. But, if you like what you see and trust that Wittson equipped this bike with components meant to help it shine as bright as possible, you can take the hassle out of things and leave the 12-speed Campagnolo drivetrain in place.

Aesthetically, a couple of touches help the titanium frame come to light, and believe it or not, those touches are carbon fiber. The fork, for example, is carbon fiber and should be more than enough to reduce vibrations taken up by the front tire. Speaking of tires, a set of Vittoria Corsa 28 is mounted on a pair of Campagnolo Bora One 35, also carbon fiber. The seat post and saddle are carbon as well. With a hand-brushed finish, this sucker is ready to make you look like the Silver Surfer of cycling riding a 7.9-kilogram (15.6-pound) bike.

But why go through all the trouble and cash to get yourself a titanium bike? History and cycling research tend to rave about this material as the perfect base for bikes meant to go the distance. From tensile strength to great fatigue life and corrosion resistance, titanium seems to be a material that should be on your radar. Oh, and when I mentioned that such a bike can outlive you, I wasn't kidding; with proper love and care, you may just pass it on to a subsequent generation, and that's worth considering dishing out $8,600, isn't it?

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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