Reviewed: Foundry Chilkoot
Lab data: 18.8/20 (.48mm BB deflection; .71mm head tube deflection)
Despite cycling’s long history of metal bikes, carbon is king and, without a doubt, the choice material for cycling’s masses. But metal bikes are making a quiet comeback. With small frame builders’ re-inspired steel bikes and large manufacturers like Cannondale and Specialized pushing aluminum offerings, we’re seeing more and more metal options coming to the market. But despite this resurgence into metal, titanium bikes remain scarce, unless you’re willing to go the full-custom route and swallow the custom price tag that comes along with it.
Foundry, however, is an exception with its off-the-shelf Chilkoot titanium road bike. The Chilkoot aligns closely to race-bike geometry (16cm head tube and 99cm wheelbase in a size medium) while also including some endurance-friendly features, like longer chainstays (411cm) and a lower bottom bracket (70mm drop). Overall, the Chilkoot is equally equipped for a road race one day and a long adventure ride the next.
And when the pavement ends, the Chilkoot’s 28mm tires and Enve carbon fork eat up bumps on the road, making for a smooth ride and steady handling. This versatility had us regularly reaching for the Chilkook for all kinds of rides.
Weighing 18.06 pounds, the Chilkoot can’t compete with lightweight carbon bikes. However, the stiff, English-threaded bottom bracket efficiently transfers power with each pedal stroke, making it feel light and fast whether we were sprinting for a town line or struggling up a steep canyon climb.
This titanium bike really shined once we reached the top of a climb and headed downhill. Diving into steep switchbacks and leaning the bike over into turns, the Chilkoot held its line without the slightest twitch.
With custom framebuilders charging around $5,000 for a titanium frame and carbon fork alone, the Chilkoot’s $4,695 price (for a complete bike) seems reasonable. This value is especially apparent when looking at the bike’s full package. Spec’d with Ultegra mechanical, the Chilkoot has Shimano’s reliably crisp shifting without Dura-Ace’s hefty pricetag. Foundry also adds a modern touch to the metal bike with DT Swiss tubeless-ready R23 wheels.
Foundry’s titanium Chilkoot is a workhorse. It’s not lightweight, and it doesn’t have aero-integration everything. But that is what we love about this all-around, everyday bike: It is simple, straightforward, fun to ride on all kinds of terrain, and doesn’t include the custom price tag. Beware, however. The Chilkoot is a gateway drug into the expensive world of titanium bikes. One ride on this ace will have you asking, carbon who?
Component highlights: Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain with 50/34 crankset and Shimano 105 11-28 cassette; Shimano RS805 flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes; Mavic Ksyrium Disc WTS wheels
Weight: 18.06 pounds (size M)