Review: Titan Sonic Pro

The recently announced Sonic is Titan's first production dual suspension bike, featuring 100 mm of travel front and rear.

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The Frame


The first thing that struck me when I saw the bike in the flesh was just how much the round tubes resemble the elegant simplicity of a steel bike. Cable routing is external all the way through with hoses and cables guided under the downtube. A low top tube means that the standover height is good and there is space for one full size water bottle inside the front triangle. Titan employs a welding technique around the head tube called Smooth Welding. It is an advanced welding technique that produces a smoother, more visually appealing finish. It certainly shows on the front end of the bike which blends seamlessly into the various tubes.

 

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On paper, the Silverback Sprada appears to be the Sonic's closest rival. Take a look at the geometry numbers and the Sonic sits somewhere in the middle of the contemporary cross-country bikes (e.g. Pyga Stage, Scott Spark RC, Cannondale Scalpel Si) and more traditional race bikes (e.g. Specialized Epic, Silverback Sesta and Momsen VIPA). While compared to the mighty Anthem X 29er, the Sonic is slacker (70° vs 71.5°) and the chainstays are slightly shorter (455mm vs 462mm).

 

 

Components


The Sonic Pro is the top of the range model with a RockShox Recon Silver fork, Monarch RL shock, and a mix of Shimano XT and SLX drivetrain. The rims are Stan's ZTR Rapid while the remainder of the build comes from Titan's own TRC range.

 


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There are a few features I would have liked to have seen on the Sonic. The first is routing for a dropper seatpost. A year or two ago you could have said that I am mad wanting a dropper post on a 100 mm bike, but it has become commonplace for just about all mountain bikes to have dropper routing as standard. Even if, at worst, it is external only. Secondly, it would have been nice to see a better fork on the top of the range model. I am not sure what impact that would have had on the selling price, but with an eye on keeping prices reasonable, it might have been a stretch. Having said that, the fork's performance was not bad

 


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I would have also rather seen the lockout operating the shock instead of the fork. On a dual suspension bike, I would much rather be able to stiffen up the pedalling platform through the shock than the fork. That said, the shock is mounted within convenient reach just below the top tube. If I bought a Sonic, and considering my preference to generally leave the fork open, I would probably remove the remote completely to neaten up the cockpit and to have one less part that can go wrong.

 


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The final tweak for me would be to upsize the frame to increase the reach and then run a shorter stem with wider handlebars. All these changes are very personal with most being an easy fix down the line.

 

On the Trail


I set the fork's sag to 25% and the shock somewhere between 20% and 25% and headed off on my first ride. Riding the Sonic was refreshing as there seems to be no pretense or expectations. Just a mountain bike doing its job by taking the rider into the mountains. On a boutique bike, if the ride is anything short of life changing one feels a bit done in. With the Sonic, there is not that expectation going in.

 

On long climbs, the rear suspension benefits from the three-position lockout. I found the middle setting most useful as it offers pedalling platform with some movement left for traction.

 

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Hit the single track and the Sonic shows that it is not shy on the fun stuff. 100 mm of travel can only do so much but the Sonic uses its travel in a predictive and controlled manner giving the rider confidence when it matters most. It's not a hard-hitting trail blazer, but at the same time it is also not a twitchy live-wire ride that wants to throw you over the bars.

 

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The tubeless ready Titan 2.10″ tyres are worth mentioning. The 60tpi compound offers good traction with predictable grip when leaned over. These tyres help to add to the confidence inspiring ride, allowing the rider to focus on the best line choice.

 




15 Comments

Skylark, Nov 08 2016 06:19

I personally don't like it when my houses are guided under the downtube.

Chris Newby-Fraser, Nov 09 2016 08:20

Looks like they have used the Specialized licenced Horst Link rear suspension. When done properly this a superb design. Any info available on this?

Robbie Stewart, Nov 09 2016 10:12

At the expected price point, surely the Camber Comp makes more sense?

Patoe, Nov 09 2016 10:33

I think that this is going to be a great bike for the intended market.

I also think that some racing snakes on hardrail are going to buy the entire level bike and build thier decent part over and have a sub 12kg dual suspension bike.

Serious Panda, Nov 09 2016 10:50

At the expected price point, surely the Camber Comp makes more sense?

 

 No, Silverback Sido 1.

ABrooks, Nov 09 2016 11:04

Silverback Sido 1 makes much more sense, considering the Sidi comes with a Reba.

Headshot, Nov 09 2016 11:08

I agree - a fork lockout is one of the most useless features on a bike. Unless you spend the entire time pedaling uphill while standing. Its far more useful to have a fork that sinks into and uses its travel when it really gets steep allowing you to keep front end traction. The only time I have ever used the lockout on my bike is on tar. So not very often at all...

Serious Panda, Nov 09 2016 11:12

Silverback Sido 1 makes much more sense, considering the Sidi comes with a Reba.

 

Reba, +-1kg lighter, Stans Crest rims, and award winning race proven Burst rear suspension borrowed from the awesome rocket ship Silverback Sesta.

NotSoBigBen, Nov 09 2016 11:14

I agree - a fork lockout is one of the most useless features on a bike. Unless you spend the entire time pedaling uphill while standing. Its far more useful to have a fork that sinks into and uses its travel when it really gets steep allowing you to keep front end traction. The only time I have ever used the lockout on my bike is on tar. So not very often at all...

 

Even then I always forget to unlock it again so I just don't bother at all  :blush:

Odinson, Nov 09 2016 11:14

Reba, +-1kg lighter, Stans Crest rims, and award winning race proven Burst rear suspension borrowed from the awesome rocket ship Silverback Sesta.

 

Here we go again.

Serious Panda, Nov 09 2016 11:17

Here we go again.

 

Go where? Meaningless 1 liners is not allowed.

NotSoBigBen, Nov 09 2016 11:20

Go where? Meaningless 1 liners is not allowed.

 

I understood where he was going and 1 liners ARE not disallowed by any hub rule  :whistling:

 

Actually the only rule I know clearly is the '#1000 Rouxtjie Rule'

Headshot, Nov 09 2016 01:03

Reba, +-1kg lighter, Stans Crest rims, and award winning race proven Burst rear suspension borrowed from the awesome rocket ship Silverback Sesta.

That sounds better. How much is this supreme piece of marathon hardware?

PhilipV, Nov 10 2016 08:18

Go where? Meaningless 1 liners is not allowed.

You just can't resist punting silverback everywhere can't you?

You sound like a broken record player.

Talk Wrench, Nov 17 2016 03:34

That sounds better. How much is this supreme piece of marathon hardware?

 

These bikes have a suggested retail of about R33k. Average weight for a medium is 12,12kg, give or take for manufacturing variances.