Dec 15, 2016 – Most of us are familiar with the Oregon Trail, a grueling 2,000-plus miles that brought pioneers to the Pacific Northwest. The Barlow Trail is the most rugged and relentless portion over the last 100 miles before entering the Willamette Valley. It also happens to be the name chosen by David Rosen, owner and designer at Sage Cycles, for his do-it-all titanium gravel bike.
Four years ago Rosen launched Sage and set out to fill a void he felt existed in the market—that void was a boutique-style builder offering customers high-end titanium bikes with the caveat of being able to produce volume. Most small bike-building operations have an incredible product, but for consumers looking for a bike the wait can be too long. Rosen partnered with Lynskey Performance to build his creations resulting in “Made in the USA” titanium bikes from Portland, Oregon.
Rosen’s design philosophy was simple. Before each project he would lay out goals the bike should meet, then he would frequently circle back to ensure the goals were always being met during the building process. For the Barlow, Rosen wanted a bike that excelled over difficult terrain in race situations, was comfortable over long distances, didn’t get hung up by adverse weather and offered riders many versatile setup options.
After spending hours on the Barlow we’re clear that Rosen nailed it. Our Barlow adventures meandered seamlessly from paved and dirt roads to bits of single track. In fact the Barlow was such a versatile bike it even got a call-up for the Pacific Northwest’s famous Seattle-to-Portland run, a 207-mile road ride we comfortably covered in two days.
The Barlow comes standard with a 12×142 through-axle setup and f lat-mount disc brake platforms. Geometry consists of short stays for smooth power transfer, a longer front-center and low bottom-bracket setup for stability and control. The 44mm head tube provides razor-sharp precision at the bars. Tire clearance is substantial—up to a 40mm tire—thanks to space created with a machined titanium plate at the drive-side stay.
For riders tight on garage space or interested in consolidating bikes the Barlow should be in your future. We’d recommend two wheelsets for easy swaps between riding terrain—one with a wide gravel or knobby tire and one with 28mm road slicks. Now go f ind some adventure. $3,620 ( frame, fork and headset); sagetitanium.com