It’s hard to stop admiring an anodized titanium frame, especially when it’s complimented with eye-catching graphics and meticulously welded tubing. Even through pounds of mud, the No. 22 Broken Arrow is a pretty sight to behold. The Canadian company’s titanium frames are handmade in upstate New York. The award-winning Broken Arrow cyclocross bike is one heck of a sharp looking machine.

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Canadian-owned No. 22 make their frames in Johnstown, New York and their track record of success has led to a trail of awards at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. In 2015, the Broken Arrow won the award for Best Cyclocross Bike. Most recently, No. 22’s Drifter X was recognized as the Best in Show. The company’s name comes from the atomic number for titanium. The model name for their cyclocross bike comes from Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young’s 22nd studio album, Broken Arrow by Neil Young with Crazy Horse.

In for review is a No. 22 Broken Arrow built up with a 1x mechanical Shimano Ultegra groupset using the clutch RX rear derailleur and a Praxis Zante Carbon 40T crank. Reynolds Assault tubless-ready disc wheels are mounted with Schwalbe X-One 33 mm cyclocross tires. It’s a bike built to excel in muddy conditions and tackle technical riding conditions at speed.

Anodizing the colours of the ocean

Instead of finishing their frames with paint or stickers, No. 22 opt for brushing, sandblasting and polishing the metal. To truly make the details pop, No. 22 will anodize the metal offering a vibrant array of unique colours that could not be produced with paint. The colours are an effect of light and the durable finish is achieved with the use of chemicals and electric current.

The graphics on the Broken Arrow make space for plenty of fade anodizing to decorate the frame. Anodizing can also be one colour or No. 22 also do a high polish finish. If none of the above are chosen, No. 22’s base polish still looks stunning. The headtube on this Broken Arrow is a green that teases turquoise. The No. 22 logos on the toptube and downtube are blueish purple. The stylized arrowheads fade from green to blue producing a vibrant spectrum of lovely colours. These are the type of colours that remind me of looking into the ocean in a tropical paradise. Next to the brushed finish on the rest of the frame, the anodized colours really stand out. The anodizing can look quite different depending on the lighting.

For cyclocross racing and beyond

The Broken Arrow has clearance for 40 mm tires giving it lots of mud shedding ability and space to mount different tires when not ‘cross racing. The hydraulic brake cables are internally routed into the frame and fork. The mechanical shift cable is not routed internally meaning it runs externally on the top tube to keep the shifting cables clear of mud as much as possible. If the bike was set-up for 2x, the front derailleur cable would also run on the top-tube and down the seat tube. For electronic shifting, No. 22 route the cables internally. The Broken Arrow is equipped with No. 22’s titanium seat post. There’s also a 25 mm setback option.

First ride impressions

On first impressions, the frame geometry put me in a good position well suited for maneuvering the front end of the bike through tricky terrain. The bike feels well balanced on off-road and on trails while not being sluggish by any means on the road or faster surfaces. Titanium is a suitable material for off terrain riding providing the sort of give and comfort very welcome on rail trails or jarring, technical surfaces. The front triangle is wide so there’s plenty of room for shouldering the bike in ‘cross races. On numerous occasions, the bike gave me the confidence to keep powering through thick or slippery mud instead of giving up and dismounting. It’s always satisfying to feel you have the tool for the job when riding off-road in unfamiliar terrain.

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