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First look: No. 22 Aurora

A handmade in the U.S. titanium all-road machine with Italian performance components

Beautifully crafted raw titanium with a carbon seat mast. A No. 22 Aurora, the Canadian-owned companies performance disc platform. Hand made in Johnstown, N.Y., the frames stacked dime welds, tapered head tube and single piece carbon seat mast are irresistible.

The bike flirts with full out performance. A tapered head tube, over sized threaded T47 bottom bracket and it’s stiff light build make it feel undeniably fast. The lowered bottom bracket, thin seat stays, long wheel base, high head tube, tire clearance and the unique ride quality of titanium make it decidedly comfortable.

It was only fitting to pair a frame this carefully crafted with parts that would compliment it’s best features. To highlight the frames performance acumen we chose to test Campagnolo’s new H11 disc platform on the Aurora. Super Record 11 derailleurs help the chain smoothly move across the compact 50/34 crankset and 29-11 cassette. Bora One 35 DB wheels are light, smooth rolling and stiff to get up to speed and stay there.

RELATED: Debut of the new Campagnolo H11 disc brakes

With plenty clearance, we were able to mount Challenge Strade Bianca 30 mm clinchers on the Campagnolo Bora One 35 wheels for a smooth and fast ride over virtually any surface. Named after the white gravel roads of Tuscany, they have a herringbone tread that offers excellent traction, solid puncture resistance and comfort. The gum side walls don’t look half bad either.

Instead of the companies solid titanium head badge found on other No. 22 models with the exception of the Silver Wing and the Reactor, the Aurora gets an attractive and simple stylized machined logo on the tapered head tube. A top it sits a 110 mm Easton EA90 stem and 42 cm wide Easton EC90 carbon handlebars. The cockpit is light, compliant and compliments well the Aurora’s ride quality. Crane Creak bearings keep the steering smooth and predictable.

While frames are the focus at No. 22, the also have carbon forks available for most of their models. With a half matte and half glossy finish the one for the 54 cm Aurora is attractive. It’s ample clearance for wide tires and internal brake cable routing to the flat mount front disc brake nicely compliments the frame. The Campagnolo caliper mount to the fork without the need of any adapters. Up front, the bike has a 160 mm rotor for plenty of braking power.

Internal brake cable routing also runs to the rear flat mount brake. A 140 mm rotor helps slow things down and again no need for adapters to mount the caliper. The Aurora comes with Syntace X-12 thru axles. Spacing is standard for modern disc equipped bikes at 100 x 12 mm on the fork and 142 x 12 mm in the rear.

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The mechanical shift cables are externally routed making the shifting easy to service and have that old-school elegance that’s disappeared with the modern tendency to internally route cables. Guides for internally routed electronic shift cables can be installed by No. 22. A braze on holds the front derailleur in place.

No. 22’s beautiful titanium seatpost topper with an Enve clamp holds a Fabric Scoop-flat saddle with titanium rails. The seat mast topper provides a measure of adjustability for saddle height.

The entire build with Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 pedals, No. 22 titanium bottle cages and Easton bar tape weighs in at just under 18 lbs or 8.1 kg.

First ride impressions

Titanium is a lively and compliant material offering a ride quality that needs to be experienced. No. 22 have dialed the geometry on the Aurora which really helps the materials the frame is built from come to live. It’s comfortable, stable and extremely fun to ride.

Bumps in my local roads I remember being harsher don’t feel nearly as jarring on the Aurora, the 30 mm tires certainly don’t hurt. The handling is predictable, not as twitchy as a race bike, but certainly not sluggish allowing you to choose lines and hold them confidently. It’s also fast, bounding up to speed effortlessly with each turn of the pedal.  Riding out of the saddle, rocking it side to side, it’s hard not to think it was actually designed to be raced on.

Stay tuned for a full review of the No. 22 Aurora, Campagnolo H11 disc groupset, the Fabric Scoop line of saddles, and Easton EC 90 bar and EA90 stem.