Peter brings up several interesting points I know to more about that I care to.
First, I can confirm that the Clark Kent debacle was no isolated incident. Bob Lemond used a 1989 signed contract which promised a huge volume of paintwork and specific payment terms to negotiate a great price and entice us to make substantial investments to accommodate his account, while secretly setting up his own paint operation. (Which soon failed.) Then, he simply refused to honor the contract and challenged us to a game of throwing money at lawyers. I have his correspondence and signed contract to prove it. CyclArt narrowly avoided being another LeMond casualty. We were advised to file bankruptcy, but several professional business advisors, but instead, Susan and I put ALL our personal assets into the business and worked mega hours for almost 5 years without pay, to recover our business and rather than stick all of our creditors with a bankruptcy.
In the 1990's CyclArt undertook to a project to provide improved decorative titanium anodizing to the bicycle industry. So I know too much about that too: Titanium, especially the older alloys was usually anodized in a process called Tiodize. This process increases the naturally occurring oxide that prevents titanium from combusting like burning magnesium. Titanium is not nearly inert like gold, it oxidizes immediately. The oxide layer that forms on the surface protects from further oxidation. Tiodize was used to increase titanium's resistance to galling and to give it a passible if not comparable to steel, bearing surface. On a Teledyne frame was one of the first "decorative" uses of the process. It's purpose there was to provide a uniform, scratch resistant finish.
In cooperation with the world's foremost experts in Titanium anodizing, CyclArt developed a new process, called Tibrite for decorative anodizing of bicycle frames and components. This in different than Tiodize which produces gray or brown color or the low voltage process used by Moots and others to create color on bicycles. The low voltage anodize produces "softer" colors which are very susceptible to wear and loose much of their beauty unless kept completely oil free. Because the color is created by modifying light through an incredibly thin clear film, not use of a dye, like aluminum anodizing, it is affected by anything on the surface. Tibrite produced more intense colors with excellent durability, exceeding that of colored aluminum anodizing. Further, we were able to accomplish patterns and graphics in full color. We did a number of custom finishes on frames with it. We also did samples of this process for virtually every titanium bicycle frame and component manufacturer at the time, but had very few orders. The reasons were: 1.Manufacturers did NOT want to offer color choice for fear of multiplying their inventory and "SKU's". 2.Many of the manufacturers were selling more product than they could make and neither needed a new feature nor wanted to in add a step to production. 3.There was great concern that anodizing titanium would lead to cracking and failures, as other surface treatments have been know to do with aluminum. Despite our considerable test data this remained a stubborn obstical. The source of the rumor was Merlin, who were considered leaders at titanium at that time (imagine that!) Merlin had repeatedly made statements to the press that they strongly opposed anodizing of their frames as it could damage them and would certainly void their warrentee. I believe this to be false and contacted them repeatedly with my test data and offered to provide samples for testing. It took almost 3 years before they conducted the tests and when they got the results, I received a letter from Rob Vandermark, their leading engineer acknowledging that in fact our process showed no evidence of reduction of strength, in fact the Tibrite samples showed increased fatigue resistance. However, Rob's letter confirming this also contained a prohibition I have observed until this day: (You heard it here first!) He insisted that I not reveal the results of the tests! Why? For one thing at that time one of Merlin's founder's had recently split off, apparently with considerable bad blood, form One off Titanium. (As would Rob later to form Seven Cycles) He had teamed up with artist Leni Fried and was producing Titanium frames with low voltage colors. The anodizing was getting the look-alike TI frames (yes they do, especially then, before silly tube shapes) much media attention. Also, and this was the killer, we had found that the process was extremely sensitive to impurities in the metal, especially aluminum contamination, and would highlight bad welds. In fact, a close relative of the process is used in aerospace applications for exactly that purpose. We had found that Russian built and especially Chinese built (same company that make the Silkworm missile) TI frames were so full of flaws, that anodizing them was unacceptable. I remember pulling a "Performance" Chinese TI frame out of the bath and watching the solution squirt through the porous welds! In any case, it became apparent that domestic manufacturers opposed anodizing for fear it would expose flaws which would otherwise never be discovered. They just could not admit it. We scrapped the project, and now offer it only on small parts.
From: "Peter Grenader" <email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> > To: OROBOYZ@aol.com <mailto:OROBOYZ@aol.com> , email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: [CR]Re: Teledyne finish... Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2001 20:06:26 -0000
Clark Kent - they were great bikes. Best TI welds I've ever seen. Poor guy was taken down in a heap of molten titanium by :emond BIkes when they suddenly pulled out of their business deal and went with Trek and those robot built 853 frames. Can you say net 190? Regarding Dale's comment about all Ti looking the same: WIth great respect, I have to disagree. In my business I eat colors and hues for breakfast. There are differences! You gotta believe me. Just look at a Titus against a Holland against a Ibis - all Ancotec - and they all look different, especially Scott Nichol's bikes. A question regarding Titan's being anodized: If not for coloring, why would anybody anodize titanium? It doesn't require atmospheric protection. Personally, I don't care for colored anodizing of ti that was so hot a few years back because it tends to go flat (looses it's luster) and it scuffs too easily, which is why I know Moots stopped doing it.