Jan Heine wrote:
How about the Speedwell? Obviously, if Ocana used it in the TTs of the Tour he won, it can't have been all bad. Was it better than the Teledyne? Is the Teledyne then simply a flawed design, one of the "could have beens" if they had done it right?
Does anybody have information about the Speedwell? Production numbers? Ride quality? Durability? All I've seen are a few fuzzy photos and Rebour drawings of details.
Having ridden both way back in 1974 here are my two pennies.
The Speedwell was lighter, but not by much, of "normal" tube outside diameters and was much more whippy than a Teledyne. The fork was configured in a way that made it a bit more rigid fore and aft. Titans flexed much just beyond the crown under even moderate braking, one was best to brake prior to a corner on a Titan.
The Titan had a doubled tube cuff at the seat cluster to handle the seat stays and provide a bit more meat for the welded on seat post binder ears. The Speedwell did not, and the one at the shop tore just beyond that weld quickly. Speedwell did make a number of minor running changes to their frames, the one I experienced was from later 1973. So, Speedwell was "first".
The Speedwell came in a brushed, almost polished satin finish, the Titan was annodized except for a small number near the end that were painted. Those painted frames were offered at a reduced price, we suspected that they had cosmetic flaws that only paint could hide. I would give the Speedwell the nod in the visual appeal deptartment.
One had to adapt to get the most out of either, but they provided a comfortable ride, the Speedwell a bit more as its geometry was more conservative. Both bikes "climbed" well, the frame flex felt as if it rebounded at a harmonic that assisted the pedal stroke, being lighter did not hurt either.
Ron Skarin rode both a road ant track Titan to good effect, picking up many National Championship jerseys on his.
Torrance Ca USA