Crossers have always loved the feel of a steel bike but bemoaned the lack of stiffness or the straight head tube. And racers have often disliked the ride of aluminum and the cost of carbon.
But the Mettle is different. The Mettle combines the ride feel of steel with the near stiffness of aluminum or carbon. And a full Ultegra-equipped Mettle will be less than $2,500.
Here's what you need to know:
1. The bike is made of OX Platinum steel from True Temper in Waterford, Wisconsin.This tubing is stiff, lively, and has a compliant ride. For cyclocross, ride quality matters a lot more than the lightness of carbon. This bike frame is everything you need and more in a high-quality cross race bike.
2. The frame has double-butted down, top, and seat tubes. We also widened the top and down tubes from 28.5 mm (1 1/8 inches) to 35 mm for the down tube and 31.8 for the top tube. This means added stiffness from our previous version.
3. The chain stays are externally tapered, ovalized, and dimpled. The disc brake tab is ISO-standard. The rear brake cable is routed on top of the top tube to allow easy shouldering of the bike in run-ups.
4. Customers can choose any solid color for their frame. Adding panels will cost extra.
5. The frame alone weighs 4.4 pounds. Together with the Whiskey 7 fork, Cane Creek headset and seat collar, the weight comes to 5.5 pounds.
6. While many customers purchased the older version of the cross bike, which came out in 2012, to use as a touring bike; the Mettle is still a versatile bike, it is designed for cyclocross racing. Milwaukee Bicycle Company will release its gravel bike, the Fugitive, in late summer(crossing our fingers, earlier), and that bike will be an excellent choice for touring, gravel racing, commuting, and general riding.
7. Ben's will have frames in 53, 56, 59cm sizes by the end of June or first week of July; 50 and 62cm sizes will arrive a few weeks after. Customers can place their orders through the Ben's Cycle website.
8. The geometry of the bikes will be the same as previous models of the cyclocross bike. The geometry was thoroughly researched and tested in race conditions to provide the perfect fit for a cyclocross racer.
9. The new Mettle was designed and refined through racer feedback of the previous cyclocross bike. MBC tapered the head tube to allow for a tapered carbon fork and added stiffness. We also increased the diameter of the top and down tubes for additional stiffness.
10. Check the internet. Look for semi-custom high-quality cyclocross race bikes. The Mettle has everything a discerning and fast cross racer needs : stiffness, snap, a pliable ride, custom builds. Starting build costs for complete bikes include everything except pedals. Customers can also choose to upgrade and change build kits.
Shimano Sora group: $coming soon
Shimano Tiagra group: $coming soon
Shimano 105 group: $coming soon
Shimano Ultegra group: $coming soon