Titanium has a reputation for comfort, compliance and ‘springiness’ but you can also transform titanium into a stiff and aggressive machine, which is what Harrogate-hailing brand, Sabbath, has done in its newest Mondays Child.
It’s the usual neatly welded 3Al/2.5V titanium, made with custom-drawn seamless metal, but this Mark II model has a PressFit 30 bottom bracket shell and a tapered head tube.
These combine to offer a claimed increase in front-end stiffness of 23% with 19% cent more at the rear, while still losing weight over the earlier version. But has Sabbath managed to combine the low, fast riding position without compromising on titanium’s legendary ride comfort? We’ll see…
As with all of Sabbath’s bikes, the Mondays Child is available in numerous build options and we went for the Shimano Ultegra-equipped model. You can also get it with Mavic Ksyriums and Yksion Elites, but we chose handmade wheels with Kinlin rims and Schwalbe Pro One tyres. They come set up as tubeless, which is one of the themes running through this test. It appears that road tubeless is finally gaining some traction. It seems a sensible companion to titanium, as comfort is usually given as one of the prime movers for going ti, and it helps here with the rim’s width ballooning the 25mm Pro Ones out to a healthy 28mm-plus. Schwalbe claims the Pro One is ‘the fastest road tyre in the world’ but, while it’s definitely fast, that’s only part of the equation.
The tyres’ extra volume adds comfort – especially compared with the 23mm that the 2014 Mondays Child was running – but you can also run them at a lower pressure, giving a further uplift in plushness. In Sabbath’s case, the tyres help to balance out what’s a noticeably stiff frame – one that shows carbon isn’t the only way to go in 2020 if you want something aggressive and racy.
The Sabbath isn’t quite as light as a similarly-priced carbon equivalent, but the performance is on a par and we’d say there’s an added immediacy and directness. Out-of-the-saddle climbs? Tackled with a no-nonsense, flex-and fuss-free forcefulness – the translating of those German tests into riding reality. Throw it into corners and it behaves impeccably, the tapered head tube and oversized bottom bracket shell offering you great control.
The Sabbath is also a very good descender. The frame’s stiffness, taut wheels and excellent high-grip tyres all work together with the Ultegra rim brakes. The seemingly unstoppable takeover of disc brakes makes it easy to forget just how good the newest generation of Shimano’s calliper rim brakes are. They’re great, offering more than enough stopping power and bringing you to a safe, controlled halt. An unusual feature these days is the 31.6mm seatpost, but the USE-Sabbath titanium post creates a coordinated look and a ride that’s firm and efficient, though it stays the right side of being overly stiff.
The Sabbath’s ride isn’t super-soft, but its comfort is acceptable and the dynamism and directness of its ride is incredibly appealing. If you’re looking for a fast, aggressive machine with enough comfort for big days out, the newest iteration of Sabbath’s Mondays Child is both fair of face and of pace. The frame’s lifetime guarantee means that it’s pretty fair of value, too.
Verdict: Not everyone will approve of the PressFit bottom brackets of the Sabbath, but it aided efficient riding. And the Spa Elan’s triple chainset raised more than a few eyebrows – but means a perfect cadence at all times. It combines enough long-distance comfort with racy geometry and stiff frames that allow you to unleash your inner Brownlee, all for a ‘bargain’ £2,880. 89%