If you could pick any material for a cross bike, what would it be? If you’re like me, the racer inside looking for that competitive advantage would say carbon. Foundry doesn’t disagree – two out of three of their cross bikes are made from the stuff. But the newcomer to their line up does things a bit differently. This time, it’s all about titanium. Part of an addition of three new bikes in titanium, the Flyover fills in for the cyclocross segment while the Chilkoot is built for roads, and the Overland is built for gravel.
I’ve ridden enough ti bikes to know that I’m a fan of the ride quality, I just didn’t know how that would translate over to a cyclocross course. Quite well, as it turns out…
With titanium being the story, the focus is heavily on the frame with a build of proprietary double and triple butted 3Al/2.5v tubing. The Flyover adheres to modern standards when it comes to axles with a 142 x 12mm rear and 100 x 15mm front, but it keeps things classic with a threaded 68mm bottom bracket. Even with the threaded BB, there is still loads of clearance for the rear tire with the stays easily swallowing the stock 33mm tires. In fact, there’s enough room to probably run most 40mm tires which is good news since the frame has more depth than just CX.
Cable routing is all internal (with the exception of a length of exposed derailleur cable under the chainstay, which seems like an odd choice) with a series of extremely clean looking cable ports. Each port has a bolt in guide which keeps the cables at tidy angles, and they can be replaced with plugs if you decide to go electronic for an even cleaner set up.
Alluding to its abilities outside the tape, the Flyover includes two bottle cage mounts and hidden fender mounts on the stylish dropouts along with fender mounts on the fork. Pure racers may scoff at the addition of such creature comforts, but the Flyover is more than a one trick pony.
I have to admit, that when it comes to road/cx disc brakes, the Flat Mount standard leaves me with mixed feelings. Yes, in many cases it looks better, and it’s easier to access the bolts for calipers tucked into rear triangles since they come up from the bottom, but in my experience with a number of bikes now it seems to make the brakes harder to adjust. Since the caliper sits on top of the mount, and the bolts tighten below, it can be very difficult to tighten the bolt without the caliper wanting to move on you as you turn the wrench. This has been particularly bad on carbon frames without perfectly faced mounts, but the ti mounts on the Flyover were still a bit more tricky than a standard post mount like up front. Once properly adjusted it’s a non issue, but hopefully that gets better down the line – not really with Foundry, but with the industry in general.
With that said, the Whisky #9 carbon fork is a solid addition with 100 x 15mm thru axle and fender mounts, and the SRAM Force CX1 brakes prove to be excellent stoppers.
In fact, as a group SRAM’s Force CX1 is a great addition to any cross bike though you may need to experiment with gearing up front to get it just right. The Flyover shipped with a 40t chainring which would be ok in many situations, but I had a couple hilly courses that I was preparing for and wanted every bit of low end gearing I could muster to keep me from having to dismount. Because of that, I swapped out the ring for a Wolf Tooth Components 38t 110 BCD chainring. If you want to lower the gearing and lower the weight, you could also use a WTC direct mount chainring which replaces the stock SRAM Force spider and will save you about 36g.
On the cross bike, CX1 seems more than adequate in terms of gearing spread and I don’t think I’ll go back to 2x, but outside of the race course I’m still on the fence about 1x for road.
You really couldn’t ask for a much nicer cockpit set up than the Zipp Service Course SL bar, stem, and seatpost speced by Foundry. Sure, there are lighter carbon parts out there, but for a super durable group with a classy look, I like the choice. The Fizik Aliante Delta saddle tops it off with a comfy perch that doesn’t interfere with dismounts or remounts.
The last piece of the puzzle comes down to the DT Swiss R23 Centerlock Disc Tubeless ready wheels, and Clement MXP tires with a 60 tpi folding casing (the review bike had 120 tpi casings, but 60 tpi is stock). The lack of a tubeless ready tire was kind of a bummer as I found the limits of tubes after flatting the front on the very first ride, but at least the wheels are tubeless ready. That means to go tubeless (which you should if you’re not on tubies), you’ll need to buy a tubeless kit for the wheels (tape and valves) and new tires.
Even set up with tubes, the DT Swiss R23 Spline DB wheels lend a nice ride to the frame with an 18mm internal width, and 23mm depth. And other than not being tubeless, the Clement MXP tires are a happy medium that will work for most conditions and courses if you don’t have the ability to be picky about tread choice.
Admittedly, when it came time to race this year, my inner weight weenie got the best of me and I opted for a lighter CX bike that I had in my garage. After preriding the course on the Flyover and then racing it the very next day on a carbon bike, I instantly wondered if I had made the right choice. At 18.32 lbs (8.3kg), the Flyover isn’t that heavy, and compared to a carbon race bike, the Flyover’s ride quality is much more enjoyable.
Part of what makes the ride so great is that the geometry sits just outside of pure racer which makes the bike fast, but incredibly stable. Key numbers include a 65mm BB drop for improved handling and pedal clearance on course, and a 71° head tube angle (as tested, XS), and a relatively long-ish wheelbase at 1008.55mm. The numbers add up to a bike that loves to be pushed out on the course, but one that’s still fun riding the roads and trails from your house to get you there. For me, this is as close as I’ve come to a bike that I would want to race, and would still want to ride outside of CX venues as well. It also happens to be the bike that’s gotten the most positive comments in terms of its looks, so it has that going for it too.
Flyovers are available through your local QBP stocking dealer and are sold either as the SRAM Force CX1 build above for $4,450, or as frameset for $2,195.