Frequently Asked Questions
The delivery time is usually between 4 and 8 weeks. The usual
ordering procedure is to discuss the customer's specific
requirements by email, phone or in person if it is convenient
for the customer to pay me a visit. A CAD drawing is then
made of my proposed design and sent by email to the customer
for his/her approval. At the point of ordering a deposit
of £300 is required,
the balance to be paid on collection/delivery of completed
My speciality is in fillet brazing steel bicycle frames. For
me to achieve a standard of welding and working with titanium
that comes close that of the Burls titanium frames I am able
to offer would probably take a life time, added to which the
cost of tooling and materials would make a Burls built titanium
frame prohibitively expensive (although I'm hoping at some
point in the not too distant future to give it a go, but strictly
for my own use!).
The reason I chose to use a Russian company to build Burls
titanium frames was that after spending some considerable
time looking around at various other possibilities (all Chinese
or Taiwanese) it became very clear to me that although the
Russian offerings weren't the cheapest, their build quality
and experience with working with titanium was second to none.
They have a very long history of working with titanium and
the Russian company I finally decided to work with uses fabricators
who learnt their skills in the aerospace industry, and the
company itself specialises in building bicycle frames as opposed
to being a general fabrication company. Their build quality
is so impressive that even Ernesto Colnago had them build
his titanium frames during the latter part of the 90s and early
Burls steel bicycle frames can be surprisingly light, especially
when built with high end tube sets, but to put it in perspective
if we take a medium sized steel frame, say a 55cm c-c top
tube built from Columbus Spirit, the top end tubeset in the
Columbus range with a min wall thickness 0.38mm, its weight
will be approximately 1600grams. A similar sized Burls titanium
frame built from plain gauge 3/2.5 with a wall thickness of
0.9 mm will weigh in at around 1370 grams.
Certainly in the past this has been an issue for certain brands
of titanium bicycles. It seems though that with the introduction
of oversized and different tube profiles, coupled with building
with high quality tubesets with the relevant wall thickness
and frame design that if anything titanium frames can have
as stiff or stiffer bottom brackets than that of other frame
building materials. A test ride on a Burls titanium will bare
All Burls titanium frames are offered in plain gauge tubesets
only. After some careful consideration it was decided that
the extra expense and minimal weight saving does not justify
building with butted titanium, indeed there are many people
who insist that plain gauge titanium can offer as good if
not better ride quality than butted titanium. The huge advantages
of using butted steel tubing do not apply to anywhere near
the same extent when applied to titanium.
Titanium bicycle frames can be painted in the same way as
steel with no problems. Although Burls offer a paint option
for their titanium frames, my view is that part of the joy
of titanium is when finished properly the natural titanium
finish is quite stunning on top of which the fact you never
need worry about annoying chips and scratches is a nice advantage,
especially if you intend to transport your bicycle on trains
Providing the design is a good one, that is to say that it
will be safe and will ride nicely, there should be no problem.
Yes, a Columbus Carve carbon rear triangle option is available.
My view however is that the extra expense and marginal weight
saving does not justify taking this route - anyone who test
rides a Burls full titanium frame with high quality carbon
forks fitted will I'm sure agree!
Both Burls titanium and steel frames are built to accept 27.2mm
and 31.6mm seat pins.
Burls recommend standard headsets every time, especially for
touring and MTB applications, although to date we still offer
Campagnolo 45/45 degree compatible integrated. Check out Chris
King's website for his views.
Yes, all Burls titanium frames come with welded bosses as
As custom frame builders this is one of our specialities.
We are very strong advocates of using smaller 650 wheels on
smaller frames, this solves the problem sometimes encountered
of toe overlap as well being able to keep steering geometry
within the parameters of normal tried and tested bicycle design
and ending up with a nicely proportioned and aesthetically
Burls specialise in offering pure custom bicycles, although
they do come under headings of Road, MTB, Touring, Cylcocross,
Audax and track/single speed.
Unlike many other custom bicycle companies Burls custom frames
are pure custom built, that is that the customer can choose
from a wide range of options, for example compact, semi-compact
or traditional horizontal frame design. Breezer, Rohloff or
plate type dropouts for geared bikes or horizontal rear facing
track ends for fixed/single speed. Curved or straight seat/chainstays,
standard or integrated headtubes, aero, round, Colnago style
cloverleaf or ovalised tubing (Burls can advise on which tube
diameters/profiles work best for your requirements) as well
as disc or canti/V brake bosses for touring/MTB. Call or email
to discuss more tubing and design options.
I believe that bicycle sizing is not an exact science, so
no one system is used. I will make an assessment of the customer
taking into account their existing bicycle (assuming he/she
has one) and any comments they have relating to it. I will
discuss the intended use of the new bicycle and take into
account any limiting factors such as flexibility problems
when finalising measurements.
In the case of customers who are happy with their current
set-up, but want a new frame/bicycle, I can simply replicate
their existing bicycle/frame.
They're both good in their own way as with most modern bicycle
equipment. Personally, I'd go for Campagnolo every time! Call
or email to discuss any specific component requirements.
No, titanium is not affected by salt, in fact the Russians
build their submarines from titanium which are constantly
exposed to sea water.
As far as I am aware the supply of such tubing is very rare.
Reynolds do however supply seamless 6/4 but to order only
and at a very high price. The cost of one of their titanium
tubesets and frame components isn't far off that of a complete
Burls titanium frame. Several very well known and expensive
brands build from seam welded 6/4 which is a sheet of titanium
formed into various tube profiles and then welded. One of
the problems associated with seamed 6/4 is that unlike seamless
tubing where it is formed in such a way that the grain structure
runs along the length of the tube and is uninterrupted, the
seam weld can create a weakness in the tube thus potential
for failure in extreme cases. It still seems to be generally
accepted that 3/2.5 is the most suitable form of titanium
for the main tubes and stays while 6/4 is used for the dropouts,
headtube and bottom bracket shell. This is the specification
for all Burls titanium framesets.
As for warranty, if any of my frames or forks should fail within 4 years of purchase due to faulty materials or workmanship, I will repair or replace the frame or fork depending on which option I feel is fit. This applies for as long as I am working with my current Russian frame builders (I've been working with them for the last 10 years and intend to continue doing so for the foreseeable future!).
Some companies offer amazing warranties, but if the company disappears overnight as has happened in the case of several frame builders in the past the warrantee then means nothing.