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The Ideal Galbraith Mt. Bike?
Titus Switchblade

This is Mongo's personal anodized blue Titus Switchblade, which he tricked out with a Fox Forx Talas RL fork, Fox Float RL shock, Hugi 240 hubbed wheels, Easton CT2 carbon fiber handle bars and seat post, FSA Ti ISIS bottom bracket, TruVatic Stylo Team cranks, Shimano chain rings, Rasta-colored Chris King No-thread head set, Shimano 525 disc brakes, Hayes disc rotars, Specialized Body Geometry seat, Wellgo M-18 Ti spindled SPD pedals, Coda Babu bar ends, Continental Explorer Pro front tire and Michelin Wildgripper rear tire.

Model: Titus Switchblade
Category: Light Weight Trail
Suspension: 3 to 5 inches front; 3.75, 4.5 or 5.75 inches rear. Switchblades before 2003 required you to change shock positions and/or rockers and shock to get all three travel options. From 2003 on, the Switchblade has been equipped with the Fox TALAS rear shock, which allows you to select between 3.75, 4.5 and 5.75 inches rear travel on-the-fly. Sweet!
Ideal for: The 'Blade slices and dices everything on Galbraith -- from technical stunt-fests like Upper Bob's, to killer ascents like Darrell's Death Climb, to rippin' downs like the babyhead-filled trench below the Car Seat, to sweet rollin' single track like the Family Fun Center.
Over all performance: This is a great bike. Seriously, the Switchblade doesn't just "do it all," it excels at every facet of technical trail riding. Sure, it's got a great pedigree, with arguably the best front and rear ends in the business, but this bike is actually more than the sum of its parts. The shortish chainstays and slightly slackish head tube angle produce a bike that both climbs and descends very well. Best of all, its 13 1/4 inch high bottom bracket is high enough to ride the rocky, rooty Galbraith trails without hitting your pedals every third stroke.

With the rear end set at 3.75 inches -- the shortest position -- the Switchblade rides a lot like the Specialized FSR XC. With 4.5 inches in the rear, the Switchblade is perfect as a technical, all mountain trail bike. And if you set it up for 5.75 inches of rear travel, you tranform the Switchblade into a high-pocketed screamer that will run all day with the likes of the Intense Uzzi SLX, Ventana El Saltamontes, Turner Five Spot, and Ellsworth Id.

Front end: The Fox Forx TALAS RL is the premier all-around trail fork today. It's air fork light, yet its large volume air chamber makes it feel as plush or plusher than the Marzocchi coil shocks that are supposed to define plushness. Its oversized 32 mm stancheon tubes make it almost as stiff and true-tracking as the Cannondale Lefty, but it's also got the TALAS adjustable travel / adjustable head tube feature which leaves the Lefty totally in the dust.
Rear end: The Switchblade uses the best rear end in the world of mountain biking, Specialized's patented Horst-link four-bar design. The new Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) bikes like the Intense Spyder, Santa Cruz Blur and Rocky Mountain ETS are getting a lot of press these days -- and they show promise -- but the Horst-link four-bar is still the reigning King of Rear Ends. Titus's version comes in polished aluminum with gorgeous CNC machine work and high-end American-made craftsmanship. The dimensions are slightly -- but significantly -- different too. The Switchblade's chainstays are a little shorter and the bottom bracket is a little higher than the Specialized FSR Enduro, producing a bike that is wonderfully suited to Galbraith technical trail riding.

2002 Titus Switchblades (like Mongo's) could be set to 3.75, 4.5 and (with a change of rocker arms and shock) 5.75 inches of rear travel. Beginning in 2003, the Switchblade has been equipped with the Fox TALAS rear shock, which allows the rider to choose between the three travel settings on the fly.

Brakes:  The Shimano 525s are excellent self-adjusting dual piston discs.
(The devil is in the) Details: Unless you find an impossibly thin socket wrench, you have to remove the top shock bolt to tighten the shock's air stem. Also, the Switchblade achieves its lightness by means of a lot of machining, which produces a lot of nooks and cranies to collect dirt and mud, and means it may take a little longer to clean than some other bikes.
Durability: Titus has continually refined the Switchblade. For instance, after some very aggressive riders broke the swing arms behind the main pivot, Titus changed the design and added extra reinforcing to the area to prevent the problem.

The only other reports of breakage we've heard have come from riders who set up the Switchblade with 5.75 inches of rear travel and used it as a full-on freeride rig. To which we say, Don't Do That. Like any Light Weight Trail Bike, the Switchblade will break if you are routinely hucking it, dude. But if you're hammering it as a technical, all mountain trail bike, it'll be a lot of fun for a long time to come.

From a fabrication standpoint, the Switchblade's overall impression is very similar to the Intense Tracer, except more polished and refined (the rear pivot bearings at the Horst link, for instance, are beefier on the 'Blade than the Tracer, and the bearings are better).

Geometry and sizing: With 70 1/4 degree head tube angle, the Switchblade's geometry hits technical trail riding right on the sweet spot. Sizing is full and honest.
Weight: 26.75 pounds as pictured.
Reviewed: March 2004

Mongo on the big rock at the top of the Chuckanut Ridge Trail. Conditions: damp, with a Slime Factor of 6.

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Vert Quest, excerpts from Mongo's World Record Journal by Bruce Brown "Mountain In The Clouds" by Bruce Brown