BUDGET BIKES: Titan Drone Comp
Good: Boost spacing front and rear
Excellent: 1x SLX drivetrain and Deore brakes, Quality tyres, Internal dropper post routing
Bad: Lay-back seat post is unnecessary
Of all the bikes featured in our budget bikes, the Drone Comp is the most modern and offers the best value for money.
It looks like something that a pro would race around an XC course, with boost spacing front and rear, a 1×11 Shimano SLX drivetrain and 180mm brake rotors. This is up-to-the-minute stuff, folks, at a price that will make you think the shop assistant has made a mistake.
The frame is long and stretched-out, which takes some getting used to. The medium we tested rode more like a large – a feeling amplified by the lay-back seat post. A straight post and a shorter stem would have suited my proportions better.
Speaking of the frame, it’s a brutalist piece of engineering – all blunt angles and square edges, with welding like keloid scars. It looks fast and angry. Luckily the slack geometry and the excellent Shimano Deore brakes help to tame the aggression, and it delivers a balanced ride. The stock tyres are superb: 2.25-inch Vittoria Barzos that grip like Velcro.
Just as Apple ditched the headphone socket on their phones, Titan has ditched cable routing for a front derailleur. You don’t need one! Instead, they’ve included internal routing for a dropper post, which would be the first thing we’d buy as an upgrade.
All the other bikes have RockShox forks, but Titan have gone for an X-Fusion RC32. It does a good job levelling out drops and bigger bumps, but on the whole, the fork doesn’t feel as smooth as the RockShox Judy Gold on the Cannondale Trail, or even the cheaper air forks on the other bikes. (Maybe we could have corrected this by fiddling with the pressure and rebound settings, but we didn’t go down that rabbit hole.) Still, it’s a boost fork with a through-axle and stiff, 32mm stanchions, which is more than you should get at this price point.
In short, the Drone Comp is fast, lightweight and decked out with quality components – and it’s going for a song.
SPECS YOU NEED TO KNOW
X6 aluminium, boost QR
X-Fusion RC32, 100mm travel, boost through-axle
Shimano SLX M7000, 32T
1×11 Shimano SLX, with clutch rear derailleur
Shimano Deore M6000 hydraulic disc
Vittoria Barzo 29×2.25”