Engin Cycles builds custom bicycles in mountain, road, all road and city/road iterations exclusively from titanium. Designer and builder Drew Guldalian has an extensive machine shop that serves as Engin’s framebuilding HQ attached to the rear of his bicycle shop, Wissahickon Cyclery, in Philadelphia’s stately Chestnut Hill neighborhood.
Engin’s website gives all four meanings of the standard Webster’s definition of “engine” at its homepage. Sitting at number four is perhaps the most applicable to Philadelphia: a railway locomotive. The city once served as the headquarters of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the largest in the U.S., and with a local supply of high quality steel and a workforce of machinists, the Baldwin Locomotive Works built fleets of steam locomotives at its massive facility in Eddystone, just south of Philadelphia.
Heavy industry in Philly has ridden the waves of boom, bust and obsolescence, but Engin carries on the city’s proud tradition of quality machining. They may not be heavy steel rivets to hold a locomotive boiler together, but Guldalian makes his own titanium fittings – things like rear dropouts – with specialty machines. His focus on precision, along with the pristine environment that titanium welding demands, makes his workshop seem like something between a factory and an operating room.
Whatever the precise demands of the titanium production process are, the result for the Engin owner is a work of beauty. At its best, the bicycle is a beautiful tool, meant to rule the road or trail with both style and efficiency.
Engin buys into this duality of the bicycle completely, as Guldalian writes at their website: “Our mission is to build titanium bicycles that appeal to people both as a work of craft and as a machine that can be ridden and ridden often.”
Titanium bicycles, perhaps more than other bicycles made from different materials, embody this ideal design ethic of performance and beauty. One of the best things about owning titanium bicycles, apart from the superior ride unlike just about every other material, is the lack of worry about marring or chipping paint and therefore inviting surface rust. While Engin can paint, or partially paint your titanium frame, each of their bikes is treated with a special media that creates a satin finish easily touched up with steel wool and furniture polish.
Easy care, winning performance and elegant beauty are the hallmarks of every Engin bicycle. Learn more about this home-grown Philly institution at www.engincycles.com.