Bombtrack Hook EXT Titanium: First Look
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New for 2021, Bombtrack rolled out a titanium version of their popular Hook EXT all-road frameset. We got our hands on one and spent a couple of weeks riding it around Berlin for this exclusive first look. Find complete details, tons of photos, and initial impressions here…
One of the more surprising additions to the expansive 2021 Bombtrack lineup is a titanium version of their celebrated Hook EXT all-road/gravel rig, which until now was only offered in steel or carbon. We’ve been following the Hook series of bikes with interest since they were first launched, and Cass published a mostly glowing review of last year’s Hook EXT after spending a few months with one (read that here), concluding that it was a blast to ride and he’d be delighted to own one himself.
- Frame/fork: Titanium/Carbon
- Angles (L): 72° Headtube, 74° Seattube
- Stack/Reach: 608mm/396mm
- BB Drop/Chainstay: 70mm/425mm
- Bottom Bracket: T47 threaded
- Hub specs: 12x100mm / 12x142mm, TA
- Seatpost: 27.2mm
- Max tire size: 700c x 45mm or 650b x 52mm
- Price: $3,479 / €2,999 / £2,850
Indeed, the many steel Hook EXT owners I’ve chatted with seem almost universally satisfied with their purchase—including a couple of people in my riding group here in Berlin—so Bombtrack’s decision to launch a higher-end titanium version alongside the existing models was quite unexpected. I doudbt there was a huge demand for a Ti Hook EXT from customers, but titanium has been enjoying a resurgence in the last few years, with many brands launching space metal bikes and an increasing number of them making their way to this site.
Limited to just 50 pieces and available as a frameset only for 2021, Bombtrack seems to be testing the waters in their first year bringing the Hook EXT TI to the market. Having always admired the steel Hook EXT, and being quite sold on titanium frames after riding the Curve GXR and Otso Warakin Ti, I jumped at the opportunity to hop on Bombtrack’s demo bike when they offered to send it over for this first look. Find an introduction to the Hook EXT TI below, along with some of my initial impressions after two weeks of riding it on tracks and trails around Berlin and beyond.
Hook EXT Ti Frame Specs
The 2021 Bombtrack Hook EXT TI is built around a 3Al-2.5V titanium frame and a full carbon Bombtrack EXT V2 fork—the same fork specced on all Hook models. It features a stiff and sensible T47 bottom bracket and a gorgeous custom CNC’d yoke for maximum tire (700C x 45mm or 650B x 52mm without fenders) and chainring (44T for 1x, 50/36 for 2x) clearance. The Hook EXT TI has an ovalized toptube that I think looks great and is super comfortable for picking up and shouldering, which isn’t such a chore, as a medium frameset weighs in at a reasonable 2.1kg (4.6lbs). The frame has internal cable routing for various configurations and the fork has internal light cable routing.
It’ll come as no surprise that the Hook EXT TI is loaded with mounts, boasting three-pack mounts on the fork, seat tube, and downtube; top tube bag mounts; mounts for a third bottle under the downtube; plus rear rack and fender mounts. In all, there are provisions for about exactly as many bags and accessories as I’d want to mount on a frame like this for bikepacking, though other Bombtrack models boast even more mounts for riders who are planning expedition-style trips.
It’s specced with flat mount brakes and front/rear thru axles with 12 x 100mm spacing up front and 12 x 142mm in back. The new titanium Hook EXT’s geometry is identical to that of its steel counterpart—designed to lend itself equally well to fast rides and races or picking your way through MTB territory—which I think Bombtrack has dialed in perfectly (see key geometry figures above). Note that at 6’3″ I’d have opted for an XL frame if it had been available as the large is a tad on the small side for how I prefer my bikes to fit.
- Titanium 3Al-2.5V frame with T47 BB shell fender mounts and through axles
- Full carbon tapered fork with internal light cable routing, through axles and triple cage mounts
- Tire clearance for 700c x45mm or 650B x 52mm rubber
- Sram UDH derailleur hanger
- Lots of mounts, including toptube bag direct mounts, triple cage mount on downtube and seattube for optimized bottle position, bottle cage mounts underneath the downtube, and rear rack mounts.
- CNC Yoke for maximum tire and chainring clearance
- Ovalized toptube for supreme steering precision and comfort
- Biaxially ovalized downtube for optimized power transfer and steering precision
- Front derailleur compatible
- 12 mm through axles front and rear
- Flat mount brake mounts front and rear
- 27.2mm seatpost diameter with 31.8mm clamp
I’m a big fan of what Bombtrack is doing and the diverse range of bikes they’re producing, especially as a smaller company. This year in particular, there are some interesting new models and thoughtful updates throughout the lineup. So, I was expecting to be impressed by the Hook EXT Ti, and it more than met my expectations. Pulling it out of the box and seeing it up close for the first time, I was struck by the frame’s impeccable craftsmanship and all the small touches that set it apart from other frames that set out to fill the same niche but miss the mark in various ways.
More than anything else, the Hook EXT TI’s blue fork elicited comments and questions from folks on rides. These days, going with anything other than a black fork on a Ti frame is unconventional. You’ll likely love or hate the Hook EXT TI’s blue fork. Personally, I’m not crazy about it. I asked the team at Bombtrack why they opted to forgo a standard-issue black fork and they said the blue fork is intended to tie together this year’s whole Hook family of bikes, which come in varying shades of blue. That, and they’re somewhat sick of seeing black forks on titanium bikes again and again and wanted to try something different. Fair enough. As for the graphics, there’s quite a lot going on for my tastes, at least on a Ti frame, but I think the various design elements are all tied together nicely.
Those chunky, almost industrial looking rear dropouts also attracted some attention when I was out with the bike. They’re badass looking, to be sure, but lack the more ornate and refined aesthetics found on the dropouts of other bikes in the Bombtrack lineup. I also asked the Bombtrack team about the rear dropouts, who told me that they purposely overbuilt them for long-term durability, opting for a more solid shape rather than speccing the frame with the smallest 3D printed dropout possible. On a side note, they also mentioned that they’re committed to the SRAM universal derailleur hanger and will continue to spec it on as many frames as possible going forward.
Since this is simply a first look, short of a full review, and only the frameset is under discussion, I’ll hold off on sharing any additional thoughts on how the bike performed during my time with it. Suffice to say I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the new Hook, but that can mostly be attributed to the build and the way it encouraged me to ride. More on that in the next section.
The complete demo bike as sent to me by Bombtrack came equipped with a quirky but undeniably fun mix of components. I wouldn’t ever think to spec a bike this way, but I really enjoyed getting to try out its hodgepodge of new-to-me parts. It features hubs and accents from Tune (a smaller manufacturer based here in Germany known for its lightweight components), a full Shimano GRX Di2 2×11 groupset (the highlight of the build for me), and tires and handlebars from Rene Herse Cycles.
It’s likely safe to say folks are primarily building up their Hooks with 650B/27.5” wheels, the team at Bombtrack opted to spec the demo bike with a set of race-inspired 700c wheels, citing the growing popularity of gravel racing here in Europe. My personal bike has 650B wheels and tires, a size I was pretty sure about preferring, but ripping around on the Hook’s lightweight wheels with 700 x 42mm Rene Herse Hurricane Ridge tires has me questioning my preferred wheel size for unloaded mixed-terrain rides yet again. Thankfully for others who are as indecisive as I am, the Hook was designed with both wheel sizes in mind.
All that said, recall that the Hook EXT TI is only available for purchase as a frameset, and how you build yours is entirely up to you. However, this colorful combination of mismatched parts seems interesting enough to merit a full build list, which I’ve outlined in the table below. I made just a few minor changes, adding my own pedals, seatpost, saddle, cages, and bags.
- FrameBombtrack Hook EXT TI (Large)
- ForkBombtrack EXT V2 Fork, full carbon
- HeadsetChris King Tapered Nothreadset EC34| EC44
- Bottom BracketChris King Threadfit T47 24I, glossy black
- CranksetShimano GRX FC-RX810-2, 48 – 31T
- PedalsShimano XTR
- CassetteShimano CS-HG800-11, 11 – 34T
- Rear DerailleurShimano GRX RD-RX815
- Front DerailleurShimano GRX FD-RX815F
- ShiftersShimano GRX ST-RX815, 2 x 11 hydraulic
- ChainKMC DLC11 black
- Front HubTune King, 12 mm through axle, green anodized
- Rear HubTune Kong, 12 mm through axle, green anodized
- RimsStans Grail CB7 carbon rim, 28 H, black
- SpokesSapim CX-Ray, eliptic butted, silver
- TiresRene Herse Hurricane Ridge 700c x 42mm, Endurance casing
- BrakesShimano GRX BR-RX810, hydraulic disc, with 160/140mm SM-RT800 rotors
- StemTune Geiles Teil 4.0, 85 mm, glossy black
- Stem CapTune Cap, green anodized
- HandlebarRene Herse Randonneur Superlight 460 mm, silver
- Bar TapeBombtrack Escape, black
- SeatpostGoldsprint Ultimate, 27.2 mm
- Seatpost clampTune Schraubwürger 31.8 mm green anodized
- SaddleWTB Silverado Titanium
- Bottle CagesWolf Tooth Components Morse Cage
- Frame BagOveja Negra 1/2 Pack
- Saddle BagOuter Shell Mini Saddlebag
- Handlebar BagWizard Works Lil’ Presto
Price and Availability
The price is the kicker with the Hook EXT TI, which comes in at $3,479.99 (€2,999 / £2,850) for the frameset. That’s expensive by any measure, and for me it begs the question of just how badly I want a titanium version of the Hook EXT, which I think is already among the best steel drop-bar bikepacking rigs on the market. If you’re the kind of person who has to have the very best and can justify the expense, you’re undoubtedly getting a fantastic and exceedingly capable bike for your money. That said, the Hook EXT TI’s price point puts it well into custom bike territory, assuming going that route appeals to you.
As mentioned earlier, the first year of production is limited to just 50 pieces, and they’re expected to be available sometime in November. If you’re interested in scooping one, I’d recommend getting in touch with your local Bombtrack dealer to discuss purchasing one sooner rather than later.
- Exceptionally well thought out frameset with lots of features that appeal to bikepackers
- Versatile geometry that’s suited to racing, riding, and rambling
- Titanium’s superior durability means this is a frame for life
- Top-notch craftsmanship is evident in the details
- High price puts it out of reach for many, especially when there are more affordable steel models
- Unique Titanium/Grey Blue color scheme won’t be to everyone’s tastes
- Limited to just 50 pieces in the first run, so likely limited availability
- Size Tested L
- Sizes Available XS-XL
- Frameset Weight 2.1kg (4.6lbs) (M)
- Price $3,479 / €2,999 / £2,850
- Place of Manufature Taiwan
- Manufacturer’s Details Bombtrack
By taking their super capable and versatile all-road frameset and offering it in what many would argue is the ultimate frame material, Bombtrack have created an irrefutably dreamy bikepacking platform with the new Hook EXT TI. This frameset likely represents the end of the line in the evolution of the Hook series, which they’ve been gradually refining over the years to the point where there’s nearly nothing left to perfect. More than any other company, you’ll often find members of the Bombtrack team responding to comments and taking reader feedback seriously here on the site and elsewhere, as is evidenced by the continual improvement of their bikes year over year.
Whether or not there’s a demand for a Ti version of their lauded Hook EXT has yet to be seen, but I applaud Bombtrack for continuing to take risks. Especially as a small brand, launching a limited run of Hook EXTs in titanium was a bold move, perhaps befitting of its color scheme. Of course, the Hook EXT TI comes with a price tag that makes it unattainable for most of us, but anyone with the means to purchase one can be sure they’re investing in a frame that’s purpose built to withstand a lifetime of bikepacking adventures, wherever the trail takes you.
Find complete details on the new 2021 Bombtrack Hook EXT TI over at Bombtrack.com.