The Union is our medium-large hardtail, influenced by those halycon early days when one bike did nearly everything.
Like everyday life, the cycle industry is a noisy place. It bombards you with the latest must-have products in the latest categories, all depicted in epic environments at sunset. The Union is our escape from that.
The Union is made from repairable steel and you decide the colour. The decals are replaceable. It's a simple tool made simply for getting outside.
A modern, beautiful heritage.
The Union is the first frame based around our short/long sizing and proportional wheel sizing idea. It's a beautifully mannered handmade frame that combines modern standards, geometry and materials with old ideas, sleek lines and slim tubes.
The butted and shaped steel tubes add that desirable spring, medium length stays keep the front wheel stay down while climbing, and the longer wheelbase mean it's stable on the descents, well mannered while crossing ground quickly and rider weight is placed centrally. Combined with a short offset fork, the considered head angle makes the whole package a whole lot of fun.
How to get one.
Frame kits start at £1,500 for standard geometry, in either a short or long fitting.
Frames are made to order in batches of 10 so there may be a wait of up to three months until your order is ready. For an additional cost certain frame elements can be altered to customer requirements.
Get in touch!
Cain Bike Co. order form
Note: the photographed frame is a prototype. The final frame will feature a chainstay yoke, slightly different profile stays and tweaked dropper seatpost routing.
The X44 head tube is suitable for 1 1/8", tapered and 1.5" steerer forks, as well as running slackening headsets. It also provides a large weld contact patch for the top and down tube.
The oval top tube is designed to flex a little to add a little comfort to the ride, but is also free of cables to make carrying luggage and shouldering the bike easier.
The top tube/seat tube brace also has enough room underneath to mount a large light battery for nightriding, commuting and 24 hour racing.
The 30.9mm (internal diameter) seat tube is a compromise between the more comfortable 27.2mm width and newer, larger standards; 30.9mm can fit the latest generation of longer dropper posts while still having a small degree of comforting flex.
There is also stealth routing for the dropper post as standard and a second set of sealed bottle bosses with clearance above for a 185mm dropper.
Versatility, parts availability and fewer creaks make the English threaded bottom bracket the best option. It's not perfect, but until someone comes out with something better, we're sticking with this.
There's also a drain hole to help get water out of the frame. Influenced by hardy winter bikes ridden by road racers in the dark and wet depths of the off-season, we feel it's an appropriate addition on frames which are ridden in the wet, regularly hosed down and run stealth dropper seatpost cable/hose routing.
Seat and chain stays
There's no seat stay-mounted cables to make mounting a mudguard easy, all TIG welding blow holes are filled after welding to stop water ingress, and there's clearance for 29 x 2.4" or 650b x 3" tyres. Dropouts and derailleur mount are Syntace X-12 standard.
Tubing is a mix of Reynolds 853 DZB, Reynolds 853 and Reynolds 631 (excluding the bottom bracket and brace) which is 20 times stronger than high-tensile steel. Certain tubes use shaping to benefit from – or reduce – flex. None of the tubing on the main frame is kinked; this makes for stronger tubes, cleaner lines and ease of judging sizing from the spec sheet. Each frame is fabricated and TIG welded by Limit Fabrications in Norwich.
Short and long sizing
Short and long sizing comes from a cycling discpline with an great history of racing and innovation – BMX. Long, low, manouverable mountain bikes are probably closer to BMXs than any other form of cycling, and now long dropper posts are available we thought it made sense to embrace this. We estimate short and long sizing covers heights from 5'6" up to 6'1".
Plus-sized wheels are one of the reasons we decided to start Cain Bike Co. Finally we could have a playful, comfortable, low-maintenance hardtail that with a change of wheels could be switched to a winter-ready bike with a huge amount of mud clearance, or a comfortable big-wheeled mile muncher.
As a general rule we consider 650b+ better for dry, loose and rocky conditions, and fast-rolling 29" for quicker/longer rides and winter (with thinner winter tyres.)
148mm Boost rear wheel spacing provides greater wheel triangualtion and less dish, which makes a stronger, stiffer wheel.
We recommend a 120mm travel Boost-spaced fork and a short fork offset. The Union was tested with 51mm and 46mm offset forks, and for the slower, twistier trail riding prevelant in the UK the shorter offset felt far more linear and predictable.
No top tube cable routing makes shouldering the bike, carrying luggage and mounting a light battery easier, and keeps the seatstays clear for attaching a rear Mudhugger. Mounting the cables on top of the downtube keeps them away from rock strikes, combine with bottle cage mounts and are easy to access and maintain. It also means cables can easily be mounted either UK/moto style or European/North American.
Two sets of bottle bosses
Two sets of bottle bosses are added to make carrying water and spares – or water and a battery – possible without needing a bag. Bottle bosses are also internally capped to make them watertight, preventing water getting into the frame.
Removal of internal material
It's a small thing, but getting rid of material that is not doing anything saves a little weight. It won't make getting up hills drastically easier, but it's a few grammes you won't need to carry. And it looks lovely!