T-Lab's Phenom is a new titanium trail bike

T-Lab's Phenom titanium hardtail
T-Lab's Phenom has sliding rear dropouts to adjust wheelbase and offer single-speed riding (Image credit: T-Lab)

T-Lab has finally applied its expert titanium fabrication skill to a mountain bike.

The Montreal frame building company is responsible for some of the very best exotic metal gravel bikes money can buy, but T-Lab has now broadened its portfolio to include a mountain bike.

With its new Phenom, T-Lab is aiming at the trail-riding mountain bike market. Priced at £2,000, the Phenom frameset will afford discerning hardtail mountain bikers with novel titanium ride characteristics off-road.

The Phenom’s basic structure accepts both 27.5- and 29-inch wheels, while T-Lab’s beautifully machined siding rear dropout allows for chainstay adjustment between 411- and 438mm. This Versa-T dropout also allows for perfect chain tensioning if you’d choose to ride single-speed.

Although the Phenom’s frame is skilfully welded into its final production structure, its titanium tubes are quite unique. Instead of using industry-standard tubes, T-Lab’s machinist's cold work its tube sets to create specific mechanical properties.

This cold working technique creates a frame which looks a touch different to conventional titanium mountain bikes, with less symmetrical tube shapes. T-Lab’s claim is that by cold working the tubes and then welding them into a hardtail frame, they manage to deliver an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. T-Lab classifies their size medium Phenom at only 1800g.

Riders who are willing to pay a premium for titanium, also desire the slickest possible frame finishes. T-Lab obliges with neat internal cable routing and an integrated headset to ensure you fork sits flush against the lower headtube thread.

Factory frame geometry sets a slack 65-degree head angle, although reach numbers are slightly more conservative. A size large Phenom stretches out only 459mm of reach and T-Lab recommends 44mm offset forks for their frames.

Tyre clearance is 2.6in if you roll 29er wheels and T-Lab’s Phenom frame design is optimised for 120- to 130mm forks. 

Beyond the £2,000 base purchase price for a frame, customers can also choose to upgrade to a full build, starting at  £2,800 and peaking at  £4,400 for a boutique SRAM Eagle AXS XX1 groupset. Custom geometry is a £280 upgrade.

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for MBR.com, Off-Road.cc and Cycling News.