Sage Bikes is a boutique brand based in Oregon and they are turning out high-end titanimum frames fit for all types of riding. I’ve had the opportunity to spend my spring and summer mountain biking on the Sage Flow Motion, a plus-sized machine meant for descending fast and having fun.
Sage Titanium Flow Motion Hardtail Features:
- Made in USA Sage 3/2.5 titanium frameset
- Can accommodate 27.5 x 2.6? or 29 x 2.2-inch tires (27.5 tested)
- Fox Factory 36 Kashima 150mm fork
- Chris King headset and bottom bracket
- Race Face Atlas 50mm
- Race Face Atlas 35x800mm riser bar with 20mm rise (doesn’t look like these are on that bike)
- Full Shimano XT drivetrain
- Lizard Skins MacAskill custom grips
- Fox Transfer dropper post (Kashima, 30.9, 150mm)
- Sage Beccus Saddle 143mm
- Industry Nine BC Carbon 360 wheelset
- Maxxis Minion DHF / Aggressor 27.5 x 2.5 WT
- Weight: 28.4 lbs (complete)
- MSRP: $9,076.00
As Good As It Gets (or as good as you want it)
The bike I rode is truly just about as good as it gets. I9 BC Carbon wheels with Cushcore, Chris King headset and bottom bracket, legendary Race Face Atlas stem and bars, XT drivetrain, and a Fox Transfer dropper. There are some options available for a full carbon cockpit and a couple of other wheel options available.
With Sage you can go full custom build and spend a high-end amount of money or you can get a full build for less. Frames start at $3,400. When ordering you can choose from any number of options to dial in the build that you want.
The base of the build is a built-in-the-USA titanium frame straight from Portland, OR. With titanium you get the ultimate in durability and you can truly have a “bike for a lifetime”. Compared to steel it will save you weight, though compared to aluminum, the weight about evens out. As is custom with most titanium bikes, you’ll get a bare frame, nothing hiding underneath paint. You can choose the color of your decals.
Let’s talk weight for a minute: the Flow Motion, built as I rode it weighed in at 28.4 lbs. This is a decent weight for a hardtail trail bike. For comparative purposes, my daily ride is a DB Mason Pro, which also clocks in at 28.4 lbs. It took me a few double-checks to confirm that both bikes are of the identical heft, but indeed they are. So, what does the extra $7k bring? A whole lot of capability and a lifetime of bling.
The test build included a set of Industry Nine BC Carbon 360 wheels, which roll smooth and fast. In addition, they were outfitted with CushCore for the ultimate in low-pressure performance (but with a little extra weight). With them, there’s an extra level of protection to keep those carbon hoops riding like new — and to keep your tubeless setup working flawlessly. As it turns out, I did drill a rock square-on (sorry) and the CushCore liner absolutely saved the day. I didn’t get any weeping and the tires remained intact with no issues whatsoever.
Any all-mountain trail bike wouldn’t be complete without a dropper post. The Fox Transfer brought smooth operation and 150mm of drop height, keeping the saddle low and out of way when bombing descents and riding laps through the bike park. It looks good and functioned perfectly throughout several months of abuse.
Looking over the frame, there’s one thing that still stymies me. For the price, I would have expected internal routing for all cables. I admit this is minor and doesn’t really affect performance at all (and does make wrenching easier). But, for pure aesthetics, though, internal routing can’t be beat and would be expected at this price point.
The Ride (aka, The Fun)
The Flow Motion is built to be an all-mountain trail bike. The geometry lends itself to the descent with a slack head tube angle and shorter chainstays. The Flow Motion is built around a 150mm travel fork, but can be outfitted with a 160mm, if you so choose. With the Fox Factory 36 Kashima 150mm fork, the head tube angle is plenty slack for aggressive descents.
So yeah, the Flow Motion excels on the descent. The geometry (and plus sized tires with CushCore) do have some drawbacks when climbing. Just know that you won’t be setting any records on your local climbs.
Don’t get me wrong, the Flow Motion is a nimble climber. I’ve been able to climb steep sections, power up and through rock gardens and over baby-heads with aplomb. The extra traction from the plus-sized tires is a huge contributor here. No doubt that it is capable at climbing. It just isn’t as efficient and fast as an XC hardtail.
The Shimano XT 1×11 drivetrain keeps it simple and gives you the range you need to climb. I have to admit that I love that huge 46t rear cog! I’ve tried to be prideful and not use it, but I can’t tell you how many times I was grateful to have it — particularly at the tail end of a long ride.
The Sweet Spot – Crushing Descents
What you give up in climbing efficiency, you gain it all back in performance on the down. All of that slack geometry is built for speed and fun. You can blaze through rock gardens, rail berms, and take to the air with confidence that the bike will perform as far as you push it. The Fox Factory 36 simply devours bumps, rocks and anything else and I never bottomed it out a single time. Contributing to that descending prowess are the 27.5×2.5 tires running at 22 psi front and 24 psi rear (I’m 190 lbs), which kept the rubber on the dirt, no matter how hard I railed the turns.
Because I felt so darn comfortable descending on the Sage Flow Motion, I was able to set some PRs on some of my local descents. Admittedly, I’m a bit more fit due to more riding (thanks COVID for that) but it really comes down the Flow Motion’s performance on the descent. It is fast and simply responds to even the most aggressive rider input.
When riding laps at the local bike park, I did find that the Flow Motion wasn’t quite as nimble as I would have liked. I keep things modest, with my hands and feet on the bike at all times, but I like to have fun. When riding the park jump lines I had to work a little harder to get the bike to jump how I wanted it to. Outside of jump lines at the bike park, I found catching air out on the trail to be just as fun and playful as my personal bike.
As much as I loved the Flow Motion, one of the biggest drawbacks of the Flow Motion really is the price. The build I tested is north of $9,000. Yes, you get a handcrafted titanium frame and high-end components, butat that price, you’ve really got be committed to the brand. Also, keep in mind that this was a carryover build from last season. All new builds will feature Shimano’s latest 12-speed kits.
- Handcrafted build
- Ability to craft the build package of your choice
- Extremely fun to ride, especially the descents
- Built in the USA
- Lifetime durability
- Price tag is steep if you go for the high-end build
- Lacks some pop on the climbs
- No post mount brake tabs
Bottom Line: Sage Flow Motion
The Sage Flow Motion is an extremely fun, capable bike if you’re willing to pay the premium for titanium. With it, you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime frame that will look good and perform for years to come. Descending is an absolute gas on the Flow Motion, so be prepared to descend with absolute confidence.
Buy now: Visit SageTitanium.com
The Safe Titanium Flow Motion may be what your hardtail dreams are made of. An all-mountain, descent-shredding, fun bike that will last you a lifetime.
- Pedaling Efficiency
- Fun Factor