Raleigh M-Trax Team Titanium mountain bike

 

M-Trax MTB

I owned this bike for a year or so until it was stolen while locked at a train station. I guess the thief was attracted by the word titanium on the frame stickers – but that word hasn’t always been a sign of quality.

In the mid 1990s Raleigh experimented with this new frame material, bonding it into steel lugs where it formed the frame’s front triangle in the original ‘M-Trax’ range of bikes bikes. It was an experiment that failed; the M-Trax Team Titanium frame was far too flexible to give a reassuring ride. I remember setting off along my street and being alarmed to hear the tyre knobbles rubbing against the left seat stay as the bike started to move: this frame was so flexible, it didn’t resist the torque created when I set off in first gear.

At first I thought that this frame flex would at least make for a plush ride, but I was disappointed. The flex only affected the rear end, with the fork being so stiff as to transmit nearly every bump in the road. When I swapped out the 1.95 inch knobblies for 1.3 inch smooth tyres, the inefficiencies at the rear were down-played considerably but the harsh front made it too uncomfortable for my 13-mile commute. I eventually compromised by fitting 1.75 Schwalbe Marathons and, with the addition of full guards and a rack, consigning it to shopping duties.

It’s a shame the frame was no good because this was a well-specified bike, coming with Limited Edition Shimano STX components that were a pleasure to use, particularly the rapid fire shifters. Had the bike not been stolen, I might have kept the groupset and replaced the frame.

The poor ride quality of these bonded titanium MTBs is well documented, so if my M-Trax was sold to someone who knew about bikes (or someone with the ability to use Google), the thief won’t have got much for it, which will have been a disappointment for him. Serves him right for nicking bikes.

Practicality:  4 / 10

Comfort:  6 / 10

Efficiency:  2 / 10

Average score:  4 / 10