First Impressions: Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie

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Introducing the Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie © Cliff Lee

Introducing the Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie © Cliff Lee

Every once in a while a new bike comes along that really stands out from the crowd. With cyclocross growing in popularity, it seems new cyclocross bikes are introduced every quarter, making it hard to stand out. Cyclocross Magazine has one of the first production all-carbon Full Tilt Boogie’s from Van Dessel, and it’s one of the true show stoppers .

After two years in development with input from Van Dessel’s sponsored riders Adam Myerson and Jeff Bahnson, the Full Tilt Boogie has all the industry buzz items: tapered tall headtube with a 1.5 inch bottom race, low 7cm bottom bracket drop and BB30. The frame weight is reported to be 1250 grams with tube walls reinforced for durability in areas that may receive impact and tube diameters designed to tune the ride to achieve the dichotomy of stiffness and compliance.  The Full Tilt Boogie is conceived and designed as an all-out race bike, with no water bottle bosses (a minor point of contention for me) and full cable housing from the top tube to the rear derailleur to maintain shift performance despite wet or gritty conditions.

In our full review, we will cover all the details, but suffice it to say, my initial impression is that the total package, including the carbon frame, equipped with SRAM Force, come together to form a really nice ride. Relatively light out of the box with a curb weight around 17.5 pounds, this bike squirts forward with every pedal stroke and corners hard without a quirk, yet has a nice smoothness and is without fork chatter.

The front derailleur cable pass-through is a straight shot lined with a metal tube © Cliff Lee

The front derailleur cable pass-through is a straight shot lined with a metal tube © Cliff Lee

The attention to detail is evident with a front derailleur cable route run very close along the downtube, so when the frame is lifted, fingers don’t snag the cable. That same front derailleur cable passes through the frame just behind the large BB30. The pass-through is a straight shot lined with a metal tube. The large fork crown is pierced and again lined with a metal sleeve so you can mount a  crown mounted cable hanger if you like that sort of thing – a long bolt will be required since it is 6cm from the front to the back of the crown.

Tire clearance is adequate for up to a (nominal) 35C tire, not a problem in this age of 32C maximum UCI limits! The Full Tilt Boogie comes as a frameset or as a complete bike with your choice of Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo and a set of tubular wheels with Vittoria XM tires. As a complete bike, a set of custom-painted “Flanders yellow” TRP EuroX brakes is included.

After only a couple of weeks’ worth of riding, it’s apparent to me that the Full Tilt Boogie deserves to be on the short list of must-ride bikes – it has all the elements of the perfect ’cross bike. We’ll see as the season begins and the miles pile on. Stay tuned for our full review.

MSRP: $3,999 with Force, as tested. 17.5 pounds.
$1999 Frameset (Frame/Fork/Headset). 1250g

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