This is the first section to my review for the latest deck released by Theory11, Bicycle Titanium. I write each of my reviews in two sections; the first one when first I get the deck and have worked with it a bit. Then I’ll write the second piece months later after the cards have been completely broken in as well as used in live performances.
Feel: Imagine Bicycles, but on steroids. They have the Air-Cushion finish but it definitely feels like improvements have been made. The cards fan and spread wonderfully out of the box, as expected by a custom deck. The impressive thing is that they still have this nice smooth, even feel to them even after an hour or two of use. Aerials are decent considering that the deck is still fairly new and slippery. The Titaniums are about the same thickness as a regular deck of Bicycles.
Design: The design is one that people have come to know and love for over 125 years. Using the Rider Back design is a good idea too because spectators will be familiar with the deck, they’ve seen it a million times. The metallic is the best part though. Theory 11 did it just right; the metallic is noticeable enough to give the cards an elegant, distinct look but not so overboard that they’re distracting. It’s extremely hard to capture the metallic backs on camera as it’s a lighting thing but take my word for it, they look phenomenal. The red deck is closer to maroon while the blue deck looks silver in the right light.
Court Cards: Theory11 has always had the sense to get rid of the hideous orange that Bicycle throws in the court cards. The Titanium decks have shades of metallic gold and a bluish silver instead. Just like the backs, the metallic ink on the Court Cards is just right. When they catch the light it looks incredible. This design complements magic in a special way; the metallic is elegant and fleeting. It’s a hard thing to try and articulate but once you have them in your hands it’s obvious.
Spot Cards: The black spot cards are the standard Bicycle Rider back cards. The red ones, however, have the metallic ink. The maroon and reflective look contrasts with the black cards to give the deck a dynamic look. I’m glad they went with the metallic on the faces, it’s really what makes this deck look different. Titaniums will be awesome for any kind of red black separation effects.
Ace of Spades, Jokers, and Box: I’m going to lump all three of these sections together because there’s not a whole lot new. The Ace of Spades and Jokers are exactly the same as any standard deck of Bicycles. One thing worth mentioning is that there’s no guarantee joker so they’re identical. I always hated that guarantee text when I was trying to use them as duplicates. The box is also the same as it’s common counterpart. The only difference being the shade of red and the metallic accents.
So here are the ratings:
When Theory11 announced these playing cards I was a little skeptical, as I’m sure many of you were. There are so many things that could go wrong when using a metallic deck… especially printing it on the faces. I’m happy to say that Theory11 went above and beyond what I expected and completely disproved everything I was unsure about. The Bicycle Titanium deck is the first of it’s kind and I certainly hope it’s not the last. These cards feel superb and look elegant. I’m excited to see how spectators will perceive the aesthetic twist on such a classic back design. If you haven’t ordered any of these yet, what are you waiting for?
After a few months I’ll be writing the second piece to this review. It’ll cover feel after the deck has been completely broken in, and I’ll also talk about performance pros and cons.