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  1. #1
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    Carbon vs Ti for a TT/tri frame

    Howdy all! I'm starting to look at a TT bike for the upcoming race season. I see a lot of good deals on the bay for carbon TT/tri bikes. But I also have an eye on a Ti Litespeed blade on cl and a Ti guru on eBay. If the price were in the same ballpark for both carbon and Ti, which would you get? The carbon ones I'm eyeing are BH, Guru, and QR. the Ti ones are both '04s. I'd like to get one that isn't made in Asia, but that won't be my primary driver. The cheapest will probably be my deciding factor.

    If any of you have owned both carbon and Ti tri/TT frames, what were the pros and cons of each?

    Thanks!
    Ordered and Fitted for my Custom DEAN Titanium frame on Sept 17th, 2008. Finally got it in Oct, 2010!!!

  2. #2
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    Hi, I'd certainly go with Ti. For TT bikes they are great because they are very rigid, and no flex compared to carbon. The downside, it may be rougher since carbon does absorb road vibrations.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by map1208 View Post
    Hi, I'd certainly go with Ti. For TT bikes they are great because they are very rigid, and no flex compared to carbon. The downside, it may be rougher since carbon does absorb road vibrations.
    Thanks for your thoughts. But what makes you say that Ti is more rigid than carbon? Generally, Ti is considered more flexy than carbon. Of course it all depends on the builder/manufacturer. Which frames did you base your opinion on? I just tend to like Ti because of the durability aspect.
    Ordered and Fitted for my Custom DEAN Titanium frame on Sept 17th, 2008. Finally got it in Oct, 2010!!!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride-Fly View Post
    Howdy all! I'm starting to look at a TT bike for the upcoming race season. I see a lot of good deals on the bay for carbon TT/tri bikes. But I also have an eye on a Ti Litespeed blade on cl and a Ti guru on eBay. If the price were in the same ballpark for both carbon and Ti, which would you get? The carbon ones I'm eyeing are BH, Guru, and QR. the Ti ones are both '04s. I'd like to get one that isn't made in Asia, but that won't be my primary driver. The cheapest will probably be my deciding factor.

    If any of you have owned both carbon and Ti tri/TT frames, what were the pros and cons of each?
    There is nothing inherent in either material that makes it particularly suited for a TT frame. The Litespeed Blade is a very fast frame design but there are many other fast frames out there too. It could be argued that it is easier to build a CF frame in more complex shapes than metal. Other than that things like compliance, lateral stiffness, etc. are COMPLETELY due to the design details, not the frame material.

  5. #5
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    I generally prefer Ti over carbon but for TT bikes, I would choose carbon.
    Reason being that carbon can be molded into more aero shapes as compared to Ti.

    TT bikes are for going fast and that should be the main consideration.

  6. #6
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    Where is the difference between a good TT frame and a bad TT frame?

    Stiffness? No! You are not sprinting, TT is a discipline where you try to pace yourself evenly without crazy accelerations.

    Weight? Not really. Unless you are doing very hilly TTs but then you might as well do it on a regular road bike.

    Aerodynamics? Not really. Riders body accounts for 80% of air resistance and bike is 20%. And then wheels are probably 50% out of those 20%.

    Geometry? Ergonomics? Position of the rider on the bike? Yep. I think that this is the most important aspect. Handling matters too. It is not that easy to maneuver on a TT bike.

    Ti is nice for simple clean looking frames made of round profile tubing. Airo/shmairo Ti frames are ugly and heavy. Get a carbon bike with a good fit!

  7. #7
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by map1208 View Post
    Hi, I'd certainly go with Ti. For TT bikes they are great because they are very rigid, and no flex compared to carbon. The downside, it may be rougher since carbon does absorb road vibrations.
    you are massively misinformed and should refrain from giving any further advice on this subject.
    i work for some bike racers...
    2013 Trek Madone 5.9 w/ '12 SRAM Red
    2010 Cervelo T1 sprint bike
    Ruger 10-22TD
    Smith&Wesson M&P 15-22
    Smith&Wesson M&P 9
    oh, those belong in another forum

  8. #8
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    Ti bikes are pretty old tech when it comes to TT bikes these days ... even a low end Cervelo P2 is going to better than the old Litespeed Blade when it comes to aerodynamics.

    The one thing to consider for TT bikes is fit is probably more important on them than on a road bike. Stack/Reach are where it's at for fitting and figuring out what yours is becomes very important. You have to be able to get into a comfortable position on the bike that is aerodynamic (position makes the biggest difference in aerodynamics) but still allows a good hip angle for power output.

    The thing with carbon TT frames is the ability to manipulate shapes for better aerodynamics compared to metal frames. This makes for a faster bike than older metal framed bikes ... though a really good fitting metal bike will be faster than a poor fitting carbon bike.

    I'd suggest getting a fit done ... get your stack/reach measurements and a list of bikes that fit into that range and go from there (used or new).
    Bikes:
    • 2012 CAAD10 (4)
    • 2013 Jamis Nova Race (winter training bike)
    • 1998 Marin East Peak - MTB
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  9. #9
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    I currently have carbon and Ti. My Ti bike is much more flexible. And as others have said, carbon can be fabricated to be way more aero than is practical with Ti. I'd suggest aluminum over Ti for TT bike.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  10. #10
    LC
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    Ti is a great material for a road or cyclocross bike because it is so resistant to damage and easy to keep the finish looking nice, but I would choose carbon for a TT bike because it is mainly a race day only bike in the way I would use it.

    The carbon TT frame is likely lighter, more aero, and will feel smoother...especially while leaned over on aero bars. However a reason you might want a Ti TT frame is if you want to throw the bike on a trunk rack.

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for your comments. I was thinking along the lines of most of you in that carbon is better for TT/tri. Just wanted to get confirmation.
    Ordered and Fitted for my Custom DEAN Titanium frame on Sept 17th, 2008. Finally got it in Oct, 2010!!!

  12. #12
    T K
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    What Wookie mentioned is very important. You need to know your body type when getting a TT bike. Not all are best suited for everyone. If you have long arms and torso, a Cervelo or Felt (long and low) might suit you best. If you have longer legs and shorter torso, like me, Cannondale or QR (short and narrow) are more your geo.
    Go to Slowtwitch.com and read some great articles on the subject of fit.

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