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  1. #1
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    Indy Fab - Question re: SSR and Ti Crown Jewel

    I am looking at buying an Independent Fabrication bike soon and was hoping that someone could help me understand why someone would choose the SSR over the Titanium Crown Jewel and vice versa. I know that traditionally, steel is less expensive and heavier than titanium, and titanium bikes have a reputation for being "bomb proof." But with the SSR, it seems like the weight of the steel is very close to the weight of the titanium, indy fab says the SSR will not corode, and the price is basically the same ($3600 for SSR v. $3850 for Ti CJ).

    So what factors are people using to decide between the two? Is it just ride feel? Is there much of a difference in ride feel between Ti and the SSR steel?

    Thank you in advance for any help on this... I'm pumped about making this purchase. I'm currently riding an old aluminum Trek with downtube shifters.... this will be a major step forward!

  2. #2
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    Titanium and steel have different ride qualities and in the end, it's personal preference that makes the decision. If you can try some titanium frames to see the difference, do so.

    Of course, buying an IF TiCJ, they can customize the wall thicknesses and tube diameters to provide any road feel you want. The good thing about titanium is yes; it's just about bombproof, and that's good for things like derailleur hangers and maintaining alignment after a crash. My big question is: does the Ti CJ price include paint? I'd want a painted frame and if painting the frame is an upcharge, then the scales tip more toward the SSR.

    If I may offer an alternative- the weight difference between titanium and the SSR is irrelevant once you add a rider to the bike because the percentage saved is then miniscule. I would save even more money and go for a straight, plain jane Crown Jewel. Maybe use some of the saved cash for a special paint job. You won't be disappointed.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the input. It is my understanding that paint is not included for either frame... that is an extra charge based on what type of paint design you choose.

    hmmm.... anyone else want to throw in an opinion? Thanks.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I can't speak for the SS tube frames, but I have ridden a number of TI frames and if you look at my avatar you'll notice I have a soft spot for IF. I would say to consider what kind of ride you're looking for and your physical make up. For instance, if you're 6'8" and a bodybuilder, it's going to be harder to mix up a tubeset that will give a stiff front triangle while keeping the rear triangle vertically compliant than someone 6' and 175lbs. There will probably be more tubing options in the TI, unless you're open to mixing the SS tubes with others. then it'd be a toss up.

    You won't be disappointed with either. Just be sure to be clear about what you want when ordering and let them do what they do best.

    Bob

  5. #5
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    Thanks Bob. I am actually 6' and 175 pounds, so I guess that will give me more options. I am getting fitted for the proper sizing this weekend, but then maybe I will discuss the options with Indy Fab. Thanks again for the input.

  6. #6
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    The SSR is made of Reynolds 953 which is actually stronger and stiffer than TI at similar weights.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by alc2111
    Thanks Bob. I am actually 6' and 175 pounds, so I guess that will give me more options. I am getting fitted for the proper sizing this weekend, but then maybe I will discuss the options with Indy Fab. Thanks again for the input.
    How did the fitting go, and what have you decided to do?

  8. #8
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    JMac - The fitting went well, but I'm still going back and forth. I thought I had settled on the titanium, but all of the positive reviews of the SSR have me feeling uncertain. With how opinionated people are on this forum, I am surprised I have not gotten more feedback on this! I'm taking my time with this decision though and will keep you all updated. And if anyone has an opinion to share on the titanium v. SSR issue, let me know!

  9. #9
    underachiever
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    I have a 2008 Independent Fabrication Titanium Crown Jewel and was in the same position as you: debating SSR versus titanium.

    Prior to getting the IF Ti CJ, I had a 2005 IF CJ SEC and really liked it. I went with titanium primarily because I really liked the feeling of my friend's mid-1990s Merlin Extralight. I figured if titanium felt that good after so many years and miles, that's what I want. It was a tough decision because I really like steel and that's all I've ever had. With the IF CJ SEC, I felt a bit more connected to the road, but maybe I need more time/miles to feel that connection.

    My IF Ti CJ is also in a bit of as transition, as I'm waiting for Black Sheep to finish my titanium fork (and seat post & stem). Possibly this will change the dynamics of the bike with the titanium fork, and I'm anxious to receive it soon (was due on 9/20). I also had my bike painted, and yes, it's extra (though IF did it for free because my frame was more than a month overdue).

    Anyway, both the SSR and titanium rode quite nicely and what it came down with me was that IF had a ton of experience with titanium so felt comfortable spending a large sum with that type of frame. I'm sure they're quite competent with the SSR, but it just wasn't the material I had a lot of faith in. Just a personal preference.

  10. #10
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    Ssr

    I presently own the SSR and previously owned a IFCJTI for about 3 years. I found that the build of my ti used tubes that were very thin and while the bike was light it had a lot of flex in the BB. The SSR is a bit heavier but it doesn't make any difference in the performance, that bike holds the road and accelerates very quickly and there is not a hint of BB flex. Overall I like the ride and handling of my SSR better than I liked my CJ Ti.The Ti was a bit jumpy on the road due to its light weight. I rode the same wheels (Joe Young built DT 240s hubs, DT RR 1.1 rims and DT Super Comp spokes) and full DA 7800 group on both bikes. You could have a ti frame built heavier I suppose but of course it will change the ride, guess it depends on what you are looking for. Good luck with your decision, can't go wrong with either.

  11. #11
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    One thing to consider, a lot of people have Ti bikes. Very
    few have a SSR. I have never even seen a SSR in person.

    Best, John

  12. #12
    Dr. Flats a lot
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    What a great dilemma to have. Materials aside one of the main limitations of the SSR is there are really few if any options on tubes. I may be mistaken but I think there is only one tubeset that Reynolds is offering. Ti on the other hand has a myriad of possibilities. Hence there are more options in designing the frame to be catered to your desires. From that same vantage point a steel crown jewel could be even more custom.
    All of these bikes have amazing reviews and I'm sure you'll be happy with whatever you chose. My IF rocks.

  13. #13
    Decrepit Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoikz
    I may be mistaken but I think there is only one tubeset that Reynolds is offering.
    That was true a couple of years ago, but the 953 range today is pretty comprehensive in terms of tube diameters, lengths, wall thicknesses, and butting profiles. They even have shaped (teardrop, oval, bi-oval) tubes.

    -Stan
    my bikes

  14. #14
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    I used to ride a Moots Mootour for a few years, and have recently switched to a (Waterford) SSR bike. I find the steel bike more lively and better connected to the road, and I could chose lugs and other aspects that made the bike look more individual. But both are excellent choices. I traveled a lot with the Moots, and nothing surpasses the ease of packing a Ti bike.

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