Cheap Chinese Titanium vs. Custom or Name Brand Titanium - Page 2
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  1. #26
    A guy from Norway
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubuqi
    A

    The other manufacturer called Hi-Light. These guys were actually does rocket science ;-) They were people weld the Chinese rockets so they know how do the welding.

    Ti is something rare as you can see these two manufacturer have their source.

    Overall Chinese ti-frame builders knows little about cycling, knows a lot about the material, and how do do the welding. They were simply ti-workers to make some extra money by making some bicycle frames.
    I have two Hi-Light frames branded by Airborne. They both have been excellent for many years now.

    Tubes looks to have been cut very precise, and all those 'welding porn' pics posted doesn't of different high end frames look any better

  2. #27
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    I just ordered a Lynskey Cooper directly from Lynskey. Lifetime warranty. People actually pick up the phone and answer emails. USA made. I have researched and found no complaints with them. Crazy easy to buy one from them. The price I paid was competitive with any China frames plus I'm supporting some gal/guy like me in the USA.
    There is a fine line between a hobby and mental illness.

  3. #28
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    I also have a "high end painted" Lynskey frame...
    Price is NOT competitive, it is more advanced and IMO a better ride thou.

  4. #29
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    when the pet food kills the pets and the milk kills the kids I have concerns. I researched Chinese made scooters. They range from being assembled on dirt floors to motors made for Honda and Yamaha. Under the right circumstances there is no reason you couldn't get a good Ti bike at a good price. But with good deals on new American made bikes such as the Lynskey Cooper, the Planet X that Lynskey makes and the lower priced Litespeeds as well as some small builders, why bother. Great deals on complete used bikes on Ebay. Last month I bought a new Lynskey Helix for $2,000. I had a question about a fork and called the owner Don at 7:00 AM as the web paged showed in was in and available. Glad I wasn't trying to communicate with someone in China.
    "The problem with losing your mind is that by the time you realize it's gone, it's too late to get it back."
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemond2001
    There is a difference in the quality of Ti made in the US and the stuff from China...you get what you pay for....The US stuff costs about 150 to 200 more a frame from a builders stand point to use US ti over China stuff. Is the stuff from China junk...no its ok..but the stuff made in the US is better for the long run it will have less problems. If its a small builder in the US he is going to build you a really quality frame and use the best materials..because he has to warranty the frame and doesnt want to see it again to fix...Why is Ti so great? You can just cut and cut and weld time and time again on it..For Example: you can cut off a 1 inch head tube and weld back in a 1 1/8 head tube and you have a new undated frame... what a stiffer frame..cut out the down tube and put in a bigger pipe.

    What you have to watch for with a Ti is who is welding it together and how tight the tolerances are on the tubes butting. Soom loose fit it and weld. Not the best wat to do it in my option. Also, where most cracks acure is when someone contaminates the air when welding it being done..

    Should you buy a Ti frame from China at $1800.00...you can but why would you at that price you can get someone in the US to build a better frame that fits your weight with better materials for the same price or less...
    I'm not a ti frame owner but hope to purchase my first within the next five years. It's hard for me to believe that a Chinese or Taiwanese Ti frame is any less reliable than a US built one. Being that around 90% of high quality bikes sold in the US are made in Taiwan or China, it's hard to believe that paying more for a US brand will mean I'm getting a higher quality bike. Ti is Ti. If you use the same Ti and the bike is custom built to the same specs, I bet that you will get the same quality no matter where you purchase. Sure the very best are made in Taiwan but many companies make their high quality entry level and mid level bikes in China. When it comes to carbon, a lot of the higher end models are made in China too. I can't say wheteher or not you are or aren't getting a better bike here in the States, but I do know that a lot of what you're paying is the ridiculous labor costs associated with buying one made here. Those workers aren't making low wages. To us they are, but compared to the cost of living in China, they are paid exceptionally well. I wonder how many workers in the US can save 40% of their weekly income and still survive. This was a topic brought up before in another discussion. BTW, I'm planning to buy either a Serotta- not because of where it's made but because I've had good experiences with my steel Serottas when I used to race in my younger years. I'm confident that they make good frames is my reason. If inexpensive is what you want, you shopuld also consider a Scattante Titanium frame from Performance bikes. I believe that they are made by Lynskey but don't quote me on that.
    Last edited by terbennett; 02-09-2010 at 03:45 PM.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by timroz
    So I bought a Strong frame about 6 years ago. Columbus Foco steel. Sweetest ride EVER. About a month ago I decided to actually clean my bike and noticed a very small crack where the top tube hits the head tube - right in the weld - showing through the powder coat. So I took a pic and sent it to Carl and he calls me up and says "that's a crack - send it to me". So I'm thinking this is going to be hundreds of dollars to fix, another $100 at Spectrum, shipping back etc. Carl calls me after he gets it and says "yep - it's a crack, what color do you want it powder coated after I fix it?" And I'm like "how much?" and he says it's under warranty - free. I said "no way Carl - I've hammered this bike for 6 years" and he is hearing none of it. So basically I paid $32 to ship it to him and that's it. What a great guy, great bike, great company...
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...&postcount=112

    And that is the biggest difference. Communication and trust. How much are they worth? Try having a relationship without both!
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    It's full of factual errors. :nono:

  7. #32
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    " It's hard for me to believe that a Chinese or Taiwanese Ti frame is any less reliable than a US built one. Being that around 90% of high quality bikes sold in the US are made in Taiwan or China, it's hard to believe that paying more for a US brand will mean I'm getting a higher quality bike."
    90% of high end ti or steel bikes are NOT made in china or Taiwan, so it seems like your logic is based on a false premise. Seems to me that building a CF bike and a Ti bike have little in common process wise, except you end up with a bike.

    "Ti is Ti. If you use the same Ti and the bike is custom built to the same specs, I bet that you will get the same quality no matter where you purchase."

    Well this has been discussed ad nauseum but specs for a bike and BUILDING the bike to spec are two things, I would think. Again when you see the precision that the Masters employ to cut, miter, fit, weld over and over again, its hard for me to accept that all bikes built from the same material to the "same specs" will have the same quality. Perhaps the difference is not great enough to justify purchase for some people, but surely not the same.

    "but I do know that a lot of what you're paying is the ridiculous labor costs associated with buying one made here."

    Yeah, being in the investment business, I keep asking Carl Strong when he is going to give me some of his millions that he stashes away every year from his business. He keeps denying it. Go figure.

    B21

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by barry1021
    Again when you see the precision that the Masters employ to cut, miter, fit, weld over and over again, its hard for me to accept that all bikes built from the same material to the "same specs" will have the same quality.
    To me, all of this falls under "not rocket science brain surgery". The mundane technical aspects of frame building are exactly where a factory will be able to compete just fine. There are aspects of custom, by-hand frame building that are only impressive because they are done by hand to a standard indistinguishable from what a factory drone can accomplish in a few minutes with a multi-thousand dollar CNC machine. Where would be be as a civilization if some guy with a half-round and a lot of time on his hands represented the pinnacle of human manufacturing prowess?

    What you get from a "Master" is what you do not get from commodity -- personalization and optimization. A frame built to specifications tailored to you based on a master's knowledge of how specific factors can be tuned to an individual implementation. You may also get levels of intricacy that are not practical on an industrial scale (e.g. cosmetic flourishes at the joints).

  9. #34
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    When you consider that the Chinese copied a Mig single seat jet fighter much more than a couple of years ago, a bike frame that more or less stays together should be trivial to them.

    My other way of disposing of surplus income is model aircraft. The Chinese 'revolutionised' my long time hobby lately, by selling about everything they've copied at sometimes ludicrous prices. Not hard, when all you do is copy something bought from Europe rather than waste money designing and developing it, then build it with cheap labour, no QC and little else beyond the knowledge that the US is a land full of 'consumers' desperate to buy.

    Still, that's life...

    On a nicer note - those 'Pride' frames? Interesting, look good on website, but a tad too far to drive for a check-out. I have a couple of specific geometry needs that I know enough about to figure how to order and the prices look good too. Heck, they'll even apply decals backed up my old country's Union Jack flag too.

    Anyone round here got one/seen one/have any thoughts?

    Regards

    Dereck

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dereck

    On a nicer note - those 'Pride' frames? Interesting, look good on website, but a tad too far to drive for a check-out. I have a couple of specific geometry needs that I know enough about to figure how to order and the prices look good too. Heck, they'll even apply decals backed up my old country's Union Jack flag too.

    Anyone round here got one/seen one/have any thoughts?
    That's my frame at the bottom of the road page of their website. It's a wonderful ride.

    Talk to David about what you want, I don't think you'll be dissappointed. I believe David was the production foreman at ABG (Merlin, Litespeed) for 25 years.

  11. #36
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    Last edited by ntb1001; 04-26-2010 at 08:45 AM.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly
    That's my frame at the bottom of the road page of their website. It's a wonderful ride.

    Talk to David about what you want, I don't think you'll be dissappointed. I believe David was the production foreman at ABG (Merlin, Litespeed) for 25 years.
    Thank you - good info. They are good looking frames. Those cross-over seat stays remind me of the GT mountain bike I bought in England back around 1991. Found a bike shop with some funny bikes with great fat knobbly tyres, straight bars and lots of tiny gears, couldn't resist. Wish I'd kept it too..

    Will be keeping an eye on 'Pride'. Right now, in process of moving house a long way, so extra bikes would meet with stern spousal stares...

    Regards

    Dereck

  13. #38
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    to Mark Kelly--what size tubings were used on your frame?

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by locominute
    to Mark Kelly--what size tubings were used on your frame?
    Frame is 590 x 580 (C to C, Pride size their frames C to T so this is a 60 cm frame by their sizing), chainstays 415mm, 73 degree angles, horizontal top tube. Seat tube and head tube come 25mm (1 inch) above the top tube "Pegoretti Style"

    All dimensions diameter x wall thickness, diameters checked with Mitutoyo digital calipers, thicknesses checked with Nova 800 series high precision ultrasonic gauge.

    Down tube 38.1 x 0.9

    Seat tube 34.9 x 0.8 (that surprised me when I measured it)

    Top tube 31.75 x 0.9 (flattened "portage" style)

    Chain stays 22.2 x 0.9

    Seat stays 15.9 x 0.9

    Head tube 38.1 x 2.1.

    Frame weight 1500 g with seat tube insert & collar
    Last edited by Mark Kelly; 02-17-2010 at 10:23 PM.

  15. #40
    pmf
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    Just make sure you know what you're getting. I know the Habanero bikes that were built in China and sold in the U.S. some years ago were partially constructed of commercially pure (CP) titanium and not a titanium alloy. CP titanium is much more brittle and less desirable than an alloy. Its also cheaper and easier to work with, hence the appeal. At any rate, whoever said "ti is ti" isn't exactly right.

    As far as the workmanship goes, I can't see any reason why a guy in China can't weld as well as a guy in the U.S.

    If it were me, I'd buy a used bike or hold out for one on sale (U.S. made). I'm so sick of crappy Chinese products that I just try to avoid buying anything made in that country. Lead paint on kid's toys, tainted baby formula, toxic food products, counterfeit toothpaste, ineffective medicines ... it never seems to end. The place is just one big unregulated sweatshop run by people who would do anything to make another buck.

  16. #41
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    I hear you on that. I was at my in-laws today and my wife's aunt works for a factory that manufactures bags for the Manhattan Co. in central Taiwan. Her factory expanded to China two years ago to take advantage of the cheaper labor. They pulled out 6 months ago because the quality was so awful they could not sell the bags in the US market and had to dump them in Vietnamese street markets to recoup a fraction of their losses.

    I am advising my friend to avoid these frames, but the lure of a "deal" is hard to resist.

  17. #42
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    Exactly what "deal" is he getting?

    I recall the guy from Bikes Direct who posts here once said he would not source titanium bikes from China. He seemed to have no problem with steel, carbon or aluminum though.

    I bet your buddy can get an equally good deal on a used Litespeed, Merlin, etc. here.

  18. #43
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    We are in Taiwan. He's got $3000 to spend on a new bike. Velocite is calling. They claim it is constructed by Wheeler (I have my doubts). I am just highly suspicious of a company that can come up out of nowhere and offer several frames and components that are cheap and worth a damn... enough to carry my confidence. My friend wants a steel or titanium bike to last a long time with Record or Ultegra. There... I said it! I am working hard on this thing.

  19. #44
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    It's amazing what can be copied. Then if quality control - if such a thing exists - dumps all failures where the factory owner's brother can sell them off cheap on the side?

    For something I'm as fussy about as a bike frame, a minimum would be calling the builder, preferably visiting in person, and having as many references and recomendations as possible. My present rides are a Waterford built Gunnar - what more can be said? - and a luged 953 Bob Jackson, built some 50 miles from where I grew up and pretty much where they've been since they built my last BJ - in 1970! I suspect both of them will last me as long as I can ride a bike now ;)

    After experiences like those, I doubt I'd buy anything 'mail order' from somewhere well overseas that would probably feign 'no speak English' even if I could call them.

    Regards

    Dereck

  20. #45
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    Tell him to look around a bit. When I got my LS Ultimate, it retailed for $2100, I got it one year old NOS for $1200.

    $1800 for Chinese titanium is a bad joke, $1800 can get you a name brand Ti bike.
    "It's hard to tell the poison from the cure, so enjoy the disease."
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  21. #46
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    You can get a US made Lyskey titamium frame for basically $1000, so why would you want to do a heavier frame made anywhere else for the same price or higher?

    And yes, I realize that the XACD frame is $800. But whoopty-freaking doo. You get a frame that is heavier than most steel frames and certainly heavier than the Lyskey frames. And you save a whopping $200. Umm, it's a no brainer for me. I don't know where these XACD guys get off, but you got to be kidding me. I mean, it's not like the frame is $600 cheaper than a lighter Lynskey Cooper.

    Oh BTW, I'm all for buying USA. However, I would recommend the Lynskey Cooper because I think it is a better value than anything out there. If not, I would recommend a Ti frame from China. And I hate idiots that turn bike threads into their own political rants and anti-Chinese hate.

  22. #47
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    My reading of the OP is that $1800 is for the whole bike, not the frame.

    Not that I disagree with the other ideas. In particular, just because a country/company/person CAN do something, it doesn't mean that they DO every time.

  23. #48
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    Whole bike is $2999.

  24. #49
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    rook,

    Here is a case where there is a legitimate discussion of Chinese quality in a titanium frame and the other mitigating of political factors that may lead to its selection. In some cases it may be appropriate to discuss politics in the purchase of a product as economics and politics are often intertwined. In a case like China, where the state plays such a central role
    in the economy, the ethics of the purchase can easily come into play. I think this is a more common phenomenon that you might think. Do we choose to buy from a mega-store or on-line when the LBS might be a little more, but it supports the community? The same can be said about supporting China and Chinese goods. Can the quality of goods from an opaque and often corrupt system be worth the risk and what is the ultimate price we are paying?

    1. The main criticism in this thread leveraged against China does not attack the people of that country per se, but rather the unknowns of dealing with the Chinese industrial establishment and how much confidence we can have in those products. It focuses on the quality of Chinese titanium fabrication. That line of doubt is only political in that it arises from a general discomfort in a system that is opaque and tainted with a history of deceitful practices that have led to harm the consumer. The lack of oversight and transparency in the political-economy of China, where government, industry, power and politics is greatly intertwined with competing interests in a quest to expand centralized power is as far as the argument has gone thus far in looking at titanium frame fabrication, and I don't see any overriding political message that is simply "anti-Chinese" to hate Chinese.

    This thread has simply asked:

    a) Can we trust Chinese frame fabrication that results from such an environment?

    b) If large bicycle companies are relying on Chinese fabrication, what is the difference if a small company buys generic Chinese frames and sells them at a discounted price? Are they the same quality or could there be a danger that they are of inferior quality?

    c) What could the differences in quality be between a craft titanium frame and a Chinese built frame? Is it simply a case of, as my mother used to say, "A car is a car and some are just more expensive than others", ?


    2. It could get more political from my standpoint. Personally, if I have the choice, I would not support purchasing anything from a country that routinely threatens me and my family with annihilation if we do not bow to their own political vision of Chinese nationalism. I am in Taiwan and we feel a direct threat to our culture and way of life. Why should I or anyone else help a country gain more power and leverage that it can and will use against me, mine and others with less power? But that isn't the argument that is being made in this thread and I don't expect people from other countries to really care about matters that happen "elsewhere".

    3. I guess if I were to sit back and look at the meta-argument of this thread or a thread like this I could say, as a friend recently put it, "We reject the myth that economic change will lead to CPC liberalization or democratization. This is a false theory. In fact economic growth has strengthened the privileges (特權) of the CPC elite China lacks the basic conditions of a true free market – which is a system of law that treats all equally. In China there is a system of law protecting privilege. There continues to be a growing disparity of power between the elite and the majority of the country, especially increased exploitation of China’s 300 million peasants. There is destructive, non sustainable development." (...that leads to an unreliable or unpredictable production environment I might add). Is this what a consumer really wants to support? The consumer might not care or calculate this factor is the search for a "deal", but we often make political decisions with out pocketbooks. These choices become a form of individual activism. So I guess in an indirect way we might be discussing "What is THE DEAL on a Chinese titanium frame?", but that wasn't what most of us were really discussing above.

    Food for thought.

    Now I would really like to do is to help my buddy out and make sure he gets something good that will last several years and be a pleasure to ride. He's got $3000.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dajianshan
    2. It could get more political from my standpoint. Personally, if I have the choice, I would not support purchasing anything from a country that routinely threatens me and my family with annihilation if we do not bow to their own political vision of Chinese nationalism. I am in Taiwan and we feel a direct threat to our culture and way of life. Why should I or anyone else help a country gain more power and leverage that it can and will use against me, mine and others with less power? But that isn't the argument that is being made in this thread and I don't expect people from other countries to really care about matters that happen "elsewhere".

    3. I guess if I were to sit back and look at the meta-argument of this thread or a thread like this I could say, as a friend recently put it, "We reject the myth that economic change will lead to CPC liberalization or democratization. This is a false theory. In fact economic growth has strengthened the privileges (特權) of the CPC elite China lacks the basic conditions of a true free market – which is a system of law that treats all equally. In China there is a system of law protecting privilege. There continues to be a growing disparity of power between the elite and the majority of the country, especially increased exploitation of China’s 300 million peasants. There is destructive, non sustainable development." (...that leads to an unreliable or unpredictable production environment I might add). Is this what a consumer really wants to support? The consumer might not care or calculate this factor is the search for a "deal", but we often make political decisions with out pocketbooks. These choices become a form of individual activism. So I guess in an indirect way we might be discussing "What is THE DEAL on a Chinese titanium frame?", but that wasn't what most of us were really discussing above.

    Food for thought.

    Now I would really like to do is to help my buddy out and make sure he gets something good that will last several years and be a pleasure to ride. He's got $3000.
    This thread is interesting to me since I am reading it in Hong Kong. This port visit has been scheduled for quite a while and we were somewhat unsure if it would really happen after the arms sales to Taiwan even though they were negotiated years ago and were no suprise. Now we sit and nervously watch the reaction of the Dalai Lama visit. The world is really shrinking. I hope this stays out of PO.
    Retired sailor

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