Why Titanium? Or why not Titanium?
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  1. #1
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    Why Titanium? Or why not Titanium?

    greetings all

    can frame-material-literate folks here tell me the good reasons to choose Titanium for a new road bicycle in 2009, compared to more common carbon frame?

    Or, alternatively, why not choose Ti versus carbon?

    assume frame geometry fits well in both cases, so it's just down to material choice and assume current state of technology in carbon and Ti (2009).

    Assume the forks will be carbon in both cases, I dont know if there is a choice here.

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Your titanium bike will not implode into carinogenic powder (if and) when you are in an incident where you hit a pothole or guard rail.

  3. #3
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    Have you read Carl Strong's breakdown on all the materials? If not, go read it.

    They are all pretty much a compromise in one direction or another. It all depends on what your priorities are. I happen to love ti, but my newest bike is ti and custom built to my specs. I won it in a raffle and am fortunate to have it. I probably would have stuck with steel if I hadn't lucked out.

  4. #4
    duh...
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    I would choose (nude) ti 100% of the time... for a S&S coupled travel bike

  5. #5
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    where?

    Quote Originally Posted by krisdrum
    Have you read Carl Strong's breakdown on all the materials? If not, go read it.

    They are all pretty much a compromise in one direction or another. It all depends on what your priorities are. I happen to love ti, but my newest bike is ti and custom built to my specs. I won it in a raffle and am fortunate to have it. I probably would have stuck with steel if I hadn't lucked out.
    can you provide a pointer to this info please?

  6. #6
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    I dont understand

    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireFred
    I would choose (nude) ti 100% of the time... for a S&S coupled travel bike
    I dont understand your reply. And what is "S&S coupled travel bike"?

  7. #7
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    Carl Strong stuff: http://www.strongframes.com/material_tech/ Great read!

    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider
    I dont understand your reply. And what is "S&S coupled travel bike"?
    S&S Machine makes frame couplers that can be used to break a frame in half for easier travel: http://www.sandsmachine.com/

    I had these on a steel 853 frame and they were great.

    I'm with fattirefred, nude ti (no paint needed) and couplers (s&s or Ritchey) would be awesome. I'd probably do mine as a cross bike for maximum versatility.

  8. #8
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    Have you all seen the price of Titanium. It's droppped by almost 1/2 in the last 3 years.

  9. #9
    Decrepit Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider
    can you provide a pointer to this info please?
    Scot Nicol's series on materials on Carl Strong's website

    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider
    I dont understand your reply. And what is "S&S coupled travel bike"?
    He's saying he wouldn't paint titanium frames; he'd leave them "nude".

    S and S Machine makes torque couplings that can be installed in the top tube and down tube of bikes that permit them to be broken apart for packing while traveling, then reassembled at the destination. Many framebuilders offer them as an option.

    S and S Machine torque couplings
    -Stan
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lalahsghost
    Your titanium bike will not implode into carinogenic powder (if and) when you are in an incident where you hit a pothole or guard rail.
    Too funny

    Best Ti versus Carbon answer.

  11. #11
    hello
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    Quote Originally Posted by CurbDestroyer
    Have you all seen the price of Titanium. It's droppped by almost 1/2 in the last 3 years.
    That looks like my stock portfolio going back just 6 months....
    SurlySteamrollerLitespeedClassicBianchiPista
    DeanColonelSurlyLongHaulTruckerKonaKu
    LitespeedFirenzeCinelliOlympic

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider
    I dont understand your reply. And what is "S&S coupled travel bike"?
    S&S Coupler allow your bike to be split into two at the top and down tubes.
    Check out Andy Hampsten's Ti bike with the couplers.








  13. #13
    Matnlely Dregaend
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    Another good reference for frame materials:

    http://spokesmanbicycles.com/page.cfm?pageID=157
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  14. #14
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    It's my opinion unless your putting in over 15 hours a week on your bike, your not really going to notice the difference in frame material. I like titanium. Most people think if it's carbon, it's high-tech. That's true to a point, they can make some pretty cool shapes.

    Doesn't matter if it's Steel, Ti, or Carbon if it's made by a reputable builder. Just pick one you like the most and ride.

  15. #15
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    Once you ride one, you'll understand.
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  16. #16
    duh...
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    Andy Hampsten rides a bike with an upturned stem??? oh, the horror...

  17. #17
    Cpark
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    Like mine a lot.
    Some people prefer nude finish but I like it panted.
    Here is mine with a custom Ti stem painted in the same color.
    It has very similar ride characteristic as a steel one, IMO.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by cpark; 02-10-2009 at 07:39 PM.

  18. #18
    eminence grease
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    Ten years ago, titanium was the next great thing. Today I think it represents a nice compromise position among all the other materials available.

    Well designed titanium bikes offer a great ride, good performance and an incredible amount of resilliance if you happen to be hard on your equipment. Compared to carbon, they line up well on the first two and are far better on the third.

    Really it boils down to what you want to look at. I own three titanium bikes, two nude and one painted. One of them has travel couplers and while I think nude is a good way to go for a travel bike, I don't think it's mandatory since you can have a painted, coupled steel bike repainted a half-dozen times with the money you save in the basic frame cost.

    I think a lot of people ignore titanium because it no longer represents what's new and hot. And you have to go hunting for them if you typcially buy your bikes from stores. I also think the jet fighter inspired aesthetic that carbon offers are really appealing to many people. But even in that case, one can always buy an Archon and pretty much get a carbon look done in metal.

    A well built titanium frame really gives up nothing in comparison to any of the other materials. It's costly, and personally I'd almost always choose steel for that reason. But beyond that, great bikes are built from titanium and there are lots of happy riders on them.
    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

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  19. #19
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    1 bike, 2 bike , 3 bike ???? which one to choose?

    I have three bikes. A steel Bianchi, TREK 5200, and Litespeed Classic. Which do I prefer? Which one do I prefer to ride? I don't have a ready answer for that question. Depending on the day and the route, it's definitely one over the other two. Now, how is that for giving a vague answer! You will have to ride a bike made of each frame material using the same saddle and tire/wheel combo to see which feels better to you. I started on the Bianchi, moved on to the TREK then to the Litespeed. Now, I''m back to the Bianchi looking forward to trying the TREK and wondering how the Litespeed will feel on the road again. It's a wonderful place to be! So many good ways to enjoy a day on the bike!

  20. #20
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    In a couple years time I am thinking of a Ti/Carbon mix.

  21. #21
    chamois creme addict
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    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by terry b
    Ten years ago, titanium was the next great thing. Today I think it represents a nice compromise position among all the other materials available.

    ....

    A well built titanium frame really gives up nothing in comparison to any of the other materials. It's costly, and personally I'd almost always choose steel for that reason. But beyond that, great bikes are built from titanium and there are lots of happy riders on them.
    Ti lost out because it is too expensive to build with and it is also unfortunately a little too durable.

    The rise of carbon frames in the past 5-7 years is largely fuelled by two things: 1) For manufacturers, builidng with carbon offers the best ratio of selling cost to building cost. CF frame production has become a very streamlined, efficient process largely done in Asia, but because the CF bike is in vogue these days the pricing is premium. A well built bike with welds on it always costs more to build, be it steel, Ti, or aluminum. 2) The unending quest to build the lightest, stiffest bike out there and the marketing that goes along with it. Ti can be built lightweight, but weight to stiffness it will not equal a well engineered CF frame. So many people are caught up in the notion that they need the stiffest frame, the stiffest cranks, the stiffest wheels. Stiff this, stiff that. It might matter for racing, then again it might actually not. For the average rider, maximum stiffness should not be the biggest concern.

    Give me a bike that does not rub the chain in the big ring when I stand on it, and does not beat me up when I ride it hard for five hours. Make it reasonably light and extremely durable since I buy my own stuff and I like it to last. Heck, I'm probably going to race it at some point and therefore it might be crashed so it would be nice if it could survive a few knocks. Oh wait, that sounds like titanium.

  22. #22
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    While it's true that ti bikes are expensive, due to the amount of labor involved, the best deals on used bikes right now is ti. With carbon bikes all the rage, and ti no longer the "in" material, used ti bikes are a bargain on sites like ebay. And since ti is so durable, you can even buy a well used ti bike, polish it up with scotchbrite, put on some new decals, and away you go!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclust
    While it's true that ti bikes are expensive, due to the amount of labor involved, the best deals on used bikes right now is ti. With carbon bikes all the rage, and ti no longer the "in" material, used ti bikes are a bargain on sites like ebay. And since ti is so durable, you can even buy a well used ti bike, polish it up with scotchbrite, put on some new decals, and away you go!

    I've ridden Ti bikes going back to 1992 but recently bought an Orbea Opal because admittedly I was seduced by its stiff yet compliant ride. When it comes to used however titanium is the way to go. Titanium has lost some of its luster (no pun intended) only when it comes to current market value. When titanium first appeared and became the new darling of the cycling world, steel manufacturers responded with new "super" steels. The new steel bikes ride great, as does titanium and CF. CF just happens to be the flavor of the month. At some point things will evolve and perhaps steel or titanium will rise to the top again but for now carbon is king of the hill.
    Humbug!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by CurbDestroyer
    Have you all seen the price of Titanium. It's droppped by almost 1/2 in the last 3 years.
    That's the price of raw ingot, but I'm not sure to what part price of raw ingot is included in a price of a tube. If process of extruding tubes from ingot is dominant in price than you can't expect that prices of titanium tubes dropped by 1/2 in the same period.
    We all know that creating seamless titanium tubes and welding titanium is not easy at all, especially with 6AL4V Titanium.
    Ante Smokrovic

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  25. #25
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    Why choose ti? Reasonably light weight. Durable if well-constructed, possibly a lifetime frame. Won't rust. Don't have to paint, worry about scratches and chips. Beautiful if your favorite color is gray or you like the spare industrial look.

    Why not? Not as light as carbon or Al. Nude ti frames can be boring aesthetically. More expensive than many comparable options.

    Personal experience: I've got two Eddy Merckx frames, one steel and the other ti. They both are the same size and geometry with same wheels and components. They ride and handle almost identical. I love them both, but if I could keep only one of them, it would be the ti frame because it should last my lifetime.

    If I ever buy a custom frame, it probably will be ti.

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