Titanium: forgotten in peloton?
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  1. #1

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    Question Titanium: forgotten in peloton?

    Have anyone noticed the absence of titanium bikes in the Trade Team One pelotons ? Any thoughts? The last time I have seen Ti bikes in TDF was 2002.

  2. #2
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    No sponsor

    At this point, no Ti maker is paying riders to use their bike. Simple as that.

  3. #3
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    Ti....

    Lotto used to ride Litespeeds right? Like just a few years ago? Any idea what model they rode? I saw a pic of McEwen on a Litespeed.

  4. #4
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    They rode Vortex's and a few of the riders were on the Ultimate. There are US teams riding Titanium though. Chris Horners team is riding the Ti Lemonds.
    Cyclists really need to learn a little Rule #5.

  5. #5
    srf
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    Would a Ti frame be competitive as the stiff aluminum & carbon bikes that are being used these days?

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    Quote Originally Posted by srf
    Would a Ti frame be competitive as the stiff aluminum & carbon bikes that are being used these days?
    McEwen won 2002 Maillot Vert on LS Vortex and Ghisallo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    At this point, no Ti maker is paying riders to use their bike. Simple as that.
    Willier has Galibier Titanio, Opera has Palladio and Merckx has Majestic Ti. The Merckx maybe a little heavy to race in TT1, but the Galibier and Palladio can no way be described as heavyweight. Thoughts?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gogogomoveit
    Have anyone noticed the absence of titanium bikes in the Trade Team One pelotons ? Any thoughts? The last time I have seen Ti bikes in TDF was 2002.
    Alessio-Bianchi rode, and won, Paris-Roubaix on Ti bikes. Last I knew, Tafi was still riding his.

    TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

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    Not their top line...

    Quote Originally Posted by gogogomoveit
    Willier has Galibier Titanio, Opera has Palladio and Merckx has Majestic Ti. The Merckx maybe a little heavy to race in TT1, but the Galibier and Palladio can no way be described as heavyweight. Thoughts?
    I'm not sure about Willier, but for Opera and Merckx their ti frames are not their most expensive. If they are paying a team to market for them, it's gonna be the priciest bike. They want the riders who have to buy their own bikes to buy the most expensive model. You don't see Trek putting Postal on anything but the latest, most expensive carbon frame.

    I also heard that this is the last year for the Majestic. Sad, I love mine even if Lotto is riding alu Merckx bikes.

  10. #10

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    money - uhhhhhh

    Quote Originally Posted by TNSquared
    You don't see Trek putting Postal on anything but the latest, most expensive carbon frame..
    This is true. Trek's marketing scheme is to raise the price of their top end ride. They're quite proud of raising the price of bikes app. 5k in the last 6 years.
    Mark
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  11. #11
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    Not the most expensive to buy, but the most expensive to build

    Quote Originally Posted by TNSquared
    I'm not sure about Willier, but for Opera and Merckx their ti frames are not their most expensive. If they are paying a team to market for them, it's gonna be the priciest bike. They want the riders who have to buy their own bikes to buy the most expensive model. You don't see Trek putting Postal on anything but the latest, most expensive carbon frame.

    I also heard that this is the last year for the Majestic. Sad, I love mine even if Lotto is riding alu Merckx bikes.
    If I'm paying millions of dollars to sposor a trade team, and I get to pick what bikes they get, they're gonna get the ones I can make cheapest and sell for the most money. The entire production cost of an aluminum frame with a glue-in carbon rear end, including labor, is probably about the same as the cost of a top-end titanium tubeset. Not to mention, titanium's huge durability advantages over aluminum don't matter on a bike that's going to be ridden for a year, and then sold.

    Titanium doesn't really make sense for a pro race bike, at least not from the bike sponsor's perspective. And the riders will ride what they're given, cuz that's their job.

    --Shannon

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboTurtle
    Alessio-Bianchi rode, and won, Paris-Roubaix on Ti bikes. Last I knew, Tafi was still riding his.

    TF
    Magnus Bäckstedt (Paris-Roubaix winner) rides a Ti-frame because he weight over 90 kg.

  13. #13
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    ... one other thing to keep in mind...

    ... while there may be no Div I teams officially riding frames from a Ti builder, you can't discount an odd rebadge...

    While I don't think it's likely, Ti has found itself into the peloton as a relabled/rebadged frame representing the team's sponsor...

    I'm a bit male Eurocentric with respect to pro racing... I wonder what's being raced in other parts of the world (Asia) or with female riders?

  14. #14
    pmf
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    Just because pros ride them doesn't make them good

    The Giants, Cannondales and Treks of the world sell tons of bikes so they want people to see pros riding them. It doesn't mean they're necessarily great bikes (if you own one of these bikes, please don't attack me). Its all marketing. Titanium bikes cost a lot to make in comparison to aluminium bikes, or the carbon ones that Trek stamps out by the thousands.

    I did a tour with Andy Hampsten's group in Italy a few years ago. He mentioned once that the bikes many of us were riding were nicer than what the pros ride. At the time, he was riding a Moots titanium bike.

  15. #15
    Fez
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    More factors to consider

    Quote Originally Posted by tube_ee
    If I'm paying millions of dollars to sposor a trade team, and I get to pick what bikes they get, they're gonna get the ones I can make cheapest and sell for the most money. The entire production cost of an aluminum frame with a glue-in carbon rear end, including labor, is probably about the same as the cost of a top-end titanium tubeset. Not to mention, titanium's huge durability advantages over aluminum don't matter on a bike that's going to be ridden for a year, and then sold.

    Titanium doesn't really make sense for a pro race bike, at least not from the bike sponsor's perspective. And the riders will ride what they're given, cuz that's their job.

    --Shannon
    Bike company sponsorship is big dollars. The dollar amounts are huge, but are relatively small considering the exposure and advertising the bike company gets from this sponsorship. And what better reason for ordinary cyclists to get a bike since Lance or Mario Cipollini or Simoni rides one. And this form of advertising is relatively cheap compared to print ads or television ads.

    Furthermore, a relatively small amount of the cost of sponsoring a division 1 team is the actual cost of the frames. And ordinary cyclists want the exact frame the pros ride. That's why everyone wants to get a $$$ C-50 that Rabobank rides and not a nice, but less expensive aluminum Colnago. So it makes very good sense for the manufacturers to supply their best frames to the team.

  16. #16
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    I think you got it, Shannon

    Many of the riders I've talked to with Ti bikes see them as a long term purchase and cite durability as a major factor.

    Many of the riders I see at my high-end lbs want a new bike every couple of years. Makes more sense to market at them.

    Trek makes a lot less money if people ride their bikes contentedly for 20 years than if they replace an obsolete bike every 4 or 5. Sponsoring teams is about getting the newest, lightest, highest style bike out in the public eye creating bike lust.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

  17. #17

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    Stamps??

    Quote Originally Posted by pmf
    The Giants, Cannondales and Treks of the world sell tons of bikes so they want people to see pros riding them. It doesn't mean they're necessarily great bikes (if you own one of these bikes, please don't attack me). Its all marketing. Titanium bikes cost a lot to make in comparison to aluminium bikes, or the carbon ones that Trek stamps out by the thousands.

    I did a tour with Andy Hampsten's group in Italy a few years ago. He mentioned once that the bikes many of us were riding were nicer than what the pros ride. At the time, he was riding a Moots titanium bike.
    Just remember, carbon is not stamped out, but laid up, in a mold, and then either made in one piece (Giant) or glued together (Trek). Titanium takes a very clean environment to weld, or else you get bad welds and weak frames. Also, extruding titanium costs a lot, so the raw material costs a whole lot more than aluminum, carbon, and steel for certain.

  18. #18
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnolialover
    Just remember, carbon is not stamped out, but laid up, in a mold, and then either made in one piece (Giant) or glued together (Trek). Titanium takes a very clean environment to weld, or else you get bad welds and weak frames. Also, extruding titanium costs a lot, so the raw material costs a whole lot more than aluminum, carbon, and steel for certain.
    I own two carbon bikes, I know how they're made. I guess my point was that the big companies really mass produce them while titanium manufacturers tend to be small. Even Litespeed, the giant of titanium fabricators, probably produces no where close to the number of bikes as do Giant, Trek or Cannondale.

  19. #19
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    Le Tour is a sports marketing event

    if Lance Armstrong was sponcered by Merlin/Litespeed and had a 2.1# Magia/Ghiello ti. frame instead of a 2.4# olcv carbon frame Lance would still have won (maybe even by couple of seconds more), Then again, if a steel bike company could afford to sponcer the Posties then Lance would have still won, by few seconds less with a 2.9# Deda steel frame. But al. or carbon is what sells and is easyest for companies to mass produce (for al.) or charge more (for carbon)
    Viner Pro Team Dedacciai EOM 16.5 light steel Campy 2x10.
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  20. #20
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    Colnago CT1...

    Ever seen Erik Dekker's bike? Most Colnago sponsored pro riders can choose off a fleet of bikes...

    Scott Sunderland rode a Bianchi Ti model on selected races.

    Some bikes are disguised too...

    Sometimes a Merak (the big Dipper constellation by the way) is not really what it seems...

    They use what they want or need... Giant carbon bikes are great, but I tell you, the alu frames are not too far and still get used... And titanium is easily painted and shaped. Look at the drop outs, sometimes it's the only give away (bullet-end and/or extrusion)
    “There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.” Tom Robbins

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  21. #21

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    Other than marketing?

    All of what you guys make sense to me. But if the teams do take part in the R&D for their future team bike, will you guys make any speculation why they choose other materials over titanium? I believe if Postals requests for Trek-branded Lemond Tis,they will get it.

    Forgive my ignorance And dont get me wrong, I love Ti.

  22. #22

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    Lance has said publicly on a few occasions that he prefered titanium

    bikes. He won the 1993 World Championship on what is now a Litespeed Classic (then it was an Ultimate) and also the Tour DuPont in 1996. He also stated that the first TT bike he used in his 1999 win was the best frame he rode in the TT. Even in Bicycling's Tribute to Lance magazine they randomly end the magazine with talking about Lance's use of Ti Merlins in the past. You ride what they pay you to ride and eventually become so familiar with it that you forget how other bikes even feel.
    My point is that frame materials seem to cycle as far as which one is in vogue. All have their pros and cons, but from a durability standpoint, nothing equals ti. However, from a performance standpoint, my much MUCH cheaper Trek 5500 frame equals my Vortex or surpasses it. I was able to buy the 2001 white Postal frame/fork and headset for $900 brand new online. My Vortex frame only retailed for over $3k. Lance won the TDF on that $900 frame.


    Quote Originally Posted by TrailNut
    if Lance Armstrong was sponcered by Merlin/Litespeed and had a 2.1# Magia/Ghiello ti. frame instead of a 2.4# olcv carbon frame Lance would still have won (maybe even by couple of seconds more), Then again, if a steel bike company could afford to sponcer the Posties then Lance would have still won, by few seconds less with a 2.9# Deda steel frame. But al. or carbon is what sells and is easyest for companies to mass produce (for al.) or charge more (for carbon)

  23. #23
    ultralord
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    I'll offer an entirely different perspective here...

    ... carbon is better.

    If you're going to ride 2000 miles in a couple of weeks, carbon is the best at dampening the road vibrations. Over that many miles, that's a lot of vibrations. Even ti and aluminum frames now are using carbon chainstays to take advantage of this. You listening cannondale?

    Also, carbon is lighter and 2.2 to 2.5 lb frames are helpful when you're going to climb 15,000 feet day in and day out.

    Versatility - carbon can be made lighter, stronger, sleeker based on the demands of the stage or the racer. Thus, it's not out of the question to design a one-off frame on the computer, lay out some fibers and produce a frame for a specific purpose for a specified stage.

    So in the end, racing is about winning. The racer needs the best equipment to win. I hear most peloton racers use tubular wheels. I don't think it's because it maximizes the marketing or profit potential of that model wheel or tire. I suspect it's because it's what the racers want to be competitive.

    Now I also agree with some of the other factors like Ti is not mass produced anymore and there's a higher profit margin in carbon frames. I would say the performance of carbon specially in long stage races is also a factor in their popularityl.

    francois

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    I'll offer an entirely different perspective here...

    ... carbon is better.

    If you're going to ride 2000 miles in a couple of weeks, carbon is the best at dampening the road vibrations. Over that many miles, that's a lot of vibrations. Even ti and aluminum frames now are using carbon chainstays to take advantage of this. You listening cannondale?

    Also, carbon is lighter 2.2 to 2.5 lb frames are helpful when you're going to climb 15,000 feet day in and day out.

    So in the end, racing is about winning. The racer needs the best equipment to win. I hear most peloton racers use tubular wheels. I don't think it's because it maximizes the marketing or profit potential of that model wheel or tire. I suspect it's because it's what the racers want to be competitive.

    Now I also agree with some of the other factors like Ti is not mass produced anymore and there's a higher profit margin in carbon frames. I would say the performance of carbon specially in long stage races is also a factor in their popularityl.

    francois
    Plastic is the future, but that's so sad. - TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload
    They rode Vortex's and a few of the riders were on the Ultimate. There are US teams riding Titanium though. Chris Horners team is riding the Ti Lemonds.
    Here's some xtra meaningless dope.

    Andre Tchmil road a ghisallo in his final Paris-Roubaix. Reportedly preferred it over the Vortex. McEwen won his first Green Jersey on an Ultimate.

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