Why no titanium bikes in pro peloton?
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  1. #1
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    Why no titanium bikes in pro peloton?

    I realize this sounds like a topic that has been beaten to death, but being the new owner of a titanium bike (Litespeed T1SL), I cant help but wonder why carbon fiber is now king.

    It seems you can easily build a Ti bike that is below the UCI weight limit, and that has excellent ride characteristics. The only thing you cannot do with them is build them to be “aero”, which I think most of us agree is a bunch of BS anyway. (At a mere 30-40mph with a large, clunky object - eg the rider - atop the bike, wind resistance from the bike is comparatively negligible).

    Has anyone published any study documenting the superiority of carbon fiber over Al or Ti in the various criteria by which one would evaluate a pro-level bike (eg stiffness, rider positioning, and comfort)?

  2. #2
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    A) Cost of production. CF bikes are easy to mass produce. A Ti bike is not.

    B) Strength/stiffness vs weight. To be as strong/stiff the ti bike will weigh more. Sure you can make a ti bike near the UCI limit--but it will be a noodle and not last very long (There were a few years of pre-buyout Litespeeds where they found this out).
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  3. #3
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    Also, remember that professional road racing (at least) is a marketing tool and rolling billboard

    Ti did have it's day in the Pro Peloton (Armstrong rode a Ti (Litespeed?) framed TT bike rebadged as a Trek in at least one tour) and rebadging prolly still goes on if the Pro has enough clout to choose a specific frame's characteristics (less of an issue these days because of the relatively cheap one off cost of CF).

    Back in the day, I recall, that upon his retirement, Indurain walked into a shop and bought a Cannondale CAAD off the peg! Course, that was over 20 years ago.


    You might see more varied frame materials still used on the track but that's a real niche.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    Has anyone published any study documenting the superiority of carbon fiber over Al or Ti in the various criteria by which one would evaluate a pro-level bike (eg stiffness, rider positioning, and comfort)?
    I don't know of any documentation, but I find this video interesting.



    Carbon fiber is now king because the frame can take an almost infinite number of shapes, leading to annual market changes and market driven claims of "stronger, stiffer, lighter, more compliant..." which drives demand and sales. Titanium is not amenable to such shaping (nor does it need to be, to be competitive).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    The only thing you cannot do with them is build them to be “aero”, which I think most of us agree is a bunch of BS anyway.
    Speak for yourself. At any rate there will always be many who are ill- or misinformed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    (At a mere 30-40mph with a large, clunky object - eg the rider - atop the bike, wind resistance from the bike is comparatively negligible).
    And you base this on what? The data show at racing speeds the power savings from an aero frame are easily measured and on the order of the difference in placings.

    And to answer your question, first, I'm not sure there isn't a team at the Continental or Pro-Continental level that rides one. Second, the reason there are no titanium frames at the Pro Tour level is that no manufacturer is willing to pay a team to ride one.

  6. #6
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    Nothing to do with Ti but Spesh is trying to race their new Al at TDU. I think that’s pretty cool.

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  7. #7
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    Sponsorship…..Besides the hundreds of frames, the sponsor would have to come up with a large pile of money...….And provide a frame that weighs the same as carbon frames.
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Speak for yourself. At any rate there will always be many who are ill- or misinformed.


    And you base this on what? The data show at racing speeds the power savings from an aero frame are easily measured and on the order of the difference in placings.

    And to answer your question, first, I'm not sure there isn't a team at the Continental or Pro-Continental level that rides one. Second, the reason there are no titanium frames at the Pro Tour level is that no manufacturer is willing to pay a team to ride one.
    Data? What data?

    Can you provide me with a reference to this data?

    And better yet, can you provide me with a reference to data acquired by someone actually trained in some field of science who knows how to properly carry out a study, as opposed to some bike frame designer who labeled himself an “engineer”?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    Data? What data?
    Right. That's the question, where did you get your data? Having presented yourself as knowledgable on the subject, I asked what is the basis for your conclusions. And no, I won't do your work for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    ...as opposed to some bike frame designer who labeled himself an 'engineer'?
    In light of Gerard Vrooman's, Phil White's, and Damon Rinard's backgrounds (not to slight other who I don't recall off hand), that's really funny. At any rate, look for their CVs and white papers.

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    There might be some Ti bikes, in the past it was not unusual for a pro to go to a frame builder “of honor “ to build a custom frame then paint it to match sponsors.

    Now with tech being as state of the art as it is, there’s probably no advantage. The custom magic with steel and Ti is still there but sadly computer algorithm is replacing the hand of the master frame builders for the pros anyway.

    Enjoy the ride of your Ti Lightspeed!

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Speak for yourself. At any rate there will always be many who are ill- or misinformed.


    And you base this on what? The data show at racing speeds the power savings from an aero frame are easily measured and on the order of the difference in placings.

    And to answer your question, first, I'm not sure there isn't a team at the Continental or Pro-Continental level that rides one. Second, the reason there are no titanium frames at the Pro Tour level is that no manufacturer is willing to pay a team to ride one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    A) Cost of production. CF bikes are easy to mass produce. A Ti bike is not.

    B) Strength/stiffness vs weight. To be as strong/stiff the ti bike will weigh more. Sure you can make a ti bike near the UCI limit--but it will be a noodle and not last very long (There were a few years of pre-buyout Litespeeds where they found this out).
    I don’t think your strength/stiffness vs weight argument has been scientifically proven. Like many developments in the bike industry, it was presented as fact and everyone simply accepted it and followed suit in choice of frame materials. But I don’t think it’s true.

    Moreover, your “won’t last very long” assertion is patently false. At very least, we know that titanium, like steel, can endure an unlimited number of flex cycles below its elastic modulus without failing. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that a titanium frame wouldn’t last through multiple pro races. Hell, is there even anecdotal evidence that they don’t last? I doubt it.

    I’d be very curious to talk to a company that has real engineers.... ie individuals with PhDs in material sciences who have conducted well-designed research into various building materials. Boeing, for example, would have actual engineers who have carefully studied the various materials such as Al, Ti, and CF and know their properties well.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    Data? What data?

    Can you provide me with a reference to this data?

    And better yet, can you provide me with a reference to data acquired by someone actually trained in some field of science who knows how to properly carry out a study, as opposed to some bike frame designer who labeled himself an “engineer”?
    Wow...this is roughly the equivalent of bring a wooden spoon to a gunfight. You should quit while you're not light years behind. Just give up on trying to convince anyone of anything at all in this thread. Read what has been posted...absorb it...and just stop.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    I don’t think your strength/stiffness vs weight argument has been scientifically proven. Like many developments in the bike industry, it was presented as fact and everyone simply accepted it and followed suit in choice of frame materials. But I don’t think it’s true.

    Moreover, your “won’t last very long” assertion is patently false. At very least, we know that titanium, like steel, can endure an unlimited number of flex cycles below its elastic modulus without failing. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that a titanium frame wouldn’t last through multiple pro races. Hell, is there even anecdotal evidence that they don’t last? I doubt it.

    I’d be very curious to talk to a company that has real engineers.... ie individuals with PhDs in material sciences who have conducted well-designed research into various building materials. Boeing, for example, would have actual engineers who have carefully studied the various materials such as Al, Ti, and CF and know their properties well.
    I already told you there was, and even told you specifically when it happened and who manufactured it.


    Why do you ask questions on this forum...then argue with answers you clearly haven't read?
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  14. #14
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    its expensive to sponsor a team. serotta did years ago and it was a factor in their going bankrupt. if you go to some high end fondos targeted at serious amateurs and pros such as the marmotte and the maratona you will see titanium bikes but these are purchased by the athletes themselves.

    the answer has nothing to do about the merits of titanium vs carbon but everything to do with economics

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Speak for yourself. At any rate there will always be many who are ill- or misinformed.


    And you base this on what? The data show at racing speeds the power savings from an aero frame are easily measured and on the order of the difference in placings.

    And to answer your question, first, I'm not sure there isn't a team at the Continental or Pro-Continental level that rides one. Second, the reason there are no titanium frames at the Pro Tour level is that no manufacturer is willing to pay a team to ride one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    A) Cost of production. CF bikes are easy to mass produce. A Ti bike is not.

    B) Strength/stiffness vs weight. To be as strong/stiff the ti bike will weigh more. Sure you can make a ti bike near the UCI limit--but it will be a noodle and not last very long (There were a few years of pre-buyout Litespeeds where they found this out).
    Quote Originally Posted by BacDoc View Post
    There might be some Ti bikes, in the past it was not unusual for a pro to go to a frame builder “of honor “ to build a custom frame then paint it to match sponsors.

    Now with tech being as state of the art as it is, there’s probably no advantage. The custom magic with steel and Ti is still there but sadly computer algorithm is replacing the hand of the master frame builders for the pros anyway.

    Enjoy the ride of your Ti Lightspeed!
    BacDoc. Chiropractor or spine surgeon?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    At very least, we know that titanium, like steel, can endure an unlimited number of flex cycles below its elastic modulus ...
    It doesn’t help to use big words when you don’t know what they mean.

  17. #17
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    Team Gewiss-Ballan rode titanium DeRosas during the '90s. Drugged up, they kicked butt.

    The team produced winners of the Giro d’Italia – Evgeni Berzin and Ivan Gotti as well as top classic specialists Giorgio Furlan and Nicola Minali. Former World Champion Moreno Argentin finished his career with the team on a high note with stage wins at the 1993 Giro d'Italia as well as the impressive win at La Flèche Wallonne in 1994. The team dominated cycling [on DeRosa titanium bikes] during the 1994 season with Giorgio Furlan winning Tirreno–Adriatico (and Berzin second overall) and Furlan winning Milan–San Remo. Berzin then won Liège–Bastogne–Liège which was followed by Argentin’s win in La Flèche Wallonne. The win in the Fleche Wallonne was impressive because the team completely dominated the race with taking all podium places at the race with Argentin, Furlan and Berzin ahead of many greats of cycling at the time including Claudio Chiappucci, Franco Ballerini, Davide Cassani and Gianni Bugno.

    After the Fleche Wallonne of 1994, French sports newspaper L'Équipe interviewed the team’s doctor Michele Ferrari. Journalist Jean-Michel Rouet asked Ferrari if his riders used EPO to which Ferrari denied prescribing the drug but said he would not find it wrong, saying that it was not dangerous and compared taking EPO to drinking orange juice. This remark generated controversy and Ferrari later stepped down as team doctor.[2]

    Afterwards Berzin won the 1994 Giro d'Italia while Piotr Ugrumov came second overall in 1994 Tour de France. Vladislav Bobrik won the Giro di Lombardia in the late season for the team.

    In the following year, the team was not as dominant but still successful. Berzin came second at the 1995 Giro d'Italia behind Tony Rominger and ahead of his teammate Ugrumov. The team set the record speed of the team time trial at the 1995 Tour de France of 54.930 km/h. This speed stood for ten years until Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel Team broke it during the 2005 Tour de France. The Gewiss team beat Laurent Jalabert's Team ONCE to second place and the defending champion Miguel Indurain’s Banesto to third place. Riis would wear the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification in that year’s Tour before eventually finishing third overall.
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    Last edited by Fredrico; 01-13-2019 at 06:37 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    Data? What data?

    Can you provide me with a reference to this data?

    And better yet, can you provide me with a reference to data acquired by someone actually trained in some field of science who knows how to properly carry out a study, as opposed to some bike frame designer who labeled himself an “engineer”?
    "I'm not willing to do my own research, so I will demand you do it for me and when you refuse I will assume it's because you are wrong. But if you do give me information, so you know, here are the ways I will discredit it"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY View Post
    Sponsorship…..Besides the hundreds of frames, the sponsor would have to come up with a large pile of money...….And provide a frame that weighs the same as carbon frames.
    drop the mic.

  20. #20
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    Litespeed was a bike sponsor for Lotto in 2002 I believe. They found it was expensive.
    Last edited by steelbikerider; 01-13-2019 at 08:41 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by masont View Post
    "I'm not willing to do my own research, so I will demand you do it for me and when you refuse I will assume it's because you are wrong. But if you do give me information, so you know, here are the ways I will discredit it"
    Of course. That’s how it works. Someone making a claim (or accepting a claim) should support that claim with research.

  22. #22
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    The OP has very entrenched opinions about the superiority of titanium, Litespeed, and the T1SL, which he has made clear in previous threads. This is all perfectly fine, as it's always nice to love what you ride. You may or may not agree with him, but I doubt you will sway him.

    As much as I love my high-end titanium bikes, they can't compete with my plastic bikes- all "superbikes" of their respective years. The ability to precisely tune the carbon layup just simply cannot be duplicated in production on a metal frame. They're just very, very different animals, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    The OP has very entrenched opinions about the superiority of titanium, Litespeed, and the T1SL, which he has made clear in previous threads.
    yes, troll level stuff but he's serious. Worth considering before banging your head against the wall and telling him anything other that his bike is the best and far superior to any other bike.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    The only thing you cannot do with them is build them to be “aero”, which I think most of us agree is a bunch of BS anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    Of course. That’s how it works. Someone making a claim (or accepting a claim) should support that claim with research.
    Daaanngg. Do you need a sponge to soak up all that irony?

    YOU made the claim... in Post #1.
    So PLEASE follow your advice and support your claim with research.
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