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  1. #1
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    Saddle rails: Steel or titanium?

    I have (or, should I say, had) an Avocet O2 Air 40 saddle with titanium rails. I've ridden it around 5,000 miles over 3.5 years. Last Sunday one rail of the saddle snapped off just behind the seatpost clamp.

    Needless to say, I'm in the market for a new saddle and I'm trying to decide if I should again spend the money for titanium rails or go for cheaper, somewhat heavier, steel rails.

    I'm 220 lbs. and have the saddle pushed as far back as it can go in the seatpost clamp to make room for my longish legs. Both weight and setback increase the sheer force on the rails. In case it matters, I have a Salsa Shaft seatpost.

    Are steel rails more or less prone to shearing in this way than titanium rails? Anything else I should consider to prevent catastrophic failure of the rails?

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    My understanding is that ti will have about the same strength as steel, it's just lighter. However, I seriously doubt that the weight difference between steel & ti on saddle rails will have any measurable performance effect for any rider who is not, quite literally, a pro racer.

    I.e., go steel.

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    I'd go with steel and be done with it. 20 extra grams, as Bacciagalupe says, is... what that word they use to designate something as irrelevant?

    Carbon watercage, NOW, that's where the action is at!
    Last edited by jsmithepa; 09-03-08 at 05:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Just for fun I looked up Brooks saddles because they have similar saddles with steel and titanium rails. The steel version weighs 180 grams more. That's 6 oz.

  5. #5
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    I would go steel based on the weight issues are more for pro racers argument.
    Falling is learning...[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]...learn to not fall in a box.
    Any good American will watch THIS -and- WHERE WAS MY BIKE MADE?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Just for fun I looked up Brooks saddles because they have similar saddles with steel and titanium rails. The steel version weighs 180 grams more. That's 6 oz.
    Yes, but there's a lot more metal under a Brooks saddle than just the rails. Most modern saddles have a plastic shell with the only metal being the rails. In a Brooks saddle the framework attached to the leather, the adjustment mechanism, and the rails are all metal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Just for fun I looked up Brooks saddles because they have similar saddles with steel and titanium rails. The steel version weighs 180 grams more. That's 6 oz.
    Right, u just conviniently picked the worst possible example. Ppl buying Brooks aren't worried about weight.

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    I have 2 Brooks saddles, and I wasn't too worried about weight obviously since comfort was the primary reason for buying them, but I did opt for the TI rails just to make the saddles a bit lighter.

    Some people think the TI rails are more comfortable, I don't think anyone can tell the difference since your only dealing with about 3 to 4 inches of rail!

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I think you know the answer to this question. You could quite literally pee before riding and make up the difference in weight ten times over between titanium and steel rails on your saddle.

    Titanium rails are a gimmic that appeals to only the most fanatical weight weenie.
    Mike

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    Sorry to hear about your problems. I have Avocet O2 Air 40 Ti saddles on 4 bikes and the Cr-Mo railed version on 3 others and I've never borken any of them. Two of the Ti versions have way over 25,000 miles and one had 40,000 miles before I gave it a well diserved retirement. However, I weigh about 150 pounds so that is a real difference between us.

    Nevertheless, the Cr-Mo version is only 20 or so grams heavier and is less expensive so give it a try.

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    I think there's more to it than weight.

    I've been riding an Avocet Air O2 with titanium rails for some years now, and it was preceded by the same saddle with cromoly rails. I find the titanium rails a bit more comfortable. They seem to have more give which feels almost like a minimal kind of suspension.

    That being said, those Avocets Air O2's a fairly light, minimalist saddles... probably not the best choice for a heavyweight. Fine for me, because I only weigh about 135 lbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kornfeld View Post
    I have (or, should I say, had) an Avocet O2 Air 40 saddle with titanium rails. I've ridden it around 5,000 miles over 3.5 years. Last Sunday one rail of the saddle snapped off just behind the seatpost clamp.

    Needless to say, I'm in the market for a new saddle and I'm trying to decide if I should again spend the money for titanium rails or go for cheaper, somewhat heavier, steel rails.

    I'm 220 lbs. and have the saddle pushed as far back as it can go in the seatpost clamp to make room for my longish legs. Both weight and setback increase the sheer force on the rails. In case it matters, I have a Salsa Shaft seatpost.

    Are steel rails more or less prone to shearing in this way than titanium rails? Anything else I should consider to prevent catastrophic failure of the rails?
    The reason of Titan is not the 2 or 3 saved grams, Titan has better damping quality.
    That said, depends on which frame, wheels you use and on which roads (or tracks) you ride.

    If you experience confort issues, Titan could help reducing them (as well as larger section tyres and lots of things) if you feel comfortble steel would do as well.
    Personally I have both (old Selle Italia Flite with Ti rails on an old MTB and a range of Selle Italia saddles with steel rails on race bikes resp. in a box) and I would lie if IŽd say I feel the difference.

    By the way after having tried a few I found my dream saddle: SLK Gel Flow.
    I can ride 10 Hours solid without problems. Just for the records.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kornfeld View Post
    Last Sunday one rail of the saddle snapped off just behind the seatpost clamp.

    I'm 220 lbs. and have the saddle pushed as far back as it can go in the seatpost clamp to make room for my longish legs.
    In case it matters, I have a Salsa Shaft seatpost.

    Are steel rails more or less prone to shearing in this way than titanium rails?
    Anything else I should consider to prevent catastrophic failure of the rails?
    sounds like your bike is too small if your seat is all the way back in a setback seatpost.
    get the steel or mg. seat rails.

    SDG and Kore I-Beam seats and posts.

    http://www.kore-usa.com/tech_ibeam.html
    http://www.sdgusa.com/bike_ibeam.php
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longfemur View Post
    I think there's more to it than weight.

    I've been riding an Avocet Air O2 with titanium rails for some years now, and it was preceded by the same saddle with cromoly rails. I find the titanium rails a bit more comfortable. They seem to have more give which feels almost like a minimal kind of suspension.
    There was one other difference between the Ti and Cr-Mo railed Avocet O2 40 saddles. The Ti rail version has a real leather cover and the Cr-mo saddles had a synthetic (plastic) cover. Some of the comfort difference you noticed may have been due to that.

    There is now an O2 40 model with Cr-Mo rails and real leather but that wasn't the case a few years ago.

    Avocet seems to have pretty much disappeared from the market. None of the mail-order places I know of still list their products and their web site is dreadfully out of date. However, they are still in business and I ordered my most recent saddles directly from them (phone is 650-470-0478). I really like these saddles and want to have a couple of spares on the shelf in case Avocet goes out of business entirely.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kornfeld View Post
    I'm 220 lbs. and have the saddle pushed as far back as it can go in the seatpost clamp to make room for my longish legs. Both weight and setback increase the sheer force on the rails. In case it matters, I have a Salsa Shaft seatpost.

    Are steel rails more or less prone to shearing in this way than titanium rails? Anything else I should consider to prevent catastrophic failure of the rails?
    Actually you may want to get a better seatpost. I had the same problems. I'd break all kinds of saddles within a year due to having them as far back as I need to be comfortable with my long legs.

    Then I started getting setback posts on my bikes and found that with a setback post one can put the saddle in the middle of the rails and not worry about it snapping. I'm riding some various saddles now including a cheapass 100g saddle now with no sign of wear. Note I've only broken the rails once on an OEM saddle and I blame that on crappy rails(it had a weld that broke, who puts a weld in the middle of a bloody rail?). Usually the rails bend and the saddle gets wobbly.

    I now ride these titec posts. I only weigh 190lb, that might be the reason I snap rails less, but mounting saddles in the middle of the rails definitely stresses the rails a lot less. There are other setback posts, but they are hard to find and have less setback.

    Also afaik the brooks saddles don't have as much horizontal adjustment.


    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/167...e-Seatpost.htm

  16. #16
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    excellent picture of a proper fix--- also --- dont get brooks because the rivits hurt--- wow--- a ti rail snapping? a titanium rail --- solid ti? I like my selle cut out-- ti rail--- middle it and I dont think you will break another one.....

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G piny parnas View Post
    dont get brooks because the rivits hurt.
    Huh????

  18. #18
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    Couple points....

    1.) If you're using that much setback in your positioning, get a Thomson setback post; give your saddle something to work with.

    2.) Ti or chro-mo is entirely your choice, based on what you said about the last Avocet; 3-1/2 years is decent for a saddle under a big guy (trust me, I know -- 230 lbs!) Right now, I have 18 months on my Specialized BG Milano, and it's holding up perfectly well. Ti is generally as strong as chro-mo in this application, but is more flexible; it WILL bend. I had to take a crowbar to a buddy's Selle Italia Flite Ti (now 11 years old, under 150-160 lbs.), when he tanked the landing on a three-foot drop on his XC hardtail.

  19. #19
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    the thomson has less setback than his current post.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    I think you know the answer to this question. You could quite literally pee before riding and make up the difference in weight ten times over between titanium and steel rails on your saddle.
    Sure you could pee and maybe make up the difference, but then in order to keep that difference you can't drink anything while you ride or your right back where you started.

  21. #21
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    "dont get brooks because the rivits hurt"

    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Huh????
    Thats because the dope mounted his saddle on it's side, thus the rivits rubbed his...well, err jewels?

  22. #22
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    there are complaints that the rivets on these overly priced beautys hurt the posterior regions of quite literally pee "ing" participants of padded poo poos... please. . . . . . . . . .

  23. #23
    Senior Member Coyote2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    There was one other difference between the Ti and Cr-Mo railed Avocet O2 40 saddles. The Ti rail version has a real leather cover and the Cr-mo saddles had a synthetic (plastic) cover. Some of the comfort difference you noticed may have been due to that.

    There is now an O2 40 model with Cr-Mo rails and real leather but that wasn't the case a few years ago.

    Avocet seems to have pretty much disappeared from the market. None of the mail-order places I know of still list their products and their web site is dreadfully out of date. However, they are still in business and I ordered my most recent saddles directly from them (phone is 650-470-0478). I really like these saddles and want to have a couple of spares on the shelf in case Avocet goes out of business entirely.
    Yup, I bought my last 0240r directly from the importer - forget the name, I think it was Veltec, that's probably the phone number cited by Veltec. That's a damn good saddle.

  24. #24
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G piny parnas View Post
    there are complaints that the rivets on these overly priced beautys hurt the posterior regions of quite literally pee "ing" participants of padded poo poos... please. . . . . . . . . .
    You've obviously never owned a Brooks saddle...

  25. #25
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    Steel.... my experience with ti. rails is that they tend to brake, so do not last as long as a steel rail, and as somebody said, 10 or 20 grams are nothing. Rather be safe than sorry

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