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Old 07-10-10, 10:35 AM   #1
ClarkinHawaii
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Brushed Titanium Issue--What is it and how do I get rid of it?

I'm looking to buy my dream bike (frame) and brushed Ti is my finish of choice (so far). Supposedly easy to take care of/keep looking like new.

However, looking at ebay, I see brand new Ti frames being sold with what appears to be oxidized fingerprints. If they take pictures of one with all this discoloration, makes me think it's not so easy to clean after all. Supposedly just whisk with a non-metallic scrub pad--awkward around the decals??

So is this seller just super-lazy? How hard is it, anyway?

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Old 07-10-10, 10:40 AM   #2
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If its skin oils, use soap and water.

maybe an abrasive, ala scotchbrite, pot washing stuff from the sink,

but any printed on lettering will be worn off in time.
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Old 07-10-10, 10:41 AM   #3
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Greasy finger prints will come off with any number of products, like mineral spirits, just about any multi-surface cleaner (like Windex) or Pledge furniture spray. Ti will not oxidize significantly. Scoth Brite pads are only needed if the frames gets some noticeable scratches or scuffs.
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Old 07-10-10, 10:50 AM   #4
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Ti will not oxidize in any environment you will ever find yourself in. A favorite cleaner is, as DaveSSS mentioned, Pledge furnature polish. It cleans off surface grime and the frame smells nice too.

I'm sure the marks shown in the pictures are just from handling and unpacking the shipping carton by a seller too lazy or inept to make it look pristine.
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Old 07-10-10, 11:51 AM   #5
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in the early days Merlin used to recomend, as Dave points out lemon Pledge. (make sure you use lemon regular does not work as well for some reason)

not worring about fingerprints is a good reason for having painted Ti bikes
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Old 07-10-10, 12:57 PM   #6
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I believe that the Lemon type has a small amount of lemon oil in it. They used it on the brushed stainless elevators in my office building. It DOES leave a slightly oily surface which if not wiped off would likely make dust stick to it but the beauty is that it is so easily cleaned off again with a spritz onto a dusting rag and a quick wipe down. With a bit of practice I'll bet the whole frame could be "cleaned" this way in about a minute or less.
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Old 07-10-10, 02:18 PM   #7
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...not worring about fingerprints is a good reason for having painted Ti bikes
Right, you replace easily wiped off fingerprints with chips and scratches that are difficult to touch up. Doesn't sound like a good trade-off to me.
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Old 07-11-10, 03:43 PM   #8
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Thanks, folks!
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Old 07-11-10, 03:46 PM   #9
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The frame doesn't need wax so if you like oranges, you can simply rub the rind of one on the frame to release some oil, buff it out with a rag then enjoy the orange. Don't try this on painted surfaces, though.
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Old 07-11-10, 03:57 PM   #10
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The frame doesn't need wax so if you like oranges, you can simply rub the rind of one on the frame to release some oil, buff it out with a rag then enjoy the orange. Don't try this on painted surfaces, though.
True it doesn't NEED wax but furniture or car wax does make it easier to remove tar and other sticky residue all bikes pick up from the road. The Ti won't be hurt by them either but easer cleaning is still nice.
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Old 07-11-10, 04:19 PM   #11
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True it doesn't NEED wax but furniture or car wax does make it easier to remove tar and other sticky residue all bikes pick up from the road. The Ti won't be hurt by them either but easer cleaning is still nice.
No argument there, but my way you get to eat the orange. Have you ever tasted Lemon Pledge?
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Old 07-11-10, 04:27 PM   #12
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Titanium is a pretty soft* material (*soft in terms of superficial strength, it can be scratched by iron, steel, glass, sand, diamonds, etc.. now sand and diamonds, are not a problem, but even crude iron ore can scratch Titanium). So avoid rubbing the frame too often, and also avoid cleaning the frame dry (you would rub the frame with the hard dust particles that it collected).

Otherwise Ti is light, very high strength, it stays strong even at high temperatures without bending, does not corrode, etc
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Old 07-11-10, 06:23 PM   #13
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Titanium is a pretty soft* material (*soft in terms of superficial strength, it can be scratched by iron, steel, glass, sand, diamonds, etc.. now sand and diamonds, are not a problem, but even crude iron ore can scratch Titanium). So avoid rubbing the frame too often, and also avoid cleaning the frame dry (you would rub the frame with the hard dust particles that it collected).
You may be thinking of some of the cheaper "CP-grade" Ti used in a few lower cost Ti frames.

The 3/2.5 Al/V Ti alloy (or more rarely 6/4 Al/V Ti alloy) used for all better Ti frames (Litespeed, Moots, Merlin, Serotta, Seven, Airborne, etc.) has pretty good surface hardness, particularly after the cold working required to draw it into tubes. I have a '96 Litespeed frame with over 70,000 miles (~113,000 km) and it shows very few minor scratches and only in a few places and some polishing where my heels brushed the chainstays. This is tough stuff.
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Old 07-11-10, 07:08 PM   #14
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Hardened Ti is in the same category with aluminum springs.. Naturally it's not posible but with some advanced material science, alloys and treatments it can be done to a decent level. Such as steel reached the level that it does not oxidize and even reached 1500MPa yield point.

I've worked with some Ti plates (for an armored vehicle) and before coating the sheets into some bombproof/nonstick (for preventing sticking bombs)/etc paste, I could easily sketch a "Monalisa" painting with my house keys (made out of copper-zinc, soft yellow stuff), but I just wrote the part number.

Now, of course a good hardened Ti alloy is quite decent and lasts well, but it's good to keep in mind the strengths and the weaknesses of each material, and in this case scratching is not it's usual strengths.
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