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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-23-11, 09:54 AM   #1
motobecane69
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Titanium or carbon and why

Lets say you've narrowed your bike down to 2 choices. one in Ti the other in CF. they have identical components and cost the same, which do you choose and why.

Part 2, one has ultegra 6700 the other SRAM Rival, still the same price. Does this change your decision? Why?
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Old 08-23-11, 11:09 AM   #2
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Lets say you've narrowed your bike down to 2 choices. one in Ti the other in CF. they have identical components and cost the same, which do you choose and why.
Titanium because no paint means no chips and scratches in the paint. Damage usually takes the form of polished spots or scratches which aren't that visible and can easily be hidden further using a Scotch Brite pad with brushed finishes. My titanium frame looks much better after 15 years than my previous steel frame did just 7.

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Part 2, one has ultegra 6700 the other SRAM Rival, still the same price. Does this change your decision? Why?
You'd have to pay me to ride either because I prefer Campagnolo's shifting interface (five cogs smaller, three bigger, stationary brake blades)

In 145 pound climbing form I wouldn't mind the lack of a triple option (34x23 was enough to get me over everything in the Colorado Rockies and still allowed for one tooth jumps to the 19 cog with just 9 in back) but as a Clydestale I'd skip SRAM because they lack the dozen cogs in back it takes to match the range and spacing we had with triple cranks and tight cassettes with 8 cogs in 1991.

Shimano's cranks look like dead octopuses, although since I spend more time riding my bikes than looking at them I could get over that.
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Old 08-23-11, 11:13 AM   #3
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Shimano's cranks look like dead octopuses, although since I spend more time riding my bikes than looking at them I could get over that.
I have a similar reaction to all hollow cranks. I think they look like brittle plastic models of the starship Enterprise.
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Old 08-23-11, 11:32 AM   #4
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Part 2, one has ultegra 6700 the other SRAM Rival, still the same price. Does this change your decision? Why?
I think Rival is a lower end SRAM road group? Ultegra 6700 is freaking brilliant. It's a bit heavy, at 1.5 lbs more than SRAM Red. But the front shifting is phenomenal. The rear shifting is great, too, but you expect that. The cranks on the 6700 group are the best I've used.
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Old 08-23-11, 11:42 AM   #5
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I'd buy the titanium bike. As cool as carbon fiber is, I can't get over how completely amazing titanium is. That's before ever talking about bikes mind you....

Ultegra vs Rival. I've ridden Rival, and I've ridden 105 (closer match imho that ultegra). I like the brake levers a lot better from SRAM. I like the operating system better on the Shimano.
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Old 08-23-11, 11:45 AM   #6
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Maybe they need to create a new material called Carbanium? Mixture of Carbon and Titanium. Then there'd be no debate.


And to answer your question, I'd probably opt for Ti. With my bulk, I'd be afraid I'd crush a carbon bike.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:18 PM   #7
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great info thus far guys, keep it coming!

I've heard great things about Rival but I've also heard great things about 6700. I ride microshift right now, one thing I Like is my steady brake levers, I'm not sure I love the idea of ultegra moving the whole lever to shift but at the same time, thousands of others do it no problem, I think I'd get used to it.

I must say, I do like the low maintenance of Titanium yet I like that je ne sais quoi about carbon that just seems like it's going to buzz smoothly down the road.

double vs triple isn't really an issue. At first Ididn't love my compact double but now I actually really like it and I'm on a 9speed platform now and don't have problem with the range so 10 speed will only help me more.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:28 PM   #8
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I myself have no experience with either (other than partial carbon no, no problems) but from what I gather Reading on the forums, the ti bike would depend highly on design and model.

Years back when Litespeed was real big, they offered the low end ti ($2400 model) and the high end ($4500). That was back in the late 90's /early 2000's.

They say the low end bike was really flexy and not good for heavier rider. I looked into the low end model but my friend that managed the LBS talked me out of it saying low end ti models were too flexy and noodly under my 230 lb body.

But other posters made claims (back then) that the high end designs were very stiff due to tube shape and design that was different from the low end model.

Like I said, no first hand experience but might be something you would like to investigate!
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Old 08-23-11, 12:47 PM   #9
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I myself have no experience with either (other than partial carbon no, no problems) but from what I gather Reading on the forums, the ti bike would depend highly on design and model.

Years back when Litespeed was real big, they offered the low end ti ($2400 model) and the high end ($4500). That was back in the late 90's /early 2000's.

They say the low end bike was really flexy and not good for heavier rider. I looked into the low end model but my friend that managed the LBS talked me out of it saying low end ti models were too flexy and noodly under my 230 lb body.

But other posters made claims (back then) that the high end designs were very stiff due to tube shape and design that was different from the low end model.

Like I said, no first hand experience but might be something you would like to investigate!
Believe me, I've come across those exact same sentiments during my research! To some degree they also get said about carbon fiber too. I'm not a racer but I am heavy and I do like to ride aggressively. At the same time, a lot of my more serious rides are long events like metrics and centurys.

To clue you guys in, my commuter bike got stolen over the weekend. I have renters insurance and it should be covered. Ultimately, I think I want to use the money to buy a nicer roadie and then sell my existing roadie to finance the new commuter bike. I'm a big bikes direct fan so I'm considering their Le Champion Carbon Fiber and the Le Champ Titanium heat. Also, If I'm really disappointed in the frame itself, I can take the components off of it, sell it and then either purchase the other frame or go with another vendors frame.

Both bikes are about $1600 I'm leaning towards the carbon fiber because they have one in a blue color scheme that will match both of my existing sets of wheels.

I'm also considering a carbon fiber Kestral that is $300 more but it comes with better wheels (ksyrium equipe) that I should easily be able to sell for that price difference. My set of handbuilt wheels are 125 grams lighter and have 32 spokes. I'd rather ride on them then the low spoke ksyriums
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Old 08-23-11, 12:48 PM   #10
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I think Rival is a lower end SRAM road group? Ultegra 6700 is freaking brilliant. It's a bit heavy, at 1.5 lbs more than SRAM Red. But the front shifting is phenomenal. The rear shifting is great, too, but you expect that. The cranks on the 6700 group are the best I've used.
I think Rival is intended to slot into the SRAM lineup at the same relative point Ultegra is in Shimano's. The entry level SRAM stuff is, I think, Apex.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:53 PM   #11
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With my bulk, I'd be afraid I'd crush a carbon bike.
You shouldn't be. Boeing's new dreamliner is mostly carbon fiber. My CF bike doesn't have a weight limit, although LBS says the drop outs are rated for 2,500 pounds. I don't think you could crush a carbon frame if you tried. Wheels might be another matter.

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I ride microshift right now, one thing I Like is my steady brake levers, I'm not sure I love the idea of ultegra moving the whole lever to shift but at the same time, thousands of others do it no problem, I think I'd get used to it.
I've heard a lot of people say this, although I'm not sure why. Are you worried you're accidentally going to engage the brakes? That's never happened to me. I've always found that pushing one lever to shift one way and the other lever to shift the other way was pretty straight-forward and intuitive. It's never caused me problems of any sort.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:17 PM   #12
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Bicycling Magazine did a review of the Le Champion Titanium with Rival, and thought very highly of it. See if it's online somewhere.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:19 PM   #13
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I was having this delima and bought a steel Salsa frameset. I put a 105/ultegra groupset on it and love it.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:33 PM   #14
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...Both bikes are about $1600 I'm leaning towards the carbon fiber because they have one in a blue color scheme that will match both of my existing sets of wheels...
I think you answered your own question. Ultegra is a great group.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:46 PM   #15
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I think Rival is intended to slot into the SRAM lineup at the same relative point Ultegra is in Shimano's. The entry level SRAM stuff is, I think, Apex.
Agreed. Rival is comparable in performance and weight to Ultegra, but at a slightly lower price-point (last I checked).

Which you buy depends on what you value in a drive-train: Ultegra emphasizes smooth, quiet shifting at the expense of some performance. Rival, on the other hand, emphasizes performance over smoothness. Those with smaller hands may appreciate the shape and shorter lever throw of Rival.

When it came time for me to buy my dream bike, I went with a carbon fiber frame (Cervelo RS) and SRAM Red component group. I loved the fact that the carbon frame was insanely stiff during full-exertion sprints, yet still amazingly comfortable over less-than-perfect pavement. The lightening-fast rear shifting of SRAM sold me on their components and the fact that I was able to find a close-out Red gruppo for, literally, half the price of Dura-Ace was an added bonus.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:54 PM   #16
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I think Rival is intended to slot into the SRAM lineup at the same relative point Ultegra is in Shimano's. The entry level SRAM stuff is, I think, Apex.
From what I've pieced together, there is no one-to-one correspondence between the gruppos. They kind of slot in between each other. It goes something like this, from "better, higher" quality to lesser.

Red
Dura Ace
Force
Ultegra
Rival
105
Apex
Tiagra
etc.
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Old 08-23-11, 02:43 PM   #17
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I seem to be mistaken about Rival. Sorry for the confusion!
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Old 08-23-11, 02:55 PM   #18
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From what I've pieced together, there is no one-to-one correspondence between the gruppos. They kind of slot in between each other. It goes something like this, from "better, higher" quality to lesser.
Although it can be more about styling/graphics and weight.

Campagnolo Chorus shifters have no sexy cut-outs in the brake blades and say "Chorus"

Campagnolo Record shifters are identical but have two sexy cut-outs in the brake blades and are stamped "Record" but weigh the same as Chorus.

Campagnolo Super Record shifters add a third sexy-cut-out, change the label, and actually weigh 7 grams less because they have different rear ratchets (but are otherwise identical).

This was a lot more confusing before Campagnolo started putting group names on components during the transition from C-record to ergo era.

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Old 08-23-11, 03:12 PM   #19
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Carbn or TI

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Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
Lets say you've narrowed your bike down to 2 choices. one in Ti the other in CF. they have identical components and cost the same, which do you choose and why.

Part 2, one has ultegra 6700 the other SRAM Rival, still the same price. Does this change your decision? Why?
I would go with Carbon myself I am told that Ti is flexy for big guys....at the end of the day it is all in the design of the frame.

Ultegra or SRAM Rival I would choose Campy
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Old 08-23-11, 03:34 PM   #20
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Why indeed.. some really nice high strength steel alloys are made ,
and once the tube diameters get bigger, oversize, wall thickness can be kept thin,
Tubes still quite light, but will gain strength.

and lend themselves to small frame builders shops , domestic.
so you can have a frameset made to suit size and weight of the rider..


My last purchase , Bike Friday Pocket Llama , Rohloff, disc Brakes..
Schmidt Hub generator for lights .
Bike Fridays Heavy rider option ..
it's a using a front triangle, rather than the single Boom Tube,
So find it significantly easier to lock up securely.

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Old 08-23-11, 05:37 PM   #21
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Good info guys. Campy isn't in the running neither is custom because then I still need a full groups. I suppose I could just buy a new frame and keep my existing Microsoft 9speed with ultegra crank fd and rd but that is no fun. I'm not sure that I want to put a compact crank on my commuter because it may see some loaded touring use but at the same time, I could use most of the parts off the current roadie for a commuter/touring build.
I shouldn't get my hopes up. If my insurance company screws me ill be getting nothing and get screwed having to spend another grand setting up a new commuter bike.
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Old 08-25-11, 09:18 PM   #22
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I have a titanium Lynskey and sold a carbon Kestrel about 18 months ago. Honestly, there's little to choose between them when it comes to ride, vibration damping, etc. The wheels and tires have made a bigger difference (and yes, I tried both wheelsets on both bikes). I stuck with the Lynskey because it fit me better - I was a little stretched out on the Kestrel, even with a short stem and a no setback seatpost, and the headshell was shorter than I'd prefer. The idea that titanium might be either more durable or easier to repair was also in the back of my mind, but I have no real information to support that speculation.

I would also echo what others have said about the difference between a compact setup and a triple - with a compact double you have to use a wide-range cassette to match the overall gearing range you can get with a triple, but the narrower range of ratios can be really nice to have. My current bike has Rival with a 11-32 cassette, but there are times when I'd like a closer range cassette with smaller steps between the gears.

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Old 08-26-11, 05:38 AM   #23
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Of your choices, I would get ti just because I don't have one yet. But if I were looking for a new bike I would just get a steel frame and build it up. Building it up is half the fun.
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Old 08-26-11, 06:15 AM   #24
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Of your choices, I would get ti just because I don't have one yet. But if I were looking for a new bike I would just get a steel frame and build it up. Building it up is half the fun.
I agree! I love building. But i'm saving that for my commuter because I have a lot of specific things I like in my commuter so it's almost necessary to build it up piecemeal.

I'm leaning towards titanium for a few reasons: If I ever want to go somewhere and lock it up, I won't stress over throwing a lock around titanium tubes like I would with Carbon Fiber.
2. A lot of what I hear about titanium being flexy for bigger guys seems to be a bit mythical
3. While I like to go hard and mash out every once in awhile, I'm more of a distance kind of guy, chewing up long miles, seems like if it is slightly flexy thats not going to be an issue for a guy that mostly rides high cadence (100+) and lives in a relatively flat part of the country. seems like that may actually help with the comfort over the long haul.
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Old 08-26-11, 07:00 AM   #25
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...
I'm leaning towards titanium for a few reasons: If I ever want to go somewhere and lock it up, I won't stress over throwing a lock around titanium tubes like I would with Carbon Fiber.
Why would you stress over that? Any carbon frame out there can handle having a chain wrapped around it without compromising it's integrity.

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2. A lot of what I hear about titanium being flexy for bigger guys seems to be a bit mythical
True

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3. While I like to go hard and mash out every once in awhile, I'm more of a distance kind of guy, chewing up long miles, seems like if it is slightly flexy thats not going to be an issue for a guy that mostly rides high cadence (100+) and lives in a relatively flat part of the country. seems like that may actually help with the comfort over the long haul.
I ride truly long distances. I can tell you that for "real" long distance comfort nothing beats a high end carbon frame, nothing. For what you are doing though,(unless you are going to be out there with me doing RAAM) I seriously doubt that you are going to be able to tell the difference. If I were you, I'd not worry about it too much and get the bike that first, fits you best and second really strikes your fancy. I think you'll be happy either way.
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