Steel Ride and flex qualities equivalent in a Titanium frame?
I have an older Schwinn touring frame that I like the ride and responsiveness of very much. It has Columbus Tenax tubing. I would like to buy or have built a titanium frame that feels the same but would have capability for wider tires and disc brakes.
How should I approach this? What would happen if the basic dimensions were recreated? How would titanium tube size be determined?
I realize that one answer is let the framebuilder decide but I would like to know more about the process ahead of time.
There are two characteristics of the tubing that determine the stiffness/flexibility of a tube: wall thickness and diameter. Since the Young's modulus (measure of stiffness) is different for steels and titanium, typically the wall thickness of a titanium tube is greater than for a steel tube of the same diameter to achieve the same degree of 'stiffness'. This isn't as bad as it sounds, because the density of titanium is roughly half that of steel, so even with the thicker walled tubing the titanium tube will usually be lighter.
The best approach is to explain to the framebuilder what characteristics you're looking for in the frame and then leave it to him/her to decide what tubes to use and what geometry would be most effective in achieving the desired ride taking into account your size, weight, power output, and type of riding you do.
Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder
Remember that a frame is not in isolation when riding the bike. So handling and flexing are also dealing with wheels and tires (and the other parts but the wheels/tires are the biggies). So when moving to new wheels and larger tires even the same frame will feel different when actually riding the complete bike. Andy.
The thing I found, over time, that I didn't like, was the feel of larger tubes in a frame. To be more specific, over sized steel tubing isn't really too bad. It isn't that much larger. However, some of the aluminum & CF bikes took/take it even further. The frames almost feel "in the way". Even the oversized steel frames I have feel a lot different. You may or may not like. Just worth noting.
The other point I would make is that it's tough to replicate the feel of another material. Having owned many different types of frames. They were all distinct, in feel. You can certainly go after a certain aspect, or characteristic. But often that will sacrifice elsewhere. I had a Merckx AXM, for example. I swore they built those frames to replicate the feel & response of a steel frame. Yet, in order to do that, it had a bulky, bulldogish feel to it. Materials just have inherent qualities to them.
I am going to reply and or edit my own post. I saw a lugged stainless steel bike on the Long Distance forum that seems like it would answer many concerns I have ----not having to deal with paint but getting modern spacing and a better choice of dropouts being two. Are the flex/stiffness/springiness of SS the same as that of carbon steel? Would it be easier to duplicate a frames characteristics in the same class of material?