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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 06-23-10, 01:35 PM   #1
Barrettscv 
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Steel verses Titanium, worth the upgrade?

I've been "saving" my Ti bike for faster group rides and using my steel framed bike for Century rides. The century bike has a road triple, room for fenders, attachment points for racks and can carry 4 bottles. This bike is very comfortable

The ti bike has a standard double, no room for fenders, or attachment points. It clearly sprints and climbs faster, but is not significantly faster over longer distances.

Having said all that, I sometimes wonder why I don't put a triple on it and use it for supported century rides?

Do I have the right priorities?

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Old 06-23-10, 04:09 PM   #2
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An interesting question and one I'm currently looking at. I've found through experimentation in training that taking my light road bike instead of the heavy tourer I normally use for LD rides I spend less time on the bike and seem to burn less energy, especially if lots of climbing is involved. Anecdotally I can sit on speeds above 30km/h with much less effort on the light bike and it rolls significantly faster on the same long descents. My concerns have been like you , no room for proper fenders or racks, thats OK I'm trying to pack lighter, skinny tyres, which so far has been OK, 20mm tyres at 100 psi are surprisingly comfortable, twitchy geometry, great on fast descents but may be a pain after 10+ hours, more bent over, I'm comfortable and professionally fitted to the bike but this still may be a deal breaker so we'll see, and a big 53/42 road double.

I've noticed on long rides on the big bike that I spend 99% of my time on the middle 39t ring unless I blow up and then the 30t ring is my best friend. I never use the big 50 t ring, if I'm going that fast I just ghost pedal or tuck. But on the light bike I don't have a bailout option and that has always concerned me, so I've taken the plunge and ordered a compact 48/34 crank. I must admit I agonised over the triple versus compact choice but figure the compact gives me almost all the range I need, except maybe up top but we will see. I'm using a friction downtube shifter on the front and 7 speed on the back so I don't think cross chaining will be a big issue, but once again, we'll see.

If I where you I'd go for it, some people don't seem to notice heavier less aero bikes but I sure do, it's more a question of will the bike be reliable enough, are you comfortable on it over long rides, does it give you the needed gearing range, can you carry enough gear, what happens if the weather goes bad. I suspect that like me some of the answers will only come from taking the plunge and using it on some long rides to see.
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Old 06-23-10, 05:04 PM   #3
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Offhand I don't see any particular advantage to using the Ti bike.

You might as well get an estimate for upgrading the drive train, though, in case you plan to take the Ti on a hilly ride. Chances are they'll just swap out the FD, but there is a chance that you may need a mid- or long-cage RD when you widen the overall gearing range.

You may also want to peruse the BQ survey on PBP equipment: http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/BQPBPEquipsurvey.pdf They concluded that equipment choices, including frame material, didn't have a significant impact on finishing times or DNF rates.
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Old 06-23-10, 05:41 PM   #4
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They concluded that equipment choices, including frame material, didn't have a significant impact on finishing times or DNF rates.
That sure was an interesting survey, my only question mark on it; had the people in the survey already found what worked best for them? You have to expect that most people travelling to PBP would have, so equipment probably matters but like most things is very individual.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:02 PM   #5
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That sure was an interesting survey, my only question mark on it; had the people in the survey already found what worked best for them? You have to expect that most people travelling to PBP would have, so equipment probably matters but like most things is very individual.
anyone at PBP has ridden a 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k. I would say that by the end of the 400k things are pretty well sorted out or the person is a maniac.

As far as the OP, I see no reason not to ride you go-fast bike on a century. It isn't that far. I know people that use a rain bike if they think the weather will be bad. If the ride is long enough, say 1200k, it might be wise to ride the rain bike since you don't know what the weather will be like for the entire ride.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:44 PM   #6
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anyone at PBP has ridden a 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k. I would say that by the end of the 400k things are pretty well sorted out or the person is a maniac.
Or both.

One hypothesis, buried on p21 of the survey, was more that any possible difference in performance due to equipment choice is pretty much blown out of the water by the amount of time you spend at the controls, eating, napping, taking breaks and so forth.

If you're doing a century in 4-5 hours and not taking breaks, that's not relevant. But if that's how you ride, you're probably going to want an aero carbon road bike anyway, instead of all that metal junk anyway.
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Old 06-24-10, 12:44 AM   #7
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You have a Ti bike. Just do it and stop asking for validation.
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Old 06-24-10, 09:19 AM   #8
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Gotta agree w/ Unterhausen - as long as the weather's ok, there's no reason not to ride the go-fast bike on something as short as a century. If we were talking 300k and up, it sounds like the steel bike would be the better choice, given that it's just as fast and more comfy. And comfort gets to be a BIG factor when you're on the bike all day and then some.

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Old 06-24-10, 09:51 AM   #9
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Why not ride it twice? Once on the steel bike, then again on the Ti.
Report back with insights.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:54 AM   #10
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Yes, upgrading from ti to steel is well worth it.
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Old 06-24-10, 07:17 PM   #11
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Yes, upgrading from ti to steel is well worth it.
the thread title doesn't do much for me, I don't really see Ti as an upgrade for steel
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