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Old 05-11-08, 12:56 PM   #1
SpongeDad
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Whither Titanium

I'm thinking of getting a mtb to ride in winter, but mostly to hack around with my boys (which will probably be more challenging and certainly involve more dirt and rocks).

So I've noticed that high end mtbs seem to be going carbon. I have a Ti road bike and have always appreciated the zero maintenance aspect of the frame, in addition to the ride quality.

I would think that these qualities would apply even more in mtb'ing where the prospect of banging into stuff that might put a small crack into a carbon frames seems higher.

Am I missing something? (It's not like carbon is cheap, so it can't be the price of Ti can it?)

[pls ignore cross post in racing forum, meant to post here]
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Old 05-11-08, 02:45 PM   #2
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Ti isn't usually much cheaper than carbon, and it's still prone to getting dented.


It does, however, have an infinite fatigue life below a certain threshhold.
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Old 05-11-08, 03:02 PM   #3
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Titanium is so.... ehrm.... 90s. All the cool kids are buying Carbon Fiber because it's much more modern and high-tech.

(and then get a surprise concussion when the carbon fiber fails in the most spectacular and inconvenient fashion)
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Old 05-12-08, 11:50 AM   #4
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Ti bikes are still available, they're just hard to find. Moots still makes them on the high end, there are other boutique custom builders as well. Habanero Cycles has the low end covered.

I can't say I've heard of any full suspension bikes made of Ti lately though.
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Old 05-12-08, 11:58 AM   #5
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Personally if i was to spend the price for either (they are approximately the same price) i would go with Ti (dont get me wrong i am the biggest advocate of carbon frames and i think that carbon will be the future of nearly all bike frames once it becomes cheaper by larger scale production), but Ti is just as light as carbon with the reliability of a metal, whenever i see someone with a carbon frame they could just have a lot of cash on hand, but when you see someone with a Ti frame, you know that they have researched frames and is a likely sign of experience and a skilled biker. Thats just my take on the public view on frames.
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Old 05-12-08, 12:04 PM   #6
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MTBs (full suspension at least) don't rely on the frame for ride compliance, unlike a road bike. So things are a bit different.

Titanium is falling out of fashion on road bikes as well for the same reason it's a rarity on Mountain Bikes: fashion. Carbon sells. I think Titanium took a stronger hold in road bikes initially and therefore has further to fall before it goes away. That's probably why there are still more Ti options on road bikes than there are on MTBs.

There are other unique to mountain biking that makes carbon attractive. For example, it's easily mouldable in to just about any shape which allows for a lot of freedom in the placemnet of pivot points and suspension mountings.

I ride an aluminum frame though so all this carbon and titanium talk is way over my social class's ability to comment on.
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Old 05-12-08, 12:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by chucko58 View Post
I can't say I've heard of any full suspension bikes made of Ti lately though.
http://www.litespeed.com/
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Old 05-12-08, 12:27 PM   #8
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I ride a '99 Ti Fat that will probably last me the rest of my riding days. It is a great handling bike, and i can't see riding anything else.
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Old 05-12-08, 12:38 PM   #9
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Interesting material choice for a FS. I wonder if Litespeed offers the bike just because buyers want FS or if there's some advantage to an FS Ti bike. I'd think Aluminum would be a more preferable metal for FS than Ti.
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Old 05-12-08, 06:37 PM   #10
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I agree . . . am not sure Ti makes a ton of sense for FS. But I guess that is why you almost never see it. Someone offers it just for those that have a passion for Ti and then want FS.
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Old 05-12-08, 07:08 PM   #11
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There is nothing comparable to Ti on a road or hard tail MTB. Unique qualities that really make it sing, and my new Fly MTB is so much better than the old steel bike it's a bit ridiculous. Makes riding in the woods like 4x more fun. I have a Ti road bike and a CF/alu roadie (Six13). If I had to choose one road bike for life it would have to be Ti.
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Old 05-12-08, 07:12 PM   #12
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I would choose Ti for a single road bike for life as well. I think one may be in my future later in life if I keep riding more. Maybe for my 40th.

As far as MTB, I just am not sold.
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Old 05-12-08, 07:32 PM   #13
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The technical precision handling at low speed on the Fly Ti is just on some other level from any MTB I've had before. The bike feels like a coiled spring, great climber, absorbs rear end shock great (much better than any hard tail I've ridden), it's very light, just all around a fantastic ride. I've never ridden a pricier Merlin or Litespeed Ti hard tail, MTB Action magazine seemed to have mixed feelings about the Fly Ti, but from my own frame of reference, I'm thrilled with it. Still thrilled with my Ibis Ti Road after 12 years.

Hard not to love Ti.

To be fair that MTB Action review was pretty stupid, they focused on the first things any MTBer would swap out: the skinny 1.9" tires (I put 2.1 Contis on mine immediately) and the silly 12-27 road cassette (I'm running an 11-32 now, MUCH improved). Had they put decent XC tires and gearing that didn't suck on the bike they might have spent less time whining about stuff that's easy to alter and more time focusing on the frame, the quality of which they termed 'stunning'. Indeed. Amazing what comes out of Taiwan these days, looks like a $5000 Litespeed hard tail.
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Old 05-12-08, 07:53 PM   #14
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I thought Mike's MSRP pricing caused him to get bitten in that review. They reviewed the Fly Ti as though it cost over $4000. I don't think there was any mention of the bike actually costing more like $2000.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:38 AM   #15
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I think the place that Ti really shines though is in softtail form. You lose none of the efficiency of a hardtail yet pick up a little added cush for the back. It just kills me when people complain about the lack of travel though. All I can think to myself is wtf, it only has a little over 1" of travel. It ain't a down hill bomer, it's an xc rig with benefits.

Here is my Ti softtail bike with a temporary wheelset on it.



I'd post a ride report but a day after picking it up I did this.



Which now looks like this.



Which will need between 4 and 5 months to heal. So I will not be on singletrack with it until September at the earlist.

Sorry to hijack the thread.
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