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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 08-20-08, 12:05 PM   #1
brownlights
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Titanium track frames, potential goldmine?

My boss seems to have quite a history with track bikes and racing. She says her father built racing bikes in Los Angeles in the 1960s and started her in the velodrome from age 4. She also says the bikes he made were some of the first titanium track frames. Having inherited much of his belongings, here is where the story gets interesting.

Among his possessions were several (I think she said 20-30) of these old bikes, fully equipped with campagnolo gear and some other italian company i forget the name of. This stable is apparently in storage somewhere, just waiting to be unleashed into the world.

What I'm asking is, does this all add up? That is, early/first titanium frames, 1960s, etc. Also, how do you all think these bikes would have held up in storage over the years. I imagine titanium wouldn't run into too many aging problems, but who knows.

I am trying to get more information out of her, and I'm sure she would be looking to sell most of these bikes.
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Old 08-20-08, 12:12 PM   #2
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get out and ride them :-)
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Old 08-20-08, 12:17 PM   #3
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i'd buy one if the price was right
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Old 08-20-08, 12:21 PM   #4
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i'd buy one if the price was right
Yeah, send anything under 50cm my way!
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Old 08-20-08, 12:22 PM   #5
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This thread requires pictures.
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Old 08-20-08, 12:23 PM   #6
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Early Ti stuff was generally regarded as flexy as hell, especially in the BB, so that is why it never caught on until Litespeed spent a lot of research/development on Ti in the '80s and '90s. Still, even Litespeed had some troubles and a lot of their models from the early 90s are pretty useless due to the huge flex issues.

Teledyne was an early Ti manufacturer and I don't think they have any value except as collectibles of a different era, they wouldn't be much use for riding.
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Old 08-20-08, 12:27 PM   #7
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Also, if she has waited this long, she should put up a 56 on eBay and see what it fetches. She can slowly release more and more, one every month or so, to attain maximum value. She will probably get a ton of questions and she can just email back people saying that she has other frames for sale and work away from ebay to avoid their crazy fees.
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Old 08-20-08, 12:50 PM   #8
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This thread requires that you send the largest one to skinnyland, posthaste.
See?


Really, that's a great find. Please do get some photos and share them with us!
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Old 08-20-08, 12:50 PM   #9
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This sounds potentially great, but I am skeptical. There are some big issues in terms of the usefulness of the bikes, mainly the flex issue that JS mentioned. Ti really didn't make a good track bike then (it is still not a common material because of the flex issue), so I see no reason someone would go through the trouble of building 20-30 frames out of a material that was probably hard to come by (anyone making Ti tubes then?), a pain to work with (still true), probably didn't make good frames (flex issue), and was really expensive. A couple just to try it out - maybe, if he was some technology geek who wanted to play around with the new supermetal. It is also my understanding that during the 1960s, almost all Ti was for the military, and people were just starting to be exposed to the material, so I am really unsure how he would have gotten the material to start with.

My guess? The frames are steel. I have had more than one person see a really nicely made steel frame and think it is Ti, because they are surprised by the low weight and quality. They think steel=Varsity, and don't realize you can make a really nice steel bike.

The frames still probably have collector's value as vintage pieces, but not the technology-ground-braking status they would if they were Ti.

Who knows, maybe they are Ti? This is a good story - keep us posted!

Last edited by geoffvsjeff; 08-20-08 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 08-20-08, 01:02 PM   #10
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Yeah, I'm really not sure that they are all titanium. She might have just been saying that because it sounds more impressive. I believe that these bikes were intended for racing, so steel would be a good bet.

I really don't have much more information, much less pictures, but I will continue to press for information.

I too hope that some awesome, rideable old bikes (and big ones, too) come as a result of this. Now I just have to convince her to let me check them out.
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Old 08-20-08, 07:30 PM   #11
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You ought to take this to Classic and Vintage. There would be a lot of interest in the history there.
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Old 08-20-08, 07:38 PM   #12
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I'd doubt Ti from that era, but thats a hunch more than anything. Check them out, bring a magnet.
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Old 08-20-08, 08:11 PM   #13
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Titanium in a gold mine?
What?
Titanium mine?
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Old 08-20-08, 08:42 PM   #14
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If you get a chance to check them out look for discoloration around the weld area which would indicate oxidization which would indicate that you are going to get hurt riding it.

I remember reading a popular mechanics article about the development of Ti for the Blackbird and they were saying how brittle it was before they figured out you had to weld it in an inert environment.
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Old 08-20-08, 11:59 PM   #15
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i'd buy one if you weren't lying out of your butthole.
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Old 08-21-08, 09:05 AM   #16
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i would buy if the price was right
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Old 08-21-08, 09:16 AM   #17
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It would definitely be easier for the rest of us to give feedback/information if we could see them. If you can get some pictures, or if she could post some that would be awesome
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Old 08-21-08, 09:17 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jet sanchEz View Post
Early Ti stuff was generally regarded as flexy as hell, especially in the BB, so that is why it never caught on until Litespeed spent a lot of research/development on Ti in the '80s and '90s. Still, even Litespeed had some troubles and a lot of their models from the early 90s are pretty useless due to the huge flex issues.

Teledyne was an early Ti manufacturer and I don't think they have any value except as collectibles of a different era, they wouldn't be much use for riding.
Not to mention the metal fatigue of a 40+ year old Ti frame (from sitting in a storage room all those years). The alloys they had back then were not the best and would be close to useless today.

It would be like finding Carbon fiber frames from the mid-80s, heavy, soft and useless. And no, Kestrel isn't having a garage sale.
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Old 08-21-08, 09:57 AM   #19
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... A couple just to try it out - maybe, if he was some technology geek who wanted to play around with the new supermetal. It is also my understanding that during the 1960s, almost all Ti was for the military, and people were just starting to be exposed to the material, so I am really unsure how he would have gotten the material to start with.
The guy was in LA and aerospace/military research is and pretty much has been the main industry of Southern California since the 50s. Could see if he was an engineer that he'd have been able to get his hands on some of it pretty easily. Ti alloys first appeared in aero/military apps in the mid 50s and then went commercial in the early 60s from what I know so it's totally possible he geeked out and made some. Agree with you though, that him making 20-30 probably didn't happen. The materials piece of the puzzle fits though.

Here's a quick history of Ti I found that more or less correlates with what I've gleaned over the last few years. You guys might find it interesting...

http://www.ing.unitn.it/~colombo/tel...ul_titanio.htm
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Old 08-21-08, 10:14 AM   #20
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Cecil Behringer and Pino Morroni made the first Ti frames, track bikes even! Morroni even made the tubes out of solid bars.
So unless her father was one them....I'm thinking no.
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Old 08-21-08, 04:06 PM   #21
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This thread has no real information.

Buy the bikes and flip the 60s Campy track ****. End of story.

No 'I heard my boss's brother's grandfather's ex-girlfriend's friend has a bunch of bikes.' Useless.
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Old 08-21-08, 04:52 PM   #22
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Sounds potentially awesome, get some pics for us at minimum for the threads sake. Im interested to see what they look like.
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