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Old 03-27-06, 05:27 PM   #1
DogBoy
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Titanium?

8 of the 10 people who I know that tour say they choose steel as a touring bike for strength and flexibility. The other 2 ride a T800 & T2000. My question to you is why not TI? Its lighter than steel and has great ride properties. Aside from expense (a considerable negative) are there good reasons not to choose Titanium?

I'm lusting after a Seven Vacanza and want to know if its worth the extra $1,000 for Ti. I must make the case to the budget director for either, but I'm looking for a lifetime bike for touring & Randoneering(sp).
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Old 03-27-06, 06:12 PM   #2
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If you like the bike and can outfit as you want for touring, there's no reason not to use any particular material for a touring frame. Ask the manufacturer if the bike will handle the total weight (you plus gear) you would haul.

If you plan to use panniers, make sure the bike has eyelets in the dropouts and forks for the racks and long enough chainstays to provide proper heel clearance for the panniers.
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Old 03-27-06, 06:18 PM   #3
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I made the Ti choice in 1989 when I ordered a custom Ti Bruce Gordon RnR (built by Gary Helfrich) for my touring requirements. I use front and rear Gordon racks with Needleworks/Beckman Panniers. The bike has been a marvel of comfort and performance for 17 years and counting. The Ti bar and stem help too.

I can ride almost any terrain fully loaded using the 700X47 Schwalbe Marathon XR tires. The last long tour was the Divide Ride. Along the way, I heard many negative comments about using the rigid non-mtn bike bike on the Divide Ride. I had no mechanical or frame problems at all. Only the engine could use a rebuild now.

My grandfather always said-Buy good quality and take care of it and you will save yourself the money of replacing inferior choices many times along the way. It has worked for me.

Yes the price was a gulp!! experience but the cost per year keeps decreasing. If you want my vote, Go for the Seven in Ti.
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Old 03-27-06, 11:20 PM   #4
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Here is a Ti Moots Touring model, would be a pretty good choice with the couplers for air travel.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:05 AM   #5
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If you have a fit problem take a custom whatever over anything else. If you don't know what you need buy a 4130 cheapo and then move the components when you do know.

I have heard bad things about Ti, but never having owned a Ti bike I will let others catch up with this thread.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:17 AM   #6
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There's no reason a steel frame will not last a lifetime if properly maintained.

That said, think about the type of touring you do now and what you might do in the future. Will the extra expense be worthwhile? (You said you have a budget)

Perhaps use the Ti as a bargaining tool with the "budget directer", and get other options on a steel as a "compromise" instead. Win win situation.
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Old 03-28-06, 12:08 PM   #7
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Steel can be repaired (welded) almost anywhere. This is the main reason for steel touring bikes.

Ti is a fine material for touring, but it tough to find a place to weld it. I would have bought a Ti touring bike already, but I'm not comfortable leaving something that costly alone in all sorts of places. I would also want to take very good care of it like my other Ti bikes.

I'm more comfortable with painted steel as it does not look so valuable, it's not so valuable, and I don't mind it getting worn, scratched, etc.
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Old 03-28-06, 12:15 PM   #8
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Steel can be repaired (welded) almost anywhere. This is the man reason for steel touring bikes.
As thin as the steel is on a modern bike frame, there's as good a chance of making a problem worse if the welder doesn't know what he's doing.

This may be fine if you are stuck in Elbonia and are desperate, but would you let some hack weld on your $1500 lugged steel frame? Not me, man. I think I'd be on the phone to the factory arranging for expedited repair via FedEx.
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Old 03-28-06, 03:53 PM   #9
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Ya know I see this bit about being able to find a blacksmith in timbuktu to repair a steel touring frame and I have to ask: what are the odds? Really? Has anyone here had to do that? Wouldn't most frame failing experiences pretty much end your tour anyway?
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Old 03-29-06, 08:13 AM   #10
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There are very few good touring bikes made from Ti. That Moots is a light touring bike, not an expedition rig. Lightspeed Blueridge is the only one I know.
The market for tourers is quite small and the builders are used to steel and it works and the steel tube manufacturers make tubing specially for touring applications and it is easy to have braze-ons adapted post-purchase.

As for 3rd world village repairs, there may be some small engineering/jewllers/gunsmith type craftsmen who could braze a frame but your basic agricultural welder would wreck the tubing.
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Old 03-29-06, 09:06 AM   #11
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The very best touring bikes are made from thicker tubing as well to prevent dents. Real touring bikes are sold all over the world, they go to places where there is no cell service and no Fed Ex. They go across Tibet, The Sahara, etc. This has nothing to do with touring in the USA. You could tour in the USA on a bamboo bike, all you need is a phone. If my steel touring bike fails, I will probably just call a cab.

It make sense to sell steel touring bikes to a global market. A steel bike just stacks the odds in your favor that it could be fixed in a situation where you stay put if the bike fails. The odds of it happening are very low, but it happens. You can bend steel back into shape if you want to. You can straighten a bent derailleur hanger a few times, without having to carry a bolt on one. You can pull back a bent fork that hit a tree. If the baggage handler dented your tubes you can just ride anyway. If the chain stays get bent in during shipping, you can pull them out (maybe).

That's a good reason to get one to ride in third world countries, a good reason to use one to tour the world, not the reason a local USA rider should get one.
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Old 03-29-06, 04:43 PM   #12
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Some clarification of my purpose:

Touring primarily in the US and potentially Western Europe & Randoneering (very light loads). Most likely even my tours would not be carrying a "full" load, but doing Credit card tours of 1-2 weeks max. Most miles will be done with very little load on group rides & training rides.
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Old 03-31-06, 05:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy
Some clarification of my purpose:

Touring primarily in the US and potentially Western Europe & Randoneering (very light loads). Most likely even my tours would not be carrying a "full" load, but doing Credit card tours of 1-2 weeks max. Most miles will be done with very little load on group rides & training rides.
From your clarification, any material will do nicely (including carbon).

I still think you should use the Titanium as a bargaining point with your budget director, and get other extras (better wheels, etc etc). You could be all like: "Ok I'll keep the 1000$ wheelset*, but I'll compromise on the Ti frame for the Reynolds steel instead..."

*Or get that personalized paint job you allways were afraid to ask for...or that full Campy Groupo you'd allways wanted etc etc.
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Old 03-31-06, 12:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Camel
...or that full Campy Groupo you'd allways wanted etc etc.

I was thinking Campy Chorus 10 sp Triple RD (12-29) & ergo shifters but with XT FD w mtn cranks.

Budget director thinks we should go on a nice vacation instead....I'll find a way! It just might take longer than I first thought....Apparently MY company bonus is considered to be OUR money....Go figure
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Old 03-31-06, 10:15 PM   #15
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I was thinking Campy Chorus 10 sp Triple RD (12-29) & ergo shifters but with XT FD w mtn cranks.

Budget director thinks we should go on a nice vacation instead....I'll find a way! It just might take longer than I first thought....Apparently MY company bonus is considered to be OUR money....Go figure
I know it's heresy, but the budget director is right. Spend less on the bike and go on a nice vacation instead. It'll pay dividends in your marriage for a long time.
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Old 04-01-06, 05:58 AM   #16
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Halfspeed is a smart man.
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Old 07-20-07, 05:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by arctos View Post
I made the Ti choice in 1989 when I ordered a custom Ti Bruce Gordon RnR (built by Gary Helfrich) for my touring requirements. I use front and rear Gordon racks with Needleworks/Beckman Panniers. The bike has been a marvel of comfort and performance for 17 years and counting. The Ti bar and stem help too.

I can ride almost any terrain fully loaded using the 700X47 Schwalbe Marathon XR tires. The last long tour was the Divide Ride. Along the way, I heard many negative comments about using the rigid non-mtn bike bike on the Divide Ride. I had no mechanical or frame problems at all. Only the engine could use a rebuild now.

My grandfather always said-Buy good quality and take care of it and you will save yourself the money of replacing inferior choices many times along the way. It has worked for me.

Yes the price was a gulp!! experience but the cost per year keeps decreasing. If you want my vote, Go for the Seven in Ti.
Hi,
Can you post some photos of your bike?
I have looked at BG website but didn't see Ti bike there.
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Old 07-21-07, 12:10 AM   #18
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I'm lusting after a Seven Vacanza and want to know if its worth the extra $1,000 for Ti. I must make the case to the budget director for either, but I'm looking for a lifetime bike for touring & Randoneering(sp).
I too lusted after a Seven Vacanza but ultimately chose the Muse because I couldn't justify the extra cost for butting. The straight gauge Ti saves about a pound on the weight of the frame and butting saves less than a half pound on top of that. Even with clearance from my "budget director" (bless her beautiful heart!) I just couldn't pull the trigger on that one.

My Muse goes into production next week and should arrive early the following week. If you're in the SF Bay Area I'd be happy to let you check it out if you're interested.

Good luck with your decision! Sevens are great bikes.
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Old 07-22-07, 08:04 AM   #19
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Here is a link to a photo of my 1989 Bruce Gordon Rock N Road loaded for the Divide Ride.

I do not know if Bruce still offers a Ti version. If not consider www.Willitsbikes.com in Austin Tx. Wes Williams was the welder/frame builder for Ibis for 12 years and has been promoting and making 29er bikes for the last decade or more. He is a friend of Bruce and learned Ti welding from Gary Helfrich who built my bike and has a twin to my Ti RNR and loves to tour.

Seven Cycles is a great choice as well. A friend is now touring around the world on his Seven now with S&S couplings and just loves the bike. He bought the Seven on my recommendation after riding my bike and learning that Bruce could not produce a bike in the time frame needed seven years ago.

If your touring does not involve more than fireroads and mainly road touring then the Mootstour or cyclocross bike with the YBB mini rear shock is a great ride. A friend in Steamboat let me ride his cyclocross version and it was wonderful.

As I read about alleged ti bike theft problems I am reminded that most people around the world think that the Ti bike is a crummy shiny chrome bike in which they have no interest. When mine was brand new I toured to Crested Butte, Co from Santa Barbara and left the bike unlocked in town at night. Everyone thought that it was a cheap chrome Ross frame. If bare Ti makes you nervous just have it painted but I like the bare material-polished or bead blasted and I have no chips and you can re-polish with a #M pad.

As I re-read this post I see my Ti bias hanging out all over but my bike has treated me very well and the initial expense has been amortized over a long period of time since 1989.




Sorry about the picture but I am on the road now and this is one of the few I could locate to post.
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Old 07-22-07, 09:58 AM   #20
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I am of mixed opinion. Ti is expensive to fabricate but it gives a nice enough ride for the weight reduction. As others have said, there are not so many choices in Ti tourers, Moots (I have a Vamoots)being one of the few, and possibly Habanero. For a rando bike, it might be nice as an option: light, fast, no worries about rust or paint damage. For loaded touring, weight trimming from the bike would have to be my last priority; I would probably go with a lighter gear selection, maybe lighter components and bags and possibly a lighter tire or wheelset. Staying on the road and getting replacement parts quickly would be more of a priority than worrying about finding a skilled welder in some remote place. I think it would be a whole lot easier to get a steel replacement fork at a bike shop than any other kind of fork. If you damage much more, and escape damage yourself (get medivac insurance and overseas medical coverage), you may be looking at a whole new bike anyway.

I would go with what the experienced tourers recommend. People like Willie Weir use steel separable 26in bikes with a modest and servicable component mix and make the travel as little about the bike as makes sense.
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Old 07-22-07, 10:21 AM   #21
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If you're that worried about finding a place to fix your bike, make it out of solid titanium rods instead of titanium tubing. You'll never have to worry about breaking or denting again.
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Old 07-22-07, 03:00 PM   #22
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I personally do not see any point in worrying about weight in this context.

A few pounds of frame weight is utterly irrelevant for any kind of touring and even randoneurring. The only application where the 2-5 lbs of frame weight will make any kind of meaningful difference is for serious competition (as in, Cat 3 racing or higher) - and that's only because a 15 second over a 50km distance might mean 15th place rather than 1st.

You should focus on ride quality rather than weight. Others are more experienced than I in that respect, but I think Ti and steel are so close, that it's not worth the premium cost.

I'd look into a Mercian frame (maybe an Audax model), get an idea of the cost, then decide if you'd rather spend the $1000 or whatever on the bike, or on the road....
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Old 06-27-09, 11:15 AM   #23
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I like all the input here, but this thread is over two years old. Would there be anything new to contribute? Any changes in technology to consider? My guess is no, but I'm not the most knowledgeable (that's why I read these threads).
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Old 06-27-09, 11:41 AM   #24
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The Moots is still on the market with a touring bike.
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Old 06-28-09, 03:31 AM   #25
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Van Nicholas and Omega make a variety of styles in Ti including tourers.
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