Please help me understand why using steel is preferred then titanium for touring frames.
Please help me understand why using steel is preferred then titanium for touring frames.
Steel is cheaper and can be more easily repaired.
Steel lasts almost indefinitely if you treat it well. By all means, buy a Ti frame if you want to, though.
Less theft risk/fear, maybe?
You could get painted ti. But it is very hard to repair on the road, and steel bike frames last.
They'll all last forever if you take care of them. I have a Spectrum ti touring bike which replaced a 1978 Proteus straight gauge 531 touring bike which I still use as well, BTW.
If you feel the lighter bike is worth it, go for Ti.
What you should be worrying about at this point is selecting a frame builder who can not only fit you correctly, but also can spec the tubing properly to assure this frame has the proper dynamics, not too stiff, not too whippy. I would suggest many fitters may be perfectly competent to spec a bike for racing/club ride use, bit to do it for loaded touring is a whole other matter. I took no chances, hence, the Spectrum
A custom bike is expensive whether it is made of steel or Titanium. I opted for steel when I bought my custom touring bike, but I could have ordered Titanium for an additional $1100 or so. But that would have pushed the price into the upper reaches of my financial stratosphere. It was too much for my pocketbook to handle!
If money were no object, I probably would have gone for Titanium. The idea of a strong, lightweight and rustproof frame is very tempting. But money is an issue, and there is nothing shoddy about my steel bike. The frame is strong, lightweight (compared to a Long Haul Trucker, but not to a carbon racer!) and, until the paint gets damaged, it is rustproof.
There is no guarantee that a Titanium frame will last longer than steel. Bikes do get stolen and banged up in accidents. A frame made of an exotic metal does not immunize the bicycle against thieves and potholes. All bikes need care. Any decent bicycle that is well maintained should last 20 or more years, and perhaps that's long enough. NOTHING is forever, not even the universe itself!
We have one guy here with a titanium Bruce Gordon, you might search on that. I think the advantage of Ti would be very minimal compared to some things that might better be paid for in a touring bike. If you want to spend say 3-10 K on a touring bike you could easily do it, without Ti ever rising high enough on the list to be part of the package.
One problem with Ti is that it is pretty much in the doldrums right now there isn't the sizzle (tecnical reason for doing it), so it tends to get overlooked where availability of parts (tubes etc...) is concerned. Probably not an issue if your desires are very traditional since there are several makers like Gordon, and suppliers like Paragon that would get you there.
If we're talking Ti for a touring bike, we also have to consider that we talk out of 2 side of out mouths: get the lights frame, then pack it with panniers, packs, lights, etc. What exactly did we save by building in Ti?
As to Ti being in the doldrums, this is nonsense. Despite the CF growing all over the place, there is plenty of demand for Ti. The right builder will get the proper tubing for a touring bike application, and the wrong builder will build you a whippy peice of crap from what they have in stock. Hence my original comments: the OP needs to put on hold his/her issues of Ti vs Steel, and worry about getting the right builder to do this job.
There really is no reason to make a touring bike out of ti. In order to make the tubes stout enough for touring you have lost the "lighteness" you may have gained. Then you get to spend an extra $1000 on it. Then as others have said you load it up with 50lbs of stuff and what do you have. A really expensive touring bike that has absolutlely no advantage over a steel counterpart.
Everyone's a roadie, they just might not know it yet.
To play the devil's advocate, I can see some real advantages with a ti touring frame. I have both steel and ti frames (both Eddy Merckx), so I am familiar with both. The ti frame would be marginally lighter, perhaps 1-2 pounds at most. However, an unpainted ti frame is remarkably maintenance free. You never have to worry about scratching or chipping the paint, or rust, or applying frame saver. An unpainted ti frame would be a perfect travel bike that has to be periodically packed in a case and shipped.
On the other hand, I doubt that any weight savings for a ti frame would amount to a hill of beans. By the time you load up a frame with racks, packs, cargo, water, etc., any additional weight of a steel frame would be negligible.
If you're looking for a ti touring frame, the Litespeed Blue Ridge seems like a good value. It has actual touring geometry, eyelets for racks and fenders, long chain stays, etc. Not sure if Litespeed is still selling the Blue Ridge or not, but I think they can be custom ordered if nothing else.
I am the guy with the Ti Bruce Gordon RNR.
When built in 1989 all of my needs were taken into account-type of use;weight of rider;weight of gear load;riding style;rack type and placement. The end result was/is a bike that astonishes me on every tour on and off road with its abilities. Only the rider's abilities limit what the bike can do and where it can go. My sanity was questioned for using this rigid bike on the Divide Ride. It made a difficult ride very enjoyable day after day.
An ovalized and oversized down tube was used to stiffen the frame to handle my weight and touring load. When ridden without loaded panniers the bike feels almost too active/springy yet with a full touring load the bike's springiness is moderated and all pedaling effort is translated into forward motion without losing its comfortable compliance for the rider. The bike feels actually faster loaded. I guess that this end result is what a custom bike can do for you. I got what I asked for and more!
Maintenance free Ti still looks new after 18 years and the amortized cost goes down each year as well. I could not say the same for my Swiss Mondia Special steel Touring bike after ten years of touring. [And I am careful with equipment to make it last.]
Pick the best custom bike that you can afford and then take care of it. You will be pleased no matter the material. Good luck on your search.
I agree with those who've commented that Ti is all about the weight. If you are going to pile on 50 lbs of stuff, why pay the premium for shaving a pound or two off the frame?
Oh, and you'll look very good doing it!
I had another steel bike (Nishiki) that I sold to my brother. He sweats a LOT, and his sweat apparently is very corrosive. That frame completed rusted in half, and he had to throw it away.
Nevertheless, I still own two steel road bikes and have no concerns about rust anymore. I wash bikes periodically and wipe them down often. I dry them right away if I get caught in the rain. Both frames are also treated with framesaver.
An example of a custom ti bike:
IMO that looks very nice.
A titanium MTB frame $670 (certificate http://www.rapid-titan.ru/product/frames/mcm/EFBe.jpg ) for disc brakes, which is compatible with a rear rack:
http://www.rapid-titan.ru/frame_mtb.htm (look at MCM-B)
A titanium fork like the one on my MTB $210:
http://www.rapid-titan.ru/fork.htm (look at MTB)
Titanium rear racks $130:
An example of the seat tubes on a custom bike to choose from:
So, the custom Ti bikes arenít too expensive at least where I live. It is possible to add additional eyelets for racks and fenders, and just everything what you want.
I have not decided yet, but probably ti bike will be my next one, when my 11 years old son gets my alloy MTB, which I ride now.
I agree with the answer on the original question that the steel tubes are cheaper. However, the Thorn bikes are made of steel and they are extremely expensive.
P.S. If you want to read Russian texts on the linked pages, use online translator.
thanks for showing us the numbers. The bike is very nice.
This thread is very long and has a lot of question regard Ti. The most important thing is that you need to find a builder that understands how Ti touring bike should be built. What do you think about this builder?
Do you think this bike have the ability to preform under load?
I saw the spec of the frame but I really don't understand how to read frame measurements. Can someone shad some insight about it?
Davidson Bicycles here in Seattle builds up their fair share of custom Ti touring bikes, I'd check them out. I agree with the previous poster that you need a builder who understands the extra demands a Ti touring bike needs to handle over a Ti road race bike. Geometries and tube thickness will be completely different on these two bikes.
I have a 10 year old titanium frame and it still looks as good as new. The advantages are not just rust free but the strength of the frame too.
I know there are a lot of people here who swear by steel which is fine but you cannot get over the pure facts that titanium is lighter and stronger than steel and also better against corrosion.
As for the theft worries I've left mine locked up at work every day for the last 5 years and have known at least 8 other bikes to be stolen, all the other bikes were valued at about £300 each.
Ti's got SPROING in it.
a poorly specc'ed touring frame made of ti will ride like a wet noodle.
"Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."
I say if you can afford it............... why not? I would if I could. Nothing wrong with owning nice stuff if it fits in YOUR budget. Does not fit in mine I'm sorry to say.
As with most others, I think it comes down to expense and lack of necessity. The $1000 premium goes a long way when you're on tour. I also happen to hold the "don't buy a bike you can't afford to replace" philosophy, and spending an extra $1000 makes the potential replacement cost a tad more painful.
The main use I'd imagine for a Ti frame would be more for a sport touring setup. If you want your bike to be a little lighter when it isn't loaded, a Ti frame might save a pound or so. However, I think even that is mostly psychological; I don't think a lot of riders would even notice a 1 or 2 pound difference in bike frame weight. It's certainly not critical unless you're racing or in a really fast group.
Plus, there are likely more economical ways to shave the same weight off, e.g. have one set of beefy wheels & tires for touring, and a lighter set for other uses; and/or use a heavy Brooks saddle for touring, and a lighter racing saddle for other uses....
All the above is valid if............. I don't have this kind of disposable income. Some do. It really isn't any different than buying a Prince or King carbon wonderbike. If you can afford it and can afford to replace it it's really no different than owning a less expensive touring bike.
If I could afford to ride and replace a ti bike without blinking(a little pain)..... I would ride one. I can't and don't.
Nothing wrong with owning nice stuff if you can afford it. I ride a 5 year old carbon bike for group rides. Does not mean that I wouldn't like the latest TCR from Giant. Would love one.
Different strokes......... I hope people buy them so maybe down the road I can pick up a nice used Ti bike for cheap