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When are the cheap used Ti frames appearing?

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When are the cheap used Ti frames appearing?

Old 11-17-21, 10:33 PM
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When are the cheap used Ti frames appearing?

So, I was thinking of how I had wanted a Ti frame for my first new-purchase road bike, but even the affordable Habanero frames were too expensive. That was 20+ years ago, and their marketing (and the promise of Ti high-zoot frames) was that they would last forever.

But it's now been 20+ years that Ti frames have been newly manufactured and released into the wild. And none should be lost to rust and weather like some non-trivial fraction of steel frames from the 80s and 90s.

But used Ti road frames are still asking $1k on the 'bay and >$600 on c-list.

Is it just too early, and 30-40 year olds buying expensive Ti bikes in the 90s and 00ts are going to hold them another 20 years?

Or were Ti bikes always such a small fraction of the market that there will never be a glut of used frames on the market?
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Old 11-17-21, 10:50 PM
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I got my used Merlin Ti frame/fork from a fellow forum member here in 2015. I paid around $550, and feel lucky to this day.
Someone's dream frame #3: 1990 Merlin/Kellogg Ti road frame

These opportunities don't come up often, so be ready to pounce. I don't foresee selling mine any time soon.
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Old 11-18-21, 04:07 AM
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They have always been a very small part of the market. I do occasionally see lugged titanium frames show up from time to time but those are a no-go because they were epoxied together and the aluminum lugs have started to corrode by now, making it impossible to fix properly without spending a lot of money.
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Old 11-18-21, 06:45 AM
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At this point I doubt you'll ever see a Ti frame worth buying for a few hundred bucks...if that's the price point you're thinking of. As for ebay..the land of make believe (with respect to pricing) in many-most cases, at least for desirable bikes/frames.. I picked up a show-room condition, all original (Ultegra group, original tires still had the centerline nubs on them) 2002 Lemond Victoire a few years ago for $1200. Given comparable prices of Ti frames and bikes a few years ago and what they are now..seemed like a reasonable deal then and still. I'm seeing Lemond Ti bikes running $1400-$1500 now, no idea what they're actually selling for. Other Ti road bikes running upward of twice that. Sort of is what it is..
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Old 11-18-21, 07:38 AM
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I owned a Litespeed Classic for years and have had a Litespeed Firenze for several years now. We all know for parts, "It can be lightweight, durable, or cheap—pick two." It can be argued for frames you add "nice ride" and get, a frame can be a nice ride, lightweight, durable, or cheap -pick three.
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Old 11-18-21, 07:44 AM
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The initial post sets out the factors that indicate ti frames will hold their value
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Old 11-18-21, 07:44 AM
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I feel this way about titanium mtbs. Hardtail rim-brake only frames with "outdated" geometry--surely they've gotta be cheap enough by now for me to get one? Not quite... maybe someday though
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Old 11-18-21, 08:22 AM
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Been a few years now, I purchased a NOS off-brand Ti road frame. Excel Sports had a USA welded house brand titanium - Macalu. Came in 2 models = endurance ( road-sport is what we called it then) and race. For $500, I found the new Cirrus race frame with Real Design carbon fork. Built it with Ergo10 triple. Usually riding this one in the mountains. As I age, a taller headtube would suit me better.

not the best pic, but recent.
Oversized tubes in main triangle and beefy chainstays keep this 59cm stiff enough. 25-28mm tires keep it comfy.

edit: Excel Sports with it’s Boulder brick&mortar + online sales was the largest Merlin dealer in the West at the time of the merger with Litespeed. Not sure if these tubes with hourglass stays were from either Merlin or Litespeed stock, nor whether this frame was welded in MA or TN or CO? Any definitive input about manufacture of Macalu Cirrus frames greatly appreciated. PM me, if you prefer.

Last edited by Wildwood; 11-18-21 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 11-18-21, 08:35 AM
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Where are the $600 Ti road frames?? Cause they sure aren't on my CL.
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Old 11-18-21, 08:36 AM
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I posted a nice complete '96 Litespeed Classic w/DA&Ultegra 9 on here, CL, and FB for $800 and it sat for months. I finally had someone buy just the f&f for $450.
Just because they're asking, doesn't mean they're getting.
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Old 11-18-21, 08:40 AM
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OP- you are looking for a frame in a time when used bikes and frames are at historically high asking prices. Deals can still be found, sure, but they are relatively rare.
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Old 11-18-21, 08:50 AM
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Bike Directs has always offered reasonable TI priced bikes. I too would like to have one. Their bikes do have decent reviews.
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Old 11-18-21, 08:54 AM
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I had worked for Airborne bikes during one of the few years they weren't owned by Huffy, in the early '00s, and have been trying to get one ever since. I think part of the problem is that as the market price for Ti fluxuates, the perceived value on older frames rises as well. At the time I was there, retail on most frames was $1400. The 6/4 model was more, as was the carbon seatstay model. Cost was between $375-450. I had a custom SSCX commissioned, but was laid off before it came in and couldn't afford it. When they asked me back the next season, I took my first check and bought what I think is the prototype of the track frame they offered, a copy of the Litespeed Blade. Still have it and have put 1000s of miles on it.

Playing in the snow.



One of the last projects I worked on there was a fleet of semi-custom bikes for Backroads Touring. Very similar to the Valkyrie model, they were a sport touring with lots of clearance and eyelets. As luck would have it, Backroads occasionally sells off they retired bikes and advertises on Pinkbike at a very, very competitive price ($600-700 + shpping). This spring, I was able to get one. A few years newer than the ones I assembled, it does maintain the same serial number formatting as my track bike. The same factory in China also builds for Van Nicholas in the EU.


Mmmm, poke
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Old 11-18-21, 10:01 AM
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I scored a late 90s Merlin Ti road frame on eBay some years back for around $600, iirc. One factor that likely discouraged bidders was that it had that odd proprietary grease guard BB, but it was in good shape, and it wasn’t hard to find a crankset that fit. I really liked the ride of that frame (with a CF fork), but it was a tad small for me and barely fit 25mm tires, so it moved on. I think I might have sold it (on eBay) for more than I paid.
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Old 11-18-21, 11:47 AM
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I have a couple of Ti bikes, a 2005 Bianchi S9 and a '92 RM Titanium. Both are my favourites for long rides, and both were rare and not cheap.
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Old 11-18-21, 12:00 PM
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Aside from the historically high demand for used -or any- bikes... Ti bikes were never mainstream, and always expensive. People who bought or buy Ti, know what they are getting. So they are less likely to "dump" their bike just to get rid of it.

Bargains are out there, but you have to be patient. Very patient.

Or you can get a brand new Waltly frame built with custom geo for around $750 + shipping. Cool graphics extra. I've been tempted to use them to get a breakaway travel frame...

Last edited by Rocket-Sauce; 11-18-21 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 11-18-21, 12:08 PM
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Picked up these two for less then $500 total. A Mongoose Pro Titanium and an AIrborne Lucky Strike. The Mongoose had a bomber fork and Saint crankset when I picked it up. The Airborne is gone now and the Mongoose is almost finished its drop bar conversion.
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Old 11-18-21, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocket-Sauce View Post
Or you can get a brand new Waltly frame built with custom geo for around $750 + shipping. Cool graphics extra. I've been tempted to use them to get a breakaway travel frame...
+1!

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Old 11-18-21, 12:14 PM
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As others have said, you don't want to ride cheap ti

I picked up a Colnago titanium Oval Master a bunch of years ago and it didn't really do much for me so I sold it

About 5 years ago I picked up ti Serotta Legend .....big difference, I love my Serotta. It is very stable and comfortable without being too stiff.

I got lucky with both because they were good deals but I learned that the Colnago was built by a Russian firm and that they made the same frame for many different vendors.
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Old 11-18-21, 12:48 PM
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About a decade ago, ti was on the way out as carbon was on the way in. Lots of ti bikes and frames were sold to fund carbon purchases, often at a fraction of original cost. Nobody seemed to want to pay much anymore for ti unless you were buying new from a boutique builder.

As I have no interest in carbon frames, this worked incredibly well for me. Still riding the IF Crown Jewel Ti ($1700) and Serotta Legend Ti ($1000) I purchased during that interval, both complete bikes.

The deals are still out there, though not as plentiful as they once were. Set alerts, keep your eyes peeled and something will surface.
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Old 11-18-21, 12:57 PM
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A Ti bike is a splurge. Never made in the quantity of steel, and not as easy/cheap to produce. A quick search on Farcebook marketplace in my area shows plenty of options available. Prices aren't bad.

For the frugal enthusiast there are always those Huffy Ironman MTBs made of "titanium boron steel."
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Old 11-18-21, 01:09 PM
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I bought this frame off of a guy on CL about three years ago. I was happy @ $650


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Old 11-18-21, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by eeuuugh View Post
I feel this way about titanium mtbs. Hardtail rim-brake only frames with "outdated" geometry--surely they've gotta be cheap enough by now for me to get one? Not quite... maybe someday though
I have - rarely - seen some of these for cheap. Sometimes it was something like a titanium Mongoose Pro where I doubt the seller actually knows that the bike is valuable.
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Old 11-18-21, 03:11 PM
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I have found several, including Lightspeed and Merlin, at very attractive prices. They all have moved on.

I bought one Merlin just have a donor bike (it was full Dura Ace 7700).

If you look aggressively, you will find them, maybe not in SF market. Saw a Lightspeed MTB two weeks ago on FB marketplace for $300. It did not last long. Not sure you will find any great deals on ebay, at least, I have not. FB marketplace in my area is great for buyers, sucks for sellers.
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Old 11-18-21, 04:22 PM
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I got my Dean Ti frame (built in the mid-90's, 1" Chris King headset already installed) a few years ago for $300 from a friend. Said friend bought it years before that for $650 (including a fork, which I did not get), then found it was just a bit too big for him and he never built it up. He posted it for sale on a local cycling group mailing list at steadily decreasing prices for years, not sure he tried too hard to sell it anywhere else. Worked out well for me, the total build (with mostly used parts, 10-speed 105 drivetrain) cost me just under $1000 including the $300 frame and another $200 or so for a new Columbus Minimal 1" threadless fork.

I wonder if you'd have better luck in less-public places, such as cycling club mailing lists, for good deals on Ti frames. People who can afford one probably don't need to get top dollar when selling one, but also might not be too motivated to put a lot of effort into the sale and don't want to deal with the hassles of no-shows and CL scams and such. They might be willing to give a good deal to someone they know from a club, though, especially if they still have some sentimental attachment to the bike and like the idea of it going to someone nearby who will ride it.
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