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Titanium vs Steel for overall comfort, shock absorption, and vibration dampening?

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Titanium vs Steel for overall comfort, shock absorption, and vibration dampening?

Old 09-18-11, 09:14 AM
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Titanium vs Steel for overall comfort, shock absorption, and vibration dampening?

Curious what the clydes group thinks is best for a larger rider (me)?
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Old 09-18-11, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by cleon
Curious what the clydes group thinks is best for a larger rider (me)?
I've ridden them all (over a 30+ year bicycle history) and, to be honest, there's not a lot of difference in ride. I'm not alone in that thinking. I don't ride steel because, frankly, most production steel bikes are low level boat anchors. You can find some high quality steel frames but those aren't cheap. You can pick up a production aluminum bike that weighs about the same for a lot less.

Titanium is a great material and makes a great bike. I have 2. Neither one is particularly flexy and they both ride about the same as my aluminum bikes (I have 5 of those and I've had around 20 others in the past). But they are even more expensive than a high quality steel bike. My frames are more expensive than carbon frame bikes. You can find cheaper titanium but it's never as cheap as steel or aluminum.

Don't get caught up in the (bad) mythology of aluminum when looking at bikes. Aluminum is a wonderful material and the bikes built from it are great bikes and a great value. Read Sheldon Brown's article.
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Old 09-18-11, 09:53 AM
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You can great custom steel for a fraction of the cost of Ti - Columbus Spirit tubing or Zona both make great bikes in the right hands.

I'm sure Ti is great but the weight savings are not large enough to justify the cost (for me) for quite a similar ride.

I have a Marinoni Sportivo available in Steel, Ti, or Carbon tubes with steel lugs - mine is Zona Steel w/o the carbon rear triangle.

https://www.marinoni.qc.ca/html/Sportivo.html
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Old 09-18-11, 10:09 AM
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The ride on Ti is nicer though it could be argued that it is a subjective thing. Ti doesn't corrode. Steel must be protected inside and out from rust. It's not just a weight thing. There is also something inherently beautiful about a brushed raw Ti frame, again subjective.
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Old 09-18-11, 02:17 PM
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Originally I was looking at steel and had narrowed it down to a Gunnar Roadie or Sport frame, then Lynskey titanium caught my eye and I started looking at their R230 or Sportive frames for 'only' $600 more, although I'm still trying to figure out the difference in those two frames.

I had a Trek 1500 aluminum frame and I found it MUCH less comfortable than my current carbon frame, despite Sheldon's article, in terms of vibration and jarring effects. I'm sure the Trek frame was nothing special, but neither is my carbon.
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Old 09-18-11, 08:33 PM
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I like Cro-Mo.

I have a friend who has dozen+ bikes, and lives near the ocean. His are Cro-Mo or Titanium. He likes the Ti because of the no worries about corrosion - his is not painted, and a buffing takes care of any scratches. He said the ride is no different between the Cro-Mo and Ti; but the Ti is lighter.

Ti should have a springier more responsive ride, but that it is theoretical, and he does not find that very noticeable in practice.
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Old 09-18-11, 10:15 PM
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I have a steel bike and a Ti bike - the Ti bike is a higher end frame and it rides like it. It is a little noodly when I really get on it but most of of the time its really a pleasant ride. Its probably 23 years old now, decals are gone but aside from that it looks largely fresh off the assembly line. Its significantly lighter than my low-end bianchi steel frame and I haven't ridden the Bianchi more than once since I got it 6 years ago. Oh well!
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Old 09-19-11, 06:18 AM
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So it sounds like it's not necessarily a dramatically different ride, as much as getting the 'plush' benefit of steel with lower weight? At least that's my read on the consensus here. So then it just becomes how much do I want to pay per lb...lol.
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Old 09-19-11, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cleon
So it sounds like it's not necessarily a dramatically different ride, as much as getting the 'plush' benefit of steel with lower weight? At least that's my read on the consensus here. So then it just becomes how much do I want to pay per lb...lol.
The difference is in the frame builder, not necessarily the frame material. Most (not all) TI frames are higher end bikes so they will have a (generally) better ride than a "standard" steel frame. For the mileage that you will probably do, the frame material is is probably close to irrelevant. A good frame builder can make just about any frame material into a great frame. There is a huge difference between a well designed frame and a poorly designed one. If you buy a cheap steel bike, you will get a cheap steel ride.
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Old 09-19-11, 01:36 PM
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Carbon fiber.

But the truth is the engineering in the frame makes a lot more difference than the material it's made from, and both of these factors play less role than tire width and pressure.
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Old 09-19-11, 01:52 PM
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I have a buddy that bought two steel Pegoretti's. Also has a few other bikes and more money than he knows what to do with.

He bought a top of the line Merlin, sweet looking bike even though the look of plain ti is not my taste. Sweet carvings into the ti for graphics. He was pretty unhapy with the ride claiming the steel Peg's ride was much nicer. Go figure!
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Old 09-19-11, 02:32 PM
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In my circle we say Ti is as close to steel as you can come. That is actually a compliment given that Ti is an even more durable material than steel but the ride is as comfortable. Personally I believe Ti is the perfect Clyde friendly bike material... next to steel that is (as the owner of a custom Landshark should say!)!
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Old 09-19-11, 02:52 PM
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I've heard that titanium is weaker than steel and heavier than aluminum? Is this true?
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Old 09-19-11, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I've heard that titanium is weaker than steel and heavier than aluminum? Is this true?
Not quite. Titanium has a density about half of steel with a yield strength that's only slightly less than steel. Aluminum has a density that's a third that of steel with a much lower yield strength.

The modulus, or stiffness, of the materials is the inverse. Aluminum isn't all that stiff, titanium is about 1.5 times as stiff as aluminum and steel is 2 times stiffer than titanium. Steel is actually the stiffer material. It's the nature of construction and usage that makes aluminum frames stiffer.
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Old 09-19-11, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I've heard that titanium is weaker than steel and heavier than aluminum? Is this true?
Spoken like a true CF owner... who has convinced himself that's a reason to buy CF! I bet my steel bike is almost (I admit almost) as light as your CF one!
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Old 09-20-11, 07:42 AM
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Lol.it always keeps coming down to just needing to get BOTH because it's too subjective ! I think I said above I'm looking at either a Gunnar or a Lynskey, which based on what I'm reading above, sounds like they would come in the 'mid-range' of what you guys have ridden from a quality perspective for their respective materials.
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Old 09-20-11, 08:54 AM
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When it comes to the bike frame with most comfortable ride, the choice between steel, aluminum, titamium, and carbon is simple:

The one with the biggest tires run at the lowest pressure.

A bike frame has been compared to a bridge strut; it won't give. The fork is slightly more flexible, so it can absorb a little bit of road shock and vibration. Most of the vibration isolation in a bicycle is in the tires. Lower pressure tires can absorb more vibration, and fatter tires can carry the same load at lower pressure.

Wasn't that easy?
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Old 09-20-11, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
The one with the biggest tires run at the lowest pressure.

A bike frame has been compared to a bridge strut; it won't give.
Bridges are notoriously slow, however. It's true that tire width and pressure has more effect on comfort than most things. But a frame made from a material that absorbs some road buzz, with things like thin, curved seat stays and curves at the end of the fork will let you run narrower tires at higher pressure, and ultimately go further on the same energy.

Originally Posted by Pamestique
Spoken like a true CF owner... who has convinced himself that's a reason to buy CF! I bet my steel bike is almost (I admit almost) as light as your CF one!
Well I didn't even consider Ti when I bought my CF frame, so that wasn't one of my reasons.

But I bet you're right: our bikes probably weigh within 1.5 pounds of each other, and within 0.5 % of the bike + rider weight. I haven't been willing to spend the money (and almost certainly won't) to make mine an ultralight bike. It's a hair under 18 lbs now. If I changed the wheels to Ksyrium Elites, my bike would lose 1.5 lbs; if I also changed my groupset from heavy Ultegra to SRAM Red it would lose another 1.5 lbs, and a different saddle and road pedals would get me to the low 14.? lb range. Wheels are the only upgrade on that list that I'm even partway interested in, though. Ask about stiffness, though, and it's another story.
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Old 09-20-11, 01:55 PM
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If what you say is true, then I'm going with this...



I checked and they said they had a fat tire version. The front ram should help at busy intersections. Just have to see if they have a Ti option as well.

Originally Posted by pdlamb
A bike frame has been compared to a bridge strut; it won't give. The fork is slightly more flexible, so it can absorb a little bit of road shock and vibration. Most of the vibration isolation in a bicycle is in the tires. Lower pressure tires can absorb more vibration, and fatter tires can carry the same load at lower pressure.
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