Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Steel or Titanium?

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Steel or Titanium?

Old 07-21-13, 12:52 AM
  #1  
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Double0757's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Posts: 263

Bikes: 1984 Cannodale full touring bike, Giant full carbon dura ace, Belinsky frame Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Steel or Titanium?

Looking to build my dream machine! Love the feel of steel bike, like the lightness of carbon and the stiffness and rust resistance of aluminum. I have never ridden in a titanium bike frame before. Can I combine all four properties on a titanium frame? Or should I be looking to the modern steel bikes? Of course, is going to be a fast light touring bike, 700x28 or 32.

Looking for comments preferably from people that have ridden all three material frames bikes, but all comments welcome. Still undecided on production or custom. Thanks in advance, Double O
Double0757 is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 06:12 AM
  #2  
Full Member
 
Worknomore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 464

Bikes: Serotta CRL, Litespeed Blue Ridge, Bacchetta Ti Aero, Cannondale delta V, 67 Schwinn Sting Ray stick shift.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Wanting pretty much the same, I searched for and finally found (craigslist) a slightly used Litespeed(Lynsky days), Blue Ridge. Not as stiff as carbon but very stiff for a ti bike as it is built with some good size shaped tubes. Defiantly stiffer than my Columbus steel Serotta at about the same weight. I light tour, commute and (sorta) fast group ride with it. Used, in great shape, it was about 1/5 the cost of new. Running Rolly-polly 28's in the pic. I absolutely love not having to worry about chipping the paint. Aluminum, though not rusting like steel is not corrosion resistant.
Attached Images

Last edited by Worknomore; 07-21-13 at 08:03 AM.
Worknomore is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 07:36 AM
  #3  
Fat Guy on a Little Bike
 
KonAaron Snake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 15,944

Bikes: Two wheeled ones

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1254 Post(s)
Liked 345 Times in 174 Posts
I haven't ridden carbon, but have ridden aluminum, steel and ti...I honestly think your question is flawed; materials don't necessarily have common ride characteristics and it depends more on how the builder made the frame. My Merlin rides like a dream, Ive also had other ti I was less impressed with. The ride of steel bikes varies considerably - my MAX frame is quite stiff (and very much to my taste). I like ti mostly because of the no corrosion and no chipped paint factor (though one ti I have is pained). The weight factor is nice too I suppose.

If you find a bike you like the ride of, it's a good bike. It won't necessarily be a good bike just because it's titanium. I absolutely love my Merlin - it's one of the nicest bikes I've ever ridden. I had a litespeed built Look which I didn't like at all...I'm also not that in love with my Titanio. My personal view on ti, which many disagree with, is I'd stick to the big names. I think the quality of ti bikes varies more than other materials...both in the origin of the titanium and the quality of the build. I'd stick to Merlin, IF, Moots, Spectrum, Seven, etc. Another factor to consider is that many ti frames aren't made by the company that decals them, they're contracted to other ti producers (like Sandvik and Litespeed). I'd want to know who built it.

There are plenty of people making lovely steel bikes like you describe as well...the OS steels used today can be quite stiff. Stainless is corrosion resistant, but costs a lot and is at least as difficult to work with as ti...likely more. Another benefit of most steels (not air hardened steel) is that the rear can be cold set to accommodate new standards. The bottom line is that any good builder can make you a great bike - it just depends on what you want. If given an unlimited budget, I'd want a ti Spectrum sports tourer because I really think Kellogg is a master at design.

Last edited by KonAaron Snake; 07-21-13 at 07:41 AM.
KonAaron Snake is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 08:22 AM
  #4  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 863 Posts
carbon footprint on Titanium is a hidden demerit. it takes a huge amount of energy

to make the metal into tube and the ore into the metal,

only by having the citizens of Russia and the US pay for most of the costs in the Arms Race

would the stuff be available to make bikes ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-21-13 at 09:38 AM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 09:34 AM
  #5  
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Double0757's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Posts: 263

Bikes: 1984 Cannodale full touring bike, Giant full carbon dura ace, Belinsky frame Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
If you find a bike you like the ride of, it's a good bike. It won't necessarily be a good bike just because it's titanium. I absolutely love my Merlin - it's one of the nicest bikes I've ever ridden. I had a litespeed built Look which I didn't like at all...I'm also not that in love with my Titanio. My personal view on ti, which many disagree with, is I'd stick to the big names. I think the quality of ti bikes varies more than other materials...both in the origin of the titanium and the quality of the build. I'd stick to Merlin, IF, Moots, Spectrum, Seven, etc. Another factor to consider is that many ti frames aren't made by the company that decals them, they're contracted to other ti producers (like Sandvik and Litespeed). I'd want to know who built it.

There are plenty of people making lovely steel bikes like you describe as well...the OS steels used today can be quite stiff. Stainless is corrosion resistant, but costs a lot and is at least as difficult to work with as ti...likely more. Another benefit of most steels (not air hardened steel) is that the rear can be cold set to accommodate new standards. The bottom line is that any good builder can make you a great bike - it just depends on what you want. If given an unlimited budget, I'd want a ti Spectrum sports tourer because I really think Kellogg is a master at design.
i agree with the design and how is put together.

Loved my former 1986 Bridgestone in steel (its now my son commuter)! My custom made tandem Belinsky is superb tandem in steel. The power transfer I get from my 1983 Cannondale is the best of all. The acceleration and comfort from my Carbon 2007 Scot is pretty good.

I was thinking, design, tires and drive train being the same, what material bike would combine all the properties I like from my favorite bikes? I don't know enough to know if a steel bike needs to be geometrically different to a Ti bike for them to be comparable in comfort and stiffness.

I see Belinsky makes TI sport tourers. Judging by my tandem, that would be a possibility. Rivendale was Bridgestone at one time, so that would be an option for a more economically steel bike. I will forgo aluminum for its jarring road effect and the carbon for its lack of customization and the mental anguish (real or not) that comes in thinking that with the next fall, or rock, or Baba with his rust bucket bike on the train commute is going to chip and maybe compromise the structure integrity of your carbon frame. Double O
Double0757 is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 10:35 AM
  #6  
Fat Guy on a Little Bike
 
KonAaron Snake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 15,944

Bikes: Two wheeled ones

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1254 Post(s)
Liked 345 Times in 174 Posts
Originally Posted by Double0757
i agree with the design and how is put together.

Loved my former 1986 Bridgestone in steel (its now my son commuter)! My custom made tandem Belinsky is superb tandem in steel. The power transfer I get from my 1983 Cannondale is the best of all. The acceleration and comfort from my Carbon 2007 Scot is pretty good.

I was thinking, design, tires and drive train being the same, what material bike would combine all the properties I like from my favorite bikes? I don't know enough to know if a steel bike needs to be geometrically different to a Ti bike for them to be comparable in comfort and stiffness.

I see Belinsky makes TI sport tourers. Judging by my tandem, that would be a possibility. Rivendale was Bridgestone at one time, so that would be an option for a more economically steel bike. I will forgo aluminum for its jarring road effect and the carbon for its lack of customization and the mental anguish (real or not) that comes in thinking that with the next fall, or rock, or Baba with his rust bucket bike on the train commute is going to chip and maybe compromise the structure integrity of your carbon frame. Double O
I also have a steel Bilenky sports touring tandem and LOVE it. I hate to say this, but I would recommend against dealing with Bilenky, as much as it pains me to say it. I know his people, I really like his people, but I have regretted it each time I've dealt with him...I think he's a poor business man and his customer service is often problematic. I know of several people who have had problems getting bikes from him. I was very unimpressed with his ti work as well - the welds are not as neat as some others and, while it might be just aesthetic detail, I want close to perfect when I'm dropping coin for custom. I don't think Bilenky is detail oriented enough.

I think there are builders who are more professional that I would recommend dealing with - like Kellogg or Dave Kirk. If I wanted a steel sports tourer, I'd call Dave Kirk. Chris Kvale is also well regarded; there are a LOT of well regarded people out there. This forum's 65'r is someone to talk to.
KonAaron Snake is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 10:54 AM
  #7  
tsl
Plays in traffic
 
tsl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 6,971

Bikes: 1996 Litespeed Classic, 2006 Trek Portland, 2013 Ribble Winter/Audax, 2016 Giant Talon 4

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 76 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 14 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
I haven't ridden carbon, but have ridden aluminum, steel and ti...I honestly think your question is flawed; materials don't necessarily have common ride characteristics and it depends more on how the builder made the frame.
Agreed.

I own bikes in all three metals. The aluminum ones ride nearly as well as the Ti one--remarkably well--and I don't like the steel one at all. It's all in how they're made.

I'm absolutely certain that crappy aluminum bikes will ride like, well, crappy bikes. Given I have wonderful-riding aluminum bikes, I know it's not the material.

Same with steel and Ti. My steel bike is Reynolds 853, noted for its springy ride. I just don't like that. I mean it's fun for a short commute zipping through traffic, but out on the road, I keep wanting it to calm down. I'm certain there are other ways to make a steel bike that I would like. It's not the material.

Seven will make you titanium bike that'll knock the fillings right out of your teeth if that's what you want them to make for you. My Lynskey-era Litespeed suits me to a T, but others think they're noodly. It's all between your ears, I guess.

So I've learned from experience that the choice of material is independent of desired ride characteristics.

Still, for an ultimate commuting/light touring bike, my choice is Ti. When my aluminum ones wear out, they'll be replaced with Ti. The reason is that it's maintenance-free and durable. I ride my Ti bike on errands a lot just because it won't get scratched or leave behind paint wherever I lock up.

Secondarily, bare Ti is reasonably stealthy. The corner boys on my commute completely ignore me when I come by on the Ti bike. If I come by on one of the painted bikes, they're offering me five bags for it.

The other thing to consider is will a carbon bike have rack and fender mounts? That's something that's essential in a commuter/light tourer. They will get there, and certainly ordering one handbuilt can come with them. But currently there are few (or none) carbon light tourers that I know of. And off the top of my head, I can't think of any production models with rack mounts. I think that part alone points you towards Ti.

Last edited by tsl; 07-21-13 at 11:00 AM. Reason: typoze
tsl is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 11:13 AM
  #8  
Fat Guy on a Little Bike
 
KonAaron Snake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 15,944

Bikes: Two wheeled ones

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1254 Post(s)
Liked 345 Times in 174 Posts
Originally Posted by tsl
Agreed.

I own bikes in all three metals. The aluminum ones ride nearly as well as the Ti one--remarkably well--and I don't like the steel one at all. It's all in how they're made.

I'm absolutely certain that crappy aluminum bikes will ride like, well, crappy bikes. Given I have wonderful-riding aluminum bikes, I know it's not the material.

Same with steel and Ti. My steel bike is Reynolds 853, noted for its springy ride. I just don't like that. I mean it's fun for a short commute zipping through traffic, but out on the road, I keep wanting it to calm down. I'm certain there are other ways to make a steel bike that I would like. It's not the material.

Seven will make you titanium bike that'll knock the fillings right out of your teeth if that's what you want them to make for you. My Lynskey-era Litespeed suits me to a T, but others think they're noodly. It's all between your ears, I guess.

So I've learned from experience that the choice of material is independent of desired ride characteristics.

Still, for an ultimate commuting/light touring bike, my choice is Ti. When my aluminum ones wear out, they'll be replaced with Ti. The reason is that it's maintenance-free and durable. I ride my Ti bike on errands a lot just because it won't get scratched or leave behind paint wherever I lock up.

Secondarily, bare Ti is reasonably stealthy. The corner boys on my commute completely ignore me when I come by on the Ti bike. If I come by on one of the painted bikes, they're offering me five bags for it.

The other thing to consider is will a carbon bike have rack and fender mounts? That's something that's essential in a commuter/light tourer. They will get there, and certainly ordering one handbuilt can come with them. But currently there are few (or none) carbon light tourers that I know of. And off the top of my head, I can't think of any production models with rack mounts. I think that part alone points you towards Ti.
I'm completely in agreement with every word you wrote - I like how ti bikes get ignored (especially without decals) and I LOVE tossing it on a rack or pole and not worrying about chips. Ti does have a lot of advantages, but they're material advantages more than they are inherent riding advantages. My Litespeed built Look was a noodle...I'm fat with strong legs, so I prefer a stiffer frame. The thing is to find a builder who knows how to make a great bike for you and one who asks good questions. There are plenty out there!

I've had 853 Lemonds that rank in my favorite bike category, but I REALLY liked the Lemond bikes.

These are the two bikes I commute most with now...it used to be my Koga, but the Koga Miyata got too much attention. These get no attention and blend into the background. I also don't worry about scratches with either ( I did with my Koga):

Old Litespeed Obed with a weird build.



World's ugliest Cinelli.

KonAaron Snake is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 03:48 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,341

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 550 Post(s)
Liked 325 Times in 226 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob
carbon footprint on Titanium is a hidden demerit. it takes a huge amount of energy
Is that worse than the toxic waste which goes with painting other materials, perhaps several times (my last steel frame looked worse after 7 years than my current titanium frame 17)?

Is a titanium frame which lasts decades with periodic component replacements worse than one made out of other materials you throw out because huge OEM parts discounts mean complete new steel/aluminum/carbon fiber bikes can be had for about the price of a group?

Is a 3.5 pound titanium frame you ride to work every day worse than the 3500 pound car you'd otherwise commute with and replace periodically as you wore things out to say nothing of the 200 gallons of gas you might burn each and every year?

It's not.

If you want a bike to ride (as opposed to hang on the wall) titanium and stainless steel are fine choices which can go unpainted and still look good after picking up the inevitable scuffs and scratches which go with use because they don't contrast with a paint job.

A little work with a Scotch Brite pad restores brushed titanium finishes when even a shiny spot is too much for your sense of aesthetics.

Stiffness and ride come from the choices made by the designer, not the material.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 07-21-13 at 06:35 PM.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 06:00 PM
  #10  
Cycle Year Round
 
CB HI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 13,644
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1316 Post(s)
Liked 92 Times in 59 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob
carbon footprint on Titanium is a hidden demerit. it takes a huge amount of energy

to make the metal into tube and the ore into the metal,

only by having the citizens of Russia and the US pay for most of the costs in the Arms Race

would the stuff be available to make bikes ..
Pointless non-answer.
__________________
Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.
CB HI is offline  
Old 07-21-13, 06:03 PM
  #11  
Cycle Year Round
 
CB HI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 13,644
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1316 Post(s)
Liked 92 Times in 59 Posts
Titanium if you can afford a good name brand and Steel if you want a lower cost.
__________________
Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.
CB HI is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 07:55 AM
  #12  
Collector of Useless Info
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,404
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Steel or Titanium?... Yes, please.
cycle_maven is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 08:28 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,101
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by CB HI
Pointless non-answer.
Why? I'm just curious. For some people the carbon footprint may be a point to consider. If it's inaccurate then I'd like to hear that too. Someone has suggested that since Ti frames don't need to be painted that may offset somewhat the high energy costs it takes to make the frame.

If we're talking about a used Ti frame, then that's a different matter as the energy has already been expended.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 09:26 AM
  #14  
Full Member
 
MikeM21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: No. Va.
Posts: 495

Bikes: '96 C40, '04 C50, '04 Merlin Magia, '97 Stumpjumper, '04 Specilaized Roubaix

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 586 Times in 183 Posts
I regularly ride aluminum, titanium and steel. All three are nice bikes. My Specialized aluminum framed Roubaix has Specialized's carbon forks and seat stays with their Zertz inserts and it rides nice. My Merlin Magia has a carbon fork and is a stiff, responsive bike with a nice ride but can be a bit jarring. My steel Jeff Lyon frame that I commute on is my favorite ride of the three. It noticable eats up the bumps and feels much smoother. Slight sacrifice in acceleration vs. the Merlin, but not much.

If I ride all three back to back to back - and I do often, the steel bike definitely feels more "comfortable".

My next bike (my LAST bike ) will be a custom built steel Crown Jewel by Indepent Fabrications. I've ridden one in the past that wasn't built for me and it was the nicest riding bike I've ever been on. Just saving up the money to be able to have it built. IMO, YMMV, etc., etc.
MikeM21 is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 10:02 AM
  #15  
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Posts: 27,079

Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2

Mentioned: 86 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13659 Post(s)
Liked 4,532 Times in 3,158 Posts
Originally Posted by tsl
Agreed.

I own bikes in all three metals. The aluminum ones ride nearly as well as the Ti one--remarkably well--and I don't like the steel one at all. It's all in how they're made.

I'm absolutely certain that crappy aluminum bikes will ride like, well, crappy bikes. Given I have wonderful-riding aluminum bikes, I know it's not the material.

Same with steel and Ti. My steel bike is Reynolds 853, noted for its springy ride. I just don't like that. I mean it's fun for a short commute zipping through traffic, but out on the road, I keep wanting it to calm down. I'm certain there are other ways to make a steel bike that I would like. It's not the material.

Seven will make you titanium bike that'll knock the fillings right out of your teeth if that's what you want them to make for you. My Lynskey-era Litespeed suits me to a T, but others think they're noodly. It's all between your ears, I guess.

So I've learned from experience that the choice of material is independent of desired ride characteristics.

Still, for an ultimate commuting/light touring bike, my choice is Ti. When my aluminum ones wear out, they'll be replaced with Ti. The reason is that it's maintenance-free and durable. I ride my Ti bike on errands a lot just because it won't get scratched or leave behind paint wherever I lock up.

Secondarily, bare Ti is reasonably stealthy. The corner boys on my commute completely ignore me when I come by on the Ti bike. If I come by on one of the painted bikes, they're offering me five bags for it.

The other thing to consider is will a carbon bike have rack and fender mounts? That's something that's essential in a commuter/light tourer. They will get there, and certainly ordering one handbuilt can come with them. But currently there are few (or none) carbon light tourers that I know of. And off the top of my head, I can't think of any production models with rack mounts. I think that part alone points you towards Ti.
Bingo, the real reason your "last bike" should be Ti... it will last forever.
genec is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 10:59 AM
  #16  
Fat Guy on a Little Bike
 
KonAaron Snake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 15,944

Bikes: Two wheeled ones

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1254 Post(s)
Liked 345 Times in 174 Posts
Originally Posted by genec
Bingo, the real reason your "last bike" should be Ti... it will last forever.
In terms of "last forever", I think this argument gets over stated, and this is coming from a ti fan. First - let's be honest here, very few of us want a bike that lasts forever...we want a bike to enjoy before our next toy/vehicle. Second - if you care for a steel bike properly, it will last as long as you need it to. Sure, the paint chip thing is annoying...and I love not worrying about...but toss some nail polish onto the chip, use frame saver and you really don't have true durability issues with steel. Third - if/when hub standards change, ti leaves you with yesterdays group...while steel can be cold set. For practical considerations, I think steel can be used every bit as long as ti. In an area with heavy snow/salted roads, this might change - especially without fenders.

None of this means steel is better, or that ti isn't awesome...ti is awesome...I just don't think the lasts forever argument really works. It's awesome for aesthetics, weight and not worrying about things.
KonAaron Snake is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 11:28 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,977
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1496 Post(s)
Liked 189 Times in 128 Posts
Don't forget you can combine a carbon fork with a metal frame. I've never ridden a ti frame, but I love my ti cooking pot. Hope that helps.
alan s is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 11:54 AM
  #18  
imi
aka Timi
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 3,269

Bikes: Bianchi Lupo (touring) Bianchi Volpe (commuter), Miyata On Off Road Runner

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 171 Post(s)
Liked 138 Times in 104 Posts
Steel or Titanium?

Very interesting thread. Thanks guys
Dunno if it's just me, but I really don't like the look of unpainted Ti, stainless, chrome... There again I kindof understand people that do...
imi is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 12:42 PM
  #19  
curmudgineer
 
old's'cool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Chicago SW burbs
Posts: 4,417

Bikes: 2 many 2 fit here

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 263 Post(s)
Liked 112 Times in 70 Posts
Aaron, I think you over-understate the case a bit. From the perspective of durability, longevity, and ease of care, titanium or stainless win over steel hands down; and make a better showing than aluminum, if we want to make that part of the comparison. If you don't care about esthetics (i.e. maintaining a showroom appearance), the frame itself in these materials [i.e. Ti and SS] is zero maintenance under any normal use, and as has been pointed out, allows a carefree attitude and peace of mind in everyday use. I think this thread has convinced me; if I ever start to lust for a N+1st bike, it will probably be titanium or stainless.

tjspiel, I'm not an economist, but just to address your very narrow point about a used titanium bike [I'm not wading into the larger issue]; it seems to me that by purchasing a used Ti bike and removing it from the market, the remaining demand for Ti bikes, new and used, will tend to promote the manufacture of another new Ti bike. This is just an economic point; I do not have enough knowledge about the issue to have an opinion on the relative cradle to grave environmental impact of titanium vs alternative materials.
old's'cool is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 01:31 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,341

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 550 Post(s)
Liked 325 Times in 226 Posts
Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
In terms of "last forever", I think this argument gets over stated, and this is coming from a ti fan. First - let's be honest here, very few of us want a bike that lasts forever...
A frame which lasts decades isn't quite the same thing as a bike which lasts as long. You can cold set a 40 year old frame to 130mm and run a 12 cog Tiso electronic setup which is as modern as you can get.

Third - if/when hub standards change, ti leaves you with yesterdays group...while steel can be cold set.
Titanium can be cold set too but needs to be bent farther than steel.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 01:47 PM
  #21  
Fat Guy on a Little Bike
 
KonAaron Snake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 15,944

Bikes: Two wheeled ones

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1254 Post(s)
Liked 345 Times in 174 Posts
Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt
A frame which lasts decades isn't quite the same thing as a bike which lasts as long. You can cold set a 40 year old frame to 130mm and run a 12 cog Tiso electronic setup which is as modern as you can get.



Titanium can be cold set too but needs to be bent farther than steel.
I've never heard of titanium being cold set - note I'm not saying you're wrong, just saying that's new to me. If so, it makes ti even more wonderful than I previously thought and I appreciate the correction.

I will agree with you and Oldschool that ease of maintenance is a definite win for ti...hands down...but durability really doesn't seem like that big of a win for me. A steel frame will last most of our lives (and then some!) if properly looked after. So the win for ti is that it requires less looking after, not that it will really have a longevity benefit for most of us.

I think, ultimately, we all agree that you can make a great bike (or a lousy one) from any material. I think ti DOES have some advantages...but I also sure like my steel too.

Edit - some quick research says it is, at least theoretically, possible to cold set titanium, but it is extremely difficult.

https://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...uts-42955.html

Just to be clear - I love titanium...I'm NOT bad mouthing it at all. If I ever hit the lottery, my no holds barred dream build would be a ti Spectrum.

Last edited by KonAaron Snake; 07-22-13 at 01:52 PM.
KonAaron Snake is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 01:50 PM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
AusTexMurf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Austin, Texas
Posts: 919

Bikes: 2010 Origin8 CX700, 2003 Cannondale Backroads Cross Country, 1997 Trek mtn steel frame converted commuter/tourer, 1983 Univega Sportour, 2010 Surly LHT, Others...

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob
carbon footprint on Titanium is a hidden demerit. it takes a huge amount of energy

to make the metal into tube and the ore into the metal,

only by having the citizens of Russia and the US pay for most of the costs in the Arms Race

would the stuff be available to make bikes ..
Originally Posted by CB HI
Pointless non-answer.
I appreciate the perspective.
Thanks for sharing, fietsbob.
AusTexMurf is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 04:00 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,101
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by old's'cool
Aaron, I think you over-understate the case a bit. From the perspective of durability, longevity, and ease of care, titanium or stainless win over steel hands down; and make a better showing than aluminum, if we want to make that part of the comparison. If you don't care about esthetics (i.e. maintaining a showroom appearance), the frame itself in these materials [i.e. Ti and SS] is zero maintenance under any normal use, and as has been pointed out, allows a carefree attitude and peace of mind in everyday use. I think this thread has convinced me; if I ever start to lust for a N+1st bike, it will probably be titanium or stainless.

tjspiel, I'm not an economist, but just to address your very narrow point about a used titanium bike [I'm not wading into the larger issue]; it seems to me that by purchasing a used Ti bike and removing it from the market, the remaining demand for Ti bikes, new and used, will tend to promote the manufacture of another new Ti bike. This is just an economic point; I do not have enough knowledge about the issue to have an opinion on the relative cradle to grave environmental impact of titanium vs alternative materials.
FWIW of the two people I actually know of with a titanium frame, one had his crack around a water bottle boss. It was replaced under warranty but I think it illustrates the fact that Ti frames aren't immune to failure.

You may have a point that buying used Ti frames might just create more of a market for new ones. I'm not really sure. If somebody wants a new Ti bike but can't sell their old one, does that mean they'll pass on a new one?

Personally it's not a huge concern for me but I suppose it does depend on the magnitude of the extra energy involved vs how long the frame might last. If it takes twice as much energy to create a Ti frame but on average they're kept twice as long, does that cancel out?
tjspiel is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 05:47 PM
  #24  
Cycle Year Round
 
CB HI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 13,644
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1316 Post(s)
Liked 92 Times in 59 Posts
Originally Posted by tjspiel
Why? I'm just curious. For some people the carbon footprint may be a point to consider. If it's inaccurate then I'd like to hear that too. Someone has suggested that since Ti frames don't need to be painted that may offset somewhat the high energy costs it takes to make the frame.

If we're talking about a used Ti frame, then that's a different matter as the energy has already been expended.
First, it was not part of the OPs request, just a political interjection. Second, you have to buy in global warming hype.

fietsbob is correct that much of the Ti was produced during the cold war. The Soviet Union produced Ti as the hull material of their Alfa class submarine (lightest and fastest cold war submarine, but also the loudest) best used for running away from US submarines. Back then, the alarmist were claiming global cooling and so a little extra warming would be a good thing. Certainly better than covering the ice caps with black soot to prevent the next ice age (as was suggested by some of the climate alarmist/scientist).

The painting offset is garbage too. No one worried about Ti frames being painted for the TDF back in the day. Litespeed Ultimate bikes being painted to look like Trek bikes.

I have watched us go from a so called near ice age with global cooling in the 60-70s, to we are going to die from global warming, to today’s worries of climate change because they cannot figure out if the earth is really warming, constant for now or cooling. With "climate change" at least, they can be alarmed no matter how slight temperatures change in either direction.

Now it is time to get back to Ti, Steel, CF or Al. All work but Al frames have the shortest overall life span.
__________________
Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.
CB HI is offline  
Old 07-22-13, 05:47 PM
  #25  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 863 Posts
The elasticity of Ti will be less dent prone

and as the tubing was initially produced as piping to put really nasty chemicals through ,

as well as the SR 71 reconnasance aircraft , for the CIA..

yea alloys Ti and Aluminum, Mg etc. have , a tendency for stress-riser cracks..

for commuting something more mundane will likely be a more pragmatic choice..
fietsbob is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.