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Scary Titanium Article

Old 12-31-17, 02:42 PM
  #26  
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I couldn't find an actual article about TI but I did find a not so slick fake news post Andy
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Old 12-31-17, 03:28 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
Your post includes most of my questions. Perhaps I should start a new thread after this one runs its course with the title: Which Ti builders have the best reputation and craftsmanship?
And you won't get anything valuable out of such a thread.

The top makers produce mostly quality products, they all produce mistakes that people can point to, no one is keeping failure statistics (or even sales statistics) and people generally have brand loyalties (or its opposite). The result will be nothing but unsubstantiated anecdotes and a few tales of private builders whose poor quality and worse professional practices put them out of business.

If you like a particular brand, ask for references, ask process questions if you're going to understand the answers and choose.
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Old 12-31-17, 04:25 PM
  #28  
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Marketing 101: Ding the competition and boost your sales. Really sounds like an ad for Seven & Passoni.

There is no doubt that ti is a difficult frame material to work with, and must be back purged extensively to avoid weld contamination. But difficult does not equate to impossible.

I've had two ti frames in my life - a Quintana Roo Ti-Phoon tri bike (made by ABG, same group as Litespeed and Merlin) and an Indy Fab Crown Jewel. Both were really nicely made. Sold the Ti-Phoon because I wasn't into triathlon bikes anymore, but still have the IF. Interestingly, IF shot-peens their frames after welding to reduce stresses resulting from welding process, which I believe almost no other manufacturers do.
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Old 12-31-17, 08:22 PM
  #29  
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I have a 96 Bianchi Ti Mega Tube. It's still my go to steed.
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Old 01-04-18, 10:59 AM
  #30  
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This article is so poorly researched and written, it has no credibility. Furthermore, it wreaks as a marketing tool which would infer input from the two manufacturing sources cited. If that is in fact the case, it shows that the companies manufacturing these frames also know very little about titanium alloys as well.

First of all, the author indicates the primary benefit of titanium is fatigue resistance with a direct inference that titanium alloys cannot fail by this mechanism. This is a completely false notion. Titanium alloys fail by fatigue mechanisms all the time. Don’t take my work for it-Google it. Obviously the author did not. The main benefit of Ti alloys is strength to weight ratio, moderate corrosion resistance and elevated service properties along with lesser tangible benefits such as ride "feel", “coolness” factor of a “magic alloy” that marketers have done so well in convincing consumers to embrace, and echelon status based on cost, to name a few.

The author then tries to impress with his knowledge of alloys asserting 3 specific categories of material, when actually only referencing specific alloys-when in reality there are dozens (actually, CP Ti is technically considered unalloyed). While right in one respect, titanium alloys are often classified as three distinct alloy groups: alpha, alpha-beta, or beta class alloys, the three alloys he lists are the most commonly used: CP (Grades 1 - 4), 3Al-2.5V (Grade 9) and 6Al-4V (Grade 5), not categories.

He then suggests that 3Al-2.5V (Grade 9) is best for cycling applications citing a number of valid reasons but ignoring the most obvious-cost. This alloy is used because it is commonly produced for sporting good applications and is therefore, produced within cost parameters to make it feasible for these applications, albeit still expensive. However, if I was to go to the trouble and cost of building a titanium bicycle frame I would use 6Al-4V for the added benefit of better strength to weight. Titanium frame manufactures typically don’t use this alloy as a cost savings because it is produced primarily in aerospace applications-not because 3Al-2.5V is better.

Where the author really screws up is to suggest that not all 3Al-2.5V alloys are the same citing three variations and referencing aerospace specification “AMS 105". This is flat out wrong. There is no AMS 105 pertaining to titanium or any alloys for the matter. The AMS system of alloys uses a 4 digit numerical postfix. The three AMS specifications for this alloy are AMS4943, AMS4944, & AMS4945. The author is right in that there are 3 grades of 3Al-4V, Grades 9, 18, 28. The only difference is that the latter 2 grades contain Palladium and Ruthenium, respectfully, that further aid in corrosion resistance. However, these alloys are all perfectly suited for the frame building, and I would doubt the latter have even been used in bicycle applications.

Yes, titanium is more difficult to produce and process than most other alloys. Yes, there can be impurities, including interstitial gasses such as oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen that can make these materials problematic. However, in the simplest terms if these limits are exceed, they are non-conforming and technically not 3Al-2.5V or 6Al-4V.

IMO, the most common problems in processing titanium is oxygen contamination (alpha-case) when welding and/or heat treating. Yes this is a very real problem that should be addressed-maybe in another thread. This is why I would never own a titanium frame without knowing how the material was processed, specifically welded. However, this has no bearing on the quality of the material. One of the other more real common problems is not inferior materials but the wrong materials. Raw material stock gets logistically moved from the mill, multiple shipping sources, material brokers (maybe more than one), and then on to the end user where it gets transferred back in forth between shifts, etc. With all this material in transition it is not uncommon for a wrong tube, bar, rod alloy to get stacked, racked or binned for a different material. Just saying.

'bob

Last edited by Rudebob; 01-04-18 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 01-04-18, 02:20 PM
  #31  
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tl;dr summary:

Make sure whoever builds your titanium frame knows what they're doing.

N.B. good advice regardless of frame material.
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Old 01-07-18, 07:14 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Rudebob View Post
This article is so poorly researched and written, it has no credibility. Furthermore, it wreaks as a marketing tool which would infer input from the two manufacturing sources cited. If that is in fact the case, it shows that the companies manufacturing these frames also know very little about titanium alloys as well.

First of all, the author indicates the primary benefit of titanium is fatigue resistance with a direct inference that titanium alloys cannot fail by this mechanism. This is a completely false notion. Titanium alloys fail by fatigue mechanisms all the time. Don’t take my work for it-Google it. Obviously the author did not. The main benefit of Ti alloys is strength to weight ratio, moderate corrosion resistance and elevated service properties along with lesser tangible benefits such as ride "feel", “coolness” factor of a “magic alloy” that marketers have done so well in convincing consumers to embrace, and echelon status based on cost, to name a few.

The author then tries to impress with his knowledge of alloys asserting 3 specific categories of material, when actually only referencing specific alloys-when in reality there are dozens (actually, CP Ti is technically considered unalloyed). While right in one respect, titanium alloys are often classified as three distinct alloy groups: alpha, alpha-beta, or beta class alloys, the three alloys he lists are the most commonly used: CP (Grades 1 - 4), 3Al-2.5V (Grade 9) and 6Al-4V (Grade 5), not categories.

He then suggests that 3Al-2.5V (Grade 9) is best for cycling applications citing a number of valid reasons but ignoring the most obvious-cost. This alloy is used because it is commonly produced for sporting good applications and is therefore, produced within cost parameters to make it feasible for these applications, albeit still expensive. However, if I was to go to the trouble and cost of building a titanium bicycle frame I would use 6Al-4V for the added benefit of better strength to weight. Titanium frame manufactures typically don’t use this alloy as a cost savings because it is produced primarily in aerospace applications-not because 3Al-2.5V is better.

Where the author really screws up is to suggest that not all 3Al-2.5V alloys are the same citing three variations and referencing aerospace specification “AMS 105". This is flat out wrong. There is no AMS 105 pertaining to titanium or any alloys for the matter. The AMS system of alloys uses a 4 digit numerical postfix. The three AMS specifications for this alloy are AMS4943, AMS4944, & AMS4945. The author is right in that there are 3 grades of 3Al-4V, Grades 9, 18, 28. The only difference is that the latter 2 grades contain Palladium and Ruthenium, respectfully, that further aid in corrosion resistance. However, these alloys are all perfectly suited for the frame building, and I would doubt the latter have even been used in bicycle applications.

Yes, titanium is more difficult to produce and process than most other alloys. Yes, there can be impurities, including interstitial gasses such as oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen that can make these materials problematic. However, in the simplest terms if these limits are exceed, they are non-conforming and technically not 3Al-2.5V or 6Al-4V.

IMO, the most common problems in processing titanium is oxygen contamination (alpha-case) when welding and/or heat treating. Yes this is a very real problem that should be addressed-maybe in another thread. This is why I would never own a titanium frame without knowing how the material was processed, specifically welded. However, this has no bearing on the quality of the material. One of the other more real common problems is not inferior materials but the wrong materials. Raw material stock gets logistically moved from the mill, multiple shipping sources, material brokers (maybe more than one), and then on to the end user where it gets transferred back in forth between shifts, etc. With all this material in transition it is not uncommon for a wrong tube, bar, rod alloy to get stacked, racked or binned for a different material. Just saying.

'bob
While I appreciate everyone's contribution, this post is especially appreciated. Thank you for sharing what appears to be an expertise in Ti materials and construction.
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Old 01-08-18, 10:06 PM
  #33  
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read different things...Iso -Grid, a combination of Titanium and carbon fiber is raved about.. in the Tandem magazine..
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Old 01-15-18, 04:18 PM
  #34  
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I would agree the fatigue properties are largely immaterial unless you are using your tube as a cantilevered suspension device as Bike Friday does. It isn't as though well made frames exercised within their design limits are all that difficult to live with.

My preferred quality is the corrosion resistance. Good for a long range tourer, one less thing to worry about, not that I have many worries about steel.

Some of those who don't like Ti feel that when the material is used to take advantage of the weight saving it ends up too soft for them.

The requirements for welding are pretty much the same as for any material, just less forgiving. And practice isn't cheap. My jig came with a built in purge system and the gas is used with the welder also so nothing special there. I don't weld Ti, too difficult to get up here.
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Old 01-22-18, 10:02 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Helolumpy View Post
I’ve been riding a Ti Airborne Zepplin since 1999 and it’s still going strong. The closest I ever had to a frame problem was an alloy seat post freezing in the seat tube.
Another Airborne rider! I have a Carpe Diem that I bought in 2001. Like you, I have had no issues with the frame. I'm about 200 pounds and have about 7,000 miles on the frame. I have kept the Ti seatpost well-greased with copper-based lubricant and have had no issues with seizing or cold-welding. I got mine sight-unseen after my LBS refused to get it for me; now he refers to it as "your Huffy" because Huffy owned Airborne at the time. I've been very happy with the bike, and have done several century rides on it.
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Old 01-24-18, 04:15 PM
  #36  
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I currently have a Foundry Chillkoot and so far so great. It rides great, looks great and I don't see any major quality issues. I don't see any reason to be scared of titanium or any material in capable hands. Certainly titanium is a harder material to work with and you would be best going with someone who knows what they are doing but there are so many out there it can be hard to choose.

The scary part for me is lusting after a Firefly Ti All-Road bike but not sure what parts I would put on it and if I didn't do something would I want it later. If I could have my way my fleet of bikes would be doubled and half would be high quality steel and half would be titanium (currently three steel bikes and two frames, one Ti bike and two aluminum bikes) or at least they would stay the same number but I would replace the aluminum bikes with Ti and upgrade the crap out of it.
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Old 01-25-18, 09:25 PM
  #37  
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I ride ti and do so for these reasons: Rides like a quality steel steed, isn't harsh like aluminum can be (not all are) and most importantly, I like the color of unpainted ti tubes and they don't scratch, chip, or fade. Perfect material for a bicycle frame.
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Old 04-07-18, 08:04 PM
  #38  
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I ride ti and do so for these reasons: Rides like a quality steel steed, isn't harsh like aluminum can be (.
Interesting.
My best friend bought a used Litespeed and had it built up. We swapped while riding one day and I hated it. Felt "harsh", dead, not at all lively like my 531 frame. Fwiw both were running 25c tyres.
Doesn't ti "work harden", and what does that do to ride quality?
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Old 04-07-18, 08:07 PM
  #39  
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My 16 YO Davidson Ti, with 75,000 on it isn't "work hardened." WTF is "work hardened" and where does this BS come from?

And yes, 531 makes a wonderful frame.
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Old 04-07-18, 11:27 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Hellgate View Post
" WTF is "work hardened" and where does this BS come from?
Cosmic debris, man. Also heard as "getting stronger with age". Don't know if this addresses it....

file:///C:/Users/Ted/Downloads/25097927-MIT.pdf

As an aside, sure, aluminium can be harsh (like the old hard tails) but many alu bikes ride plenty supple.

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Old 04-07-18, 11:37 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by tungsten View Post
Interesting.
My best friend bought a used Litespeed and had it built up. We swapped while riding one day and I hated it. Felt "harsh", dead, not at all lively like my 531 frame. Fwiw both were running 25c tyres.
Doesn't ti "work harden", and what does that do to ride quality?
Litespeed made some very flexible 3/2.5 round tube frames, and some very oversized, cold worked 6/4 frames that were super stiff. There isn't a single kind of Ti ride quality.

And no, Ti doesn't "work harden". Properly built Ti has twice strength at the same stiffness of steel.
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Old 04-08-18, 06:59 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
And no, Ti doesn't "work harden". Properly built Ti has twice strength at the same stiffness of steel.
I don't understand this statement. The specific strength of Ti and the high-end steels is approximately equal. That's one reason that there aren't that many people building Ti forks, for example. If what you say is true, there would be a lot more Ti forks
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Old 04-08-18, 11:53 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I don't understand this statement. The specific strength of Ti and the high-end steels is approximately equal. That's one reason that there aren't that many people building Ti forks, for example. If what you say is true, there would be a lot more Ti forks
Ti is less stiff than steel at the same strength. When you make a ti object that it as stiff as a steel object, the strength is much higher than the comparably stiff steel object.

This is no different than saying that if you make an object of the same strength out of steel and ti, the steel object will be stiffer.



There are lots of reasons there aren't more Ti forks, and most of them are economic. With 44mm headtubes Ti fork steerers can be made stiff enough, now.
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Old 04-14-18, 08:46 PM
  #44  
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My "daily" is a 2000 Litespeed Vortex (6/4 Ti) bought used in 2003. I love Ti as a material for the general low maintenance and low weight. I would love a pretty painted Colnago, but I would weep every time the finish was chipped. Unpainted Ti is just "workhorse". As I understand it, the most common Ti failure is weld failure, so going with the most experienced manufacturer is the best way to minimize problems. Litespeed may not have as much cachet as more boutique manufacturers, but they have built a ****-ton of frames under the LS and Lynskey names, and I have no reason to believe that they aren't as least as competent as anyone else out there. In any case, the Vortex has been solid and comfortable under my 180 lb arse for 15 years, and as long as it continues to do so, I can't see myself replacing it.
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Old 05-31-18, 01:36 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Surprisingly, they aren't as popular here in Nashville as I would expect, considering we are almost local. I know probably 10 riders with Lynskeys and about twice that who have Moots. Just guessing, but before they were available online, Lynskey were only sold here through a shop owned by a guy with a reputation as a complete *******. That may have quashed initial enthusiasm.
.
Whoa....ain't that the truth.

My son worked in Chattanooga a while back and I was in the market for a new bike and wanted a Ti. I called Lynskey and said I was going to be in town and could I stop by and look at some bikes? They were really snotty and told me I could not. They said they had no bikes to show me and that they do not keep completed bikes around and their place was only for manufacturing. I then asked the Rep if I can't see the bike before hand or test ride one, how do I know how it will ride. His answer to me was that most people who by Lynskey do so without any test rides, sight unseen. He says they know what they want. I replied that plunking down that kind of money I'd better be sure I like the ride of the bike. His comeback to me was that there was a dealer somewhere out near Wilmington, NC where I could maybe see a Lynskey and do a test ride. Nice.

Suffice to say, Lynskey got the big no-ski from me. I did not end up getting a Ti bike, but my next and final bike will definitely be Ti. I've already cracked one carbon frame and had it replaced and I cringe at the thought of another carbon frame biting the dust do to a minor crash or fall. I've had my eye on No. 22 bikes out of upstate NY along with Moots.

john
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Old 05-31-18, 01:43 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by rutan74 View Post
Whoa....ain't that the truth.

My son worked in Chattanooga a while back and I was in the market for a new bike and wanted a Ti. I called Lynskey and said I was going to be in town and could I stop by and look at some bikes? They were really snotty and told me I could not. They said they had no bikes to show me and that they do not keep completed bikes around and their place was only for manufacturing. I then asked the Rep if I can't see the bike before hand or test ride one, how do I know how it will ride. His answer to me was that most people who by Lynskey do so without any test rides, sight unseen. He says they know what they want. I replied that plunking down that kind of money I'd better be sure I like the ride of the bike. His comeback to me was that there was a dealer somewhere out near Wilmington, NC where I could maybe see a Lynskey and do a test ride. Nice.

Suffice to say, Lynskey got the big no-ski from me. I did not end up getting a Ti bike, but my next and final bike will definitely be Ti. I've already cracked one carbon frame and had it replaced and I cringe at the thought of another carbon frame biting the dust do to a minor crash or fall. I've had my eye on No. 22 bikes out of upstate NY along with Moots.

john
This is all true, but likely would have happened with any bespoke brand bicycle. You can test ride most Trek's because of the number they build and sell. You'll never get to test ride a custom or small production bike in exactly the model and size you want.

No matter how polite or rude the CS rep was, he can only tell you the truth.
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Old 06-01-18, 08:11 AM
  #47  
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One big reason to have a retail dealer network is so the manufacturer doesn't have to deal with the consumer directly (there are other reasons but this one is a biggie). When consumers don't accept this business model then perhaps that consumer isn't the manufacturer's target. I see the real sadness in rutan 74's story is that he wasn't explained this in a manor that left him with a good taste in his mouth. Of course we only have heard the disappointed side of the story so we don't really know what was said or how. But this was an opportunity for both the manufacturer and the consumer to better understand each other, too bad it didn't end up better for both. Andy
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Old 06-05-18, 09:40 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by rutan74 View Post
Suffice to say, Lynskey got the big no-ski from me. I did not end up getting a Ti bike, but my next and final bike will definitely be Ti. I've already cracked one carbon frame and had it replaced and I cringe at the thought of another carbon frame biting the dust do to a minor crash or fall. I've had my eye on No. 22 bikes out of upstate NY along with Moots.

john
Lynskey has their issues, but most builders aren't set up to facilitate test rides. You'll probably get the same answer if you ask the same question to Moots or No22. Maybe they'll explain it to you better, but that's just the double-edged sword of going custom -- they can make a bike exactly to fit your desired fit/handling, but they can't have it ready to try before they make it.
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Old 06-05-18, 01:04 PM
  #49  
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I think I have heard of a single custom builder that has bikes a prospective customer can ride. I really don't think it makes sense for custom, maybe if a company really is a production company it would.
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Old 06-05-18, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I think I have heard of a single custom builder that has bikes a prospective customer can ride. I really don't think it makes sense for custom, maybe if a company really is a production company it would.
This is why many custom builders who sell through LBS really want the shop manager/sales guy/fitter/owner to have a bike of their own and will sometimes make that very easy to happen. While a single data point makes for poor fitting/test ride it does begin to say something about the builder's style/skill and the shop's faith in that builder. Andy
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