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Scary Titanium Article

Old 12-30-17, 07:47 PM
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Scary Titanium Article

I'm not sure if this thread belongs here or in Road Cycling.


I've been considering a titanium bike for the next eighteen months. During my early research, I came across this article that claims that most titanium builders are doing a poor job with their tubes and/or their welding. The only two companies they recommended were Seven and Passoni.


Here is the article: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Titanium Bike - CycleFit


I'd like to hear your experience with titanium bikes & frames, the companies that make them and the article. How true is the article? Does it look like it's just an advertisement for those two companies?
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Old 12-30-17, 08:35 PM
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Not scary. Poorly written, yes.
Why are you considering Ti for the next 18 months? Not longer?
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Old 12-30-17, 08:49 PM
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A terrifying advertisement
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Old 12-30-17, 08:58 PM
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Ti frame since 99

Iíve been riding a Ti Airborne Zepplin since 1999 and itís still going strong. The closest I ever had to a frame problem was an alloy seat post freezing in the seat tube.

Ti is heavier than carbon frames, but I never panic when it tips over!

There are plenty of quality Ti framer builders out there today but most are turning out custom sized frames (like Seven or Firefly) and a good Ti frame can literally last you a lifetime!
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Old 12-30-17, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
A terrifying advertisement
Not sure who is paying for it. Def not Seven's style.

You'd think if so many Ti builders were bad, they'd call some out.



My Carver is as nice so far as my Seven...and cost a ton less for just the frame.
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Old 12-30-17, 10:43 PM
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Interesting that they seem to completely ignore some of the big names such as Litespeed and Lynskey. There are a lot of small builders too. Ti Cycles in Portland?

3Al-2.5V is pretty common, although I hadn't thought about different grades.

Anyway, as Marcus_Ti suggests, naming one or two manufactures as the author's favorite isn't the same as condemning everyone else.
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Old 12-30-17, 10:57 PM
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I think I have seen more threads about broken Lynskey/Litespeed frames than any other brand. I think it's trying to make a production bike out of a difficult material. I really don't think the custom builders have an issue with breakage. If I was in the market for a custom Ti bike, I'd probably go with Firefly or Engin. However, I have always been a believer in carbon. It's just that people don't build the carbon bike that I want, for the most part. I have been really tempted to go into carbon building.
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Old 12-30-17, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I think I have seen more threads about broken Lynskey/Litespeed frames than any other brand. I think it's trying to make a production bike out of a difficult material. I really don't think the custom builders have an issue with breakage. If I was in the market for a custom Ti bike, I'd probably go with Firefly or Engin. However, I have always been a believer in carbon. It's just that people don't build the carbon bike that I want, for the most part. I have been really tempted to go into carbon building.
Probably has more to do with Lynskey/Litespeed having moved and sold more Ti frames by themselves than anyone else.
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Old 12-30-17, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti
Probably has more to do with Lynskey/Litespeed having moved and sold more Ti frames by themselves than anyone else.
that's a bingo.
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Old 12-30-17, 11:32 PM
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I ride 2 Ti Cycles customs. They are a builder that has been around nearly as long as the two of that article. The primary builder there has been there the entire time and had a hand with every frame so he knows very well what works and what doesn't. He is also an engineer with serious machining skills. I suspect they have good sources to get quality raw material despite not turning out huge volumes as he has been doing this for so long. And they have had their hand in repairs a long time, both steel and ti. They get to see what doesn't work.

Ben
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Old 12-31-17, 12:14 AM
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I've warrantied a cracked Seven. No product has a perfect 0 failure rate.

I think the goal of the article is to damage Chinese production companies like Habenero and Bikes Direct, as well as multi-material shops like, strangely, Seven, IF, Hampsten and Litespeed. The American craft makers are buying quality tubes and milling it themselves. Some might be buying pre-butted tubes from Reynolds or someone else doing things the right way.

Specific to the article, no one makes bikes out of CP. That's a red herring.
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Old 12-31-17, 12:23 AM
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I think there is a distinction to be made between individuals building under their own name and shops with hourly workers. But maybe that's just my prejudice. Personally, it's worth it to get a bike made by one of the individuals, otherwise I might just go to China. Most of the Chinese Ti frames seem to be pretty solid.
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Old 12-31-17, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I think there is a distinction to be made between individuals building under their own name and shops with hourly workers. But maybe that's just my prejudice. Personally, it's worth it to get a bike made by one of the individuals, otherwise I might just go to China. Most of the Chinese Ti frames seem to be pretty solid.
But where do you make the distinction?

Is it ok to have one employee? Ten employees? Primary framebuilder must be majority owner?

What if the previous owner/generation retires, and a new generation takes over?

10 frames a year? 100 frames a year? 1000 frames a year?

There are some awfully good welders for hire out there.

I think even some of the Asian companies are relatively small companies. Do they count?
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Old 12-31-17, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I think there is a distinction to be made between individuals building under their own name and shops with hourly workers. But maybe that's just my prejudice. Personally, it's worth it to get a bike made by one of the individuals, otherwise I might just go to China. Most of the Chinese Ti frames seem to be pretty solid.
Seven has hourly workers. Seven makes frames out of other materials. It is remarkable that Seven is a recommendation when everything about them is against the advice of the article.
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Old 12-31-17, 05:22 AM
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Whew, I was worried that my Ti bike might have neurotoxins. At least I don't have to worry about that.

So....
These guys are ex racers and bike fitters. Oh, they sell bikes too? Let's see what types they sell. Hmm, Trek, Seven, Passoni, ...
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Old 12-31-17, 07:22 AM
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Like everyone else here, I have no personal expertise and am just repeating what I have read. My understanding is that ti is less forgiving to the artisan builder and that there are some advantages to a more standardized/ industrial production. I do know that prior to Litespeed, the Lynskey operation was building ti products for the chemical industry and possibly aerospace. They certainly have the knowledge and experience but it's unknown how careful they choose to be with bike production. I am perfectly satisfied with my Lynskey and don't have any way of knowing if it could have been built any better. I have friends who are happy with Moots, Sevens and Serottas. The only failures I've seen were a Moots stem and a Serotta where the carbon seatstays separated.
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Old 12-31-17, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Like everyone else here, I have no personal expertise and am just repeating what I have read. My understanding is that ti is less forgiving to the artisan builder and that there are some advantages to a more standardized/ industrial production. I do know that prior to Litespeed, the Lynskey operation was building ti products for the chemical industry and possibly aerospace. They certainly have the knowledge and experience but it's unknown how careful they choose to be with bike production. I am perfectly satisfied with my Lynskey and don't have any way of knowing if it could have been built any better. I have friends who are happy with Moots, Sevens and Serottas. The only failures I've seen were a Moots stem and a Serotta where the carbon seatstays separated.
Litespeed had issues back in the day..in part because they were using insanely light butted tubing (IIRC with very low weight limits on the rider), resulting in frames about as stiff as a spaghetti noodle. Not surprising they'd crack over time. Then they sold their company off, and went all-in on carbon....and are only now going back to what made them their name.


Many of those bonded ti-carbon hybrid-material frames had failures at the join over time IIRC.
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Old 12-31-17, 08:19 AM
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Not surprising at all that a retailer, who sells those two brands, would write an advertisement that says those brands are the best.
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Old 12-31-17, 08:49 AM
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A lot of local riders have Lynskey bikes. A couple had cracks -- one in a chainstay tube, not at the weld. Lynskey fixed them under warranty. No other problems that I've heard of. Buying from a company with a decent warranty record is always good, for any type of bike.

Locally, I've seen maybe 3 or 4 Ti bikes that weren't Lynskey, and probably 20+ Lynskeys.

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Old 12-31-17, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Like everyone else here, I have no personal expertise and am just repeating what I have read. My understanding is that ti is less forgiving to the artisan builder and that there are some advantages to a more standardized/ industrial production. I do know that prior to Litespeed, the Lynskey operation was building ti products for the chemical industry and possibly aerospace. They certainly have the knowledge and experience but it's unknown how careful they choose to be with bike production. I am perfectly satisfied with my Lynskey and don't have any way of knowing if it could have been built any better. I have friends who are happy with Moots, Sevens and Serottas. The only failures I've seen were a Moots stem and a Serotta where the carbon seatstays separated.
Unless the artisan builder is trying to butt or make seamed tubing themselves, there is nothing about making a Ti frame solo that should cause the bike to fail. Good welds come from cleanliness, and anybody can manage that.
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Old 12-31-17, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Unless the artisan builder is trying to butt or make seamed tubing themselves, there is nothing about making a Ti frame solo that should cause the bike to fail. Good welds come from cleanliness, and anybody can manage that.
I'll certainly defer to your expertise. As I said, just repeating what I've read. I've never welded a frame of any sort, much less ti!
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Old 12-31-17, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
A lot of local riders have Lynskey bikes. A couple had cracks -- one in a chainstay tube, not at the weld. Lynskey fixed them under warranty. No other problems that I've heard of. Buying from a company with a decent warranty record is always good, for any type of bike.

Locally, I've seen maybe 3 or 4 Ti bikes that weren't Lynskey, and probably 20+ Lynskeys.
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.
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Old 12-31-17, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel
Not scary. Poorly written, yes.
Why are you considering Ti for the next 18 months? Not longer?


Sorry. It's my fault; I worded the sentence poorly. I'm considering purchasing a titanium bike or frame in the next 18 months, not just to ride for 18 months.
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Old 12-31-17, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
Interesting that they seem to completely ignore some of the big names such as Litespeed and Lynskey. There are a lot of small builders too. Ti Cycles in Portland?

3Al-2.5V is pretty common, although I hadn't thought about different grades.

Anyway, as Marcus_Ti suggests, naming one or two manufactures as the author's favorite isn't the same as condemning everyone else.


While I agree with your last statement, the article stated that most Ti builders are doing a poor job. They only recommended the two previously mentioned, so to me, it gave the impression that the only two good Ti frame builders were Seven and Passoni.
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Old 12-31-17, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
But where do you make the distinction?

Is it ok to have one employee? Ten employees? Primary framebuilder must be majority owner?

What if the previous owner/generation retires, and a new generation takes over?

10 frames a year? 100 frames a year? 1000 frames a year?

There are some awfully good welders for hire out there.

I think even some of the Asian companies are relatively small companies. Do they count?


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?
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