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Feel of Titanium over Steel

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Feel of Titanium over Steel

Old 08-24-16, 05:31 PM
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prairiepedaler
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Feel of Titanium over Steel

If this topic has been done to completion then we can wrap this new thread up post haste. If it hasn't, I would like some feedback from riders who have experience with riding steel & titanium and who'd care to share their comparative opinions on each. I have only ever ridden steel and have always wanted to try a titanium bike (I think I'd love to own one too!) but there are no locals to test ride.
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Old 08-24-16, 07:14 PM
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I really like my TI bicycle. It rides a bit better than the steel road bicycle I had (Motobecane Gran Permio), but then again they are two different types of bicycles. My steel bicycle was a proper road bicycle (I think 28mm wide tires were the max) and my TI is more a gravel type of bicycle. And both the steel and TI bicycles have a more compliant ride than the aluminum frame flat bar bicycle I had (Trek 7.5 disc). I am a commuter, utility and light touring cyclist and chose a Motobecane Century Pro TI and could not be happier. It is a really good daily commuter as well as a decent touring bicycle and it has allowed be to replace the other two with just one bicycle.
A good steel frame bicycle is hard to beat and I am not real sure that a TI frame is a better bang for the buck. TI should be corrosion resistant, is repairable and offers a steel like ride, but cost a good bit more. Steel is susceptible to corrosion but with care can last a lifetime and is usually a good bit less in price.
Like I stated I really like my TI bicycle it rides really well if not better than the steel frame I had....but....ride and feel is a personal kind of thing. I guess if you like steel framed bicycles you would also like a TI frame. Its hard to compare the two, they are very similar yet a little different.
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Old 08-24-16, 07:15 PM
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Really depends on how the metal is shaped. "All other things being equal", titanium will weigh less.
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Old 08-24-16, 07:47 PM
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I have a steel framed single speed with steel fork and it is very smooth. My titanium road bike with carbon fork is similar to riding a carbon frame.
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Old 08-24-16, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
"All other things being equal", titanium will weigh less.
That's not always true, unless you literally mean building a bike with the same wall thicknesses and such, which would be a silly comparison.

Titanium is very strong for its weight, but it's not particularly stiff. Some builders find that in order to achieve the desired ride quality, their titanium bikes tend to be a bit heavier than their top-end steel. Ti used to be a clear winner, but the last few decades have seen tremendous advancement in steels.
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Old 08-24-16, 08:24 PM
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I have 6 steel bikes, not to mention I use to own a Scandium, and have ridden quite a few CF bikes, and 3 titanium bikes. But from a comparison point of view between steel and Ti I like the TI the best, it moots vibration and even large bumps better than any other material. The only steel bike I have that comes darn close is my 85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe but only when loaded. The Lynskey I have is the lower end Peloton which has a sport geometry instead of a race geometry that most of my steel bikes have so that could be part of it but the Lynskey has stiffer aero wheels the steel bikes don't have, so maybe the wheels and frame balance each other out?

I also have ridden two other TI bikes, a low cost Motobecane, and a high cost Serotta, and both of those ride better than my steel bikes. The weird thing that between my Lynskey and the other two TI bikes mine tracks better and feels stiffer than the others even though mine is a sport frame. The Serotta was the most comfortable but that one has swayed stays which is something the new version of my Lynskey now has. Both the Serotta and the Motobecane didn't track as well as mine but that could be due to mine having an newer and stiffer Enve 2.0 fork compared to generic CF forks the others have (not sure if Serotta builds their CF forks or not, I doubt it).

So there is a lot of variables going into this sort of discussion that can change how one TI bike feels from another TI bike, this doesn't mean one is better than the other, it's more about how you perceive how your idea bike should feel like. But the one thing I discovered about TI bikes...a low cost $2,400 (at the time 6 years or so ago) Motobecane was every bit a match for a more expensive $7,000 bike! and my $2,800 bike was better then either in handling and all out sprinting. So I can't recommend to buy an expensive TI bike when there are several like a low end Lynskey and the Motobecane that would more than suit a persons needs; in fact I would strongly recommend the Motobecane because it represents a fantastic bargain, despite the fact that resale value would be less than a Lynskey or any other name brand TI bike, but if you plan on never selling it then it's not an issue.
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Old 08-25-16, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
it moots vibration
Pun intended?

OP: Why do you think you might want a ti bike?

I went with ti because I am hard on things and it will never rust like my steel IF started to.
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Old 08-25-16, 03:39 AM
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That is indeed a pretty and a sturdy-looking bike.
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Old 08-25-16, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Pun intended?

OP: Why do you think you might want a ti bike?

I went with ti because I am hard on things and it will never rust like my steel IF started to.
Nice looking bike!

I have lots of steel bikes and I've ridden one for over 160,000 miles even in the rain and it's 32 years old without a spot of rust on it, my commuter/camping bike has been subject to more rain because it will sit outside at a campsite and gets rained on with no rust and it's about the same age (I got that one used so not sure how the original owner treated it but no rust), not to mention they've all had wet baths. Steel bikes will have a tendency to rust if not cared for but they can take water. Some people use a anti rust spray to coat the inside of the tubes which I'm surprised a company like IF didn't do that from the factory since it's one of the better steel frame makers, none of mine have that spray though except for the Mercian which I sold. So all I do is simply remove the seat post and coat both the seat post and the inside of the seat tube as far as my finger can reach with a thin layer of automotive grease and resemble and wipe off the excess that oozes when the two parts slide together. I do the same with the stem. I also touch up any scratches as soon as I notice them. I also put a Lizard Skin head seal around the headset, these seals use to come in a variety of colors, they're a stretchy neoprene material that lasts quite a while, one of mine is about 20 years old and it's not stretched out though a bit faded.

IF is a expensive nice bike, I would contact IF and see about perhaps sending it back for them to repair the rust, of course it may cost you for dissembling, shipping, paint and labor but that bike is worth it. And discuss with them the option of treating the inside of the tubes with a anti rust spray. I have feeling that the rust you see is external since you didn't mention it was something you saw inside, all they'll need to do is clean up the rust and repaint, which you could do yourself if you can match the paint but it will probably look touched up. Then in the future whenever you see a scratch touch it up ASAP.
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Old 08-25-16, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
IF is a expensive nice bike, I would contact IF and see about perhaps sending it back for them to repair the rust, of course it may cost you for dissembling, shipping, paint and labor but that bike is worth it.

It's 12 years old and a bit heavy. It's also a bit large for me. I have very corrosive sweat and poor water on my head when it's hot. There is a good amount of rust at the bottom of the head tube. The guy who built my Engin thinks there has been some noticeable loss of metal in that area. Still, I may have it looked at this winter with an eye towards making it my B road bike.


My LHT, on the other hand, is fine rust-wise after more than 5 years of touring and commuting. Did nearly 550 miles in the mountains of Montana back in June. Heading off to Vermont in a few weeks for a week-long ride home to Philly.
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Old 08-25-16, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
That is indeed a pretty and a sturdy-looking bike.

Thanks. And BTW, that's not pain but rather a Cerakote ceramic finish. Cerakote's primary consumer application is coloring firearms. It's cheaper and lighter than paint because all it takes is a one coat spray. Then you bake it in an oven. Enve even approves of its use on its carbon forks. The colored glazes are a matte finish, but if you mix them with the glossy white you get a nice pearl finish. It's been a while since I looked at the receipt, but I think the Cerakote was only around $300. Applied by Paint by Todd. The guy does great work:


https://www.flickr.com/photos/paintbytodd/page1
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Old 08-25-16, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
It's 12 years old and a bit heavy. It's also a bit large for me. I have very corrosive sweat and poor water on my head when it's hot. There is a good amount of rust at the bottom of the head tube. The guy who built my Engin thinks there has been some noticeable loss of metal in that area. Still, I may have it looked at this winter with an eye towards making it my B road bike.


My LHT, on the other hand, is fine rust-wise after more than 5 years of touring and commuting. Did nearly 550 miles in the mountains of Montana back in June. Heading off to Vermont in a few weeks for a week-long ride home to Philly.
I would have it looked at by IF anyways, they may have a way to fix it that other may or may not have, plus it's their beast so they should know it better than anyone else.

The sweat thing should not have caused that problem, but be it as it is, in the future you need to keep the bike well waxed with a NON abrasive, NON cleaner, wax NON swirl, removing wax, in other words non abrasive wax. Then when you ride a bike simply hose down the bike with a water bottle filled with fresh water to rinse off the sweat. And reapply the wax every 3 months with a high quality liquid wax like NXT from Meguiars
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Old 08-25-16, 10:18 AM
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I like my ti bike. I got it because my steel frame broke

It is a very robust frame and so, besides lasting longer than any other bike I have had, it is pretty stiff - stiffer than the more lightweight ti bikes from other builders I have tried.

The specific material is less important than how it is used.
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Old 08-25-16, 10:54 AM
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Modulus of elasticity is a way engineers define the differences https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young%27s_modulus
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Old 08-25-16, 10:56 AM
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I had a Lemond Victorie titanium road bike. Waste of money.

It was a warranty replacement frame from Trek for a Klein and I paid $750 for it in 2000. Waste of money.

A) You really need to know how to paint titanium. Serrota got it, Trek did not, and the paint started flaking off in a year. Trek then warrantied and re-painted to a nice blue, which also started flaking off within a year. Trek would not re-paint, thus I was SOL

B) So I got it painted locally, this paint stayed on then the frame cracked right near the downtube cable stop. And because I had re-painted the frame, Trek wouldn't honor the warranty. Needless to say I'm not a Trek fan and will never buy a product from them, which is too bad as I believe in supporting US businesses like Trek.

C) The bottom bracket was as soft as a noodle and the bike would suffer F derailer rub on the chain in the small ring. I had to go to a Campy group to get better trim adjustability on the derailer to eliminate the rub. Wimpy bike

And for anyone who thinks titanium lasts forever, well no in doesn't. It may not rust, but then can sometimes be built too light and will crack. Can't remember who's titanium mt. bikes were notorious for this.

My steel Soma ride stiffer then my Lemond Ti ever did, so it's all in how the material is used.
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Old 08-25-16, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Modulus of elasticity is a way engineers define the differences https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young%27s_modulus
You are correct, but this is meaningless without knowing how the tubes of the different materials are sized, shaped, and connected.
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Old 08-25-16, 11:29 AM
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Then be fine with "I got one and I like It" which is all the typical response can be.

then show a Picture.
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Old 08-25-16, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Then be fine with "I got one and I like It" which is all the typical response can be.

then show a Picture.
That is pretty much what I said.

Picture to follow when I get around to it.


edit:

I got one and I like it.


edit 2: Apparently I don't know how to operate the intertubes.

Last edited by Wilfred Laurier; 08-27-16 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 08-25-16, 12:24 PM
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General consensus seems to be: Ti rides a lot like steel at three times the price.
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Old 08-25-16, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
General consensus seems to be: Ti rides a lot like steel at three times the price.

That isn't what I am reading from this thread - even if it is generally true.
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Old 08-25-16, 12:39 PM
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I rode a steel forked Merlin MTB 1989 down a dirt drive and sprinted back. And knew instantly that this, were it road and a good fit, was it. 2006 I landed a job where I could finally afford that $4000 custom and had been working with a local builder for several custom stems, so I regularly saw his ti work. It was a no-brainer to go to him for the ti bike. It is "lesser" straight gauge tubing and quite stiff, stiffest bike I have owned and would have been stiff for me in my racing days 40 years ago.

That bike is built as an all-arounder. Fits 28c tires and fenders. 3 WB cages. SunTour top-mounted DT levers. Triple and Campy 9-speed. Great all day bike, great climbing (for me, that's mostly a fit issue and why I go custom) and great on rough road surfaces. Not light. A carbon fork would help there a lot but I feel much more comfortable on steel and won't change.

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Old 08-25-16, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
General consensus seems to be: Ti rides a lot like steel at three times the price.
But 1) it climbs better. That lighter wallet is better for both weight and your head space.

2) More comfortable on rough roads with the same wheels and tires.

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Old 08-25-16, 12:46 PM
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Well, maybe twice the price.

A Motobecane titanium with a carbon fork is about $1,000. A Habenero with a fork is $1300 ?.

A Soma Smoothie with a steel fork is about $600-$650, though you can find them cheaper. Pacer is about $525.
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Old 08-25-16, 01:05 PM
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Well ... Ti is on my dream list (but has been moved aside by a Renovo wood frame.) Thing is, it is a hard sell because while I expect it would ride better than steel (just as stiff, more compliant with even less minor vibration) I am not sure the cost would balance the improvement.

I have to save a couple of tons of money before I can even seriously consider another bike anyway ... but a Ti light tourer would be it, I think. I could mount racks if I wanted, it would be light like carbon but ride better than carbon or steel and would outlast either, and my favorite finish is unpainted Ti. But still ... steel has a lot of the benefits and a lot lower price.

Not dissing Ti, believe me ... but if i don't slap myself with reality now and then, i face that uncomfortable moment with the wife when I have to explain why the brown truck is stopping in front of our house ..... again ....
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Old 08-25-16, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Well ... Ti is on my dream list (but has been moved aside by a Renovo wood frame.) Thing is, it is a hard sell because while I expect it would ride better than steel (just as stiff, more compliant with even less minor vibration) I am not sure the cost would balance the improvement.

I have to save a couple of tons of money before I can even seriously consider another bike anyway ... but a Ti light tourer would be it, I think. I could mount racks if I wanted, it would be light like carbon but ride better than carbon or steel and would outlast either, and my favorite finish is unpainted Ti. But still ... steel has a lot of the benefits and a lot lower price.

Not dissing Ti, believe me ... but if i don't slap myself with reality now and then, i face that uncomfortable moment with the wife when I have to explain why the brown truck is stopping in front of our house ..... again ....
Re. comment in bold... the high-end Lightweight Ti frames that I have dealt with had a pretty bad failure rate - worse than steel or aluminum IME. The heavier (and usually cheaper) ti I am familiar with (and have a bike made from) has been more reliable, but not as 'springy' and not as light. Just like any material, the characteristics (weight, stiffness, strength, etc) are dependant on the design and build quality far more than the choice of material.

I personally got my Ti frame because the only custom builder that built bikes for the shop I was working for built primarily with ti (in Russia). If I had my choice of custom builders, I would likely get an aluminum or steel frame for exactly the same type of riding you describe. Making a bike out of ti might make it twice as expensive, but it doesn't make it twice as good (again, in my experience)
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