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Is building a Titanium bike really worth it? Is this frame any good?

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Is building a Titanium bike really worth it? Is this frame any good?

Old 10-15-21, 08:07 AM
  #1  
pashlit
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Is building a Titanium bike really worth it? Is this frame any good?

Hello fellow cyclist and wallet spenders,

I've been thinking of my next project and stumbled upon a nice Titanium frame with disc ready fork from a very interesting (cause I have never heard of it) company from Netherlands. The frame is Van Nicholas Amazon Cross Titanium. It comes complete with Van Nicholas SLX Carbon Fork. Disk brakes ready. I have never had titanium bikes but have always thought on getting one. Well, there is no such a thing as enough bikes. Right? )) Anyway, the guy is asking $1k for that frame and is not willing to go down in price. Do you think it is worth pursuing that endeavor or will I be better off just buying a complete bike? As I said I have never heard of that company. I hope it is not just another Chinese rebranded frame off Ebay.

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Old 10-15-21, 08:16 AM
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If it’s not a brand you know and trust…..
if it’s not a product you can touch before purchase….
if it’s not a known seller/business……

I think you know the answer, it’s risky.

Barry

BTW _ This looks like it
Is the hanger really integral to the dropout?
oh, and those appear to be “dropouts” and not the more expected with disc brakes “thru-axle”.

Last edited by Barry2; 10-15-21 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 10-15-21, 08:29 AM
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Van Nichols seems pretty legit based on their website. Their frames are made in house IIRC. With bikes like these the ability to ride and check them out before purchase is pretty limited due to lack of distributors in the states.

I'm in the market for a Ti mountain bike and have checked them out. If you are feeling froggy give them a call. See what they seem like as a company from what little you can glean on a phone call and scour the net for other owners. At the end of the day its "just" a bicycle : )
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Old 10-15-21, 08:45 AM
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Plenty of reviews on the Internets. They don't sell rebranded frames.

If you are close enough in PA and want a custom ti frame or complete bike (good luck getting parts), you might want to check out Engin in Philadelphia.
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Old 10-15-21, 08:55 AM
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Thanks guys. I researched the brand and it looks legit. The seller is close to me, so I can easily check it out physically. He got it in 2016 but never ended up building a bike. I'm not in a rush or anything and have plenty of bikes in my stable. I just love projects and would love to try Ti bikes. The only parts I need is probably a groupset. At the end I can probably just sell it for what I paid or at least not to lose much.
The frame itself looks beautiful.
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Old 10-15-21, 10:24 AM
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That bike may work perfectly for what you need, but just some things to consider-

132.5mm spacing is not common now. Itll fit 130 road or 135 mtb hubs, but it isnt common.
Fixed derailleur hanger is not common now. All my bikes have them so clearly I dont care, but many people do care. Just an FYI to think about.
IS mount brake location is not common now. It works, but its not as common and may require some workarounds when figuring out what to use for brakes and drivetrain.
Quick release is not common now. It works, but the trend on mid-higher end frames has been thru axle for sometime now.
That frame is not light for titanium, at least based on the company's weight claim.
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Old 10-15-21, 10:49 AM
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I went Ti because I have very corrosive sweat and killed one custom steel bike - I did not notice a paint chip on the bottom of the top tube and it rusted through and split. Another bike had it cable guides rust.

Last edited by kahn; 10-15-21 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 10-15-21, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by kahn View Post
I went Ti because I have very corrosive sweat and killed one custom steel bike - I did not notice a paint chip on the bottom of the top tube and it rusted through and spit. Another bike had it cable guides rust.
They made a movie with Alien(s) that could do that!

Just sayin'



Barry
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Old 10-15-21, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
That bike may work perfectly for what you need, but just some things to consider-

132.5mm spacing is not common now. Itll fit 130 road or 135 mtb hubs, but it isnt common.
Fixed derailleur hanger is not common now. All my bikes have them so clearly I dont care, but many people do care. Just an FYI to think about.
IS mount brake location is not common now. It works, but its not as common and may require some workarounds when figuring out what to use for brakes and drivetrain.
Quick release is not common now. It works, but the trend on mid-higher end frames has been thru axle for sometime now.
That frame is not light for titanium, at least based on the company's weight claim.
Ohh. That's a nice input. Thanks. I will pass then. I can do it. No problem. But will probably keep looking for something more common for now. I wouldn't want to waste a lot of time building a bicycle.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:14 AM
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If you are in the hunting mood you should be able to find a TI complete bike used of course for under 1500 - That is the way
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Old 10-15-21, 11:15 AM
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I got a custom Ti bike made in DE for ridiculous $, but I was going to be in DE, and well I could get VAT back and make sure the bike would fit me properly. It's served me well 4-5 days a week for 3 years. The ride on Ti is better than even my CF road bike, but it's designed as an touring/endurance, but with road bias. The Van Nicholas is a good brand. I have rode with people in 3 continents with the Deveron and Amazon tourers, and they rode bulletproof in the Himalayas and through the silk road, but they are a lot heavier than mine, but then again, the riders are also heavier than me! haha.
Ti bikes ride exceptionally well, and are strong while maintaining lighter weight. Obviously the design and components are where the weight creeps back. My Ti tourer is 24.3lbs with CF wheels. Most Ti tourers will be in the 32+lbs range, so first understand the geometry and weight limits of the frame and parts, then decide if it's for you.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:18 AM
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Van Nicholas is a pretty well established Dutch manufacturer, I've seen a couple up close and they are very nice. Given the pricing and range of models, they compare closely with Lynskey.
As for the derailleur hanger, it's 7mm Ti - if you bend that you will probably need the frame straightened as well.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Sardines View Post
I got a custom Ti bike made in DE for ridiculous $, but I was going to be in DE, and well I could get VAT back and make sure the bike would fit me properly. It's served me well 4-5 days a week for 3 years. The ride on Ti is better than even my CF road bike, but it's designed as an touring/endurance, but with road bias. The Van Nicholas is a good brand. I have rode with people in 3 continents with the Deveron and Amazon tourers, and they rode bulletproof in the Himalayas and through the silk road, but they are a lot heavier than mine, but then again, the riders are also heavier than me! haha.
Ti bikes ride exceptionally well, and are strong while maintaining lighter weight. Obviously the design and components are where the weight creeps back. My Ti tourer is 24.3lbs with CF wheels. Most Ti tourers will be in the 32+lbs range, so first understand the geometry and weight limits of the frame and parts, then decide if it's for you.
Thanks. I actually just missed on a very nice deal on Lynskey bike. That bike was a custom made machine with Dura Ace components. 2016 year frame. Only $1600. 17.2 pounds. My carbon weights that much. )) Oh well.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by kahn View Post
I went Ti because I have very corrosive sweat
One reason I got my Engin.

Maybe I will post a photo of it one day.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:43 AM
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Looks like the fork takes a disc brake, the rear end takes a rim brake...? Or is that a disc brake mount with which I am unfamiliar?

Edit: Yes, it must be a disc brake mount. IS...?

Last edited by Koyote; 10-15-21 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 10-15-21, 12:23 PM
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As others have said that's a real handmade Dutch frame, not Chinese, and it looks very nice.

I don't think it's bad for the $$$ considering it hasn't been used. But yes make sure it's compatible with the components you want.
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Old 10-15-21, 01:37 PM
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I chose to have a P1.18 Pinion with Gates belt drive, cos I'm done with messing with chains and derailleurs almost 2-3 weeks. I change the rear wheel with different sprockets, depending on what I'm doing with the bike, sorta like chainrings but easier! So I can't just buy any Ti frame. Mind you, the seat post, fork and bar also influence the ride experience. I tried Ti and CF and chose the CF seat post for roads and park trails. The fork I decided on Ti, but that was totally cosmetic because I wanted the complete Ti look up front, and it could take a little more weight with the racks, while only 130g heavier only. I stuck with flat bars originally because of the Pinion twist shifter, so went with Ti, again for cosmetic reasons. I couldn't tell the difference in handling between the 2 on the road. but I've never tried the Ti riser on a hard trail though.

Originally Posted by pashlit View Post
Thanks. I actually just missed on a very nice deal on Lynskey bike. That bike was a custom made machine with Dura Ace components. 2016 year frame. Only $1600. 17.2 pounds. My carbon weights that much. )) Oh well.
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Old 10-15-21, 08:54 PM
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I love my 3 titanium bikes and am planning on my 4th so I obviously very clearly hate titanium. Such a smooth comfortable ride, if welded properly will last a lifetime (Ti is very much like Wu-Tang, forever) and no need to worry about corrosion and honestly if it gets scratched like all my other bikes I can just buff it out no worries. I can also paint it or Cerakote it or do a really cool anodizing pattern like you will see on a lot of Firefly ti bikes.

Van Nicholas seems like a legit company making some nice bikes and I have long looked at their stuff being like "do want" many times. You will not be disappointed.
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Old 10-15-21, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
If it’s not a brand you know and trust…..
if it’s not a product you can touch before purchase….
if it’s not a known seller/business……

I think you know the answer, it’s risky.

Barry

BTW _ This looks like it
Is the hanger really integral to the dropout?
oh, and those appear to be “dropouts” and not the more expected with disc brakes “thru-axle”.
an integrated hanger isn’t as bad as you make out. The dropouts and integrated hanger on my Litespeed are 5/16” plate titanium. I’m pretty sure the RD would disintegrate before that bent
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Old 10-16-21, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Looks like the fork takes a disc brake, the rear end takes a rim brake...? Or is that a disc brake mount with which I am unfamiliar?

Edit: Yes, it must be a disc brake mount. IS...?
It has an I.S. (international standard) mount on the front and rear. Flat mount brakes that most road bikes come with now is a more recent standard.

That's a fair price for that frameset IMO.

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Old 10-16-21, 07:52 AM
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OK. I know what you guys are trying to do here. You just want to make me buy it. Right? Cause I will. LOL. The frame is beautiful. No doubt. It is just a bit on an older classic side.
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Old 10-16-21, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by pashlit View Post
OK. I know what you guys are trying to do here. You just want to make me buy it. Right? Cause I will. LOL. The frame is beautiful. No doubt. It is just a bit on an older classic side.
"Classic" and "disc brakes" don't even go together yet haha

*edit* They're still sold brand new. If the frame you're looking at was near me I'd buy it for myself, I like the geometry. CX bikes make great road bikes.

https://shop.vannicholas.com/en/prod...sc-Frame/11449




Last edited by Lazyass; 10-16-21 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 10-16-21, 06:31 PM
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Double check that brake situation. It looks like post mount front and rear, so definitely a dated frame. Disc brakes without thru-axle is a real pain and a issue. Post mount is difficult to mount fenders and racks. Be aware this frame is aggressive geometry as well oversized tubes so ride quality would be very compromised but perfect if you race cyclocross otherwise no thanks. Also looks like a aftermarket fork be sure trail and rake are correct. Overall this bike is between technologies and would be a deal killer for me, just spring for a Lynskey when on sale which seems like all the time. I am indifferent towards current frame materials as ride quality is determined by frame design, tires and seatpost. The more modern the better once you determine what you want to do with the bike.

Last edited by Atlas Shrugged; 10-16-21 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 10-17-21, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
Disc brakes without thru-axle is a real pain and a issue.
I had a first generation Diverge with skewers and I actually really liked it. When you install the wheel you can look closely at the rotor between the pads and carefully keep it centered as you tighten the skewer. With thru axles I will get some rotor rub once in awhile. Not sure why.
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Old 10-17-21, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
Double check that brake situation. It looks like post mount front and rear, so definitely a dated frame. Disc brakes without thru-axle is a real pain and a issue. Post mount is difficult to mount fenders and racks. Be aware this frame is aggressive geometry as well oversized tubes so ride quality would be very compromised but perfect if you race cyclocross otherwise no thanks. Also looks like a aftermarket fork be sure trail and rake are correct. Overall this bike is between technologies and would be a deal killer for me, just spring for a Lynskey when on sale which seems like all the time. I am indifferent towards current frame materials as ride quality is determined by frame design, tires and seatpost. The more modern the better once you determine what you want to do with the bike.
100% agree with all of this.This bike is from the era where things were just transitioning to discs and it has a frustrating mix of technologies and standards. The hub spacing, fork, disc mount setup, QRs etc are all going to be annoying and are all deal killers to me. Just spend a bit more and buy a modern frame.
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