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Titanium “super bikes”

Old 01-01-24, 07:18 PM
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More than a couple years ago I went from a Colnago Master to a Serotta Legend Ti, that Serotta is the only bike I regret selling it did everything right and comfortably but I was chasing what that bike wasn't. The Ti market is pretty saturated at this point but if were in the market for a Ti bike I think I'd go with the old standby's of Moots or Speedvagen, that's not an accusation that the new Ti builders can't build a bike it's simply me showing my age.
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Old 01-01-24, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling
I’ve had experience with 3 titanium bikes, an old Teledyne, a Panasonic MTB, and a Litespeed Tuscany. I am not a particularly aggressive rider, but all three bike developed cracks. I wouldn’t buy another titanium bike.
So all vintage bikes some of which from a time when building a frame from titanium was a newer thing and they hadn't worked out the kinks or figured out the right alloys. Pretty poor conclusion.

I understand it is three bikes and that is a lot but I have 3 titanium bikes myself two mountain bikes and a road bike and like you am not aggressive but also not a lightweight rider either and certainly haven't gotten lighter. Zero issues my oldest is from 2015-2016 and it has been a fantastic bike aside from a recent free hub issues that is resolved.

I wouldn't want vintage titanium for actual real riding but modern stuff 100% in fact I am looking at a full suspension titanium enduro bike and have been looking to build a ridiculously high end fixed gear road bike (also in titanium).

A lot of early material usage had issues for some people and developed cracks or lamination issues or some odd stuff and certainly some builders also didn't do a great job with certain materials but you could say that about a lot of stuff. I don't think painting all of titanium into that corner is fair there are tons of builders who make some really excellent stuff and there are a ton of other people here who own lots of titanium bikes who also don't have issues.


This is now my ultimate dream: https://www.sturdycycles.co.uk/shop
It was Firefly bicycles for a long time and I still would love to have one of their frames but Sturdy really takes it up to another level. Yes expensive but a custom built bike and it has all sorts of custom titanium parts which is super neat.
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Old 01-01-24, 07:31 PM
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I post a picture of my keeper whenever I can. When I read the Bicycle Guide review of the Bianchi Ti Mega Tube in 95 I determined that would be my grail bike vs the EL OS I was lusting after prior to. About 6 month to a year later I found one on eBay. Full Dura Ace Spinergy wheels and a time fork. I immediately dumped the Dura Ace for my preferred Marque, although the Spinergy's looks cool those 2" or wider spokes and 40 mm (?) were just not practical in any cross winds. Slowly but surely the bike evolved to as it is today. The only contestants being the Brooks Swallow, Cinelly Grammo, Eubios and Spinachloi's (?).


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Old 01-01-24, 07:58 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I have personal experience with 40 bicycles…16 steel, 20 aluminum, and 3 titanium. I’ve broken 2 steel and 2 aluminum but no titanium. Percentage wise, that a 12% failure rate for steel, 10% failure rate for aluminum, and a 0% failure rate for titanium.
With a sample size of just 3 titanium frames, the margin of error is kind of big.

If the actual Ti failure rate is 10%, the chance of getting at least 1 failure is:

1 - (0.9 * 0.9 * 0.9) = 27%

Statistics rambling aside, point taken about the way the material is used being the most important factor.
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Old 01-01-24, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I have personal experience with 40 bicycles…16 steel, 20 aluminum, and 3 titanium. I’ve broken 2 steel and 2 aluminum but no titanium. Percentage wise, that a 12% failure rate for steel, 10% failure rate for aluminum, and a 0% failure rate for titanium. I am an aggressive rider and I don’t baby my bikes. One of my titaniums even uses the chainstays for suspension. No cracks.

It ain’t the material that breaks, it’s the way it is used in the frame
+1. I have broken a Trek steel frame and two Colnago aluminum frames. That doesn’t mean steel, Trek and/or Colnago are things to avoid.
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Old 01-01-24, 09:41 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
+1. I have broken a Trek steel frame and two Colnago aluminum frames. That doesn’t mean steel, Trek and/or Colnago are things to avoid.
Obviously you should bicycles with frames .... see Bald Paul's post above.
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Old 01-01-24, 10:11 PM
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Actually considering the amount of bicycles and components that I have used since getting serious about cycling in the mid 70’s it is shocking the reliability I have experienced overall. At a beefy 6’ 3” I have always been in the Clydesdale category and even with this minimal issues overall. I cracked a couple of frames but it’s mostly been wheel issues over the years and even these have been bulletproof for the past decade or so. Premium bikes have been shockingly reliable for decades and these debates are bordering on ridiculous.
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Old 01-02-24, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Obviously you should bicycles with frames .... see Bald Paul's post above.
I should wut?
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Old 01-02-24, 06:12 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
+1. I have broken a Trek steel frame and two Colnago aluminum frames. That doesn’t mean steel, Trek and/or Colnago are things to avoid.
Originally Posted by Maelochs
Obviously you should AVOID bicycles with frames .... see Bald Paul's post above.
Originally Posted by indyfabz
I should wut?
Avoid .... I made the word "avoid" out of unobtanium so you could not see it.
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Old 01-02-24, 08:43 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
Did you expect something different?
To be honest, I wondered two things: if people felt the ride-quality attributes of titanium were maybe only particularly relevant for road bikes and less relevant where tire width and road buzz not a factor. And if the attraction of ti bike is strongest when they buy it but it faded over time and folks returned to carbon or steel, as if the ti desire was less about ride quality than they’d thought.
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Old 01-02-24, 09:03 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Jno
To be honest, I wondered two things: if people felt the ride-quality attributes of titanium were maybe only particularly relevant for road bikes and less relevant where tire width and road buzz not a factor. And if the attraction of ti bike is strongest when they buy it but it faded over time and folks returned to carbon or steel, as if the ti desire was less about ride quality than they’d thought.
Titanium, like steel, can be stiff or noodley depending on tube diameter, wall thickness, geometry, and alloy. You can't say a certain material will ride a certain way.

The whippiest, wet noodle I ever had was a Landshark made from standard diameter Prestige steel. Great bike for someone 50 pounds lighter than me. The stiffest, most bone jarring bridge girder I had was a Tesch s22, made from heavy gauge, oversize True Temper steel.

I have a Seven ti frame. While it's a great bike it doesn't have any "magic" ride quality. It's quite stiff and broken pavement is quite jarring. I rode a friend's Moots Vamoots and it felt like a spring compared to my Seven. I also have a steel Gunnar and it is more compliant than the Seven but it also has a 3 inch longer wheebase and slacker head tube.
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Old 01-02-24, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Jno
To be honest, I wondered ..... if the attraction of ti bike is strongest when they buy it but it faded over time and folks returned to carbon or steel, as if the ti desire was less about ride quality than they’d thought.
Most people who buy Ti don't sell the bike, so whether or not it was exactly what they had always dreamed of, .... and if they bought more bikes usually they seem to have been bikes for other purposes. I have never heard a story of a person who got a Ti bike expecting some magic-carpet-ride and then went to steel or CF to find it because Ti did not deliver.

I'd bet that if you really wanted a plush ride on an unsuspended road bike, going custom and asking the builder to aim for compliance would be the route. Slimmer chain- and seat stays, more curve in the fork, and there you are ... and the main triangle can be as rigid as you like ... I'd guess.
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Old 01-02-24, 09:49 AM
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I am sensitive to road buzz, etc. having rheumatoid and osteoarthritis in hands, wrists, knees, with too many bikes I try to ride with Selle Anatomica saddles and gel padded bars with anti-vibration gloves. Now 73 no longer an aggressive rider and the Tour De Tucson is only a fond memory. I only ride the vintage frames that take less than 28mm tires short distances other than a Vitus (known to be noodley), one of my customs and my titaniums. In a few words I believe the titaniums have a slight advantage in reducing high frequency road buzz which is important to me on longer rides. I rate my Vamoots smoothest.
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Old 01-02-24, 10:15 AM
  #39  
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my personal opinion is that tire pressure and then frame design, especially head tube angle and tubing guage, have a greater effect on ride quality than the absolute difference between frame materials.

but maybe that's a pointless or self evident observation

/markp
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Old 01-02-24, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mpetry912
my personal opinion is that tire pressure and then frame design, especially head tube angle and tubing guage, have a greater effect on ride quality than the absolute difference between frame materials.

but maybe that's a pointless or self evident observation

/markp
Agreed - I think that some people ascribe ethereal quality to material itself, which may be proportional to the money they spent.

Of course, Ti will have a limited advantage in weight reduction of frame over steel, all else being close to equal but as I have mentioned elsewhere, it’s easier and way cheaper to drop a pound from one’s own weight.
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Old 01-02-24, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mpetry912
my personal opinion is that tire pressure and then frame design, especially head tube angle and tubing guage, have a greater effect on ride quality than the absolute difference between frame materials.

but maybe that's a pointless or self evident observation

/markp
I think it might be even simpler than that---for me, the ride of short-wheelbase bikes is livelier (or more jarring, depending on your perspective) than that of bikes with longer wheelbases, regardless of frame material. For my frame size in a road bike of about 53 c-to-t, pretty much any production road bike designed around my favorite wheelbase measurement would be fine.
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Old 01-02-24, 01:46 PM
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Admittedly, I've never ridden a titanium bike. I've pondered one day getting one. If we are talking titanium super bikes, I'd put an Exogrid on the list.



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Old 01-02-24, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jno
While dreaming idly about all the bike-related stuff I wished Santa might bring me (I got socks and a hug), I got to wondering about some of the Rolls Royce titanium bikes I’ve read about, but never ridden. While I have ridden some snazzy higher-end carbon bikes, I’m just an average cyclist who appreciated the ride but couldn’t really discern any crucial difference between various brands’ offerings. I got to wondering if that same thing might be true of the ti “legends”: would an average cyclist be likely to feel they were generally great but be unable to distinguish one brand’s ride from another, regardless of how exalted it might be. So, my question: Has anybody on the forum had 1st hand experience with a Moots bike, for example, or any of the other much-admired, very expensive titanium bikes? If so, was the ride “worth it/better” or was it more the subtle pleasure of riding something so grand?
I've had two (I think) a 1998 Litespeed Vortex, which at that time was the top of the heap by most analyses, and my current Lynskey R 450. Both have David Lynskey's signature on the bike and both are made with 6/4 alloy. I put 160K miles on the Litespeed and it has been my roller bike since I got the Lynskey in the fall of 2014. The Lynskey has 86K miles on it. The Litespeed replaced a top-line Italian steel bike built with Columbus SLX tubing. As far as ride, the Litespeed rode much like the steel bike, but lighter. The Lynskey likewise was just a bit lighter than the Litespeed. You can build a great bike with steel, aluminum, titanium, or CF composite. It's much more about how to incorporate geometry and flex correctly than it is about material of construction. The reason I have stuck with Ti is that (baring a frame failure) it lasts forever, doesn't scratch, and never needs paint.
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Old 01-02-24, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Most people who buy Ti don't sell the bike, so whether or not it was exactly what they had always dreamed of, .... and if they bought more bikes usually they seem to have been bikes for other purposes. I have never heard a story of a person who got a Ti bike expecting some magic-carpet-ride and then went to steel or CF to find it because Ti did not deliver.
I owned a Bianchi Ti Mega Tube in the late '90s, replacing a Lemond Zurich (853). It was okay, but I quickly fell out of love with it, and traded the frame for a set of wheels. I never bought another Ti bike, nor do I have any lust for one. However, I wish I still had the Zurich. My favorite bikes have all been CF.
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Old 01-02-24, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
FTR…I have a custom Engin. Love the way it rides, fits and looks. It was within by budget. Have never regretted the purchase for a nanosecond.
Really? Judging by your name I would have bet money you had an IF bike. Surely you once had one, right?
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Old 01-02-24, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
Yep, is it worth it?
Is there an element of coveting in such purchases that goes beyond simple rational reasoning?
Do people feel compelled to praise their pricey bikes in an effort to justify to themselves that their expenditure was a sound decision?

Who knows!

I had a friend in college who was convinced that when he washed and waxed his car, it ran better. Human subjectivity is an important aspect of what we do.

Happy New Year everyone!
My uncle who worked at one of the car company's testing and development areas always said, while washing a car - "A clean car is a fast car."
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Old 01-02-24, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Jno
While dreaming idly about all the bike-related stuff I wished Santa might bring me (I got socks and a hug), I got to wondering about some of the Rolls Royce titanium bikes I’ve read about, but never ridden. While I have ridden some snazzy higher-end carbon bikes, I’m just an average cyclist who appreciated the ride but couldn’t really discern any crucial difference between various brands’ offerings. I got to wondering if that same thing might be true of the ti “legends”: would an average cyclist be likely to feel they were generally great but be unable to distinguish one brand’s ride from another, regardless of how exalted it might be. So, my question: Has anybody on the forum had 1st hand experience with a Moots bike, for example, or any of the other much-admired, very expensive titanium bikes? If so, was the ride “worth it/better” or was it more the subtle pleasure of riding something so grand?
(Hightlight added)

I think your highlighted comment is critical.

I'm not claiming that no one can feel differences in bike materials or the quality of, for example, a fairly affordable brand vs a more custom or boutique-ey brand. Or a top tier model vs. the next rung down. I have absolutely no doubt that differences can be discerned. Some riders are experienced enough, analytical enough and perceptive enough no doubt.

But the "average", even serious "enthusiast" (like me) cyclist? There's lots of placebo effect, imho, but most of us discern two levels: "Very nice bike! It feels great, comfortable, like the handling" vs "I don't like this one, it doesn't handle well, or isn't comfortable."

I'm old enough to not chase that stuff I probably can't feel. I like very nice bikes, but that's about it. For now I have steel, aluminum titanium (2) and carbon fiber bikes. All "very good" framesets, maybe close to top tier, not the ultimate of the manufacturer or among the type of bike, but very, very nice.

To the topic; I have a vintage Litespeed Classic (1996, Lynskey era) and a current Lynskey (GR300) I'm very happy with the comfort and quality of both, and they were much cheaper when i bought them than other brands, like Moots. In fact the frames I have weren't top of the line for Litespeed or Lynskey at the time.

Frankly, among all my bikes, I can't feel any difference that can't be attributed to geometry (quick vs stable for example), fit and tire size. Not materials, not manufacturer. My guess is that any difference in a more expensive Ti frameset would be attributed to these factors as well.

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Old 01-02-24, 06:20 PM
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No-one here has mentioned any of the Raleigh Ti offerings, these are generally trophy bikes though.
The Dyna-Tech line has 5 years of sought after Ti versions. All were put together as special products which strikes the exclusive bone. Only 500 Ti road bike versions were imported and I've only seen one other in the states besides the one I saved from the scrapper last year.
Of course they aren't full Ti, only the triangle. Lugged with glue to Alum and steel with carbon trimmings.
Mine is still going back together so I cant comment on the ride, but I'm anxious for Spring to compare to other full 531 and alum frames.
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Old 01-02-24, 08:53 PM
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OK, this might be a prosaic statement but the arthritis in my hands tells me this: My three Ti frames, two Litespeeds, a Tuscany and a Firenze, and a Moots, leaving out the Habanero set up for dirt/gravel with much larger tires, they are similar size with the same gel on the bars and similar bar configuration with the Vamoots I get noticeably fewer hand grip changes per mile, typically two for comfort with the Litespeeds. In a ride the typical 1/2 mile change in hand position on the bars is reduced. The noodly Vitus and the one favored steel custom are not too far behind the Ti frames.
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Old 01-02-24, 09:11 PM
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That Bianchi is pure porn. IMO the 90's were the Golden Age of road bike design and this is a beautiful example (and a great pic). Fantastic!
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