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Titanium “super bikes”

Old 01-03-24, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
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.
But ... a ride I did last September stood out because of the ride. On a steel early '80s race bike. I was riding 25c @ 98 psi front and a skinny "23"c @ 110 psi in back. This on largely rural roads from the Oregon coast range west. Only once did that tire width surface as a issue and that was a control issue, not comfort. Deep graven on nearly 20% grade for extended distances, both up and down. Not what those tires or that bike was designed for in 1983 when gravel was not a "thing". Now, I was riding tubulars. In other words, what the bike frame was designed around.

Except that one stretch of several miles, that steel bike and those skinny tires were a treat. In places, sublime. (I did spend enough time on the bike the months before to restore trust on tires the width of which I hadn't ridden in decades. And yes, for a given width, tubulars give you more confidence and comfort if you trust them and your gluing. There's good reason the change to big tires and clearances didn't happen until tubulars went bye-bye.
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Old 01-03-24, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 13ollocks
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!
Meh. That era was influential to me because of the age I was at the time, and where I was in my cycling/racing journey, but IMO modern race bikes are way hotter.

That’s the thing about porn. What turns you on might not do a thing for me.
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Old 01-03-24, 06:01 AM
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I had a custom Ti built for my 60th birthday last year, for less than I would have paid for an off the rack Moots. I wanted to try Ti, so bought a rode a Litespeed T3 (which is a great bike) for a couple of years to make sure that's what I wanted in a custom.

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Old 01-03-24, 09:23 AM
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I have two examples of “superbikes” in the garage although neither one is current (they are rim brake equipped and 10 speed), one Ti Litespeed Team with Camp. Record and a S-Works Roubaix with Dura Ace

I am a formerly aggressive rider who is now a fat Clyde. I feel like tailoring your bike to your riding style , and using good wheels and tires, is more important to ride quality than frame material.

For me it’s a push with those 2 examples. The Team was built with oversized for Ti tubes and doesn’t have any flex at all (also a size 53) - it’s not a pleasant riding frame set at all, but is perfect for dive bombing a corner full tilt in a criterium. Also has the low front end that was deemed necessary back then. The only thing that saves it are the lower profile box section rims.

the S-Works (size 54) is more current being the SL4 model, but still probably 9 years old - is a victim of my build spec. When it was put together I just didn’t have an appropriate carbon wheelset for it, and didn’t want to buy more “stuff” for a rim brake build. It got an older wheelset built with CXP30 rims,- heavy extruded rim with 30mm aero profile, which is not deep by modern standards but it is certainly stiff. A nice set of Specialized “Hell of the North” open tubulars rounded out the build

the point of all this is - the Litespeed rides rough, but is saved by the conservative wheel choice. The Roubaix, which is supposed to be buttery smooth, rides like an old cannondale .
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Old 01-04-24, 08:23 AM
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My fancy bike is built on a custom Ti frame from Waltly. More reasonably priced than pretty much any other Ti custom frame builder, but it's still a fabulous bike and a joy to ride.

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Old 01-04-24, 09:20 AM
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Lynskey R230. New carbon wheels. Shimano Ultegra mechanical, so I guess it is not a "super bike," although Di2 won't make it faster or more comfortable. I could afford a new bike, but I love this one and see no reason to buy something else.

Limiting factor, at this point, is the rider.
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Old 01-04-24, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
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.
Now do the same analysis on steel and aluminum using my sample. Here, I’ll do it for you. Steel: 85%. Aluminum: 98%. All of those chances of failure are ridiculously high because the true failure rate of any of those materials is far lower than 10%
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Old 01-04-24, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bblair
Limiting factor, at this point, is the rider.
Hush. We don't say those sorts of things out loud when talking about super bikes.

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Old 01-04-24, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Now do the same analysis on steel and aluminum using my sample. Here, I’ll do it for you. Steel: 85%. Aluminum: 98%. All of those chances of failure are ridiculously high because the true failure rate of any of those materials is far lower than 10%
Yet you seem to be experiencing a much higher failure rate than the "true rate" -- some number speculated to be low. Maybe you ride your bikes in a way that makes you an outlier.
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Old 01-04-24, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
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.
Yep. The other way to state that: there is a 73% chance you will not see any failures with 3 titanium bikes, if the known failure rate for titanium bikes is 10%. In fact, it is still likely (51% chance) that you will not still not see any failures with 3 titanium bikes, even if the known failure rate for titanium bikes is 20%.
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Old 01-04-24, 04:13 PM
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I thought there wasn’t going to be any math on this thread.
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Old 01-04-24, 04:17 PM
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Before ordering a custom ti frame 10 years ago I rode bikes of steel, aluminium and carbon. All road bikes by the way.

The very first time I rode the ti frame (similar frame geometry and tyre spec as my other bikes) was quite memorable, and it reminded me of the first time I rode a handbuilt Reynolds 531 bike in the early 1980s after my gas pipe cheap steel frames.

I live down a gravel road and the sensation I got on that first ti ride was that it felt like the seatpost was made of some sort of well-damped springy plastic, so improved (or maybe just "different") was the damping of the vibration from the gravel road. I immediately checked the pressure of the rear tyre. Quite unexpected, a mild shock, to be honest.

I got used to it, in time, of course, but for me, using a sample of one, riding a good quality custom ti frame for the first time, the "magic carpet ride" myth seemed to be true, at least up to a point.

I'd love to test a ti superbike (aka expensive bike) to see if I can detect a difference but to be honest even if it rode the same, they are objects of such exquisite beauty that I would gladly pay the big money for one. Money which I don't have, I have to say!!

My guess is that the ride quality wouldn't be any more magic than my own, assuming the geometry and wheels/tyres were equal. But that's not really the point of these ti superbikes, I think.
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Old 01-04-24, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I thought there wasn’t going to be any math on this thread.
There will be no math on the test.
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Old 01-04-24, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
There will be no math on the test.
Phew!
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Old 01-04-24, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Groasters
I live down a gravel road and the sensation I got on that first ti ride was that it felt like the seatpost was made of some sort of well-damped springy plastic, so improved (or maybe just "different") was the damping of the vibration from the gravel road. I immediately checked the pressure of the rear tyre. Quite unexpected, a mild shock, to be honest.
Well, Ti is more flexible than steel, with only about 60% the stiffness. A nice property, if you want vertical compliance.

Not such a nice property, if you're looking for bottom bracket rigidity.
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Old 01-04-24, 06:47 PM
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Well, I guess I'm one of those guys who bought a "magic" Ti bike. I have a Moots Vamoots disc RSL. I've had it 19 months, and the honeymoon is not yet over. I love this bike.
Background: I'm a 58 year-old Clydesdale who fluctuates between 190- 210 pounds. I know, but it's my life's struggle. Prior to my Moots purchase, my road bike was a 2014 Cannondale SuperSix Evo 3. It's a nice, respectable CF bike, but not a super CF bike. I also upgraded it with a relatively lower end CF wheels, which were still an upgrade to the original aluminum wheels. I also have a Trek 520 touring bike I use primarily for commuting to work twice a week. BTW: I also LOVE that bike; it's a nimble tank.

Why Ti? 1. I wanted a bike that I knew would last me the rest of my life. I felt like my Cannondale lost some of it's punch over eight years. I had read in multiple reviews that Ti bikes should retain their ride quality for very long periods, if not their life. I like things that function well for long periods of time; I consider it an investment.
2. I wanted a bike with no paint on the frame.
3. I love the classic look of straight tubes. I also love the curvy CF bikes, but the classic look of Ti or steel is timeless to me.

Why Moots? 1. I wanted the bike to be American made.
2. It had to have no paint on the frame.
3. I liked the anodized labels, but this was not an absolute requirement.
4. I had read some reviews about some Ti bikes that developed cracks, like what 50PlusCycling had said. I knew that Moots had a fantastic reputation.
5. I narrowed the bikes to Moots and Mosaic but chose Moots only because Mosaic would not let my LBS become a dealer. They only sell to the buyer directly. since my LBS was going to service my Ti bike, I felt obligated to allow him to make a little money off my purchase. He's always been good to me; I thought I needed to treat him similarly. Mosaic would have been less money than the Moots, but I really like and respect my LBS owner. I feel very strongly about this, being a small business owner as well.
6.

Differences between the Moots and Cannondale:
1. The Fit
a. I bought the Cannondale after riding only 4 months out of the LBS. My LBS recommended the size and did a post purchase fitting for me.
b. I went to a professional bike fitter BEFORE ordering the Moots who specifically told me which size frame and all other components of the bike. He said I didn't need a custom frame, even though I was ready to have one made if needed. AFTER the purchase, I brought the bike back to him to finish the fit. The before and after fittings were a valuable investment in my expensive purchase. The ride is wonderful.

2. Tires
a. Cannondale has 25mm tube tires filled to about 100 psi
b. Moots has 30mm tubeless tires filled to about 70-75 psi

3. Ride Quality: I've done about 10 centuries on the Cannondale and about 6 centuries on the Moots and one double century. The biggest difference I notice between the two rides is the amazing transfer of power from my legs to the road with the Moots. When I drop back in the pack and need to catch back up, one or two hard rotations of the cranks get me right back to the pack, where as the Cannondale would take me four of five for the same distance and pace. It's amazing. The Moots tells me when I'm having a bad or a good day better then my Cannondale. It's much more responsive. Of course, the Cannondale is not a $12,000 CF bike, but it's a decent CF bike. Also, I did not notice that carpet-like ride I've heard about on the Moots, but there is definitely a difference. I notice imperfections in the pavement, but like easyupbug said, what I may feel is the reduction of the high frequency buzz. I'm not sure if that's it, but there is a difference. I just don't feel as beat up after a long ride on the Moots as I do on the Cannondale. I mentioned the fit and the tires because I'm sure the difference between the two is significant. The professional fit helps and the wider tubeless tires are smoother for the ride. I wanted to point out some of the apples to oranges comparisons.

4. Placebo Effect: Honestly, I don't know how much of that I experience, but if I'm honest, I'm sure there's some of that. Perhaps it's also peace of mind that I'm riding something that is a top-ish level performance bike that is also a long term reliable piece of equipment. When I'm riding and not doing well, I know that it's me and not the bike that's not performing. The Moots eliminates any doubt about poor performance in the ride that is coming from the quality of the bike. If I'm not riding well, it's me. If I'm riding well, it's me. If I were riding the Cannondale, would I be going slower at the same wattage? Who knows? Probably, but by how much? Probably not that much, considering I'm not a top level cyclist. I don't know, but now I have no excuses in the back of my mind other than myself. And I love that reassurance. This is probably not necessary for most riders, and it may not be a big factor for me, but it works for me.

Lastly, was it worth it? Hell yeah! But I'm also grateful I could afford this bike. I know many people can't, so I'm grateful. I don't normally purchase expensive items. At the time I bought the Moots, my car was a 9 year-old Mazda 3 hatchback with a manual transmission. I finally replaced that 10.5 year-old car with a Subaru Crosstrek, not a Mercedes or Porsche. For me, the expensive Titanium bike was also an investment. If I'm fortunate enough to keep riding into my late 70's, as is my riding buddy, I know I'll still be riding my Moots as long as I don't crash it. I won't need to purchase a whole new bike.

Sorry for the extended post, but a lot of thought went into my purchase. If I could go back in time knowing what I know now, I'd do it again.

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Old 01-04-24, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I thought there wasn’t going to be any math on this thread.
Classic.
https://vimeo.com/65921206

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Old 01-04-24, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Well, Ti is more flexible than steel, with only about 60% the stiffness. A nice property, if you want vertical compliance.

Not such a nice property, if you're looking for bottom bracket rigidity.
I notice the seat and down tube diameters and profiles are pretty substantial on my frame unlike the noodles of the earlier ti frames. Definitely not as stiff-feeling as my carbon frames but not exactly what you'd call over flexible.
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Old 01-06-24, 11:48 PM
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Although I was happy with the comment I posted above, I wanted to know what the true expert thinks:

Yes, experienced riders or bike enthusiasts can often distinguish between common and boutique brands of titanium bikes based on various factors:
  1. Titanium Quality and Manufacturing: Boutique brands may use higher-quality titanium alloys or have a more meticulous manufacturing process, resulting in superior strength, weight, and durability. Riders might notice differences in weld quality, tube shaping, or overall frame construction.
  2. Unique Frame Designs: Boutique brands might offer more unique or custom frame designs, geometry options, or tube shapes tailored to specific riding styles. These designs can set them apart from mass-produced titanium frames.
  3. Customization Options: Boutique titanium bike brands often offer customization options such as paint finishes, component selections, or personalized geometry adjustments. This level of customization may not be as readily available in common brands.
  4. Performance and Ride Quality: Riders with experience might notice subtle differences in ride quality, stiffness, or responsiveness between common and boutique titanium bikes. These differences could stem from variations in frame design, tube butting, or other manufacturing nuances.
  5. Brand Reputation and Exclusivity: Boutique brands tend to have a more niche market and a dedicated following. Enthusiasts may recognize and value the exclusivity, craftsmanship, and prestige associated with certain boutique titanium bike manufacturers.
  6. Price and Availability: Boutique titanium bike brands often command a premium price due to their craftsmanship, exclusivity, and specialized features. The limited production and distribution may make them less widely available compared to common brands.
  7. Components and Finishing Details: Attention to detail in components and finishing touches can also differentiate boutique brands. Higher-end components, unique paint schemes, or specialized accessories may be more common in boutique brands compared to mainstream ones.
Riders who are well-versed in titanium bikes, have a keen eye for detail, and are familiar with the market can often discern these differences between common and boutique titanium bike brands. However, individual perceptions and preferences still play a significant role in how someone evaluates and values different bike brands.
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Old 01-07-24, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jwalther
I had a custom Ti built for my 60th birthday last year, for less than I would have paid for an off the rack Moots. I wanted to try Ti, so bought a rode a Litespeed T3 (which is a great bike) for a couple of years to make sure that's what I wanted in a custom.

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That bike is seriously sweet. I'd love a gravel model in red, white and navy.
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Old 01-07-24, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Yet you seem to be experiencing a much higher failure rate than the "true rate" -- some number speculated to be low. Maybe you ride your bikes in a way that makes you an outlier.
Or, perhaps, it was a problem with the material and the way it was used. One of the steel bikes was a 1984 Miyata Ridge Runner mountain bike which was a very early mountain bike…Miyata’s first attempt and only a year after the Stumpjumper came out. The fork broke. After replacing it, I was told by a manufacturing rep that all of the forks were breaking (although he didn’t offer to refund the cost of the fork replacement). Then the frame broke at the chainstay bridge on both chain stay. After repair, the rear axle of the freewheel hub broke which broke the dropout. And then the chainstay bridge repair broke again. That’s a lot of breakage for one frame. Kind of makes me wonder if there was a metallurgy issue.

The other steel frame was a Specialized Rock Combo that was an early version of a gravel bike. I used it as a mountain bike. Probably under built for that kind of use. It broke at the dropout. It’s important to note that the other 14 steel bikes didn’t break. I don’t blame the material.

One of the aluminum bikes was a Specialized Stumpjumper Pro with an M2 aluminum/boron metal composite frame. They were great bikes but were known to be brittle and prone to cracking in exactly the same place that mine did…at the brake bridge. The other aluminum bike broke because I used a seat post with a huge setback on a somewhat unconventional frame. That one was on me. Of course the other 18 aluminum bikes I’ve owned have never had a problem. Again, I don’t blame the material.
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Old 01-08-24, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Well, Ti is more flexible than steel, with only about 60% the stiffness. A nice property, if you want vertical compliance.

Not such a nice property, if you're looking for bottom bracket rigidity.
Absolutely correct, my steel, aluminum, Ti and carbon frames all have advantages and disadvantages but over the last few years I have found a quality Ti frame builder using the highest strength to weight ratio of any metal alloy (leaving out the exotics) with better fatigue resistance can give the ride I want in a road bike, lively like a steel frame but with a dampening of road buzz. Using grade 2 for cable stops, grade 9 or even high quality grade 5 for tubing they are not cheap but but I value the durability and ride quality.
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Old 01-08-24, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I thought there wasn’t going to be any math on this thread.
That's what the syllabus stated.
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Old 01-08-24, 10:05 AM
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I can't tell you anything about "Magic Carpet Ride" or other such mythical nonsense. I CAN tell you that since I got my Litespeed (1995 Ultimate, built with R8000 Ultegra) it's my "Go To" bike, and the other 9 bikes get a lot less saddle time. I don't know if it's the ride, or the look, or what. I only know that when I want to go ride, the Litespeed is the bike I want to ride.

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Old 01-08-24, 11:27 AM
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Ok. If you insist. Keep in mind that it's a 2016 vintage. Electronic shifting was relatively more expensive than it is today.
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