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lnomura 02-16-04 09:45 PM

Titanium vs. Steel Road Bikes
I am about to make a significant purchase on a Serotta bicycle. I am a petite female, 5'2", 120 lbs. I ride about 3-4 times a week, enjoy doing centuries and other non-competitive rides. I ride on average about 125 miles a week.

I just got back from being fitted for a Serotta (which was wonderful) but now need to pick from purchasing a Titanium vs. Steel frame. The price differential is about $1000. We are talking $4,800 vs $3,800 for titanium vs steel. What are your thoughts, is the ride of titanium worth the extra cost?

Rev.Chuck 02-16-04 10:07 PM

You really need to ride both metals. You also need to be pretty sure this is THE frame. Ti is so pricey you don't want to get it if you think you might want a frame change in a year( at 5'2" you probably ride around a 48 and it might be hard to sell one that small)
The steel in your size will be a little stiffer but not so much that the ride would be uncomfortable.

Davet 02-16-04 10:13 PM


Originally Posted by lnomura
I am about to make a significant purchase on a Serotta...... is the ride of titanium worth the extra cost?

That's a tough question to answer,it really depends on you. I own both steel and titanium bikes now, and have owned steel and titanium Serottas in the past. The ride qualities of each metal are different, and I like them both. What you will gain with a Serotta titanium over a Serotta steel bike is the ride quality, that is the ride characteristics. The Ti bike will feel somewhat less harsh, the bumps or irregularities of the road surface will feel smoothed out, there will be less "buzz". That's assuming both bikes are otherwise equal. A well built Ti bike, like the Serotta, will last longer than a well built steel bike from Serotta. However, either one will last much longer than most people would consider keeping one, 20~30 years perhaps.

There are proponents of both metals for frames, and each one has valid points in its' favor. You should ride bikes made from each, preferably from the same maker and set up similarly, then you could answer your own question. Which is back to my original sentence; it depends on you.

RacerX 02-17-04 01:50 AM

What tubeset is Serotta proposing for your steel frame choice?

Is the Serotta ti a 6/4 or 3/2.5 tubeset? Mix of both?

(Since money is a priority, just trying to gauge the relative value of the raw material)

Just by initial feeling, you are in rarified territory with 3500-4500 framesets. I say go with ti and be done with it.
I know you already got fitted but a Litespeed also has a custom program. You can have a custom Litespeed Ti

Bruco 02-17-04 04:47 AM


Originally Posted by lnomura
We are talking $4,800 vs $3,800 for titanium vs steel.

Inomura, you are about to enter the world of high-end cycles. :)

If I had a budget like yours, I would definitately check out (and test ride!) more top-level bikes. For those bucks, you could get almost anything we roadies are lusting after. And, like the Reverend said, that bike is going to be with you for a long time, so you better make sure that you will like it 100% and that you will not be secretly lusting after someone else's ride all the time.

Being a Ti man, I would include some other companies in my shopping list (which doesn't imply anything negative about Serotta): Spectrum, Moots, Merlin, Seven, Guru, De Rosa, Litespeed.

Apart from Ti's ride quality (which is indeed mostly subjective) and the durability, I think that aesthetically (which, again, is subjective) nothing beats an unpainted Ti frame (and you don't have to worry about paint chipping off, which will happen regardless of how careful you are).

Good luck finding your dream bike! Let us know how you are proceeding.

digger 02-17-04 02:18 PM

Well, as posted, that depends on you. I have never ridden a Ti rame and might not ever own one as they are too expensive. But steel is MY choice.

But perhaps - if you get a steel frame then that $1000 left over could be used to buy the accessories like - shoes, helmet, gloves, pump (frame and floor), tools, saddle bag, bike computer, water bottles, bottle cages, chain lube, tubes, tire levers, patches, shorts, jerseys, jacket, socks, sun glasses, car rack, etc.

Since this is going to be an expensive bike and if your anything like me (pray yer not) then you don't want to get your baby wet. You COULD use that $1k to buy a used or much cheaper beater bike for bad weather or commuting. Or even buy a low cost MTB bike for those few rides you may want to do off road.

You could even send that $1000 to me as I need a new transmission for my road bike AND new shifters. ;)

P.s. I take cheque or money order I'm not fussy.

redfooj 02-17-04 06:51 PM

like digger pointed out... 1000$ is a LOT of money towards accessories!

shokhead 02-18-04 09:15 AM

Your light enough that you might not see enough difference and the steel would be great unless this is your last bike,then spend the extra 1000. You know u can get a ti litespeed for 2000.

MichaelW 02-18-04 12:34 PM

Small bikes have less material, so the weight differential is small, compare to a large man's bike.
Is the Ti a fully butted/profiled tubeset, like their steel would be? Often builders will use unbutted sections of Ti, so again, the weight differential is less than using the very high-end Ti tubes.

BTW what wheel size are you using, what crank size did they recomend, and did they adjust the bottom bracket height to the crank size. Id be interested to see how sophisticed a small Serotta design is.

Its really a hard decision to make. With high end bikes, no two ride exactly alike. Some other Ti bike may not ride like your Ti model.
The good thing is that any way, you win.

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