Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Titanium or Steel?

Reply

Old 03-15-04, 11:28 AM
  #1  
txtg
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Kingwood, TX
Posts: 50

Bikes: 2004 Litespeed Solano, 2000 Bianchi SL Daytona, 1999 Giant MTB hardtail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Titanium or Steel?

I currently have an aluminum frame Bianchi and am considering another bike. I'm 6'1" 200 lbs, so not a jockey and not a racer. I'm looking for a bike primarily for century rides and am considering either steel (colnago classic, fondriest) or titanium (airborne, entry litespeed) - not really interested in carbon fiber. I'm not sure I can tell the differnence in a 1-2 mile test ride. Assuming fit is fine, any opinions on material?
txtg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 11:54 AM
  #2  
trekkie820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 2,293

Bikes: 2004 Trek 4600 SS, 2016 Cannondale Cujo 2 SS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Steel-is-real! a well made steel frame will be a great, dependable ride that will outlive you. Much more economical too.
trekkie820 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 12:32 PM
  #3  
Avalanche325
Senior Member
 
Avalanche325's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 3,162

Bikes: Litespeed Firenze / GT Avalanche

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I vote for Ti. Yes, it costs more. But, it has a great ride and will last forever. Plus, it won't rust and it is light.

I just did my first century. I am so happy that I stretched the wallet a little for Ti.
Avalanche325 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 01:07 PM
  #4  
55/Rad
Form*r Ho*rd*r
 
55/Rad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,712

Bikes: Seven Axiom, Dave Moulton Fuso

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Simple - get both. I "had" to have a full carbon and still wasn't satisfied. So I "had" to get a steelie.

It's great to have a choice depending on which way the wind is blowing.That is, until I "have" to have a Ti or aluminum....

55/Rad
55/Rad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 01:30 PM
  #5  
ImprezaDrvr
Back in the Sooner State
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 2,572
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
I've said this often, and will continue to repeat it: A poorly trained monkey can keep a steel bike from rusting. Not an issue, unless you're less able than a poorly trained monkey.

I went from Alu to steel and love it. Ti was too expensive for what you got, and the weight penalty with steel is becoming less and less. Check out the Orbea Ultrafoco Carbon. I love mine.
ImprezaDrvr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 02:34 PM
  #6  
Laggard
Lance Hater
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 4,403
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Originally Posted by ImprezaDrvr
I've said this often, and will continue to repeat it: A poorly trained monkey can keep a steel bike from rusting. Not an issue, unless you're less able than a poorly trained monkey.
Amen.

And as you said, the cost to weight savings ratio for Ti isn't that great.
Laggard is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 05:29 PM
  #7  
Davet
Licensed Bike Geek
 
Davet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Barriles, Baja Sur, Mexico
Posts: 1,195

Bikes: Kirk Terraplane, Serotta Ottrott, Spectrum Super Custom, Hampsten Carbon Leger Tournesol

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Originally Posted by txtg
I currently have an aluminum frame Bianchi and am considering another bike. I'm 6'1" 200 lbs, so not a jockey and not a racer. I'm looking for a bike primarily for century rides and am considering either steel (colnago classic, fondriest) or titanium (airborne, entry litespeed) - not really interested in carbon fiber. I'm not sure I can tell the differnence in a 1-2 mile test ride. Assuming fit is fine, any opinions on material?
The proof is not so much in the material used as much as it is the fit and feel of the bike to you. You need to ride everything you can lay your butt on. A crappy bike made of any material is just that, a crappy bike. I've got steel, Ti and carbon bikes and I like them all. Each is different is some way. I like to do primarily long-distance rides, usually centuries, and I spec my bikes accordingly, so they are all pretty similar in their fit and geometry. Some of the bikes that you have mentioned are more suited to short rides/racing. Primarily by virtue of geometry.

So I guess my short answer is; the material is not the key consideration. Fit, feel and geometry will be what's important.
Davet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 05:39 PM
  #8  
Thylacine
Industry Maven
 
Thylacine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Wherever good bikes are sold
Posts: 2,936

Bikes: Thylacines...only Thylacines.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
if the difference is speding 1200 bucks on a great steel frame or the same price on an average titanium, you'd be insane to get the titanium. But, if you have the cash to get a good titanium frame, then I'd say 'go for it'.

The weight difference between steel and Ti is about .25 of a lb, rust is a non issue, and both will outlast any Aluminium or carbon bike out there.
What you get for your extra dollars buying Ti, is a slight decrease in weight, corrosion resistance, and a ride that is a little less springy or lively than steel.

Whether its worth the cost is a personal preference. One thing for sure though - ti still retains it's mystique, it's still a pain to machine, the raw tubes cost a packet, and it welds up like a dream ( assuming you follow the rules ).
Thylacine is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 06:17 PM
  #9  
Red Baron
Senior Member
 
Red Baron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: On a Road in Central Bluegrass KY
Posts: 1,251

Bikes: Not enough

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
thylacine writes:
[QUOTE]The weight difference between steel and Ti is about .25 of a lb

Sorry thylacine, the engineer in me asks - is a lb of steel .25 heavier than a lb of Ti? (GRIN)
I believe you mean weight density, if so I believe you are in error. Ti is about half as light.
Thus an equal volume of steel = twice as heavy as an equal volume of Ti, at least Archimedes would say so. And I bet he would have chosen a litespeed!

Good site to visit:
http://www.caree.org/bike101framematerials.htm
Red Baron is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 06:40 PM
  #10  
Davet
Licensed Bike Geek
 
Davet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Barriles, Baja Sur, Mexico
Posts: 1,195

Bikes: Kirk Terraplane, Serotta Ottrott, Spectrum Super Custom, Hampsten Carbon Leger Tournesol

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
[QUOTE=Red Baron]thylacine writes:
The weight difference between steel and Ti is about .25 of a lb

Sorry thylacine, the engineer in me asks - is a lb of steel .25 heavier than a lb of Ti? (GRIN)
I believe you mean weight density, if so I believe you are in error. Ti is about half as light.
Thus an equal volume of steel = twice as heavy as an equal volume of Ti, at least Archimedes would say so. And I bet he would have chosen a litespeed!

Good site to visit:
http://www.caree.org/bike101framematerials.htm
An any case, Ti bike tubes are thicker than steel bike tubes to achieve the necessary strength. Ti bikes therefore usually weigh only slightly less than the equivalent steel bikes. Ti has it's own characteristics that make for a different ride than steel. A well made steel and a well made Ti bike will ride similarly with some differences. Some riders like the ride qualities of one over the other. Both (of the well-made bikes) will last much longer than an owner will most likely keep it. So it's really a personal value/judgment call as to which is better.
Davet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 06:54 PM
  #11  
georgesnatcher
newbie newbie
 
georgesnatcher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Happy to be in FLORIDA
Posts: 633

Bikes: Titanium Indy Fab 29" mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I currently own a CF road bike and a TI mtb. I love them both and found both to have similar characteristics (absorption and stiffness). I had a aluminum mtb and felt every pebble I rolled over. Years ago (almost 30) I had a steel Raleigh. Great bike, great ride, except in corners. Now granted steel has come a long way in 30 years but I just remember the flex in that frame, and the couple of crashes it caused, to make me shy away from steel.
The only two materials I would own a bike made from at this point are CF or TI
georgesnatcher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 07:11 PM
  #12  
jeff williams
I couldn't car less.
 
jeff williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,397

Bikes: Ritchey P-series prototype, Diamondback, Nishiki Triathelon Pro.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Nitanium Chromoly steel tubing.
jeff williams is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 07:30 PM
  #13  
RacerX
Senior Member
 
RacerX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Left Coast
Posts: 1,717
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ti over steel any day for me.
btw, in a 3-up test of the Litespeed Firenze, Lemond and Airborne Zepplin from Cycle Sport the Firenze beat out the other two.

I like the Tuscany for a great 3.25 frame.
RacerX is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 07:35 PM
  #14  
Avalanche325
Senior Member
 
Avalanche325's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 3,162

Bikes: Litespeed Firenze / GT Avalanche

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ride both materials. Let your rump and hands decide. If one dosen't just scream out to to to buy it, then you haven't test ridden the right bike yet. When I test rode the right bike (for me), I knew it right away.
Avalanche325 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 07:37 PM
  #15  
Red Baron
Senior Member
 
Red Baron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: On a Road in Central Bluegrass KY
Posts: 1,251

Bikes: Not enough

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Davet writes:
[/QUOTE]An any case, Ti bike tubes are thicker than steel bike tubes to achieve the necessary strength. Ti bikes therefore usually weigh only slightly less than the equivalent steel bikes.

I admit its been a long time. But I thought tubes were made Bigger in Diameter(s) ONLY(Volume=2*pi*(Radiiutside-Radii:inside)squared x length).Thus a small increase in Diameter -both outer and inner dia. delta remaining constant- yields a big increase in strength, with a relatively low volume increase. This would be the better design.
If you meant THICKER meaning (outer Diameter minus Inner Diameter is larger) than I believe you are correct sir!(due to the squared part of the equation) But I did not think that is the case, or at least not an optimum design. BTW- that's why Alum tubes are even bigger in Circumference.
But- I could be wrong.

Eureka! Think I'll go take a bath ( sorry- a little archimedian joke)
Red Baron is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 07:45 PM
  #16  
shokhead
05 Roubaix Comp Double
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: So Cal
Posts: 4,665

Bikes: 2012 Trek Madone 6.2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Love my non-rusting steel bike but if i had the bucks,i'd get ti.
shokhead is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 08:04 PM
  #17  
bsande1
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Posts: 48
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My suggestion would be to contact Carl Strong at www.strongframes.com. For your price range you could get a custom steel frame that will be made especially to provide you with the riding characteristics you want.
Plus, their headbadge is amazing
He can also do ti for a slightly higher price. Either way, just make sure you ride it.

Good luck in whatever decision you make.
bsande1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 09:38 PM
  #18  
shokhead
05 Roubaix Comp Double
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: So Cal
Posts: 4,665

Bikes: 2012 Trek Madone 6.2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Hard to test ride a custom is'nt it?
shokhead is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-04, 10:03 PM
  #19  
bsande1
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Posts: 48
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Provided, you can't test ride a custom, that is why Strong Frame has a 100% money back guaranty based on your satisfaction.
bsande1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-04, 01:55 AM
  #20  
Thylacine
Industry Maven
 
Thylacine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Wherever good bikes are sold
Posts: 2,936

Bikes: Thylacines...only Thylacines.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
thylacine writes - "The weight difference between steel and Ti is about .25 of a lb"

Sorry thylacine, the engineer in me asks - is a lb of steel .25 heavier than a lb of Ti? (GRIN) I believe you mean weight density, if so I believe you are in error. Ti is about half as light. Thus an equal volume of steel = twice as heavy as an equal volume of Ti, at least Archimedes would say so. And I bet he would have chosen a litespeed!
Good to see they finally began teaching physics and chemisty in Kentucky! Who woulda guessed!

Pity you didn't opt to take "Real World Humour for the Sciences 101" though.

Mwuhuhuhuhuha!

Here are two frames. Both are the same size, tubing selection is geared to make them both perform roughly the same. Oh look at that! The steel one is about a quarter of a pound heavier!

And no, Archemedes would not have chosen a Litespeed....but he probably would if he was a member of this BBS.

*Makes sheep sounds*
Thylacine is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-04, 08:30 AM
  #21  
wlevey
Senior Member
 
wlevey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland, USA
Posts: 324

Bikes: Bike 1 - Bianchi 928, Easton carbon stem, bar & seat post, Ultegra 11/23 cassette. Bike 2 - 03 Lemond Buenos Aries. FSA compact crank, Sella Italia FSK sadle and Ultegra 12/27 cassette

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Afeter reading all of this I hope you are compleatly confused, I know I am!!

I have aluminium and Steel. I could never see spending the money for Ti and the full carbon Giant TCR1 I rode didn't impress me all that much.

In my humble opinion, "Steel is Real!!" it is like riding on a cloud and iff you are looking for long distance riding, I don't think you can beat it. Look for Reynolds 853 and you will have a Steel bike with much the same ride charictoristics of Ti (strength, weight etc.) AND the comfort (flex) of steel (at least according to one of the fram builders in my area and he should know since he works in both).

Then again if you are a "gram freak" you might want to consider Ti or full carbon to get the majical sub 16 lb. bike. But then you can ask yourself if the extra pound of weight saving was worth it! Just think of all the other bike stuff you could get with the $$$!!! My Buenos Aires weighs 20 lbs with everything on it (computer, HRM, bag [loaded with stuff including a rediculusly heavy Topeak Alian] and water bottle cages). It is Ultegra and rides like a dream!!

Just my humble opinion
wlevey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-04, 08:41 AM
  #22  
shokhead
05 Roubaix Comp Double
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: So Cal
Posts: 4,665

Bikes: 2012 Trek Madone 6.2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I'd like to know which ti's are sub 16? You know they asked the pro's what they like to ride if given a chice and most said ti. They said it has the best of everything except low cost. It will start getting cheaper,look at the $1999 litespeed.
shokhead is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-04, 08:54 AM
  #23  
Laggard
Lance Hater
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 4,403
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Pros don't pay for their bikes. They also have needs and requirements that 99% of us don't.
Laggard is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-04, 09:47 AM
  #24  
ImprezaDrvr
Back in the Sooner State
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 2,572
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Originally Posted by georgesnatcher
I currently own a CF road bike and a TI mtb. I love them both and found both to have similar characteristics (absorption and stiffness). I had a aluminum mtb and felt every pebble I rolled over. Years ago (almost 30) I had a steel Raleigh. Great bike, great ride, except in corners. Now granted steel has come a long way in 30 years but I just remember the flex in that frame, and the couple of crashes it caused, to make me shy away from steel.
The only two materials I would own a bike made from at this point are CF or TI
If you haven't been on a steel bike in 30 years, you don't have any idea what they're like today. Hell, they've come a long ways in the last 10 years. Your paranoia is completely unfounded.
ImprezaDrvr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-04, 10:34 AM
  #25  
leadbutt
...and bless the trails
 
leadbutt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: King, North Carolina
Posts: 180

Bikes: 02' Jamis Dakar Sport (just built), 05' Trek 1000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've never ridden Ti, but I'd love to...Anyhow, my ride is steel...I've rode aluminum and carbon fiber, and although they are lighter, I wouldn't trade by $400 ride for a $2000 ride (might sell it..but wouldn't trade it...then again, I could sell the CF/AL ride....???)

Anyhow, a good steel bike probably won't flex like that one fella said...I'm 220 and I can STOMP on mine and it just goes...

Around here, there are quite a few tar&gravel roads that I ride that my AL-ridin' buds won't...cause it vibrates their arms from their shoulders...I'm not saying it's plush, but it's not painful...and I get some new scenery...

If I had the dough, which would I choose?? the Ti...simply cause of the satisfaction of knowing you got something wicked...it's a little lighter, and most companies that put these things together are doing custom jobs...not just fitting you on what they got sittin' there...
leadbutt is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service