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Titanium Experts and Historians - Need Help Identifying

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Titanium Experts and Historians - Need Help Identifying

Old 11-05-10, 12:56 PM
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Titanium Experts and Historians - Need Help Identifying

I posted this in C&V and didn't receive any responses, so I'll try over here.

I picked up a Performance Bike branded titanium frame that I'm trying to find more information on.

It's apparently a 1997 model - Frame has 1" headtube, threaded fork and Bikepedia has a 1997 Performance "Picaro" ti bike listed that appears to be a match. Googling reveals nothing more that I can find.

Performance has a history of subcontracting frames from decent builders. Lynskey built some ti frames for them a couple years ago. Is it possible that Litespeed did the same back in '97? Serotta was building Ti frames for Schwinn about this time as well. There weren't many Ti builders back then - Litespeed, Merlin, Serotta - who else?

I've attached a couple photos of things I find unique to this specific frame. First is a bridge between the chainstays - the shape of it might give a clue as I don't recall seeing a bridge like this...maybe I have but I am getting old. Second is an indentation in the head tube - almost like a cutout to frame a badge or a decal. Its at the top and bottom of the HT. I don't recall noticing that on other frames either...

Finally, the one identifying feature on the bike are the numbers on the rear dropout - which mean nothing to me at this point but might help someone else. Needless to say, writing to Performance is fruitless.

Any clue as to who actually built this frame? It's a nice frame that will clean up really well and I'd love to learn something about it before I attempt to sell it...

Thanks...

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Old 11-06-10, 09:43 AM
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russian made stuff......back in the day the Ruskies were shipping stuff over, I owned an eddy merxc ti fram built by Litespeed....my welds were smooth like butta....those things are not. Top o the line welds.
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Old 11-06-10, 09:48 AM
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Hmmm. Russian made is possible. What was the company that was big in the late 90s-early 2000s with Russian made Ti frames? Airborne, I believe.

Performance may well have been selling frames from the same distributor.
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Old 11-06-10, 09:59 AM
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I'll pull out a 1997 PBS catalog and look, but yes I recall they were Russian made.

Bummer - I don't have a '97 era catalog just from the early 90's and then later. The '93 catalog has Performance Ti frames that were chinese made, 3/2.5 ti for $845. However the dropouts are clearly different than yours and I don't think its the same frame.

But oh look, a Dura-Ace crank is on sale for $134.95. That's why I got it then.
Its on sale for $459.99 right now. Hmmm, Shimano has seen a 341% increase in component prices over the last 17 years. I guess the increased competition has actually hurt consumers.

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Old 11-06-10, 12:00 PM
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Thanks for the information. Whatever it is, it cleaned up nice, 'cept the welds of course.


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Old 11-06-10, 02:59 PM
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Looks beautiful.

Maybe just the angle but does that fork have MAJOR rake??
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Old 11-06-10, 03:06 PM
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That looks pretty good! I have a 90s Sampson titanium frame, so there's one more possibility. Mine has lower profile/nicer weld beads, but who knows.. also no head tube profiling like yours.
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Old 11-06-10, 03:09 PM
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cleaned up well, thats for sure, what exactly did you do to it, scotchbrite treatment?
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Old 11-06-10, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by AngryScientist
cleaned up well, thats for sure, what exactly did you do to it, scotchbrite treatment?
Frame had been brush painted by the previous owner with neon colors in order to be more visible. I stripped the paint, scotch brited and polished. Took about 90 minutes total.

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Old 11-06-10, 05:19 PM
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I thought the chainstay bridge looked familiar so I went up into the attic to check- I've got an Airborne Zeppelin ti frame with the same chainstay bridge and head tube machining. And the same quality of welds- perfectly serviceable but not as pretty as a Lightspeed.

Airborne got their frames from a factory in China. There were quite a number of fanatic Airborne owners when the company was still going, so there may be something posted about the factory somewhere.
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Old 11-06-10, 06:36 PM
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Back in the '80-90s, most of the U.S. made titanium-tubing was designated for military use. It had to go through stringent testing and certification, thus its high price. In Russia however, titanium-ore is plentiful and you can go into any hardware store and pick up a titanium shovel for next to nothing. A lot of non-military titanium fabrication was sent to Russia and China. With the cut-backs in defence spending in the '90s, a lot military contractors went into the bike-building business as subs to the major manufacturers. So... long story short... it's hard to pinpoint exactly WHO built a particular bike. Even from Performance, it could've been several different contractors in a single year.
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Old 11-11-10, 07:01 PM
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Saw where you sold your frame. good price. congratulations.
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Old 11-11-10, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by lechat
Saw where you sold your frame. good price. congratulations.
I didn't get asking but I did get what I wanted. Great frame...actually gave some thought to keeping it.

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Old 11-11-10, 09:44 PM
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What people pay for this old bike crap is truly astonishing.
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Old 11-11-10, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad
What people pay for this old bike crap is truly astonishing.
One could make a pretty good living flipping roadie frames, wheels and components should one want to. All it would take is an enthusiasts knowledge of the industry, plus some ability in the areas of wrenching, marketing/sales, business management, photography, copywriting, website development, acquisitions and shipping.

Of course, the key is acquisitions. Gotst to find the stuff cheap enough to warrant all the work....

Sounds like fun actually...

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Old 11-12-10, 05:44 AM
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i always wait a couple of weeks before i take best offers. no one want's to pay the asking price and they nickel and dime you to death.
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Old 11-12-10, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by patentcad
What people pay for this old bike crap is truly astonishing.
But it is Ti and it should last forever. Well, maybe your Spectrum was an exception
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