Titanium - Is it really all that it has been made out to be?

I’ve got currently got four different bikes in three different materials.

The race bike is a previous-generation Giant Propel. I have an aluminium Giant TCX cyclocross bike that has had a lot more use as a gravel bike, fitted with 650b tyres.

I have a Yuba Spicy Curry e-cargo bike.

Finally, I have a Lynskey road bike, the budget model. Lots of round tubes.

The Lynskey is just lovely to ride. On 28mm tyres the ride is just the right balance between lively and comfortable, and the handling is just chef’s kiss.

But frankly one of the biggest advantages of titanium is the fact that decals aside, it still looks brand new, unlike the other three bikes which, despite my best efforts, accumulate nicks on the paintwork.

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I’ve ridden them all. Tbh Just get carbon wheels man doesn’t matter what bike it is, it’ll feel great with them but it’s more industry bs. Buy it cause it looks sweet and you like it

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Titanium bikes are by far my favorite, but perhaps not for the reasons many are saying here. To me, the best thing about ti is that it can perform exceptionally well and can also be readily built with a custom fit. Of course steel can be done custom, but I don’t care for the weight or feel of most steel frames. Carbon can, too, but custom carbon frames are rare and the cost is hard to justify given how easily carbon frames can be damaged. Its the combination of great performance with lots of custom options that keeps me on titanium for lots of my bikes.

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This. Durability and timelessness. I don’t have to worry about notch sensitivity (except on the fork), scratches, or rust. It’s hard to tell how old a titanium bike is except for the changes in standards- clamp on stem, tapered steerer, disc brakes- or maybe outdated geometry. And even then, geometry hasn’t changed that much. It’s not dated, it’s endurance geometry. Barring any major changes, I’m going to hang onto my bike for at least two decades, updating parts as I see fit and keeping it fresh. It’s not going to look faded or old.

But I’m also not a discriminating rider. Maybe the bikes I’ve had were all good, but I’ve really only had three road bikes, not including a beater bike in college. I don’t see much of a need to upgrade bikes all the time. Now, upgrading components, that’s a different matter :laughing:

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The Holland is the road bike. It’s as good as anything I’ve ever ridden including the C 60. The Holland is disc with an Enve fork, Enve AR 3.4 wheels, Shimano Dura Ace di2. Just a good solid build and weighs 17lbs. I use tubeless Schwalbe PRO One 30mm tires. I’ve never once said “ I wish the frame was stiffer.” T 47 BB and the correct tube selection ensured this frame is a rocket ship.

And I prefer my frames are made in America :us:

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And now you can get anodized logos, so no worry about decals.

$5k for a Titanium gravel frame. How much is a custom CF gravel frame of the same frame dimensions? The price is because the frame is custom, followed by material/labor costs.

For some people, an off-the-shelf frame from the big three (Trek/Spesh/Giant is perfect. Perhaps their ‘models’ or designers happen to have the same bodily dimensions and flexibility as the buyer. Those are the lucky ones.

Most everyone else have to fit the bike to them using seatposts with setbacks, stems of varying lengths and handlebars of varying reach and width.

And there are the other unlucky few that can’t get the good fit with any of the above changes. That is what the custom bike frame are for. The hard-to-fit people.

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I hear what you say but don’t make your decisions based on peak torque:

  1. he has got the frame sizing all wrong as is clearly evident from the video. Any material will not work if your bike does not fit you well.

  2. his engineering is not sound and many people in the comments have pointed it out.

He speaks in a swagger and this confuses people in thinking he is confident in his views. It’s mostly bunkum.

Hambini on the other hand is the real deal. Good engineer and makes sound sense.

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from the five or so YT videos I’ve seen of his, Peak Torque’s info is at least as solid as anything out there.

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HAMBINI YOU SAY? Ask hambini what he thinks of peak torque Bikes & Engineering QnA with Hambini episode 1: Moderate Behaviour - YouTube

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Not that a S works gravel frame costs much less than 5k$/5k€…

Value is always a subjective issue, but I think many people find it easier to justify spending (very) premium prices for something custom made, by hand, to order, that is unique to them.

One of the hardest things about comparing value/prices is that while the manufacturing costs of a CF frame may be really quite low, the consumer can’t see/doesn’t know the R&D and manufacturing set up costs, which can be quite high.

Having said that, I fail to see how the margins on any mass-made, $5k carbon frame are not very, very substantial!

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Actually I’m not sure you understood the original point (or maybe I didn’t), but as far as I understood it @Fr0hickey was suggesting that a CUSTOM made carbon fiber frame would be quite expensive as well, since it would require a separate custom made mold in order to produce the frame–a one-off mold, which would not come cheaply at all. He did not mention anything about “mass-made, $5k carbon frames”…

Perhaps I didn’t quite follow @Fr0hickey 's original point, or maybe I was making a different one. What I was getting at is that

is not out of proportion against numerous off the shelf frames one can buy, hence:

I believe custom CF frames from the likes of Sarto are about £5k, but I could be wrong.

I beg to differ, but then I would. What follows is to be taken with much salt as I really do have a dog in this fight.

I had a very interesting conversation with a client the other day, he came to me saying that what he wanted was a 57 cm frame and he’d make it fit his contact points with stems etc.

I basically replied “Bollocks mate, you are paying for me to make something that fits you exactly so that’s what you get” and sent him off to a fitter so that we have ideal contact points on which to base his frame.

IMO there is a significant advantage to being able to decide exactly what stem, seatpost etc work best for you and then making the frame so that you are in the right position with these choices.

As an example I am 185 cm with a positive ape factor so my bikes have lots of reach but I hate long stems, my preferred length is 110 to 120 mm, I just prefer the way bikes ride with that length.

In addition I have clown feet and prefer a midfoot cleat position, so on any standard bike toe overlap would be horrendous.

None of these issues makes me particularly “hard to fit” and of course I could adapt around them, but why should I have to? If I’m spending anything close to the amount of money that Spectrekbeemondale see fit to charge for a top level bike these days, I want it it to adapt to me, not the other way around.

On a custom bike, I can simply design around these parameters and make something that works for me. It might not work for you, but that’s not the point.

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I have less of a dog in this fight, but having just been fitted for a custom frame, I can agree. I’m 178cm with slightly short legs and arms, so while I can absolutely make stock frames work, the weight distribution is never ideal.

The fit I’ve just had puts me in an ideal position, and it does so in a way that the effective position of the bars can be adjusted about 15mm in any direction, should that be necessary at some point in the future, with simple component choices, without affecting the handling of the bike significantly.

None of this is specific to ti, obviously!

I dunno, it seems to me that for many people custom and Ti are almost synonymous.

Custom steel is slowly dying, custom carbon is a niche, custom ally even more so and custom anything else is a niche within a niche.

Yes, in other words, exactly the point he was making–that custom made frames built out of titanium are likely no more costly than custom made frames made out of carbon (or steel, or whatever), since, well, they’re custom, one-off productions…

But whatever, how about swinging this thread back to the topic of ‘titanium frames–how good are they?’

As I said earlier, it depends who makes them.

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My $0.02.

Not sure if I am qualified to speak about titanium frames. My experience with titanium frames is with a grand total of 2 frames.

One is an off-the-shelf Kinesis Ti GF v3 frame in size 51. It was in service over 2018-2021, racking up close to 12,500 miles in those 3.5years. It is a rim brake version and served me well. My longest ride on it was a 300mile ridden on 20hrs. Its been ridden in pouring rain as well as in the desert heat. Its been taken to 49mph on a sustained long-straight downhill without any hint of speed wobble. It had a rear rack attached to it for commuting. It has gone through 2 sets of Swissstop brake pads. Built on HED Belgium+ rims over Onyx hubs and Ultegra mechanical, its not a light bike, but it has been both reliable and durable.

A potential mishap happened in 2018 when I was descending down Coleman Valley Road. It was dusk and I hit a 2 inch deep pothole square on. I heard a crack from the front end. Luckily, I maintained control of the bike and stopped to inspect the bike. The front tire lost its air, despite being tubeless) but the wheel stayed true. After pumping up the front tire, I checked the rest of the front end. There was a hairline crack on the underside of the fork crown which looked like cracked paint. After fretting over the fork, I decided to carry on. As this was the last substantial climb/descent of the ride, and I still had 60miles left to go on this ride.

The fork has been inspected by a bike shop and since the area does not feel ‘spongy’, it was deemed safe to ride. I have since replaced that fork with a new one. Maybe a carbon bike would have sustained more damage, maybe not. Maybe if I was running #tubeinside at higher PSI, the fork would have been fine. I was able to finish the ride, and a damaged frame was not in my list of worries.

The 2nd titanium bike frame is a custom Spectrum put into regular service in 2021. This bike is not a lightweight bike either, with non-butted tubes and with S&S couplers, but it fits me really well. Where the Kinesis, I could never get comfortable on the drops, this bike fits me well (it better since its custom fitted). Now, I just need to get comfortable on the drops to descend on it while getting used to single finger braking on the drops.

Overall, I am happy with my limited experience with titanium frames.

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