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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a titanium bike that I bought early last year before I knew whether or not I'd enjoy riding. 10,000kms later I'm pretty sure that I'm hooked. Unfortunately, as much as I'm very comfortable on this bike and it is an enjoyable bike to ride from a comfort standpoint, I've come to realize that it isn't really suitable for the kind of riding I end up doing pretty much every time I'm out: I train hard to go fast and when I'm on the road I find myself sprinting up every hill I get to, aero-ing down every hill and (in effect) time trialing every time I come to a flat.

I find that the harder I push the more I notice the bike flexing, either at the BB on hard, out of the saddle climbs and accelerations, or at the head tube on fast decents. (Changing the forks made a big difference here, but it's definitely still not perfect.)

I'm pretty sure (and correct me if you think I'm wrong) that in order to keep things comfy, but improve stiffness and control I likely have to look at a race-oriented carbon frame, even though I have no experience with carbon.

[I'm 5'9", 145lbs; even though my focus to date has been on riding longer distances, I recently got my ass handed to me in my first race and I'm hooked, so I'm also planning to start racing in 2011; currently looking at TIME RXR or VXRS, Look 595, or Cervelo R3.]

My question is to anyone who has experience with titanium and carbon: what is the ride difference that you notice most between Ti and carbon? Are the two entirely different, and what do you see as the pros and cons of switching from Ti to carbon?

Thanks for your feedback.
 

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It doesn't matter what it made out of but rather how it is made. I own Ti, carbon and steel and have owned pretty much every material. The answer you are looking for would better be addressed by posting the qualities in a frame you desire. Then folks can give you some recommendations, whether it is made of aluminum, ti, steel, carbon or banana peels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, raymonda. Actually, I'm not looking for recommendations but rather the subjective differences riders have noticed between the two materials. For example, "Ti is flexier but is smoother and soaks up vibration better but carbon holds its line better" or "I can read the road better on Ti" or "carbon seems to translate my effort into forward momentum better"or "there is no difference".

How do you choose which bike you're going to use on any given day, and what riding sensations do you think of when you're going out on a Ti versus a carbon bike (or conversely, does it come down entirely to the make and design with material being irrevlevant)?
 

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Saddle Time,

The characteristics of a frame depend on several factors, not just frame material. There are some Ti frames that are stiff and some carbon frames that are flexy.

My advice is this - stick with your current rig for the next 8 to 12 months. During that time learn more about cycling, frame manufacturers, frame materials, etc. Then buy a new bike. Your purchase will be a far more informed one. That's what I did and I have no regrets. BTW, welcome to cycling.
 

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SaddleTime said:
Thanks, raymonda. Actually, I'm not looking for recommendations but rather the subjective differences riders have noticed between the two materials. For example, "Ti is flexier but is smoother and soaks up vibration better but carbon holds its line better" or "I can read the road better on Ti" or "carbon seems to translate my effort into forward momentum better"or "there is no difference".

How do you choose which bike you're going to use on any given day, and what riding sensations do you think of when you're going out on a Ti versus a carbon bike (or conversely, does it come down entirely to the make and design with material being irrevlevant)?
His or her answer still applies. There are no blanket statements that can be made about carbon and Ti with respect to ride quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, guys - point taken.

I guess I was not making clear the reason behind the question, but your responses answer my query. I'm very aware bike characteristics depend on many variables, but unlike stiffness, geometry or weight, ride quality doesn't lend itself to numbers that can be compared.

Hank Stamper said:
There are no blanket statements that can be made about carbon and Ti with respect to ride quality.
I was hoping to hear this - knowing that no blanket statement can be made about the ride of one material versus another makes it easier to look at different bikes without feeling like I have to be concerned about what they're made of. Of course it does mean that the pool of alternatives that need to be checked out increases dramatically, but whoever said choice was a bad thing?
 

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SaddleTime said:
Thanks, guys - point taken. I was hoping to hear this - knowing that no blanket statement can be made about the ride of one material versus another makes it easier to look at different bikes without feeling like I have to be concerned about what they're made of. Of course it does mean that the pool of alternatives that need to be checked out increases dramatically, but whoever said choice was a bad thing?
Both materials are great and can produce a bike that rides like a dream. You can't go wrong with either made by the hands of a great engineer and designer. I usually ride my carbon because it is newer and I have my best wheels on it.

If I were to own only one bike it would be ti. That is because I think the material will hold up better over the long haul.
 

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raymonda said:
Both materials are great and can produce a bike that rides like a dream. You can't go wrong with either made by the hands of a great engineer and designer. I usually ride my carbon because it is newer and I have my best wheels on it.

If I were to own only one bike it would be ti. That is because I think the material will hold up better over the long haul.
I have ridden a Trek OCLV 5500 since 2000 and it is bomb proof.
In the mean time a friend of mine is on his forth Litespeed Ti frame because he broke the first three just from normal riding.
Carbon frames are also lighter and stiffer than Ti.
There no such thing as a Ti bike that rides like a carbon bike, or an aluminum bike that rides like a Ti bike so material does make a difference in ride qualities although I doubt it effects overall speed much.
 

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SaddleTime said:
[I'm 5'9", 145lbs; even though my focus to date has been on riding longer distances, I recently got my ass handed to me in my first race and I'm hooked, so I'm also planning to start racing in 2011; currently looking at TIME RXR or VXRS, Look 595, or Cervelo R3.
Let me make it easy for you.

Get the VXRS. Titanium is the approved frame material for thhe AARP.
 

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get a CAAD 8 or something, if you are racing crits you will throw it down the road.
you will shed a little tear, versus crying your eyes out if that VXRS goes down.

just my lousy 1cent...
 

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I like that!

ewitz said:
Let me make it easy for you.

Get the VXRS. Titanium is the approved frame material for thhe AARP.
even easier, I own both, a Time carbon and a custom Ti...... Both are great and both can be ridden by middle-aged and pensioners, and very fast!!
 

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ewitz said:
Let me make it easy for you.

Get the VXRS. Titanium is the approved frame material for thhe AARP.
Glad I am a memeber in waiting of the AARP.

The material choice does not make the frame. Pros and cons to everything. Searching for the right answer is a big part of the fun.
 

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jnbrown said:
I have ridden a Trek OCLV 5500 since 2000 and it is bomb proof.
In the mean time a friend of mine is on his forth Litespeed Ti frame because he broke the first three just from normal riding.
Carbon frames are also lighter and stiffer than Ti.
There no such thing as a Ti bike that rides like a carbon bike, or an aluminum bike that rides like a Ti bike so material does make a difference in ride qualities although I doubt it effects overall speed much.
I own 3 Ti bikes an 3 carbon bikes. The Ti is plenty stiff and they all ride well. Carbon can be tuned more but that does not make it better. It all comes down to engineering and build.
 

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Raced on carbon, ti, and steel. Did my best on steel but maybe that's because I was 25 years younger....

You can get a great bike with any of these materials but fit is key. My favorite is ti: durable, rust proof, and less likely to get smashed in a crash in the pack. Not the lightest but neither am I.
 

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I've got a Ridley Noah 08 and a Baum Corretto. Most parts equal (transplanted) which are handlebar(PRO vibe carbon), groupo(SR11), wheelset(EA90SLX), pedals(Speedplay Zero); also fitted by the same person. I am 183cm at 81kg.

The Noah is fast, explosive out of the blocks.. Every pedal strokes gives a sense of a surge forward, aggresive feel of the bars.
Uphills need a seated climb. Out of the saddle seem to sap my legs. Wheels seem to complain on climbs(noisy due to flexing)
I feel quite beaten up after 100km mark. I've ridden 10,000km on the frame

Enter the Baum... My fitter said I have a more powerful pedal stroke, due to the different geometry. It didnt have that forward surge feel when u stomp on the pedals. Non aggresive, 'different' feel of responsiveness, not mushy coz I can decent just as well on the Baum. (may try a aluminium bar)
Uphills were WOW!! I was spinning faster on heavier gears on the same hill. Wheels didnt complain. Probably due to flexing of frame and wheels stay more true.
I 'feel' stronger after 100km mark and although can go up to speed faster with the Noah; I could stay faster for longer periods on the Baum. I am counting about 400km thus far with the Baum.

My take is.. the geo of the Baum is better for me but it also could be due to the material; for now I would say the combo of geometry and material was optimised.
If you are racing traffic lights and crits, I ll go to the Noah. Longer hauls with lotsa climbing the Baum will blow the Noah out of the competition. ;)

My 2cents..gonna have to ride more...
 
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