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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I´m about to order a new frame which should last for some years but have som difficulties deciding it to be in steel or titanium. I´m well known with the riding characteristics on high end steel frames but are very curious regarding titanium. For the amount I want to spend I could get a high end custom made steel frame or a straight gauge titanium stock frame, or I could go all the way and spend the whole lot for getting a custom made titanium frame, just to avoid wondering for ever how such a frame would be.
How is titanium frames resistant to dents, bending dropouts etc. ?
How does paint "attach" to titanium, does it peel of etc?

Ketil
 

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Sharkey
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I went titanium . . .

I was on the very same fence about 6 months ago. I have always loved steel bikes, and know exactly what to expect from a good steel frame as far as ride characteristics, stiffness, etc. However, just like you, I have always been curious about titanium. The price of custom steel (like S3 or 953) meets, or in some cases, exceeds that of titanium, and the weight difference really isn't much of a consideration (only a matter of a couple ounces). So for me, it became a question of (1) how controllable the material was, and (2) durability (bikes are meant to be ridden, not babied!). I asked my builder (DeSalvo) if he felt he could "dial in" the ride of a ti bike as well as a steel bike and also asked him about durability. Mike DeSalvo felt that the Columbus Spirit steel is a great product, and that it makes excellent bikes, but that the tubes have very thin walls in the middle . . making them susceptible to denting more easily than a straight gauge ti bike. For durability, Mike gave the nod to the Ti bike. As far as dialing the bike in to my needs/wants . . . Well, that's why Mike (and other pro frame builders) are worth the wait. The bike is exactly what I wanted and I couldn't be more pleased.

I am a big fan of going custom . . . that said:
If you know exactly what you want from you bike, you just cannot go wrong with a custom frame (of either material). Between the two, I would recommend the custom ti (despite the $800 to $1K difference in price). . . but between a custom steel and an off the rack ti bike . . . . I think a $1500 custom steel frame trumps a similarly priced (budget) ti bike . . .

Basically, the material isn't what makes the bike great, it's the person making it.

Just my 2c
 

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I went Ti...after years on Italian steel frames I switched to Ti five years ago. All of the benefits of steel but at a lighter weight and with much lower maintenance. I have no idea why anyone would paint a Ti frame. My Litespeed has a polished finish that is beautiful.
 

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eminence grease
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Flip a coin, if they're done properly, they're both excellent.

Paint "sticks" just fine to titanium, as does powder. Bare ti is done for the looks and to save money, it's not left that way because it has to be.

Both are completely resilliant to damage if you treat them properly. Both will dent if you slam them against a light post and both will crumple if you leave them on top of the car when you pull in the garage. They're both going to oxidize, ti just does it far, far slower.

You can get yourself a very nice custom steel frame for much less than even a stock titanium frame. Even S3 only adds a couple of hundred dollars to the equation. You're really looking at $500 to $800 less for steel from a well-known builder vs. an off the rack ti bike like Moots. 953 and XCr are a different story, they cost the same or more than ti. And I wouldn't get too hung up about straight gauge vs. butted - I have a plain old staright 3/2 Moots Vamoots and it rides every bit as nice as the custom dialed Davidson I have with the "better" tubeset.

It really comes down to how much you want to spend and how much you're going to long for the one you didn't buy. Might be easier to just buy both.
 

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barbedwire said:
Which frame material is more comfortable? I'm not really concerned with stiffness, just overall comfort and shock absorbancy (if that term is applicable to bikes).
Both can be very comfortable. I think my current bike, a Litespeed Siena, is far and away the best bike I've ever had though. I think of it as a Five Series BMW...modern luxury performance. But then again my steel bikes were old school construction with small tubes and conventional geometry. The Litespeed has radically shaped and butted tubes in a compact geometry. To my limited knowledge there isn't anyone building steel frames with the radical tube shapes and geometry of high-end ti bikes. I'm sure it is because of the weight of steel vs ti.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
steel vs ti

Thanks a lot guys,

it seems that this topic is discussed quit often on this forum, as many others I´m very happy with my steel frame but want some more due to a comfy ride without the feel of cooked pasta and at last the self esteem with a top quality product. I have never ridden a ti frame, but trying to imagine that a ti frame has the same characteristics as steel just at a lower weight. But the best part is the time for considerations, once ordered the wait feels quite long and focus is spotted on next wannahave thing.

Ketil
 

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bigtea said:
To my limited knowledge there isn't anyone building steel frames with the radical tube shapes and geometry of high-end ti bikes.I'm sure it is because of the weight of steel vs ti.
fwiw-my steel cinelli's frame weight is only about 180 g heavier than your Litespeed in an equivalent frame size.its multishape columbus ultrafoco tubeset is relatively wacky, particularly the seatstays and chainstays.

 

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barbedwire said:
Which frame material is more comfortable? I'm not really concerned with stiffness, just overall comfort and shock absorbancy (if that term is applicable to bikes).
I would think proper fit would go alot longer way towards making a frame comfortable compared to what material the frame is made from. There is a recent post that relates directly to the steel vs. ti debate and it contains a very cool link to a series of articles on the Strong bicycle web site. Very interesting if you really want to dive deeply into the differences in materials.

Here is a link to that thread. http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=97988
 

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bigtea said:
I went Ti...after years on Italian steel frames I switched to Ti five years ago. All of the benefits of steel but at a lighter weight and with much lower maintenance. I have no idea why anyone would paint a Ti frame. My Litespeed has a polished finish that is beautiful.
I agree except I have a Serotta. The dropout cracked and it is much faster to not have to fool with paint after the repair.
 

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Either can offer comfortable rides if the builder knows what he's doing. Weights can be similar. Ti offers corrosion resistance, but so do XCr and 953 steels. Like terryb says, flip a coin.

I like lugs, so I went with lugged 953.
 
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