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Pretty much this.

YMSSRA.

Aero has only been tested by everyone from PHDs at bike companies to independent PHDS, to independent bike mags to joe blow all unscientific on his local strava segments...

Just because you choose to ignore something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But don't let that stop you from enjoying your slower non aero ti bike.



Sagan managed second on it I guess. "New" is subjective though as the sprint frame has been around for a few years, the only new part being the disc brakes. :p
Good correction, thanks. The frame is not new, my bad, the frame being raced at this level is new. I misplaced my new.
 

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Pack Fodder.
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That's caused by low spoke count wheels with a stiff rim.
Actually, I've had carbon fiber Cannondale and BMC frames that would flex a 32 spoke aluminum wheel into the brake pads all of the time. The seat/chain stays would flex excessively when out of the saddle. Great ride when cruising around, but when you needed to apply power they worked against you. Same wheelset in another frame would work just fine (same tire clearance). Where they chose to make the frame stiff affected how it performed.
 

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The takeaway is that it’s expensive and it’s just not that good? If there was some clear performance advantage then someone would be using it. Hell, Sky has no budget limits and lives on “marginal gains.” If there was any incremental advantage they’d be riding it. At that level, no one is leaving an edge on the table. I’ve never ridden Ti and I’m sure it has its merits, they just obviously aren’t falling into the performance category.
 

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Pack Fodder.
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Aluminum makes a good crit frame because it's cheap (crash replacement) and you can get the required stiffness for the constant effort spikes in a weight that is acceptable. It's why the CAAD and Smartweld frames are so popular. It's not a big leap for this particular race. I think it's cool that he would do it.

Given the choice, I don't think Sagan would opt for an aluminum frame by any manufacturer over the current options he has in carbon fiber for normal World Tour Races. While the geometry certainly plays into this, material does matter over a four hour race.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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Actually, I've had carbon fiber Cannondale and BMC frames that would flex a 32 spoke aluminum wheel into the brake pads all of the time. The seat/chain stays would flex excessively when out of the saddle. Great ride when cruising around, but when you needed to apply power they worked against you. Same wheelset in another frame would work just fine (same tire clearance). Where they chose to make the frame stiff affected how it performed.
Explain this please. If you put energy into a frame and make it flex where does the energy go? There are only 2 things that can happen( I'm pretty sure @asgelle would know for sure)...let's see if you get them right.
 

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Pack Fodder.
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The takeaway is that it’s expensive and it’s just not that good? If there was some clear performance advantage then someone would be using it. Hell, Sky has no budget limits and lives on “marginal gains.” If there was any incremental advantage they’d be riding it. At that level, no one is leaving an edge on the table. I’ve never ridden Ti and I’m sure it has its merits, they just obviously aren’t falling into the performance category.
From a performance standpoint, Ti can be made to perform really well. Steel can too, as can aluminum. You can build any of these materials into a very respectable race bike. That said, each has its own set of trade-offs when you're seeking performance, Maybe it's weight. Maybe it's comfort. Maybe it's cost.

At this moment, carbon is the most infinitely tune-able material for frame design. It's also cheaper to experiment with different layups within an existing mold to achieve a desired result that can be replicated time after time. Metal bikes rely much more heavily on the skill and knowledge of the builder (machinist, welder...) to ensure a predictable outcome.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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From a performance standpoint, Ti can be made to perform really well. Steel can too, as can aluminum. You can build any of these materials into a very respectable race bike. That said, each has its own set of trade-offs when you're seeking performance, Maybe it's weight. Maybe it's comfort. Maybe it's cost.

At this moment, carbon is the most infinitely tune-able material for frame design. It's also cheaper to experiment with different layups within an existing mold to achieve a desired result that can be replicated time after time. Metal bikes rely much more heavily on the skill and knowledge of the builder (machinist, welder...) to ensure a predictable outcome.
^This^
 

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Pack Fodder.
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Explain this please. If you put energy into a frame and make it flex where does the energy go? There are only 2 things that can happen( I'm pretty sure @asgelle would know for sure)...let's see if you get them right.
In these cases, straight into the brake pads (friction), thanks to the flexible nature of the carbon layup.

Believe me, I love that wound-up feeling of a well-made steel or titanium frame. I seriously doubt much energy is converted to heat in the case of a bicycle frame, but there are likely parasitic characteristics that differ between each material.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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In these cases, straight into the brake pads (friction), thanks to the flexible nature of the carbon layup.

Believe me, I love that wound-up feeling of a well-made steel or titanium frame. I seriously doubt much energy is converted to heat in the case of a bicycle frame, but there are likely parasitic characteristics that differ between each material.
Read my question again. When the frame flexes w/ the initial pedal input...what happens next? You're putting energy into the frame. No...the energy does not go into the brake pads. We're only talking about the frame here. Nothing else. Remember your physics class?
 

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I don't buy that Ti frames are too expensive for a pro team. These team budget would hardly be affected by the difference in cost. When I have shopped for frames for myself, it really is the carbon frames which seem to retail for the higher prices. A nice Lynskey Ti frame can be had for as low as $600 these days and commons around $1000 - a made in USA hand-welded legit Ti racing frame, made by the same people who founded and made those Litespeed for nigh on 30 years. When I shopped for a carbon frame last year I had to settle for a 3 yr old leftover model for $1000 (Kona Superjake), and more recently I have been shopping for a full sus trail bike carbon frame and they start at about $2000 for a 2 year old model, and $3-5k for a nice new one. I know an S-Works carbon Road frame on par with what more pro teams us is like $4-5k or so nowadays too - definitely no more than a custom order, high-margin Seven Ti frame.

Carbon frames are also extremely labour intensive to produce, compared to alu and steel, and perhaps similar or more labour intensive than Ti from what I can tell.

I just think Ti isn't used because technology has moved on, the Carbon is lighter and the companies in the business of sponsoring pro cycling want them on the latest carbon steeds because that is what sells. But price is not important in this equation - and even if it was the Ti would not cost more.
 

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I don't buy that Ti frames are too expensive for a pro team.
No Pro Tour team pays for frames. They’re all given free frames plus significant cash. At the Continental level, teams may have to buy frames at a discount, but any team that has to buy its frames does have budget worries that would make cost a significant consideration.
 

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No Pro Tour team pays for frames. They’re all given free frames plus significant cash. At the Continental level, teams may have to buy frames at a discount, but any team that has to buy its frames does have budget worries that would make cost a significant consideration.
I agree. And a conti or lower team could likely find Ti frames for as cheap as any carbon frame. But they'd find so much more to choose from in carbon, and knowing they are lighter and perhaps better, I can't see them choosing Ti - even if the Ti frames where cheaper.

(I have no dog in the hunt. Ride both ti and carbon, and also Alu and steel, myself)
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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I agree. And a conti or lower team could likely find Ti frames for as cheap as any carbon frame. But they'd find so much more to choose from in carbon, and knowing they are lighter and perhaps better, I can't see them choosing Ti - even if the Ti frames where cheaper.

(I have no dog in the hunt. Ride both ti and carbon, and also Alu and steel, myself)
Genesis raced for a bit on 953 stainless recently. FWIW:

https://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/genesis-bikes-update-volare-953-team-frameset.html

Granted...they're the exception AFAIK.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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Here's the deal. There aren't any major manufacturers making Ti frames and marketing them as their 'top of the line'. None. So none of the major brands would want to pay a pro team AND supply them w/ well over 100 frames if it's not something they're wanting to sell a ton of. There has to be a big time ROI to make the deal happen. The companies that do make Ti frames are small. They can't afford to produce a ton of frames, give them to a team, AND pay to play. Not gonna happen. All of the big names settled on carbon many years ago as the material they would use for their race bikes. Once everyone had the :idea: moment and understood how important aerodynamics are they knew that carbon was the only material that would enable them to make the shapes needed. Added bonus: it's very light.
And as much as it will pain @waspinator there are actually real and very experienced engineers throughout the bicycle industry, many of them w/ doctoral degrees.
 

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Pack Fodder.
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On a perfectly stiff bike and drivetrain (impossible), almost all of the energy put into a pedal stroke would translate into forward momentum. No energy would be dissipated into lateral movement of the frame.

In the case of my BMC's and Cannondale's layup, the rear triangle would deform to the point that the wheel would be forced into the brake pad, thus reducing the power available for forward momentum. Brake pads don't absorb and then release power in a positive way, because we really wouldn't want them to. This wasn't a spring effect- it was a noodle effect. As the frame rebounded, it had to overcome the initial resistance of the brake pad and the inertia of the wheel. As the rear triangle had deformed, some of the energy was projected laterally instead of forward as the wheel straightened out. This was obviously less than optimal for handling and performance.
 

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Here's the deal. There aren't any major manufacturers making Ti frames and marketing them as their 'top of the line'. None. So none of the major brands would want to pay a pro team AND supply them w/ well over 100 frames if it's not something they're wanting to sell a ton of. There has to be a big time ROI to make the deal happen. The companies that do make Ti frames are small. They can't afford to produce a ton of frames, give them to a team, AND pay to play. Not gonna happen. All of the big names settled on carbon many years ago as the material they would use for their race bikes. Once everyone had the :idea: moment and understood how important aerodynamics are they knew that carbon was the only material that would enable them to make the shapes needed. Added bonus: it's very light.
And as much as it will pain @waspinator there are actually real and very experienced engineers throughout the bicycle industry, many of them w/ doctoral degrees.
very few engineers in the bicycle industry are doctorates. The industry can't afford to pay them.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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On a perfectly stiff bike and drivetrain (impossible), almost all of the energy put into a pedal stroke would translate into forward momentum. No energy would be dissipated into lateral movement of the frame.

In the case of my BMC's and Cannondale's layup, the rear triangle would deform to the point that the wheel would be forced into the brake pad, thus reducing the power available for forward momentum. Brake pads don't absorb and then release power in a positive way, because we really wouldn't want them to. This wasn't a spring effect- it was a noodle effect. As the frame rebounded, it had to overcome the initial resistance of the brake pad and the inertia of the wheel. As the rear triangle had deformed, some of the energy was projected laterally instead of forward as the wheel straightened out. This was obviously less than optimal for handling and performance.
Remember Newton's third law? Every action has an equal and opposite reaction? If the frame flexes, it will flex back. Where does the energy go? Not into heat, so into the return flex of the frame.
 

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Whatever happened to inexpensive Russian and Chinese Ti frames? The Russians have a lot of experience with Ti from their defense industry.

What as always struck me as odd about Ti is that you hardly see any Ti forks. You hear this and that excuse about that. I've always felt that if the material was so much better than the alternatives, you'd see forks made from it. Not to be and thus the myth of Ti being such a great material for bicycles come crashing down.
 

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Pack Fodder.
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Whatever happened to inexpensive Russian and Chinese Ti frames? The Russians have a lot of experience with Ti from their defense industry.
I have a Russian titanium frame. The welds are as good as any I have seen, but the quality of the raw materials is a big unknown.

There are a lot of companies (mostly boutique) outsourcing their ti manufacturing to Chinese and Russian companies. Why Cycles comes to mind. The quality of the product is often determined by the quality of the sourcing company's oversight of the entire process. Otherwise, the contractor can sub-contract out to other companies, leading to all sorts of mysteries in the supply chains. All titanium is not created equally, even among similar grades.

So far, I've been very happy with my Russian frame. It's held up to TSA many times, which is something I can't say for several aluminum and carbon frames over the years. Other people may not have the same experience, as with any frame made of any material whose parentage is unclear.
What as always struck me as odd about Ti is that you hardly see any Ti forks. You hear this and that excuse about that. I've always felt that if the material was so much better than the alternatives, you'd see forks made from it. Not to be and thus the myth of Ti being such a great material for bicycles come crashing down.
Again, not the easiest or cheapest material to work with. When a company can source a quality carbon fork for $200, why would they want to bother making a titanium fork with similar performance characteristics for more money (think skilled labor man-hours)? Aesthetically, the metal fork is less popular today among the average buyer than the swoopy, aero-looking lines you can create with carbon.

Again, all frame materials have their advantages and disadvantages. Ti is a great frame material in the hands of a true craftsman. A well-made titanium bike is a joy to ride, and some of us greatly prefer their looks over the latest carbon wonderbike. Yes, they can be built to perform at a very high level. Steve Tilford used to race ti exclusively, and did ok for an old man.
 
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