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Old 08-18-2010, 06:25 PM   #1
chaco24
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Titanium vs. Carbon fiber Road Bikes

I'm thinking of getting a new road bike, but can't decide if I should get a titanium or carbon fiber bike. What are the pro's and con's of each type of bike? Which would be better for me to get, I'm 200 hundred pounds and ride 6 days a week 20+ miles during the week, and 40+ miles on Saturday, any legitimate advice is welcome.


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Old 08-18-2010, 06:32 PM   #2
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CF is stiff, light, but more easily subjected to damage.

Titanium can be made stiff, perhaps not as stiff as CF, but it can provide a better ride quality. And it will outlast you and me both.


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Old 08-18-2010, 06:40 PM   #3
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So if given the choice would you choose titanium over cf? My fitness level has increased and I am looking to get a better quality bike, I'm doing a lot more riding now and I'm even considering doing some sprint Triathlons.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:54 PM   #4
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CF has come down in price enough that you can get a decent bike at a reasonable price. Are you the kind of rider that buys a bike hoping it will last forever, or would you be happy getting a year or two out of a bike?

Regardless of the inherent advantages of CF, it only takes one impact to render your bike useless. There was someone on the site whose Giant MTB got knocked over (in his hosue) by the cable guy, and his frame cracked. I had a tandem MTB with mostly downhill components, rated for 400lbs of stoker and captain. It will be around when cockroaches are the only living creatures.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:51 PM   #5
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I would prefer to get something that will last me for quite some time, I'm not the lightest cyclist to begin with so weight savings isn't really a factor, however, ride quality is. I'm more into long distance/endurance riding than racing (with the exception of the aforementioned sprint tri's I plan on getting into). I'm looking at Motobecane's Titanium bikes, or Kestrels Talon & I torn between the two.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:38 PM   #6
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Hmm. Kestrel has been in the CF game for a comparatively long time, which is a plus. But the Motobecane with a similar group looks to be about $400 less. If you still want to drop $2k, the LeChamp SL is pretty sweet. If I had that kind of cash to spend on another bike, I'd look at the Fantom Cross as well, for the sheer versatility.

The big advantage of carbon fiber is that by varying the layup and orientation of the strands, a frame can be made with lots of lateral stiffness, (for sprinting, no flex from the bottom of the frame) while at the same time providing vertical compliance, (more comfort over long distance) which offers a smoother ride. Titanium may not be as stiff, but unless you do mad sprints or a lot of mashing, it may not be an issue.

I'll admit that I'm biased though. I'd take titanium over carbon fiber any day.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:34 AM   #7
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Actually TI can be made to be as stiff as CF. Take a look at Lynskey TI bikes, made right here in the USA, they have several variations they can do from not so stiff to very stiff. - Lynskey Performance Designs | Titanium Bicycles Handmade in the USA | Houseblend and Custom Road, Mountain, Cyclocross, Touring, Triathlon and 29er bikes

The higher the level of stiffness you go at Lynskey the more you pay because the tube set is altered, for example the starting TRI bike has double-butted aero 3al-2.5v titanium tubing, while the top level has competition tuned 6Al-4V/3Al-2.5V Double Butted Aero, a beefer bottom bracket, bigger seat tube with a slight aero cut out for the rear wheel to fit into. The level 4 TRI bike is extremely stiff but it cost a lot. Anyway go to the site and look around.

By the way, I prefer TI of CF because it's not as fragile.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:41 PM   #8
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I use a Motobecane Fantom cross pro bike.
Sweet bike! Very light, very fast, good components.
However... I would guess- it is made for a lightweight rider.
The wheels- (f)20 spoke, laced radially with thin flat, alloy spokes. Can't be real strong.

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Old 08-20-2010, 01:47 AM   #9
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Generally Titanium will make for a softer ride but of greater importance is how the the frame is manufactured, tube shape/diameter, how the tubes are joined together etc.

You do need to be a bit more careful with a carbon bike as far as avoiding direct impacts to the frame but as long as you treat it right and it was manufactured well it should last a long time. I'm 195 and have been riding my Colnago for over 5 years and I see no reason for it not to last another 10.

Did you find a solution to your sore hands issue?
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:36 PM   #10
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I'm definitely on the carbon fiber bandwagon. However, honestly, I change frames pretty often. I love the ride of carbon. However, my only experience with ti was my Merlin XLM mtb. My only non-carbon road bike was a super stiff Cannondale aluminum bike. The carbon rides like a dream compared to that. Any specific carbon questions, feel free to ask. I've been on ultra light TDF carbon race bikes (Look 585 and 595) and currently ride a certain "comfort" CF road bike that won Paris-Roubaix in 2008 and 2009 and whose successor won this year.

Currently top of my wish list as far as a frame that I would keep forever is a steel Pegoretti.


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