Titanium vs. Carbon fiber Road Bikes

Discussion in 'Road Bikes' started by chaco24, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. chaco24

    chaco24 New Member

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    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.
     
  2. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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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.
     

  3. chaco24

    chaco24 New Member

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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.
     
  4. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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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.
     
  5. chaco24

    chaco24 New Member

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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.
     
  6. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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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.
     
  7. froze

    froze Banned

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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.
     
  8. jeepster93

    jeepster93 New Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  9. rich88

    rich88 New Member

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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?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  10. Xela

    Xela New Member Tavern Member

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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.
     
  11. mvfdm71

    mvfdm71 New Member

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    I am 230 pound and have a Lynksey Ti rode bike. I love it. It is actually very light compared to my friends specialized CF, and my bike is several sizes larger. The bike is very comfortable and fast. I have put around 3500 miles on it this year. But, most importantly find a bike that fits, go bike shopping and ride very brand and model you can. If your going to be riding 5 to 7 day a week you need to be comfortable, its not worth the trade off for weight if your unconfortable when you ride. One statement I like about Ti is, "if a shovel falls off your garage wall and hits your CF bike your going to have to replace or get fixed, if a shovel fall and hits yours Ti bike you pick the shovel up and put it back on the wall". Good luck in your bike search.
     
  12. dlighthall

    dlighthall New Member

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    Also, as featured recently in VeloNews, Calfee has developed the capability to repair carbon frames and repaint them to stock spec. Typical cost is $400 if I recall. It is actually not that hard to repair. So the assertion that a cracked CF frame is useless is a misnomer. Having said that, there is nothing more beautiful than a well executed Ti weld.
     
  13. froze

    froze Banned

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    Of course if you treat CF right it will last a lifetime...that's a ridiculous statement...if you treat anything "right" it will last a lifetime and then some!! But bikes will be crashed, or banged about, it can't be helped unless you don't ride it, or your just darn lucky and never have an accident or chain suck or whatever. I had accidents over the last 35 years, and can guarantee you that if the bike wasn't steel or TI, or maybe even AL in some cases, a CF bike would have been likely totaled while the others either were or are still ridable.

    The typical cost to repair a CF bike at Calfee is between $200 and $400, plus paint to match $100, plus clear coat which is $75, plus decals $100, plus a $50 inspection charge, plus about $100 shipping both ways, plus cost you must do before shipping of stripping the bike of all components except the crown race may be left on the fork. So to fix a rear stay for example could run you between $625 and $825 not including parts strip off and replacement labor cost at your LBS unless you do it yourself, and not including a total repaint if you request it. And they are the only people at this time I would trust to fix a CF bike.
     
  14. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Unless you're talking about a pricey tandem, I wouldn't even consider Cf to be repairable. If you understand the construction process, you'd realize that only certain kinds of damages are even viable candidates for repair.
     
  15. froze

    froze Banned

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    Your right, that's why Calfee will charge you a $50 inspection fee first to see if a bike could be repaired. Calfee has been repairing CF bikes for a while now and they have had good success, but obviously they pick and choose which ones they'll fix.
     
  16. firesound

    firesound New Member

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    I'm big like you. Just bought Motobecane Le Champion Team ti from Bikesdirect and couldn't be happier. What a deal. After much discussion and research I figured the way I ride I'd crack a CF frame within a year. The ti frame with the dura ace will get me by for quite a while I pray. Hope it helps
     
  17. Frankie

    Frankie New Member

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    Hey, is a off the wall suggestion for you. If I remember correctly, you are on a Trek 2.3. If I am right why would you not consider doing what I am going to try. If weight is not a real issue, why not just upgrade to a real nice wheel set? Later on if you are still bent on up-grading ( and btw who knows what will be avaiable in a couple of years ) then up-grade and of course keep your wheel set. I am still very much in love with my Trek 2.3 aluminum bicycle. I have rode cf bikes and they are sweet to say the least, but why not beef up your body more and lose, say 10 pounds and see what happens then. Just my $2 cents worth. Remember this suggestion is coming from a new rider still in my first year of being a roadie. Be well and ride safe.............. Great question and answers btw
     
  18. froze

    froze Banned

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    Groovey! I haven't bought it yet, I'm shooting for late summer or sooner if they go on sale. Your also bigger then me because I intend on the next step down with the Ultegra only because I don't race and for everyday riding the Ultegra is supposedly more reliable from all the sources I checked. Even if it's not any more reliable I don't need the DuraAce level. The frame is the same on both, actually on all 3 models, Only big change is components and wheels.

    When you start riding it more let us know how you like it.
     
  19. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Well carbon fiber is stiff, but incredibly strong. It would not be the causal bump or tommy tip over that would damage it. Titanium on the other hand isn't easy to work with either. Carbon fiber is used in all kinds of airplanes, but titanium is rarely used. It's tough to cut, weld and form. It can be done, but any bump hard enough to damage it is likely hard enough to make repair impractical at most places in my opinion. Yet titanium was what the SR 71 was largely made of and it flew for decades in maybe the most demanding and hostile environment any machine was ever forced to endure over a long period of time. A bike doesn't have to worry about being heated and cooled to extremes and deal with extreme temp changes. Now is such a material really needed for a bike? I doubt it.

    Id ride them both and see what I liked, but don't forget to try all kinds of bikes and trikes before you buy. If you are leaning toward a titanium bike, almost anything is in the budget.
     
  20. froze

    froze Banned

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    Wow, I'm not sure what to say about this. CF is a miracle materal stronger then Superman, but just like Superman they have their kryptonite, just witness all the problems lately with cracked frames on forums on the internet from stuff that wouldn't even harm steel, TI, or AL. The CF used in airplanes is no where near the level of CF used on bikes...nice try. And AL is used in Airplanes too, so what's your point? And gee if you really want to be stupid using dumb examples one could say that steel is the best of all, witness they don't build bridges or skyscrapers using CF. And today with Asian CF and Asian Titanium you can get a TI bike for as much as a CF bike, just go to Bikes Direct.com and look at the 3 TI Motobecane's they have and you will readly see that; and those 3 bikes have gotten rave reviews.