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 Post subject: Advice: Titanium Frame
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 4:25 am 
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I'm looking to build up a titanium road bike, for training/racing.
It would be great if the frame is light, but it must be stiff, strong, a good climber/descender. (I'm 6'1", 185#, so please bear that in mind.)
Could be new or used. I'm interested in Spectrum or Holland (anyone worked with them/have one?), but don't know that I can afford those.
All suggestions welcome, but Ti only on responses please.

Also, some general questions:
1) Is it true that Merlin and Litespeed have suffered in quality since ABG acquisition? If so, are older models better (I'm open to a used frame)? What's the cut-off year?
2) Are integrated headsets goodor not a great idea?
3) Are carbon stays really useful, or just marketing, on a Ti frame?
4) What fork do you like?
Thanks in advance. :)

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 Post subject: Advice: Titanium Frame
Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 4:25 am 


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 5:34 am 
I know the Bianchi XL Titanium Extra Light is one very nice frame, not available as a full-bike, but as a frame.

It has very nice attention to detail, and the decals look very nice on it!
Very light!!!

You tend to see more standard headsets on Titanium frames, I suppose it's easiest for manufacturing.

Best fork is a Mizuno/Pesenti Fiandre.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:26 am 
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Have you considered Dean bikes they are very reasonably priced compared to other custom brand and they are nice bikes. Custom is avaliable at your choice.

I think
El Vado is $999
and El diente $1299

http://www.deanusa.com/

My opinion is that carbon stays are just fad... I cant't tell a difference with bike that has one and that doesnt.

If your considering Merlin generally the cut off is at most ~ before 2000


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 7:33 am 
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danielgillett wrote:
I know the Bianchi XL Titanium Extra Light is one very nice frame, not available as a full-bike, but as a frame.

dg, I wonder how it is for a bigger rider, though...

Tim the Pineapple wrote:
Have you considered Dean bikes they are very reasonably priced compared to other custom brand and they are nice bikes. Custom is avaliable at your choice.
I think
El Vado is $999
and El diente $1299
http://www.deanusa.com/

Thanks Tim,
I appreciate the link.
How do they compare to the bikes you listed on the "finest" bikes thread?
Tim the Pineapple wrote:
Ok they all make fine bikes so choose one that you like...

Ti-
Seven
Serotta
Indy Fab
Spectrum
Moots

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:33 am 
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Location: München
cadence90 wrote:
I'm looking to build up a titanium road bike, for training/racing.

3) Are carbon stays really useful, or just marketing, on a Ti frame?

you might consider a Rewel. http://www.rewel.com
This is an italian company (south tyrolean, to be more precise) that has years of experience (at least since 1988) working with Ti only and make *very* nice frames.
They have very competitive prices, the website lists 1350 for a stock Ti frame.

You can also have a frame made to measure, there's a web interface for posting your measures and they'll get back to you with a price estimate.

On top of that, they are very nice to deal with; a guy i know went there to pick up his new MTB-frame and the Rewel people moved the parts from his old bike to the new frame at no additional fee.

cadence90 wrote:
3) Are carbon stays really useful, or just marketing, on a Ti frame?

IMO they are marketing.
The carbon stays are said to improve damping on the rear end of the bike, especially for today's ultrastiff alloy frames. I'm not convinced that that effect could really be noticeable...
But since Ti has really good damping in itself, the need for carbon stays is even more remote than with alloy. and the joints are possible weak points on a long term basis.
Just my 2c, of course.

Martin


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 5:42 pm 
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Posts: 1011
cadence90 wrote:
I'm looking to build up a titanium road bike, for training/racing.
It would be great if the frame is light, but it must be stiff, strong, a good climber/descender. (I'm 6'1", 185#, so please bear that in mind.)
Could be new or used. I'm interested in Spectrum or Holland (anyone worked with them/have one?), but don't know that I can afford those.
All suggestions welcome, but Ti only on responses please.

Also, some general questions:
1) Is it true that Merlin and Litespeed have suffered in quality since ABG acquisition? If so, are older models better (I'm open to a used frame)? What's the cut-off year?
2) Are integrated headsets goodor not a great idea?
3) Are carbon stays really useful, or just marketing, on a Ti frame?
4) What fork do you like?
Thanks in advance. :)


I believe the lightest Ti bike is the Ghisallo .. in fact perhaps the lightest frame in the world if you believe their website. Not a bad idea to buy a used Ti frame as they are very resilient and you're not likely to be "surprised" later and worth the savings over buying a new frame. I think the main reason to get a custom frame (i.e., litespeed, merlin, serotta, seven, etc.) is for the custom fit.. but if you already know your exact size then you can save your money (for other WW stuff!). The other upside of getting a custom is the better companies ask very thorough questions about the type of rider you are, if you spin or stand on pedals, do crits, sprinter, climber, long distance, etc.. and will cater the tube thickness, seat stays, etc. accordingly. Have heard real good feedback on it so maybe it's worth the extra bucks.

The first bike I built I used an older Lemond Ti (circa 93) and was real pleased with it. Springy ride, fairly light. I'm now riding a Giant TCR composite and tell you it has a better ride. The carbon soaks up vibrations better then Ti. Climbs better then my Ti bike because it's stiffer and lighter. I think if I were doing long distance stuff and in bad weather lots then Ti would make more sense.

I don't think the headset should be a deal breaker or deal maker .. but if you put one in I'd say only use Chris King, (although AC is ligher) and make sure it's installed by a reputable shop as it's probably the most commonly F'd up install that some shops do. For carbon forks, outside of weight, consider what steering tube to use .. in conjunction with the type of riding you will do. All carbon is not always the best choice. Anyways.. good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 5:56 pm 
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FWIW if you go with Dean for a custom ti build you will want to double their build time estimate. They are very shady on promising alot but not delivering in the time scale.

You should check out Grey Bicycle also.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:12 pm 
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Posts: 225
My friend got his custom dean El Diente in less than 2 weeks.
But he lives in boulder though and just went to there shop and got sized...

And how do they compare to finest bike list... well, they are all high end bikes so, its matter of personal preference.
Some say dean is lesser quality than those I listed some say its the same.
I personally cant tell a difference, the welds and alignment are perfect.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:18 pm
Posts: 360
Location: Colorado
I have a Ti Eddy Merckx built by lightspeed (but his geometry). It is a great bike, but not a racer. The seatstays are straight and flex a bit much under hard climbing or big gear accelerations.

I also have a custom Titus MTB which was built to my specs. The great thing about custom is you can talk with the builder and get the best tubing/geometry for your needs. if you want stiff or supple, etc.

There is a great list of custom Ti builders to choose from. Personally Titus and Seven are my favorites for cost/quality. Some others are so expensive.

I use a look HCS4 fork with chris king heatset. Again you can make sure on a custom which fork you want first and get the headtube angle/length sorted to that fork.

If you are going to race it make sure the rear is stiff (tubing sort/width etc or Carbon)

Chirs at Titus www.titusti.com is great to work with or Chris at Speedgoat bikes will work with you as well on various frames.

I would start by doing a couple of the online fitting programs to get a feel for what info they are after and go from there.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:27 pm 
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martin wrote:
cadence90 wrote:
I'm looking to build up a titanium road bike, for training/racing.

you might consider a Rewel. http://www.rewel.com
cadence90 wrote:
3) Are carbon stays really useful, or just marketing, on a Ti frame?

IMO they are marketing.
The carbon stays are said to improve damping on the rear end of the bike....
But since Ti has really good damping in itself, the need for carbon stays is even more remote than with alloy. and the joints are possible weak points on a long term basis.
Just my 2c, of course.
Martin

Thanks Martin, for the Rewel link. I have seen the site before, the bikes look nice.
It seems a fair amount of people think that the carbon stays don't add much on Ti, and I would tend to agree.
Also, less important, but still: I think that to put easily scratched or (worse) damaged carbon stays on a really beautiful Ti frame is kind of worthless: if the stays get beat up, the whole frame looks bad!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:36 pm 
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bobalou wrote:
Not a bad idea to buy a used Ti frame as they are very resilient and you're not likely to be "surprised" later and worth the savings over buying a new frame. I think the main reason to get a custom frame (i.e., litespeed, merlin, serotta, seven, etc.) is for the custom fit.. but if you already know your exact size then you can save your money (for other WW stuff!). The other upside of getting a custom is the better companies ask very thorough questions about the type of rider you are, if you spin or stand on pedals, do crits, sprinter, climber, long distance, etc.. and will cater the tube thickness, seat stays, etc. accordingly. Have heard real good feedback on it so maybe it's worth the extra bucks.
I don't think the headset should be a deal breaker or deal maker .. but if you put one in I'd say only use Chris King....
For carbon forks, outside of weight, consider what steering tube to use .. in conjunction with the type of riding you will do. All carbon is not always the best choice. Anyways.. good luck!

I think I might concentrate on a used stock frame, if I can find a good one in my size, but I don't really know which "older" models are the good ones!
I do have a custom Strong Frames steel (Foco) and I can say that it is an excellent bike, fits perfectly, and the experience of working with those guys was really great.
The problem I see on used, for me, is the the typical top tube on stock, for a frame that fits me, is too short, esp. on older Ti models.
I agree with the King headset, as far as the fork I have a Wound-Up all carbon now: a bit twitchy but I still think it's a great fork.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:53 pm 
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Tim the Pineapple wrote:
My friend got his custom dean El Diente in less than 2 weeks.
But he lives in boulder though and just went to there shop and got sized...

And how do they compare to finest bike list... well, they are all high end bikes so, its matter of personal preference.
Some say dean is lesser quality than those I listed some say its the same.
I personally cant tell a difference, the welds and alignment are perfect.

I will definitely check Dean out more, and contact them, they have a wide range of frames, the El Diente and Super-Lite look super!
I think it would still be faster than something like a Rewel from Italy, and with dollar/Euro the way it is now.... :cry:
I heard an interesting interview with Jim Kish, his 2 points were: 1) quality of the Ti (certified) and 2) in Ti production the most important aspect is the cleanliness of the environment and control of the gasses during the weld, that a great looking weld, on a Ti frame especially, does not guarantee a good, lasting weld. Of course any small or custom welder would be careful, he was mentioning this in the contaxt of cheaper frames, beginning welders, and unmonitored environments....

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Last edited by cadence90 on Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 7:01 pm 
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nzkiwiguy wrote:
The great thing about custom is you can talk with the builder and get the best tubing/geometry for your needs. if you want stiff or supple, etc.

There is a great list of custom Ti builders to choose from. Personally Titus and Seven are my favorites for cost/quality. Some others are so expensive.

Yes, I agree with custom, if possible, esp. for a bigger rider such as myself, esp. on Ti. And it is great to work with the builder.
Seven? I've heard mixed reviews. IMHO they're expensive actually, although perhaps great product, I don't know. I don't like the fact that you have to work through their dealers rather than directly with the builder. If you're doing custom why have to deal with an often-arrogant (at least their dealer in my area) salesman, not the fabricator....I'll look at Titus, they seem more real.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:49 pm 
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cadence90 wrote:
The problem I see on used, for me, is the the typical top tube on stock, for a frame that fits me, is too short, esp. on older Ti models.


The Lemond's tend to have longer top tubes as they've always follow greg lemond's "formula". You can find good used ones for good prices (I got my Ti Lemond on ebay for $650). ebay takes patience though .. if you're willing to wait for your size to come around and the build you like you can get a good deal. I think I remember you use ebay so I'm probably preaching to the choir! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:36 pm 
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Posts: 110
Location: South NJ Shore
I recently bought a Dean El Diente. Not a custom 'built-for-me' special, but one that was all ready built and my size. It ships on Monday, after ordering the first week of January. To say that they are slow is being far too charitable. Almost ten weeks to polish, paint (the front 30%, only) and install a headset that I sent them on a frameset that was all ready fully fabricated is ridiculous. While I can't say anything about their quality, as of yet, I can certainly say that one should be VERY cautious with what they tell you about any bike you might order from them. I've never heard more baloney from anyone than I've heard from the folks at Dean over the past six weeks. Essentially nothing they told me about schedule and delivery has been true. "Yes, it is out being painted" - actually went out two weeks later, etc. Hope the wait (weight?) proves to have been worth it.

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Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:36 pm 


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