Titanium vs. Carbon Durability Ride Quality Notwithstanding

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by caleb

HammerTime2 wrote:
PezTech wrote:If it's a Ti bike you want and cost is a factor, there are a few other choices out there that could give you a bike on par with the IF Crown Jewel for a thousand bucks less...

Lynskey and Seven?

Desalvo is another very good option. He's one of the torches behind Vanilla's Speedvagen project, and his prices are silly low. http://www.desalvocycles.com/?p=ti_road

That said, if you want an IF to ride for ten years, buy it and ride it with a smile.

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by pamountainbiker

Thinking about it. Given the frame doesn't sustain crazy damage, it might just make more sense to get something like the Z4 and then have it refinished when it starts looking ragged. I heard that Parlee can do that. I do agree on ride quality, a good Ti frame is more smooth with a tiny degree of noticeable flex. I say "good" because you can build a ti frame with no flex at all, and i don;t like the way they ride. Carbon is just smooth and in my experience test riding one, Parlee seems to have the lively thing nailed. Also, agree that there are probably some frames like Moots where you are getting more for your money. I guess with IF you do pay a lot for the name.

by Weenie

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by rruff

pamountainbiker wrote:I'm not completely made of money, these bikes are real investments and they have to last a long, long time, like 10 years+. I am not someone who changes bikes every so often.

Partially made of money?

It is very difficult for me to view a bike frame as an "investment". Stuff gets scratched, dented, etc even if babied... plus you could crash and kill it, or somebody could steal it. Also, you can buy damn good carbon frames for <$1000 (look at the Pedal Force group buy)... and even a new Ti frame (like a Habanero).

I'd go Ti if the weight doesn't bother you... a brushed Ti frame is impervious to scratches, and even if dented is generally ok structually. Carbon is a big "?" if you ever crash.

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by markc

caleb wrote: Desalvo is another very good option.

Carl Strong with the new Edge fork - under 4K.

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by rabo16

I would safe my money another year or so and see what BB 30 and tapered steerers will do.

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by Juanmoretime

My personal preference is titanium. I won't bash carbon fiber since I still see some Kestrel frames that are quite vintage on the roads so carbon can and will stand the test of time. I will give titanium the nod to having a better chance of survivie crash damage. Overall I think brushed titanium stands up better for the type of roads I ride. When I bought my Lynskey R320 I would have loved to get one of the awesome paint jobs that Lynskey offers but on chip and seal roads so many rocks get kicked up and hit the frame constantly. All my friends with painted or carbon bikes suffer rock chips where I just hear the ding, ding of the rocks and no chipping.

Titanium like carbon can be tuned to give the type of ride you want with carbon being the lighter of the two for the same ride characteristics. At 1240 grams for my M/L frame its light enough to be built into a twelve pound bike and that's good enough for me.

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by rustychain

I would look at the I.F. SSR as well. For a given weight 953 can be a bit stiffer then ti. More dent resistant, no rust, does not need to be painted. Mine survived a bad wreck that left me with a broken wrist, elbow and dislocated shoulder as well as a full length body bruise with only the carbon handle bars breaking and a minor scratch in the paint. Performance is on par or better then with anything I have tried (Scott, C'dale, Schmoke, litespeed, DeRosa, Colnago, etc)
WW Velocipedist Gargantuan

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by gitsome

Put it this way, I've had 2 carbon frames broken by careless mechanics in 5 years (both Kestrels) and my Ti has lasted about that long with nary a scratch. Most pro teams replace their carbon frames every 1 or 2 years (max) if not sooner, that should tell you something...

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by ericm

My Ti Airborne broke after 2.5 years. I haven't had a carbon frame break yet, and that includes the one I crashed at 30+ mph.

I think it's more important to pick a frame made by a manufacturer that has a good warranty and is going to be around in three or five or whatever years in case you need to make a claim. Airborne restructured and stopped honoring their old warranties not long after I got my replacement frame.

As far as crash damage goes, what happens is in a crash mostly due to luck. My Cervelo R3 survived my crash just fine (I'd have rather it been totally destroyed and my face and teeth intact as that would have been much cheaper) while a teammate had his R3 cracked in a low speed group ride tip-over- in the pile-up a big sprinter landed on it the "wrong" way. Oops, sorry dude.

A Ti frame is less likely to suffer that kind of damage in a crash. Probably. At least it sounds like it should be. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence but no one actually knows. But in any case it's certainly not totally immune to crash damage. Also, in many cases it's easier to repair carbon fiber than it is to repair Ti. (I have never heard of a Ti frame being repaired but it is theoretically possible).

If you are really that worried about frame-destroying crashes then look for a manufacturer who has a crash replacement policy. Or ride something cheap enough that you can afford to replace it if it gets damaged.

For me, the superior ride and lighter weight of carbon makes it an obvious choice and far outweighs the unknown but probably small difference in durability.

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