Titanium/steel frame help

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

A little background: I was looking to sell my dogma and move to another carbon frame but for several reasons I no longer want to, primarily, I love it too much (despite the divided opinions), so I'm gonna leave that as is. I'm selling some other stuff that I don't use so making place for a new project, titanium/steel.

I'd like it to be a relaxed fit compared to the dogma, doesn't need to be a sportive frame with a flipped stem though!
There are some brands that are hard to find in the UK, like Litespeed so that is an issue to consider.
Budget is an issue, I'd like to keep the frame under £1500, lower the better.
Sram red or r11 is what I'd use, can get good deals on both and to be honest, I'd like to keep the specs highest as they can move to another frame later etc.
On the vanity front, I really would like something beautiful, love the look of bare ti & black or a passionate steel frame, opposite idea but both beautiful..

Now I don't know enough about titanium/steel to make an informed decision, would be foolish for me not to ask the experts here!

So far, the frames that caught my attention are some of the lynskeys and van nicholas zephyr (the 2013 version looks very nice).

What I'd really like is a firefly, another day..

(have fulcrum racing zeros/lightweights so between the two, they would suit nicely on any frame)
Last edited by canbakay on Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tokyo Drifter
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by Tokyo Drifter

I've had 2 titanium bikes and ridden a few others. I would avoid budget brands like lynskey/van nicholas. If you're going to get a titanium bike, which you will (in theory) have for a very, very long time, you might as well get something good. I owned a Lynskey r230 and a Cooper (according to them, the same bike, just a little heavier) and both were fine, but the Moots I had was head and shoulders above them in terms of ride quality.

I also prefer the ride quality of *every* steel bike i've ever had to the titanium bikes that I have ridden, including the Moots (which I didn't own). These steel bikes include a $600 kona single speed.

Ultimately, titanium is something that I *want* to like, rather than something that I think is a great material for building bikes out of. Steel is far cheaper, IME works better, lasts just as long or longer, and is only fractionally heavier.

For the kind of money you are looking at spending, I would look at something along the lines of an IF steel crown jewel, or similar...

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by canbakay

Thank you, some good points to consider. Just as I was opening the page I had a feeling the word Moots was gonna be there anyway.

Tokyo Drifter wrote:or similar...

what else would you put in the or similar group?

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by maverick_1

Probably out of your budget range, but here's one that I would seriously consider should i ever go Ti.



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by ticou

You might look at either Roberts in Croydon, or Mosquito bikes for top end in Clerkenwell. A jig fitted frame measurement session as I did, gave me a steel that fit's me perfectly, or you could go the retul method for millimetre precision fitment.- Pearson's in Sheen, nr Richmond, offer this. There are others in London as well.

In your price range you can get 953 handmade from the shop mentioned in Robert Penn's film 'It's about the bike' on youtube.

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by airwise

Riding in the UK, Ti may well be the ideal frame material if built properly.

Like the previous poster, I would be wary of some of the budget Ti frames though. Many I've ridden have been far too flexy for me and I'm aware that some have had a reputation for fragility over the years.

I have a couple of Sevens which were built specifically to not be too flexy in the BB. Many build Ti to be light - that's not where it's strengths lie IME. The problem really is knowing the frame's ride characteristics before buying when you don't have the luxury of speccing it.

I can't praise the Sevens too highly but finding one at the right price will not be easy. I would definitely chat to Chas Roberts before buying a Van Nicholas - the fit and finish of the framesets coming out of Croydon are a league apart from the mass produced Ti that can be bought mail order these days.

Good luck with your purchase. As I say, if I rode in the UK all the time, I would ride nothing other than Ti or Steel.

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by Privateer

I have a Chas Roberts and second the recommendations to have a chat to him. Lovely frames, particularly if you need/want something custom.

If you're considering steel and want something classic and boutique, have a look at http://www.tommasini.com/eng/frames.php

I visited their factory last week. Impecable attention to detail and quality. They work in steel, stainless steel, Ti (plus Al and carbon), custom or off-the-peg.

I don't know what they sell for though. :oops:

Edit: Barbara speaks perfect English and will be able to help with any questions you have: info@tommasini.it

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by seve88

I rode a Van Nicholas Chinook for a couple of years when they first came out (and were a bit cheaper). I thought it was good for the money.

Another option on your budget would be burls.co.uk

You deal direct with the person who will design the geometry for you and he responded to all my emails. By going custom you could also tweak the angles to fit mudgurads for a year round frame. As I recall he could also fit a press fit bottom bracket to bring things up to date.

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by stella-azzurra

A cheap or expensive titanium frame when set up with the right measured components it will be the best you will ever ride. That goes for every single type of material out there: aluminum, scandium, titanium, steel, carbon, plastic, cardboard. Know your measurements, geometry and what you can afford. It's that simple. Good Luck
I never took drugs to improve my performance at any time. I will be willing to stick my finger into a polygraph test if anyone with big media pull wants to take issue. If you buy a signed poster now it will not be tarnished later. --Graeme Obree

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by captainclarko

Your decision may also be influenced by the following factors:
-Amount of time you can (or are reasonably willing to) wait for the frame
-Custom geometry or custom tube lengths with stock geometry
-Full Custom? (Tube diameter, structure and length, cable routing, mixing multiple materials, etc.)

I have been working on a road project for a month or so now. The head mechanic at our shop has built around 100 steel frames now and has been welding cars parts, bike racks, trailers, vehicle engine mods, etc., since he was young. The great thing about working with a mechanic with 30+ years of shop and welding experience is the ability to do almost anything. You can decide where a cable stop goes, which tubes to use for each part of the frame, and just about everything you can imagine can be done. Stainless is no problem and is highly favored, while other steels and blends are possible as well. This is the best option for our shop employees to buy inexpensive road bikes of superb craftsmanship.

That being said, it takes a few months to get projects like this rolling sometimes and the ordering of materials, time spent at a full time job while working on frames as a hobby, and the fact that your coworker and friend is building you a frame and not a company with a reputation and deadline to maintain means that you can sometimes have quite the wait for a frame. I have never seen work from him that hasn't impressed me, but due to time constraints of my own and his own personal timetables I ordered a stock aluminum frame this year instead of going deep custom. Next winter will be more viable for us to work together on a project, but I had to settle for a stock frame while I build a nice parts package because I didn't have the time or focus to build a bike with the attention that I think a custom rig deserves.

All that being said, my vote is on steel. KVA stainless is favored in our part of the country due to it being a US manufacturer (though you may consider reynolds as another option in your region) and its availability at a reasonable price.

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by Valbrona

Seen too many broken titanium frames to ever recommend one in preference to steel. And so much easier to get a custom build with steel as opposed to titanium. The term 'no brainer' quickly springs to mind.

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by DJT21

Try Enigma bikes

Or Brian Rourke for a custom stainless frame - even better than Ti!

giro di lento
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by giro di lento

I tried a Kinesis Granfondo Ti this time last year and thoroughly enjoyed - it's still one of the nicest frames I've ridden. However these things are incredibly personal so I'd recommend riding some if you can. My budget didn't stretch to a Ti Kinesis so I went for an alu TK3 instead and that's very nice too - although not as smooth or comfortable as the Ti frame I rode. The Kinesis frameset comes in under your budget. If you want a stiffer ride but still Ti then the Genesis Equilibrium Ti frameset might suit. It's stiffer (bigger tubes) but I know someone who rides one and is extremely pleased with it (his summer bike is a C59).

There are lots of good options out there. Good luck.

My cycling blog: http://girodilento.com/

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by iamalex

Enigma are not too far from London by train and offer both steel and ti, probably worth a trip to see them. Apart from something in 6/4 ti you could probably have whatever you wanted custom for for £1500 (less for steel)(less for a stock frame). I've had a couple of ti frames from them and been happy. I do notice some flex to my Esprit model but I feel it's character rather than fault. (Some of the flex probably exacerbated by my wheels needing some love but also I'm pretty light and not so powerful so they likely balance out).

I believe Condor Cycles also do custom geometry/paint. Quite a few steel options there.

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by canbakay

Fantastic advice guys, thank you, I've shifted my direction to steel now!

And custom. This way I can get the best of steel rather than the worst of titanium. Test rode a indy steel today, I must say, quite impressed but indeed there are many others to consider. It was build with campy record, so thats at least decided, I'm going campy with this one.

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