Titanium v Carbon.........

Muscleburn
Muscleburn Posts: 8
edited August 2012 in Road general
To cut a very long story short-ish, I am in a very fortunate position of having a ‘decent’ bike bought for me in the very near future. I hit 40 in a few months time and rather than buy a watch or pair of cufflinks, my wife is insisting on buying me a new road bike.

I currently ride an alu/carbon Felt F75 which is more than adequate for my needs, is reasonably fast, reasonably lightweight and easy on the eye – so choosing an ‘upgrade’ where I will see any kind of significant gain is proving a challenge. My style of riding tends to be ‘head down and peddle hard’, I enjoy climbing, and rides vary from short 20 milers to 60-80 mile Sunday morning spins with the odd century.

My personal view is I have two options; something more lightweight (carbon) that will allow me to go faster, or a ‘frame for life’ (Ti) that probably won’t be any lighter but should outlast me!

I am currently considering a few bikes;

Full Carbon Felt F series – direct upgrade from my current bike

Trek Domane 5.2 – not ridden one yet but like the look of the bike and frame technology

Didiacciai K19 – stunning looking bike, LBS has built a frameset with Force/Red groupo

Enigma Echo or Esprit - stunning looking bikes, built to spec - would visit the factory to figure out which one is right for me.

Van Nicholas Chinook – another stunning looking bike, built to spec

I have not ridden any of the bikes yet, but plan to do so over the next couple of weeks.

I am interested to hear the opinions and experiences of those who ride Carbon or Ti, or better still both; how do the two materials compare from the saddle?, will carbon really be significantly quicker than Ti?, longevity of frame material – Ti is not in question but what does a Carbon frame look like after 5 years of riding? Anything else I should be considering? If you could only have 1 bike in the garage what would it be, Carbon or Ti?

To put things into perspective we would never usually spend this sort of money on a bike, so I want to make sure I get it right!
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Comments

  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,230
    plastic over metal... I know where my money would go... BTW: a carbon bike won't make you faster
    left the forum March 2023
  • estampida
    estampida Posts: 1,008
    ti

    if its gets scratched you fix it with a scourer.......
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    Neither...you want a custom made to measure 953 frame, look at Rourke bikes, I have one on order :-)
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • stickman
    stickman Posts: 791
    Papier mache versus metal.

    I too would go for 953 or 931 or 853.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

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    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • Ti, it's for grown-ups...

    Nope, that's steel.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,230
    drlodge wrote:
    Neither...you want a custom made to measure 953 frame, look at Rourke bikes, I have one on order :-)

    A 953 with Rourke... maybe he can make it for his 42nd birthday... :lol:
    left the forum March 2023
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    A 953 with Rourke... maybe he can make it for his 42nd birthday... :lol:

    Ah yes quite possibly! I ordered mine early June, with a 25 week lead time, hopefully get it for Xmas :shock:
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    Will Bob Jackson's make 953 frames?
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    DesWeller wrote:
    Will Bob Jackson's make 953 frames?

    Yes I believe they do, however:
    - I believe their frames are brazed rather than TIG welded. I prefer TIG as the heat affected zone is smaller and therefore less damage to the heat treatment of the tubing.
    - BJ web site has a form to complete if you want a frame - they ask you to spec the frame. Compare that to the free measure up and fitting servicve that Brian Rourke provides (no actually provided by Gareth) - they do all the hard work to come up with a frame that fits you like a glove, and paint scheme of your choice all included in the frame price.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • Ive always wanted to ride a Ti bike,there are some good looking bike out there.
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    I was considering a Ti bike but having read the review of the Van Nicholas Mistral Apex in 'Bike of the Year 2012' I was rather put off by the summary statement - "Quality machine for big distances, as long as you're not in too much of a hurry"
    Now in the real world of Mr Average cyclist like me that does weekend rides of 50 plus miles how much slower would one be on a Ti bike against one of the Carbon bikes in the same list - seconds or minutes or no difference ?
    Any riders of both care to comment.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I ride both.

    I have a 2007 Litespeed Siena with full Ultegra and a 2011 felt F4 with full Ultegra.

    I find the ride on both different but equally pleasing. The felt is stiffer and quicker when you accelerate, but my Litespeed is nippy and agile and is very comfortable. The felt is the newer bike and to me, a definite upgrade(I race on it so its like a sort of necessity bike but still a coveted thing) but I love my Litespeed as you don't see too many around so in your case I would buy a good Ti bike with a top end groupset and bling wheels. I put 60mm all carbon clinchers with Vittoria Corsa evo cx tyres on my Litespeed and it looked nuts and went like stink. :D
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    I would say its more down to frame geometry and tube selection (in the case of Ti or steel) rather than frame materials per se.

    Ti and steel frames can be made very stiff by increasing tube diameter (although it adds weight), and can be made to react aggressively by increasing the frame angles.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    Ti frames are the essential cycling accessory for Mamils.. bit of a no brainer to be honest!

    (unless you want a new bike a few years... then you're stuck with your 'bike for life'!)
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    If you want to make sure that you get it right, have a chat with the guys at Enigma, they really know their stuff and will provide a bike, whether of the peg, or built especially, which suits your needs exactly. They built me an Esprit a couple of weeks ago, and whilst I've not had a great deal of opportunity to ride it, absolutely love it !!

    Here it is: http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40044&t=12867837

    Ignore the bar to drop distance in the photos, the angle from which I took the photos doesn't really show it off well, but it's a gorgeous bike !!
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    rando wrote:
    Now in the real world of Mr Average cyclist like me that does weekend rides of 50 plus miles how much slower would one be on a Ti bike against one of the Carbon bikes in the same list - seconds or minutes or no difference ? Any riders of both care to comment.

    Unless you are racing criteriums, or a sprinter it would make negligible difference IME - I have raced bikes made from steel, titanium, aluminium and carbon and all things considered, I would doubt frame materials makes any difference to the results. My race bike is titanium / carbon because it handles better on rough, pot-holed roads whereas my carbon race bike feels harsh and skips about all over the place when laying the power down. Yes, titanium and steel frames feel 'different' but frankly most of the comments made in bike reviews is purely subjective comment designed to fill column inches. Suggest you test ride a few bikes and go for the one that your like the best. Also bear in mind how long you keep the bike - a 10 year old titanium frame still looks 'fresh' whereas a 10 year old carbon frame just looks old.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    MattC59 wrote:
    If you want to make sure that you get it right, have a chat with the guys at Enigma, they really know their stuff and will provide a bike, whether of the peg, or built especially, which suits your needs exactly. They built me an Esprit a couple of weeks ago, and whilst I've not had a great deal of opportunity to ride it, absolutely love it !!

    Here it is: http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40044&t=12867837

    Ignore the bar to drop distance in the photos, the angle from which I took the photos doesn't really show it off well, but it's a gorgeous bike !!
    Another vote for Enigma. Great guys and they seriously know their stuff. And if you do have an inkling that maybe steel might be nice (it is!) they make some lovely frames out if 853 and 953, as well as Columbus Spirit and XCR. well worth going there to take a look.
  • rdt
    rdt Posts: 869
    drlodge wrote:
    A 953 with Rourke... maybe he can make it for his 42nd birthday... :lol:

    Ah yes quite possibly! I ordered mine early June, with a 25 week lead time, hopefully get it for Xmas :shock:


    Useful to know - very interested in one of these!
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    MattC59 wrote:
    If you want to make sure that you get it right, have a chat with the guys at Enigma, they really know their stuff and will provide a bike, whether of the peg, or built especially, which suits your needs exactly. They built me an Esprit a couple of weeks ago, and whilst I've not had a great deal of opportunity to ride it, absolutely love it !!

    Here it is: http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40044&t=12867837

    Ignore the bar to drop distance in the photos, the angle from which I took the photos doesn't really show it off well, but it's a gorgeous bike !!

    That is gorgeous matt, but i gotta feeling you are looking for any excuse to show anyone a pic of your new bike ? :wink::D
  • So I finally managed to find time to test ride the Felt F4 and Dedacciai K19 back to back, wow what great bikes but what totally different rides!

    The Ti K19 felt surprisingly light for a metal bike, even with heavy Shimano RS10 wheels on it. It is a shop build with SRAM Force groupo, apart from the chinset which was SRAM Red, finishing kit is FSA SL-K. It looks fantastic and the SRAM groupset works exceptionally well, if slightly ‘mechanical’ feeling.

    The K19 felt totally alive and in touch with the road, it was incredibly responsive and felt easy to push along into a headwind, on the flat it was quick, and in bends I was very confident throwing it low and hard into the twisty bits. It climbed very well, although it is fitted with a standard crankset and I am used to a compact - so I probably didn’t do it justice on the short climb I had a go at. Overall I was very impressed, it felt quick and very responsive, and looked great.

    The F4 was a fantastic bike, also very lightweight - although oddly enough it did not feel as light as the K19 (although it was actually lighter). It has a full Ultegra groupset and Shimano RS20 wheels, BB30 and Felt finishing kit. Having ridden SRAM Force and Ultegra back to back I have to say I much prefer the SRAM setup, much more precise feeling, although changing up on a hill takes some getting used to.

    Although the two bikes rode completely different the F4 itself also rode really well, it was compliant, stiff, very easy to push along and like the K19 was surefooted in the bends, was not difficult to push up a hill and again was very surefooted on the descent. Although I loved the bike, somehow it felt ‘dead’ on the road when compared to the Ti frame - difficult to describe but Ti is like nothing else I have ever ridden! The carbon bike felt glued to the road, but there was almost no feedback.

    I am very much swaying towards the Ti bike now, despite the price difference which is not inconsiderable - my only concern is the cockpit felt a little cramped on the K19 but I think that was down to the setup rather than the geo. The F4 was setup exactly the same as my current F75 so the only difference was in the ride, not in the geo.

    Hmmmmmm, what to do next........

    K19 test ride; http://app.strava.com/rides/17919691

    F4 test ride; http://app.strava.com/rides/17919685
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    There's very few carbon frames that give you the 'zing' of a metal frame - all that effort into 'damping' the vibration can translate into the 'dead' feeling you experienced - the problem is that to tune it back in just results in increased vibration back through the bars. As you're not using the bike for racing, then I'd put comfort and smooth handling ahead of anything else.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • ReesA
    ReesA Posts: 62
    I'm about to turn 40 as well and was also considering a Van Nic Mistral and the old "bike for life" argument. But then I thought -- hang on 40 isn't that old! and I don't want a bike for life. How boring to have the same frame for the next 40 years .... Something that goes well for 5-7 years is what I am after (have been riding my current Principia since 2005) then would be after something new.

    For example I found Ti to be heavy and flexy (I know ... it's supposed to be) but then after trying some new carbon frames realised I really wanted a change to match my current goals -- improve a lot on the hills for example. And I also enjoyed the rigidity of the carbon when I put power down.

    It's interesting and fun to get a new frame and given the way bike technology improves a bike for life may not be the greatest thing ever.

    PS - also quite a few people I spoke with on a recent AUDAX said they had had Ti frames that cracked and they went carbon/steel as a result which further dents any "bike for life" argument.
  • tomisitt
    tomisitt Posts: 257
    I too wanted something a bit special, something that wasn't like everything else out there. I didn't want carbon or steel, I wanted titanium. But many Ti bikes are a big fogeyish, and I didn't want that either. Cue the Spin Spitfire MkIII. It looks absolutely gorgeous, the frame weighs 1450g and costs £1190. I had mine built up with a Campag Chorus groupset, Spin Ti seat post and stem, Zipp carbon bars, Spin carbon fork, and a pair of 1548g Spin Speedmetal clinchers. It weighs in at 7.4kg and is plenty quick enough for me. The feel of titanium is slightly strange compared to carbon or ally, and pro racers will say there is too much flex for racing, but I like the slight flex you get, and it cuts down on fatigue, allowing for longer stints in the saddle. I'll try and post a photo of it here (if I can work out how)...ignore the headset spacers...I'm still experimenting with positions, and will cut the steerer and add Ti spacers instead of the black ally ones.

    Toms+Spitfire.JPG
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Spin Titanium = Titan Product, Xiamen, China for $900
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • tomisitt
    tomisitt Posts: 257
    Even better...a proper bargain!
  • rdt wrote:
    drlodge wrote:
    A 953 with Rourke... maybe he can make it for his 42nd birthday... :lol:

    Ah yes quite possibly! I ordered mine early June, with a 25 week lead time, hopefully get it for Xmas :shock:


    Useful to know - very interested in one of these!
    I ordered an 853 from Brian Rourke in January and took delivery in late July. I'm absolutely delighted with it. I've also owned ti and carbon frames - I think the fit is more important than the material, but if the op wants a keeper then it's ti or steel. My 853 has a much more exciting, tactile feel to it than my ti van nic had - some of it the material some of it the skill of the frame builder, some of it the fit.
    I will not consider buying a ti bike again. Carbon is fine to ride, but you don't get that wonderful made to measure ride and I wouldn't want to ride one that's been in a significant crash.
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    MattC59 wrote:
    If you want to make sure that you get it right, have a chat with the guys at Enigma, they really know their stuff and will provide a bike, whether of the peg, or built especially, which suits your needs exactly. They built me an Esprit a couple of weeks ago, and whilst I've not had a great deal of opportunity to ride it, absolutely love it !!

    Here it is: http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40044&t=12867837

    Ignore the bar to drop distance in the photos, the angle from which I took the photos doesn't really show it off well, but it's a gorgeous bike !!

    That is gorgeous matt, but i gotta feeling you are looking for any excuse to show anyone a pic of your new bike ? :wink::D

    Perhaps..... :wink:
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Monty Dog wrote:
    Spin Titanium = Titan Product, Xiamen, China for $900

    Just out of interest, how do you know this? could you elaborate at all?

    I've personally met the MD of Spin, he has shown me first hand a frame from Xian and a frame from his facilities, He owns three Ti plants, with only one being in China.

    The difference between the xian frame and spin was huge, especially on the welding and the engraving details

    tomissit: your bike looks great, did you order online or did you speak to them?
  • tomisitt
    tomisitt Posts: 257
    I saw the Spins at the Bike Show, then went up to Stratford for a 30-mile test ride. Loved it, so ordered the "T5 build" minus the 'bars. Also ordered a one-off pair of 30mm Spin ally clinchers in black. Then shopped around for the cheapest Campag Chorus I could find, Zipp bars, Selle Italia saddle, and the job's a good 'un.

    Personally, I don't care where it's made...the fact is that it's a really nice piece of work, and a mate of mine who knows a lot about welding says that it's one of the nicest frames he's ever seen. I wasn't prepared to take the risk of ordering something direct from China without being able to have a close look at it, or take it for a test ride. I may have paid over the odds, but I'd rather do that than pay slightly less for something mail-order from China. Ultimately, it looks fantastic, rides beautifully, and is different from most other things out there. And it makes me smile!