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Titanium frames; talk to me about your experiences.

  • 22-09-2022 12:30pm
    Registered Users Posts: 968 ✭✭✭

    Right, over the last three-and-a-bit decades I've rode everything (OOOOOOOOH MATRON!!)

    Most iterations of Reynolds steel, Columbus steel, with a couple Tange & Ishiwata thrown into the mix.

    Vintage bonded carbon (LOOK), modern carbon monocoque.

    Vintage aluminium interference fit (Peugeot), bonded aluminium tubing/lugs (Vitus) and modern welded aluminium.

    I have yet to scratch the itch that is titanium...who has one? Do you love it? Do you hate it? What's your experience?

    I've worked on a few for people over the years, and they all seem to have a certain smug, knowing look on their faces, suggesting they have reached cycling nirvana, saying it's the best (and last!!) frame they'll ever have.

    There are vintage options out there, from the likes of Lemond and Litespeed et al, which would probably be what I'd be inclined towards, having looked at new Van Nicholas prices and had to have herself fetch the smelling salts...after I'd had a lie down to recover.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,361 ✭✭✭cunavalos

    I have an early 2000's Merlin Solis (Designed by Tom Kellogg). All of my bikes come from approx 2005 - 2015 ( with the exception of the Brown Kona you sold me in the summer) and it doesn't stand out amongst them comfort wise but would have been my Sunday Sportive bike for about 5 years and covered 1000's of miles.

    Nowadays there is not much available online about the Solis but it is prettier (engravings on the BB) than most of the more modern titanium frames from Van Nicholas, Planet X and Sunday.

    It is actually hanging in a garage not too far from you in a size medium if you want to investigate further. I think it is equipped with Campag Centaur triple groupset from the same era ( early to mid 2000's)

  • Registered Users Posts: 798 ✭✭✭gn3dr

    i have an XACD from China since maybe early 2000's . It's my winter bike, built to my own measurements which I more or less copied from my Giant TCR carbon at the time. I love it. The durability of it is a factor - no paint to worry about. It is comfortable but not sure how much of that is due to Titanium vs the compact geometry with longer seat post. It has a Ti seat post from XACD also.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,263 ✭✭✭Mercian Pro

    There have been a good few threads here over the years on Ti bikes and frames. The search facility should identify them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,938 ✭✭✭Plastik

    What was the ballpark cost of the custom geo frame?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,234 ✭✭✭Idleater

    I have a ti frame with S&S couplers and I like it as a sunny day bike. I'm not sure it's much more comfortable than my steel everyday bike or carbon race bike. But it is nice.

    If going custom, steel probably is cheaper. I've a new steel bike on the way from a frame builder. From talking with him, steel is easier to work with, so that makes it more cost effective for arguably similar comfort - down to geometry as alluded to above.

  • Registered Users Posts: 798 ✭✭✭gn3dr

    It was seriously cheap. $150 + $150 shipping (USD) This was a bit before the full on China direct sourcing thing took off. I was actually thinking about importing in bulk at the time but didn't go down that road.

  • Registered Users Posts: 841 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

  • Registered Users Posts: 841 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

    Peak Torque did an interesting video recently on YouTube around the merits of Ti as a frame material.

    May be worth a look

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,106 ✭✭✭JMcL

    I've a (non-vintage) Van Nic Skeiron for the past year or so and love it. It's my mid-life crisis bike, so I grimaced at the price, and came up with vague "several thousand" figures when asked how much by the powers that be.

    I terms of comfort, it is comfortable, but I wouldn't say it's got any powdered unicorn horn magic about it. The Skeiron is noted for being quite stiff anyway, and the comfort could well be largely derived from the higher volume tubeless tyres I'm running compared to my previous road bike, swapping the saddle (didn't get on at all with the stock Van Nic one) for a Cambium helped a lot as well.

    I went for ti over carbon as I just find the looks of carbon bike a bit meh in general, and there's just something about the look of ti bikes that's special IMHO, Overall I've always preferred the classic look of metal bikes - I've scratched the steel itch with a Croix de Fer which I love as well though it's more my do everything at a stately pace bike. As far as the welding reliability goes, Van Nic have a lifetime (or maybe 25 years) warranty on the frame

    If you want some perspective on more vintage offerings, BikeSnob NYC has been writing a fair bit over the past couple of years of his experience with a circa 2000 era Litespeed. (executive summary - he likes it a lot)

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 47,460 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    It's my mid-life crisis bike, so I grimaced at the price, and came up with vague "several thousand" figures when asked how much by the powers that be.

    i keep saying this - you guys need to get your wives into horseriding. i'd be able to buy one of those frames every four months and still my hobby would be cheaper.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,106 ✭✭✭JMcL

    She is already so she's well aware of the costs. So far she's managed so far to rein in (sorry!) her enthusiasm, though with the young lads not being quite so young anymore that might be revisited. My take is that I've yet to be on a bike that's been frightened by a plastic bag 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,879 ✭✭✭Citizen  Six

    I've done a lot of distance on a Charge Plug 5 and really love the bike. Not my own, but I borrow it when visiting family abroad. Really makes me want one.

    I recently had a look at the titanium bikes from Dolan, which seemed decent value. But also playing with the idea of just getting the frame, then making a list and buying all the other bits as they come up for sale online at a good price.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,150 ✭✭✭CantGetNoSleep

    I do that regularly whenever I come across a cheap groupset or wheelset. I've tried alu, steel and carbon and a few different bike types so titanium is a logical next step. Have most of a build ready but beyond Planet-X I haven't seen any reasonably priced or good deal framesets

  • Registered Users Posts: 798 ✭✭✭gn3dr

    Why don't you try one of the Chinese manufacturers like XACD or Waltly

    (The XACD website is the same as it was 20 yrs ago!) Some lovely looking bikes in the Waltly gallery - like this

  • Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭halvis

    I have had a custom Burls Ti frame for the last 3+ years, previously I had mainly steel frames. Whilst Justin Burls in the UK, he gets them built in Russia, so that maybe causing him some sourcing problems right now!

    I certainly noticed a difference in ride quality between it and my previous steel bike. It does appear to 'float' more across the tarmac, I know, I know, but I think this translates into more road buzz being eliminated. Note, I have a Ti seatpost and a saddle with Ti rails, all of which I think helped too as they were added over time.

    I run two sets of wheels and recently went back to 23mm's on the stiffer set. Whilst you can feel the difference between these and my other wheels which have 26mm (I have also used 29mm), the 23mm wheels are perfectly rideable which I suspect they would not be on other frames.

    It is a big frame (~60x60cm) but is stiff enough at the BB, no chain rub etc which I did suffer with on other steel bikes (853 for example).

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,717 ✭✭✭C3PO

    I have a Kenesis Gran Fondo Ti which I really like. Very comfortable but no more so than my old carbon Pinarello FP5.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,286 ✭✭✭MojoMaker

    You're not selling Ti at all folks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,879 ✭✭✭Citizen  Six

  • Registered Users Posts: 968 ✭✭✭8valve

    the only comment needed; it was only a matter of time till someone posted it.

    Mods you can now turn off comments :-)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,740 ✭✭✭brownian

    I've had a Van Nic for years, and an Airborne Carpe Diem before then. I really like them...but then I got my first carbon bike (a Super Six Evo)...I never looked back. Clearly, it's very subjective, but I think CF is much more responsive and 'zippier', and I don't see any great comfort benefit with Ti. That said, I tend to use leather Gilles Berthoud or Brooks saddles, regardless of frame material, and am partial to other ride-softeners, like suspension stems and canyon's two-part seat-post...