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Titanium vs. Carbon-Fiber

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 

I bet this has been asked before, but:

 

I'm looking into upgrading from aluminum.

 

What are the pros and cons of Carbon Fiber verses Titanium frames?

post #2 of 91

Trying to stir up trouble, eh?  No discussion of carbon fiber would be complete without Grant Peterson's (Rivendell Bicycle Works) editorial views on that material:http://www.rivbike.com/blogs/news_post/206.  For more info, see the article at that site on bicycle materials.  I agree with Grant, carbon fiber is not a good material for bicycles, especially forks, due to the catestrophic nature with which it fails.  And the fact that failures can be brought on by seemingly minor damage to the c.f. surface.  That said, I currently ride a titanium frame with a c.f. fork.  Fork was purchased when I was younger and foolisher.  Putting my money where my mouth is, I will probably be purchasing one of Rivendell's steel framesets.  Anyway, I don't see much downside to titanium.  I've enjoyed mine for a while now, and have no doubt that the frame will last a lifetime.  (If you ride a 50cm, PM me.)  I am only considering selling it for reasons of fit, geometry, aesthetics, and lust for another.  It's interesting and somewhat alarming that c.f. has become so popular with many types of riders; some of which will not have any idea of trade-offs or safety issues involved.  This is marketing, of course. 

post #3 of 91

 

 no better laboratory than the PRO peloton, where everybody rides Carbon Fiber frames. Im a bit stubborn so I bought a Titanium frame instead. So far so good, i don't race though,

post #4 of 91

My take on the pro peloton is that they don't have to buy their own frames, they accept risk as part of their business, and I don't think that most of them really have a choice  of equipment.  Carbon frames are not "lifetime"' frames, they have to be taken care of.  This is not the case with any of the metals used in frame-building. 

post #5 of 91


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_A View Post

My take on the pro peloton is that they don't have to buy their own frames, they accept risk as part of their business, and I don't think that most of them really have a choice  of equipment. 


 They have plenty of choices, with different manufacturers, after which they sign a contract with the elected supplier.

 Safety is one of the parameters they look into, if not the primary thing.

 Lifetime is another thing but i can tell you that even with Alu and Steel, frames were replaced at the end of every season.

post #6 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by vspa View Post


 


 They have plenty of choices, with different manufacturers, after which they sign a contract with the elected supplier.

 Safety is one of the parameters they look into, if not the primary thing...


The teams may have 'plenty of choices' but the individual riders in general do not.

 

I seriously doubt safety ranks as the team's leading concern when chosing a brand of bikes to race. Try corporate sponsorhips and price of a jersey logo as well as beliefs about the bike's performance from the standpoint of winning races not its ability to take abuse.

 

That said, it's not like pro level CF bikes are falling apart or some brands are measurably safer than others. That and there were plenty of broken bike parts even when all the pro's bikes were made of steel, maybe they didn't break as catastrophically but those guys still broke bikes.

 

-Dave

post #7 of 91

Carbon only, please, don't waste your time on anything else. 

post #8 of 91

I ride a Titanium bike with CF fork and it is a great riding bike. A titanium frame if built right should last the longest but Carbon fiber will last a long time too if built right. I would recommend trying as many bikes out as you can before buying.

post #9 of 91

i have heard that CF monocoque construction is better, for example less noisy on the long run, among other benefits.

post #10 of 91



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_A View Post

My take on the pro peloton is that they don't have to buy their own frames, they accept risk as part of their business, and I don't think that most of them really have a choice  of equipment.  Carbon frames are not "lifetime"' frames, they have to be taken care of.  This is not the case with any of the metals used in frame-building. 


Really? What part of planet Zogg do you come from? Do you live in an inert gas bubble where your steel frames never rust or never ride your aluminium framed bike so it doesn't fatigue or dent like a used soda can? Any frame needs to be taken care of.

 

Given the "right" (or wrong) set of circumstances any frame will break. I've broken steel (Reynolds 501) and aluminum (Vitus 979) frames in the past, without crashing, but I've yet to break a carbon bike... but it'll happen at some point.
 

post #11 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruedy View Post

I bet this has been asked before, but:

 

I'm looking into upgrading from aluminum.

 

What are the pros and cons of Carbon Fiber verses Titanium frames?


Why would you consider either of these frame materials an upgrade? The materials are just that - the stuff that the frames are made out of. The way that the frame is constructed and how it fits you is far more important.

 

Most people couldn't honestly tell the different is "ultimate performance" (ie times up a long mountain pass) between bikes or a similar weight - give or take a few pounds. What you will notice more is the ride quality of a really good frame and the extra comfort that it affords. Any of those materials you listed, plus steel and magnesium (remember Kirk?) can be made into very nice frames.

 

Carbon lends itself very well to time trial bikes were aerodynamics are key but for a good all-round road bike it's open season on your material of choice. Go ride a bunch of bikes and whatever fits you best and rides the best for you is the best.
 

post #12 of 91
Thread Starter 

Thanks to you all!  You gave me some things to think about.

Don't know if I will "upgrade" or not, but, I do have the itch for

another bike.  You all know how that is, I'm sure.

post #13 of 91

What are you riding now, what direction is your itch going, and what kind of kind of riding do you foresee with a new bike?  What are you dissatisfactions with your present bike?  I'm experiencing something similar, but in my case I'm returning to road riding after a about a 5-year hiatus.  My needs and wants have changed, but I'm finding that I can modify my bike to better suit my needs.  Just some things to think about. 

post #14 of 91

I also agree with Grant Peterson at Rivendell.  I also know from people I know in the sport that CF does break, while it's not an epidemic it happens more then any other material, and when it does happen it happens fast without warning.  Until lately CF couldn't be repaired but Cafee now repairs CF but at a pretty good charge so depending on the value of the frame it may not be worth repairing.   I wouldn't go as far as Grant goes by saying CF is only good for 5 years, because I know guys riding on 10 year old CF bikes with no problems but they haven't crashed the bikes in a way yet to damage the fibers.  

 

But if you want a bike that will last forever then TI is the best, and it's light, and their comfortable to ride on.  One bike you may want to consider is one I'm seriously considering is this one: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/lechamp_teamti_10.htm   It comes with full Dura Ace except for the pedals.  I looked into and considered the TI Habanero and the Lynsky but to get a bike with full Dura Ace I would have to spend at least $1,000 more then the Motobecane.  The reviews that I read about the Motobecane have been very high so that made me less nervous.  I looked closely at the welds on the Motobecane and they look very good, as good as the Habanero.  If you want a higher quality bike tuned for racing then I would seriously look at the Lynsky's because they can make the frame as stiff as you want it be...at a higher cost of course, but Lynsky in that department is the most affordable TI bike you can get.

 

Also if your interested in a cross bike both Motobecane at the Bikes Direct site and the Habanero and Lynsky both make TI cross bikes, again though the Motobecane is the least expensive and the Lynsky can get as radical as you want if your wanting to race cross.

 

post #15 of 91

Thanks for that Froze, it was getting cold out here all alone.  Gook luck with your Ti search. (what size frame do you ride, if I may ask?)  I have a 1994 Performance Ti frame that I still love, and will keep for a little while longer, maybe until I succumb completely to Grant's spell and buy a Sam Hillborne.   

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