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Titanium vs. Carbon-Fiber


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#1 Ruedy

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 05:28 AM

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?


Ruedy













#2 Steve_A

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 02:22 PM

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. 



#3 vspa

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 01:49 AM

 

 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,


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#4 Steve_A

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 05:51 AM

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. 



#5 vspa

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:51 AM


 

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.



#6 daveryanwyoming

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 09:47 AM



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



#7 bikonator

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:59 PM

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



#8 6fhscjess

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 07:51 AM

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.



#9 vspa

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:59 PM

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



#10 swampy1970

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 01:42 PM



 

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.
 



#11 swampy1970

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 01:50 PM



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.
 



#12 Ruedy

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 03:05 PM

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.


Ruedy

#13 Steve_A

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 03:22 PM

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. 



#14 Froze

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 10:02 AM

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.bikesdire...p_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.

 


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#15 Steve_A

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 03:58 PM

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.   



#16 Froze

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 04:27 PM



Originally Posted by Steve_A View Post

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.   



I ride a 55 or 56 depending on frame.  I have a 07 touring bike made by Mercian called the Vincitore I had custom built with spear point lugs (lug options Rivendell can't do), it cost more then the Sam Hillborne but less then the Rivendell and it's better then the Rivendell in my opinion for whatever that's worth!  Anyway I had if outfitted with Campy Athena triple for touring, and they sell Campy stuff cheap there; they recommended the Athena because they said it's more durable then Chorus or Record that's intended for racing where weight is a consideration.  It's a very comfortable bike to ride, but I only ride it for short touring trips for now, I bought it for when I retire and take longer trips.  The Motobecane will be my first TI bike and really looking forward too ordering early next year.


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#17 Steve_A

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 05:28 AM

Your Vincitore sounds like a beautiful bike.  Good luck with your Motobecane when you get it!



#18 NMCycling

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 08:57 AM

I would go carbon fiber.



#19 pTricky

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:59 AM

Carbon fiber has a very high strength-to-weight ratio, making it seem like an ideal material.  However the toughness (defined as the energy required to break it) is rather low, so in the case of major trauma, such as a crash, a carbon bike will break more easily and more completely than one made of metal.

 

If you're looking for durable and light weight, a good steel frame could be better than either titanium or carbon fiber.  R&E Cycles in Seattle, WA builds some very light steel road bikes, such as the 14.75 pound (including pedals and cages!) Trillium Outlaw.  I have been to the shop and lifted their bikes, and they are very light.

 

http://www.rodcycle.com/

 

 

That said, there is a certain allure to titanium...



#20 vspa

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 03:21 PM


 

Originally Posted by NMCycling View Post

I would go carbon fiber.


 at this point in time yes, lots of improvements have been made,

 all the guys ride CF these days,

 just follow some precautions like not stressing the frame with lateral weight while travelling for example,






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