titanium frames: lugs and your favorite crafters

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by lawrenpx, Sep 17, 2003.

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  1. lawrenpx

    lawrenpx New Member

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    After being inactive on my road bike, Falcon (UK) steel frame (Reynolds 531 double butted) with Campy components, for a number of years I have found myself wanting a new bike. After reading up a bit on the latest frames I have decided I definitely do not want an aluminum frame due to its harsh ride and find myself gravitating towards a quality titanium frame due to its cushier ride and durability. I have two questions, one on titanium frame details and lugs and another on higher quality crafters or manufacturers.

    1). For some of you this may not be the brightest question but can anyone tell me why titanium frames are not lugged. Lugs can be so beautiful on steel frames. Is it that they are non-luggable or is it that lugs are simply not needed due to the increased strength of titanium.

    2). Can anyone recommend higher quality titanium frame manufacturers? From my research, including this forum, the better ones seem to be, in no particular order, Seven, Moots, Lightspeed, Serotta, Habenero, Douglas, and Dean. What are your favorites? For the prices these are demanding, should I go for a custom frame? I am looking for a frame that is comfortable, beautiful and that will last a lifetime.

    :cool:
     
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  2. Jim Beam

    Jim Beam Guest

    > can anyone tell me why titanium frames are not lugged.

    several reasons but one *big* one:

    titanium gets brittle when heated with any oxygen present. a traditional gas brazing flame is not
    capable of providing a sufficiently oxygen-free atmosphere to prevent this embrittlement.

    the most practical way to solve this is to t.i.g. [tungsten inert gas] weld the tubes directly. the
    tubes are specially thick in the weld zone to ensure stength, the weld zone is highly localized to
    minimize other microstructure issues resulting from the heat and most importantly, the inert gas
    atmosphere ensures any oxygen embrittlement is strictly limited.

    jb
     
  3. I'm sure you'll get lots of responses along the same lines but:

    - both Spicer and Habanero offer custom frames for less than $1,000. That seems super reasonable to
    me. I own a Habanero and love it. I do wish there were more room for fenders (SKS do fit with 23
    tires), fender drillings, and slightly longer chainstays but I wish that were the case with most
    bikes. It seems a very strong frame and has stood up to abuse and winters very well. Best of all,
    the bikes have 1" standard headtubes. The decals fell off, as they do, but Mark sent along another
    set no problem. I would get the centaur group he offers if you don't want to move the stuff from
    your current bike over.

    - I'm guessing the frames aren't lugged for a couple of reasons. You can't braze titanium to my
    knowledge, lugs raise the cost and impose restrictions on frame geometry. Style wise they would
    probably not be seen as progressive. We all know most frames are slaves to fashion so I'm guessing
    that's the main reason.
     
  4. Bfd

    Bfd Guest

    lawrenpx <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > After being inactive on my road bike, Falcon (UK) steel frame (Reynolds 531 double butted) with
    > Campy components, for a number of years I have found myself wanting a new bike. After reading up a
    > bit on the latest frames I have decided I definitely do not want an aluminum frame due to its
    > harsh ride and find myself gravitating towards a quality titanium frame due to its cushier ride
    > and durability. I have two questions, one on titanium frame details and lugs and another on higher
    > quality crafters or manufacturers.
    >
    > 1). For some of you this may not be the brightest question but can anyone tell me why titanium
    > frames are not lugged. Lugs can be so beautiful on steel frames. Is it that they are
    > non-luggable or is it that lugs are simply not needed due to the increased strength of titanium.
    >
    There is a lugged ti frameset available, Merlin makes one here:

    http://www.merlinbike.com/english/bikes/cielo.html

    > 2). Can anyone recommend higher quality titanium frame manufacturers? From my research, including
    > this forum, the better ones seem to be, in no particular order, Seven, Moots, Lightspeed,
    > Serotta, Habenero, Douglas, and Dean. What are your favorites? For the prices these are
    > demanding, should I go for a custom frame? I am looking for a frame that is comfortable,
    > beautiful and that will last a lifetime.
    >
    The builders you listed do very good work. However, don't forget John Holland (if you want a
    *custom* ti frame) or Lemond (if you want a very, very good production ti frame).
     
  5. Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    >
    > lawrenpx-<< 1). For some of you this may not be the brightest question but can anyone tell me why
    > titanium frames are not lugged. Lugs can be so beautiful on steel frames >><BR><BR>
    >
    > No need and no material exists to put between the lug and tube to make it hold together, like
    > silver and brass solder for lugs.
    >

    It has been done, but if you think a normal Ti frame is expensive think again ;)

    --
    Marten
     
  6. Chalo

    Chalo Guest

    lawrenpx <[email protected]> wrote:

    > 1). For some of you this may not be the brightest question but can anyone tell me why titanium
    > frames are not lugged.

    Lugs must be brazed. Titanium can only be brazed in a vacuum furnace-- a very expensive and
    esoteric process.

    > For the prices these are demanding, should I go for a custom frame?

    The makers you mentioned fall into two categories: those that use special tubing shapes and butted
    tubing, and Habanero. Mark Hickey of Habanero is able to offer a much more competitive price on a
    custom geometry frame by omitting features of subtle engineering value in favor of flexible setup.
    If shaving that last few grams is less important to you than getting a made-to-measure fit, then
    Habanero is a pretty obvious choice, to my way of thinking.

    Of course, since the chief virtue of a Ti frame is how much it turns you on, then the best pick is
    very much a matter of taste.

    Chalo Colina
     
  7. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    lawrenpx <[email protected]> wrote:

    > After reading up a bit on the latest frames I have decided I definitely do not want an aluminum
    > frame due to its harsh ride and find myself gravitating towards a quality titanium frame due to
    > its cushier ride and durability.

    The material has little or nothing to do with the ride quality in terms of "harsh" or "cushy."
    Don't worry about that- it's all bike magazine hype. Only a few years ago, the American bike
    magazines complained about the harshness of Al frames while British magazines complained how soft
    the frames were.

    The wualities of the ride are more determined by frame geometry and tires than any other factors.
     
  8. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "lawrenpx" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > After being inactive on my road bike, Falcon (UK) steel frame (Reynolds 531 double butted) with
    > Campy components, for a number of years I have found myself wanting a new bike. After reading up a
    > bit on the latest frames I have decided I definitely do not want an aluminum frame due to its
    > harsh ride and find myself gravitating towards a quality titanium frame due to its cushier ride
    > and durability. I have two questions, one on titanium frame details and lugs and another on higher
    > quality crafters or manufacturers.
    >
    > 1). For some of you this may not be the brightest question but can anyone tell me why titanium
    > frames are not lugged. Lugs can be so beautiful on steel frames. Is it that they are
    > non-luggable or is it that lugs are simply not needed due to the increased strength of titanium.
    >
    > 2). Can anyone recommend higher quality titanium frame manufacturers? From my research, including
    > this forum, the better ones seem to be, in no particular order, Seven, Moots, Lightspeed,
    > Serotta, Habenero, Douglas, and Dean. What are your favorites? For the prices these are
    > demanding, should I go for a custom frame? I am looking for a frame that is comfortable,
    > beautiful and that will last a lifetime.

    I am not going to touch the "harsh ride " , "cushier ride " aspect. Perhaps therapy or
    psychopharmacology might help but I can't.

    To the jointing technique aspect of your inquiry: Early steel tube (pipe?) frames were brazed into
    cast iron sleeves because welding had not yet come of age and the alternate, riveting, has
    limitations. With twentieth century tube and welding techniques, low-temperature bronze, brass or
    silver filled sleeves ( Raleigh made the pressed-lug breakthrough to become "the all-steel bicycle")
    just made sense - economically and structurally. Today, the tubes and the available welding formats
    have evolved. I like a lugged frame's look as much as the next guy but one cannot make a claim about
    "better". Not when 853-TIG frames are faster to build, plenty strong and, if any difference stands
    out, give the builder a wider lattitude than the confines of available lug angles.

    Titanium does not take well to brass or bromze or silver. Titanium welding techniques have been
    refined to a point of remarkable efficiency and the darned things continue to drop in price. Ther
    are no expensive limiting lugs because they are neither possible nor neccessary.

    By the same token, auto wheels are not wire spoked because now we can make pressed steel wheels (
    And we lost the inner tubes at that point, too!) which are cheaper, lighter and stronger. Some
    people (me) think wire spoked car wheels with spinners are very beautiful. Having owned and
    maintained them, I am happily driving steel wheels. And a welded titanium bike. I may indeed sell
    that for something vintage and Italian with chromed lugs (Miss my Pogliaghi on some quiet morning
    rides) but only for the look. The Ti bike is plenty strong and much lighter.

    So buy the bike that fits. Buy the bike that you find beautiful. But drop any arguments
    about "better".

    I have had hundreds of converstaions in the bike shop wth riders who want to build "my last bike" or
    a"bike to last a lifetime".. Ha. Your taste will change long before the age limits of the machine.
    --
    Andrew Muzi www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April, 1971
     
  9. John Carrier

    John Carrier Guest

    And Spectrum, my personal fav.

    R / John

    "Qui si parla Campagnolo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > lawrenpx-<< 1). For some of you this may not be the brightest question but
    can
    > anyone tell me why titanium frames are not lugged. Lugs can be so beautiful on steel frames
    > >><BR><BR>
    >
    > No need and no material exists to put between the lug and tube to make it
    hold
    > together, like silver and brass solder for lugs.
    >
    > law-<< 2). Can anyone recommend higher quality titanium frame
    manufacturers?
    > >><BR><BR>
    >
    > Moots, Seven, Serotta, Habenero.
    >
    > law-<< For the prices these are demanding, should I go for a custom frame? I am looking for a
    > frame that is comfortable, beautiful and that will last a lifetime. >><BR><BR>
    >
    > Only if your sizing says you need one-
    >
    >
    >
    > Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    > (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  10. Jeff Wills

    Jeff Wills Guest

    [email protected] (Qui si parla Campagnolo) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > lawrenpx-<< 1). For some of you this may not be the brightest question but can anyone tell me why
    > titanium frames are not lugged. Lugs can be so beautiful on steel frames >><BR><BR>
    >
    > No need and no material exists to put between the lug and tube to make it hold together, like
    > silver and brass solder for lugs.
    >

    Didn't Pino Morroni (sp?) make some furnace-brazed titanium frames way back when? I'll admit my
    memory is fuzzy- this doesn't jibe with my (limited( knowledge of titanium metallurgy.

    Jeff
     
  11. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    > I have had hundreds of converstaions in the bike shop wth riders who want
    to
    > build "my last bike" or a"bike to last a lifetime".. Ha. Your taste
    will
    > change long before the age limits of the machine.
    > --
    > Andrew Muzi www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April, 1971
    >
    Ain't that the damn truth!

    Mike
     
  12. "A bike to last a lifetime" is one of those good news/bad news statements.

    The good news: The bike is strong and durable. I won't have to buy another bike.

    The bad news: But I'm gonna want to buy another bike! I like buying bikes and my tastes will change
    over the rest of my lifetime. If it's going last a lifetime, it's probably priced that way too.

    I like Ti bikes, my last three road bikes have been Ti. They could have lasted a lifetime but that
    didn't stop me.

    (My previous mtn bike was also a Ti hardtail, but with a full suspension it is aluminum).
     
  13. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Jeff Wills) wrote:

    > [email protected] (Qui si parla Campagnolo) wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    > > lawrenpx-<< 1). For some of you this may not be the brightest question but can anyone tell me
    > > why titanium frames are not lugged. Lugs can be so beautiful on steel frames >><BR><BR>
    > >
    > > No need and no material exists to put between the lug and tube to make it hold together, like
    > > silver and brass solder for lugs.
    > >
    >
    > Didn't Pino Morroni (sp?) make some furnace-brazed titanium frames way back when? I'll admit my
    > memory is fuzzy- this doesn't jibe with my (limited( knowledge of titanium metallurgy.

    Yah, Morroni and Cecil Behringer did this, but I don't know if there wre lugs. I don't know if there
    are any surviving examples, either.
     
  14. John Carrier

    John Carrier Guest

    > The material has little or nothing to do with the ride quality in terms of "harsh" or "cushy."
    > Don't worry about that- it's all bike magazine hype. Only a few years ago, the American bike
    > magazines complained about the harshness of Al frames while British magazines complained how soft
    > the frames were.

    True. But when al frames first came into general use, most Europeans duplicated steel tubing
    diameters (Vitus, Alan, Guerciotti, etc) and small diameter Al tubes do produce a soft ride.
    Meanwhile Trek (somewhat oversize tubes), Cannondale and Klein (oversize tubes) were quite stiff. If
    you enlarge the tubes diameter sufficiently (without exceeded crippling limit) its going to
    contribute to a stiff frame. I suspect the Brits weren't testing Cannondales while Bicycling
    magazine was.

    That said, I do think steel and Ti tend to have a somewhat lively ride while
    C/F and Al tend to feel somewhat dampened. I don't think this reflects the stiffness of the frames
    but rather the materials' transmission of small amplitude vibrations.

    BTW, my Ti frame is definite stiffer than my SP steel bike (WRT chain rub, etc), but subjectively
    feels slightly smoother over varying road surfaces (same wheels, tires, etc). The C/F fork perhaps?

    D / John
     
  15. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    "John Carrier" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> The material has little or nothing to do with the ride quality in terms of "harsh" or "cushy."
    >> Don't worry about that- it's all bike magazine hype. Only a few years ago, the American bike
    >> magazines complained about the harshness of Al frames while British magazines complained how soft
    >> the frames were.
    >
    >True. But when al frames first came into general use, most Europeans duplicated steel tubing
    >diameters (Vitus, Alan, Guerciotti, etc) and small diameter Al tubes do produce a soft ride.
    >Meanwhile Trek (somewhat oversize tubes), Cannondale and Klein (oversize tubes) were quite stiff.
    >If you enlarge the tubes diameter sufficiently (without exceeded crippling limit) its going to
    >contribute to a stiff frame. I suspect the Brits weren't testing Cannondales while Bicycling
    >magazine was.

    Actually, they formed their opinions due to the Vitus, so and ascribed the ride quality to the
    material. So... they expected the aluminum big-tubed bikes to "ride soft" and that's what they felt.
    Which is what makes it such a great example of human perception's shortcomings.

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  16. Matt Locker <[email protected]> writes:

    >--------------000705040701090003070904 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
    >Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

    >This Merlin is not lugged in the conventional sense. It is a TIG welded TI frame in the traditional
    >sense, but the middle sections have been chopped out & replaced with carbon fiber tubes bonded into
    >the TI frame.

    So where can i purchase these types (??) of bicycles ??

    carbon aluminum titanium
    ===========================================================
    carbon trek 5200 trek 2300 merlin aluminum colnago cannondale ?? titanium ?? ?? litespeed

    Once we get these holes in the table filled in, we can get to work on the triple-tubing-type
    bicycles. Say for example, steel & carbon fork, plus an aluminum & titanium frame.

    - Don Gillies San Diego, CA

    P.S. I like my mono-tube bikes best.
     
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