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Sub 2K$ frame quest: Carbon vs Ti

3542 Views 41 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Ronunu
After jamming on a Niner SIR9 SS for the past two years, I am starting to miss marathons and epic rides. So I've gotten into the market for a new geared HT with a budget of 2K max for the frame. As carbon offerings are becoming available this year, I wonder if a dream Ti bike can have a carbon version. I care about vertical compliance and lateral stiffness. I sometimes ride in rough small rocks sections, I do not want to slow down. Jumps of 2ft max. Done a bit of research and came up with a "short list":
Niner AIR9 - in love with my SIR9 geometry and compliance, less happy with weight and lateral stiffness
SJ SWorks
Orbea Alma

Vassago Ti Optimus
Independent Fab - used, current owner and myself have nearly identical height/inseam)
Lynskey Houseblend Pro29 2009 - great price, geo is nearly identical to the MCR/SIR/AIR

Did I miss someone of importance (sub2K) ?
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You missed Quiring. Ti frame for $1900 and change. He'd be my first stop at your budget.
A few others

A few others to consider:

Voodoo Zaka

Everti 29R -

Dean -

Kish Fabrications - [my choice]

On One -

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I just went through the exact thing you are...It's fun ain't it!
Anyway, I had my heart set on the Air 9 Carbon until the price came out & I was offended @ the $1900 price tag when the Superfly (with Fork) is $2100... That said, I moved past carbon & on to Ti. From what I've been told, I am convinced the dampening properties are better and I thought if I invested in something custom & Ti, I would end up keeping it much longer than the Air 9 carbon :thumbsup: Ti is also just slightly heavier (3.1-3.4 pound range.)
So I quickly moved past my "Dream Bikes" (Black Sheep & Eriksen) because I have the same price concerns that you do & landed at the True North & EverTi (See pictures.) I mean, that True North is BEAUTIFUL. After doing some more searching (Long story longer) I decided on Wily. Great Ti design that has the experience because they piggyback off the DEAN shop, excellent reputation, very approachable & well communicated builder, and best part- Cost. Their Hartail is $1800 but until ~ end of January you can get $300 off... It's good quality 3/2.5 Ti, custom, & they work with Spectrum Powder Works so you can take the money you save and get a badas$ paint or etchjob.
Hope this helps & whatever you do, enjoy it!!!


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P.S., I realize the EverTi is a circus-wheel bike- They build 29ers too ( I just liked the look of that frame)
Not to heckle, but why would you not do marathons and epic rides on your SIR9?

Based on what you said about the SIR, I would suggest a metal Air9, and spend all your leftover cash on a killer wheelset, fork, or other components. Just a thought. You could buy two nice frames for $2k.
Yea, but you will feel every little bump on that scandium and after 50 miles or so your butt will be begging for Ti.
rooster44 said:
Yea, but you will feel every little bump on that scandium and after 50 miles or so your butt will be begging for Ti.
Well, I normally stand up when it is bumpy. And I owned a scandium One9 for a couple years and found it to be just as comfortable as my steel bikes, actually more comfortable because it was lighter and floated better over the bumps.

To the OP; If you want Ti, I think the Lynskey looks pretty nice for the price if you plan to run a suspension fork. I was actually looking pretty hard at them recently, I have normally not been a Ti fan due to price but it is almost competitive, at least in range compared to custom Ti. Might want to surf by their site if you haven't, the ridgeline geometry recently changed for 2010 so depending on your size, it might not be as similar to the Niner as you are thinking.
The ridgeline is indeed a good option well under $2k. Regarding the standing over bumps, do you live in a place with no climbs?
rooster44 said:
The ridgeline is indeed a good option well under $2k. Regarding the standing over bumps, do you live in a place with no climbs?
Heh, yeah, Colorado no climbs here. But I ride only Singlespeed so there is not a whole lotta sitting most of the time anyway. :)
I too love my aluminum singlespeed- Ventana (and I just cheat on cog size so I can sit while climbing :) but I think there is a lot to be said for Ti. ride quality... You agree, no?
Quiring - GLG do you have experience with this frame?

CRat - SIR runs a SS setup, I've changed and exchanged and flexchanged gears to SS so many times I've decided that enough is enough. I was looking at the Lynskey Houseblend Pro29 2009 which has a striking geo similarity (err identical) to MCR (mediums).
Very interesting your experience with the Air9. I just took an AIR9 for demo during the weekend, kicked the h_ll out of it and my impression was that it felt kinda bland. I got back with some lower back pain - maybe because it was a Large (I am a med), maybe because it was too harsh of a frame, maybe because I tried too much and kicked my own a_s. I was starting to form an impression that Scandium is not an option, I just may need to rethink this.

I climb a lot, technical and double tracks. Typically I climb standing up on my SS, having a 32x19 setup I have little choice. I plan to stand a lot on the geared frame as well, I found out that this builds a better endurance and is a better overall workout - my wife really likes my abs now :)

The really big question which bugs me - do I wait for a carbon or take the plunge with a Ti frame ?
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Hey roostie, your Wily has that cute gusset underneath the top/bottom tube joint at the head tube ? Do you run it rigid ?
Pics please !!
I run it both ways- 80mm & rigid- Also, if you don't like the "gusset", you can have him build you one without it; that's the beauty of custom. Personally, I think it probably adds to the lateral stiffness. My ride is actually being etched here soon so I can't take pictures now but see these for examples of Wily's with a more gradual & no gusset thingy at all.

Got cut off there, sorry. One other thought is that if your still relatively new to riding, get a Niner if you love the geometry. I don't care what anyone says about Niner- They're a great company that makes a great product & have had very few problems relative to the # of bikes in use out there. Then down the road 2-3 years when the 29er market is completely saturated with Ti & carbon, you will have more choices at a lower cost & you will have a better idea of your custom spec's. IMO, of course :)


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Roostie, many thanks for your inputs - real honesty is pretty hard to come by!
You have a very good point here. Before I make up my mind and get myself another Niner, a definitely possible scenario, I really want to exhaust out other options.
If there was a Ti Niner MCR showing out, I'd be waiting in line for a ticket.
If you're in love with the MCR dimensions, just have those exact numbers built in Ti. It will be comfortable, lighter & more forgiving, and you will own it longer too! Salsa has a new Ti El Mariachi too but I have a hard time buying off the shelf when you can get custom less expensive :)
Have you checked out the Spectrum Work? It's amazing...
why are they that inexpensive?

what's wrong here ...
rooster44 said:
Have you checked out the Spectrum Work? It's amazing...
Wow, these guys are pure art :thumbsup:


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