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Discussion Starter #1
I have a steel 29r singlespeed, I love it. I am selling off some 26" bikes of mine to get a geared 29r but I am tempted by titanium. Ideally this frame would be used for technical rides as well as XC racing. Is it sensible at all to get a titanium 29r frame at my weight of 210 lbs? From what I have read, it seems like the tubing needed to give me a non-noodly frame would negate a lot of the weight savings going from steel to titanium, leaving me only with a difference in ride feel and succeptibility to corrosion. is that worth the $2K-$3K for a custom Ti frame?
 

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Reviewer/Tester
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To me, the answer to that question depends almost entirely on the depth of your wallet.. :)


Personally, I love Ti frames. I think that a Ti custom frame is the pinnacle of mountainbikes.

Just take a look at some of the Ti frames available from the custom builders on this forum and tell me that they are not a work of art.. :)

To me, there is a certain 'something' about a beautiful Ti frame that no other frame material can match.

I would go Ti... if you can afford it.



R.
 

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No Justice = No Peace
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I prefer steel

I have had both steel and Ti bikes for road and mountain use, and I am back on steel for life.

My best road bie ever was a Mikkelsen 853 OS frame which fit me like a second skin. Never had to worry about shakes at speed, or flexy flyer bottom flex when climbing. It ran like a runaway train, and I loved it. Sold it for a Merckx titaniuum EX, which is the stiffy in their line at the time. It made me fear for my life in fast corners, and the flex under power, like pedalling uphill in a big gear, was completely unsettling. I would have happily kept the half pound weight savings for the awesome steel bike.

I also had a Merlin soft tail, so maybe that's not hte best comparison, but the thing moved around a lot. Very light, and because of the Headshok front end, it steered super tight, like a rigid fork with comfort, but at speeed it flexed like a sled, and especially on singletrack, you could really feel the frame movement powering out of corners.

I currently ride a Bontrager race, a DEAN steel cross bike/roadie, and I have a DeSalvo 29er (steel) on order. No more ti for this guy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Rainman said:
To me, the answer to that question depends almost entirely on the depth of your wallet.. :)


Personally, I love Ti frames. I think that a Ti custom frame is the pinnacle of mountainbikes.

Just take a look at some of the Ti frames available from the custom builders on this forum and tell me that they are not a work of art.. :)

To me, there is a certain 'something' about a beautiful Ti frame that no other frame material can match.

I would go Ti... if you can afford it.



R.
the bling factor is nice, I can afford it, but for the price of a Ti frame, I could do something like get both a SS cyclocross and a geared 29r steel frame.
 

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I've ridden both flexy steel bikes and very stiff ones. I've also ridden titanium bikes that would chatter your teath out and some that are very smooth and buttery. A riders wieght, power and style of riding should determine what material should be used. A 130lb rider doesn't put as much flex on a frame as a 250lber. There are alot of diferent bike manufacturer's out there with different philosophies of how a bike should ride and you need to find on or have one made for you depending on how you want your bike to ride. A good bike should be out there for you in either material you just need to get one that is built to ride like you want it.
 

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Lutarious said:
I have had both steel and Ti bikes for road and mountain use, and I am back on steel for life.

My best road bie ever was a Mikkelsen 853 OS frame which fit me like a second skin. Never had to worry about shakes at speed, or flexy flyer bottom flex when climbing. It ran like a runaway train, and I loved it. Sold it for a Merckx titaniuum EX, which is the stiffy in their line at the time. It made me fear for my life in fast corners, and the flex under power, like pedalling uphill in a big gear, was completely unsettling. I would have happily kept the half pound weight savings for the awesome steel bike.

I also had a Merlin soft tail, so maybe that's not hte best comparison, but the thing moved around a lot. Very light, and because of the Headshok front end, it steered super tight, like a rigid fork with comfort, but at speeed it flexed like a sled, and especially on singletrack, you could really feel the frame movement powering out of corners.

I currently ride a Bontrager race, a DEAN steel cross bike/roadie, and I have a DeSalvo 29er (steel) on order. No more ti for this guy.
Have you ever had a custom ti bike? Made for you, and to your specs and preferences?
Doesn't sound like it.
 

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I have a friend who had an I.F. built for him, titanium. He weighed at the time over 250 lbs. The thing smokes anything else i have ever ridden. Weight is 3.4 lbs. Plenty rigid under power. I have had lots of steel frames. The lightest 29er frame was 4.5 ish pounds. For a one pound savings, no paint chipping worries, and that kind of ride---I had to do it.

Anyway, I have Dean on order, I had it done custom for me, so I hope it rides at least somewhat close to that I.F.

Comparing steel to ti....both are great. (I have a steel road bike and cross frame right now). I have a hard time parting with $2500-$3000 for the upper end custom builders. I just don't have the money right now. My weight is similar to yours, I wouldn't go too cheap. I would be afraid of the noodle factor without a costum tubeset. Frankly I am still worried about the Dean. I will let you know in a couple of weeks, it should arrive soon. With finals coming up, I am not sure how much I will be able to ride it until after Christmas.

I doubt I helped at all, but at least I wasn't reading about income tax or secured transactions while writing this. :rolleyes:
 

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Another opinion

Had an airborne TiHag and B29, now have the "twins" (two steel WaltWorks-one SS and one geared) and I'm diggin' steel. Still have a litespeed but itchin' for a surly pacer (not purchased yet). I weigh 195#. Of those bikes the ti bikes have all been more flexible than the steel-and sometimes too flexible for my taste. The steel bikes above have a more "solid" feel. They just feel right. I like the "no scratch" finish of the ti bike and I love the "no rust". And I had a bent derailleur on a trip to France last year on my litespeed-the local wrench just mashed it back by hand while on the bike and the 6-4 ti plate dropout stayed perfectly straight. So that's nice too. But you've gotta note the price differential. And my gearie frame weighs 4.5#, the B-29 weighed 4.25# so in my book the weight was a non-issue.

I guess I'm off of ti, on steel for now as Lutarious...
 

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Im not going to tell you

what to do, but here are some suggestions.

what is your budget?

I have a sweet Ti rig in my stable, it rocks, but buying it meant that my budget was allocated for the next few years. several years later, I have discovered that I like getting new bikes once in a while, and my idea of the perfect bike changes over time. (road, CX, MTB, SS, etc). So now i opt for steel, knowing that I have not broken the bank for my next whim...sorry, its true, I like new stuff every couple of years, and good steel is not a GIANT step down from Ti in my experience.

I suggest a not too limited budget be used to get a sweet custom steel bike and upgrade as frequently as your wallet and desire allows.

An unlimited budget can do that with Ti.

Or.... are you the type of person who can spec a perfect bike and ride it for decades and never cast a stray glance at a newer, younger, sexier rig? If so, you should consider the custom Ti rig. Get a totally custom paint job, and post the pictures here!

Ken
 

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veinte nueve pulgadas
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you and me both

Fastskiguy said:
Had an airborne TiHag and B29, now have the "twins" (two steel WaltWorks-one SS and one geared) and I'm diggin' steel. Still have a litespeed but itchin' for a surly pacer (not purchased yet).
I have a walt that flops back and forth between geared and ss, and I too had the Pacer itch, and I scratched that itch a few months back.

I had a 26" litespeed before the walt. i'm never going back to 26", and I'm never going back to Ti. The best thing the matte Ti had going for it was the clean-ability. Let the mud cake on, then brush it off. that was sweet. It's way overpriced though. Beautiful? yeah, if that's your thing. I've moved on.
 

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I'm struggling with that Q 2

I've got a quote for a nice Ti bike for $1900, with bent TT and seatstays. I like bent tubes, and I know this bike would be beautiful. Even though the price seems good, it still seems like a lot.

I could get a Curtlo or something for a lot less...

I've got no experience with either steel or Ti though. I had 26" Al HT, and then 26" FS. All I know is my next bike is gonna be 29", the rest is up in the air.

Here's the one thing I keep coming back to; if I go steel, I may really love it. However, I will probably always wonder and dream about what a Ti bike might have been...
 

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For what it's worth, I had my decision narrowed down to two bikes. An IF steel Deluxe or a Seven Verve straight gauge.

The two best hardtails that I had ever owned were a Seven Verve 26er full custom and a stock 19" IF Deluxe steel.

In the end I got the Seven Verve. I had picked up (literally with my hands) a 17" 26 wheeled IF steel frame that weighed 4.5lbs. My Seven (typical 20" frame) comes in at 3.8 lbs. The exact weight of my 26" Seven.

The Seven cost me $320.00 more than the IF would have. The big deciding factors for me were: Weight, corrosion resistance, no paint to worry about, that sweet Ti feel and the satisfaction with my 26" wheeled Seven.

I'm not sure about other Ti builders, but Seven can build a stiff or a soft Ti bike depending on what you want without the weight getting out of control. The first Seven I had built I told the guy at Seven that I wanted the bike to be nice and stiff but to still give off that classic Ti feel. I also told him that if getting Ti to feel as stiff as I wanted it to be would result in a 4.5 lb. frame or that it would be so stiff that it would lose that Ti feel that I would just save the extra coin and go with a steel bike. In the end, the bike is stiff at the bottom bracket and vertically compliant.

Having said all of that, Wily and Black Sheep were heavy on my mind. I just don't have any access to any of their products to try out.
 

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Steel v Ti is an issue that’s been on my mind lately too. I ride a Ti bike but I considered replacing it with steel.

If you are going ti spend the bucks and go high end …. Black Sheep, Moots or Matt Chester etc. The point is don’t go cheap, go big. Every builder’s bikes break but the more established builders had their failures years ago and have learned from those errors, that’s why they can and do charge more for their product. Whether this is worth it or not is up to you but I think that the builder’s experience/skill and reputation is a lot of what you pay for in a ti bike. The more you pay the more you get. A warranty is nice and getting a new frame is nice too but never having a bike break is even better.

As for steel a good builder should be able to build you a frame as light or stiff or flexy as you need / want. Steel really is real. It is an established and traditional frame building material. With a good builder you really can’t go wrong with steel, it will certainly give you the most bang for the buck. Ti takes a lot of skill and time to work with and design around (there is simply no way around paying for this), I’m not saying steel is easier or that steel builders are less talented, what I am saying is steel is tried and true. There is no reason to doubt it, and there is little excuse for a builder to screw it up.

If I had to buy a new bike today, I would drop my money on custom steel. I would more or less copy the geometry of my Ti bike, with some minor changes here and there to make it absolutely perfect. I would have the bike built to be flexy. Then I would drop some of the coin saved, by going steel, on a super dope paint/powdercoat job and a layback ti seatpost. But at the same time a Ti frame has that "certain something" and is absolutely Bling-o-riffic. So I really don’t know what to tell you. In general, I like to keep my bikes. Prior to going to 29ers I rode my steel Breezer for almost 10 years. I like that. It makes me feel good. A hard tail should last and last and last. Once I get a bike and bond with it, it is really important to me that the bike not break (unless I smack into a tree). I think either steel or high end ti will do that for you. Steel will do it in a solid utilitarian, cost effective manner, Ti will do it all blingly, magically and expensively. FWIW , I’m still riding Ti, and intend to ride my Ti bike for the rest of my life, if I live that long. But if I had a reason to go custom either for a specific application or just for "new bike lust" , I would go steel. (And if the reason was "new bike lust" as opposed to a utilitarian reason I would go with lugged steel).

If you really can’t decide find a builder you like who builds both, tell them what you want then follow their advice. After all, with a small builder a lot of the custom service is in helping you get exactly what you want out of the bike design.

So good luck and have fun.

Adam
 

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Squalor
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OrBikbldr said:
I doubt I helped at all, but at least I wasn't reading about income tax or secured transactions while writing this. :rolleyes:
"But what does the code say about that?"

My Secured professor would answer every question we had with that statement. Got REALLY annoying REALLY quick. I grew to love the guy though.

Income tax was my 1st A in law school. It was a 4 hour class at my school, so it really helped the GPA that semester.

I take the bar for the first time in Feb...I'm kind of freaking out (but not really studying yet :) )

The thing I like the most about being done with the class work is having the time to train for cross...I put up with crappy performance in cross for three years due to exam studies! This year I am going to try to come out strong!

Good luck,
LP
 

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Squalor
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Padre said:
Have you ever had a custom ti bike? Made for you, and to your specs and preferences?
Doesn't sound like it.
Not to call you out Padre, but have you?

If so, why the heck are you holding out on the pics :D ?

Implying about the potential ride of a bike before actually putting in any saddle time...did I notice your handle changing to N...C...J...0...

(Ok - that was low)

LP

PS - I do have a custom Ti frame (29er) and a custom steel frame (cross)...my next one will be steel!
 

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DiscoCowboy
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I had the same decision

when I started getting my first custom bike built a couple months ago. I like the idea of Ti being resistant to the elements since I tend to ride my bike all year round and leave it on my car for days at a time. My builder recommended that I go with steel, don't know all the reasons, but he likes the new True Temper steels which give a great ride, low weight and high strength for a fraction of the price of Ti. A good coating of Frame Saver and no worries about rust. As for weight I'm already going to save well over 2 lbs from my Monkey for frame and fork.

As Henry James says... Well, caviar is a lot fancier than pasta, but if you're going on a century ride, pasta is the better choice. :)
 

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climb
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somms said:
the bling factor is nice, I can afford it, but for the price of a Ti frame, I could do something like get both a SS cyclocross and a geared 29r steel frame.
Sounds like a voice of reason. I'll never get a Ti bike because the 'last-bike-I-will-ever-buy' is never true. Save your money for the next 'last-bike-I-will-ever-buy'

In my opinion 2 steel bikes are better than one Ti bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
this frame would not be "the last frame I ever buy", but I have ridden mtn. bikes for several years and I think I know what I want from it, so assuming it is built matching my requirements, it wont be sitting in the corner 2 years from now gathering dust. I think I'll talk to some builders about it. 2 steel or one Ti though...hmm.
 

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resistance to elements...

may not be the best reason to go Ti. While Ti does not rust like steel, it does seem to have reactions with other metals. Aluminum,for example, seemed to interract very negatively with my Ti frame (in the seat tube). Not sure what the reaction was, but the two metals seemed to fuse together, and required a LOT of force to separate.

Also where nuts and bolts contact titanium....if you do not remove, lubricate and reinstall these nuts and bolts often you may find that they will seize up solid after only a few months. (This occured with a Ti seat collar, and on bottle cage mounts).

one final thought is the creaking noise that so often occurs at the union of the aluminum BB and the Ti frame. You will find yourself servicing this area more frequently with Ti.

just my experiences

Ken
 

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Nice debate in which to partake...

unit said:
While Ti does not rust like steel, it does seem to have reactions with other metals. Aluminum,for example, seemed to interract very negatively with my Ti frame (in the seat tube).
Stuck seatposts and stripped or overtightened bolts aren't soley the domain of Ti...

I went through the same debate last year -- I nice debate to be able to take part in... I ended up with Ti for about 30% more cash outlay.

My "Pro" arguments for Ti vs Steel -- lighter, less maintenance
My "Con" arguments for Ti vs Steel -- more expensive, fewer competent builders

What really got me into Ti was being able to get the frame built within my pre-determined budget and the less maintenance issue. Point in case -- snowy, muddy ride has me letting the bike dry off in the sun, then wiping it down with a rag. Neighbor/riding partner (after same ride) stands out in the cold hosing off his nicely painted steel bike to avoid roughing up the paint job. Paint looks nice for awhile, then it doesn't so you go through repainting, which can be fun. But I'm ultimately partial to the simple elegance of unpainted Ti and it's minimal maintenance. I'm a "one bike a decade" type of guy and it's my experience that a Ti frame serves that personality best...
 
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