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Ti from Europe(20 posts)

Ti from EuropeMass Biker
Apr 25, 2001 5:36 AM
Anyone have any experience with Ti frames from European manufacturers? A friend who sings the praises of Colnago's steel bikes, and all things Italian, had a fairly low opinion of their Ti bikes (the Ovalmaster and the CT1). Any other first hand experiences re: build quality, durability, getting "what you paid for". etc.

Thanks - MB
re: Ti from Europebdd
Apr 25, 2001 6:00 AM
I agree 100%, their 'ti' is dubious...I believe Russian and not near the quality standards of good American ti frame makers. God, does someone on this post actually see thru the paintjob?? awesome.
Dittobike_junkie
Apr 25, 2001 6:29 AM
Colnagos aren't what they once were, and people are duped by the name and flashy paint. Lots of better choices in steel or Ti for the money
from American steel/Ti builders.
What?mmaggi
Apr 25, 2001 7:58 AM
Colnagos aren't what they once were?! LOL!

Years ago (back in the 80s) their frames used to break for crying out loud. A good friend of mine who owns a bike shop and DOESN'T sell them told me of 2 friends who broke them without crashing.

Now they're fine. They make frames as good as anyone else. If they're guilty of anything, it's not coming up with anything new using steel or aluminum. And that's not the end of the world either.

I have yet to hear from any bike store owner about Colnagos not being what they once were. They've gotten better through the years like most framebuilders.
re: Ti from Europemmaggi
Apr 25, 2001 6:34 AM
I know 1 gentleman who owns an OvalMaster (he also owns a C-40). He likes it alot. He's owned it for over 2 years and switches on and off with his C-40. In his opinion, more comfortable than the C-40, but that's not to say the C-40 isn't comfortable.

Don't know if they're mad in Italia or not and if they use Ti from the USA or Russia.

My guess is that it's an excellent frame. Colnago's best frames are the C-40, CT-1 and the OvalMaster. Colnago is one of the better frame builders around and they have a great reputation. I'm not saying they're the best framebuilders and I don't know if we can say who is the best, but they certainly are one of the better ones.

There are other builders of Ti frames that do a good job. It's a question of what suits your taste. Knock yourself out researching it.
Russian TiPaulCL
Apr 25, 2001 7:07 AM
Old news...wrong news. As an owner of a Colnago Ti, I have paid attention to these rumors. Colnago has publicly stated that their Ti bikes are not made in Russia.

As for quality, durability, etc.. I have no complaints. My welds are beautiful. My frame is strong (I've regrettably tested it a few times with dogs, pavement, and other immoveable objects). The frame is light, strong, and beautiful. I've had the frame since the summer of 1997.

Buy what can afford, buy what you like, don't criticize the rest.
Russian Tibdd
Apr 25, 2001 7:14 AM
And their ti is?? If it meets and/or beats American standards, then I stand corrected. But until then....
Russian TiPaulCL
Apr 25, 2001 8:07 AM
I really don't know where the Ti comes from, nor do I know the source of the Ti for Litespeed, Merlin, Airborne, or any other brand -American, Japanese, or European. All I do know is that Colnago has specifically said that their Ti does not come from Russia. Colnago has been around a long time and I doubt they would risk their reputation. Their Ti bikes have been around quite a while too without any negative reports. Now I am sure someone will mention some rumour again, but if the Ti was crap, they would have changed suppliers, don't you think???

And what are the "American Standards???" ...do you know them??? Are you a metallurgist??? I ride a bike. I ride a Ti bike from Europe. A Colnago. It has served me very well, stood up to serious punishment, and keeps going. I have no complaints. If you don't like them, fine. If you have only rumors to add to a conversation, keep them to yourself. They serve no purpose. IMHO, European Ti is fine, unless proven otherwise.
Russian Tifuzzybunnies
Apr 25, 2001 8:51 PM
According to the litespeed rep there are 3 ti tubing manufacturers in the states and that colnago doesn't get there ti from them. Not sure how much of it's true but he stated that the levels of vanadium wasn't equal to the claimed content. TTFN
That's hilarious...TJeanloz
Apr 25, 2001 7:33 AM
You believe that just because Colnago issues a statement denying that their bikes were made in Russia that they weren't. Colnago has a significant interest in convincing people that their bikes are not of Eastern European origin. I'm not saying one way or the other where the OvalMasters were made, because I have no idea; but anybody who's been around should know better than to believe a word out of a bike company's marketing department.
maybe notET
Apr 25, 2001 7:55 AM
He quoted them as saying the bikes were not "made" in Russia. Maybe they conveniently define "made" to mean welded, or, more scarily and I hope less likely, just assembled in Italy.

I'm not sure that the first interpretation is false and misleading to be able to sue over, because companies get raw materials from all over the world. Of course, if the raw titanium does indeed come from Russia, as per the rumors, there may indeed be cause to worry, because titanium is not so raw, but a mix as you well know, and the Russians have been known to cut a corner or two...
Facade of the Bilbao Guggenheim is Russian TiAlex R
Apr 25, 2001 8:52 AM
In 1990, as the command economy ruptured, cheap Russian ti was there for the taking. There was no way on Earth that Gehry's design could have been realized if the Russian Ti market had not been so flooded.

It's an amazing building, but I don't think the strength standards for a building facade are the same as for a bicycle frame. I just thought it was an interesting aside.

Alex
Fair enough...PaulCL
Apr 25, 2001 9:23 AM
..but what or who am I to believe??? Some guy on a posting board who is reporting a rumor he heard from a guy who knew a woman who had a brother who broke a European Ti frame...or...a manufacturing company that has a ???-year reputation of quality products??? I don't believe everything I read in the papers either. I have to choose to believe (or lean one direction or another) someone and since I have a Ti Colnago that has served me well, I choose to believe Colnago.

If I am proven wrong, I don't care. Why?? Because my frame has been great to me over the years. And no, I did not overpay for it for the name. Actually, you'd be surprised how cheaply I got it.
Russian Tirobpet
Apr 25, 2001 7:50 AM
Russian made? Or Russian tubing...lots of 'cheap' ti frames are made FROM Russian tubing. Not necessarily made in Russia.
Oh no! What about your TCR?boy nigel
Apr 25, 2001 7:44 AM
MB,

You've not found fault in your beloved Giant, have you? I'd be interested in your findings, if this is the case. Are you just looking for another alternate steed?

Good luck,
Nigel (Still infinitely happy with his TCR)
TCR is just fine, thanksMass Biker
Apr 25, 2001 8:04 AM
No fault in the TCR at all. I was just thinking aloud - it seems that some of the European Ti frames are quite reasonable (at least in relation to some of their high end steel and carbon frames), and I was trying to get to the heart of the matter.

Someone once told me that the new generation thinwall Al. frames are 2 season bikes if those seasons include a fairly active racing calendar. This made me think about the cost of getting a "lifetime" frame vs. one that might (should) be replaced every 3 years or so. Although the very reasonable cost of the Giants makes such a thing quite possible (and doesn't make you cringe each time you take it to your local cobblestone crit), it would certainly make me think twice about handing over a pile of cash for one of those fancy-schmancy Euro Al. frames (Wiliers, Masis, and yes, Colangos).

As far as Giants go, Those 2001 TCRs are quite intriguing (with that funky integrated headset, and a smidge more rear tire clearance - the bike, complete with the full DA package w/Kysriums is quite reasonable). Have you checked out DeVincis? They are a Canadian frame builder using the compact concept too - their top of the line Al. bike has a very smart Ultegra/DA package (w/Kysriums too) for a song. I do have to say that I am sold on the compact concept - I have raced/trained on my TCR in all manner of conditions and am yet to find a fault.

My bet? When it's time to get a new bike, I'll probably just get a new size L TCR frame (whatever one is available at that time), and swap all my parts over. It's that simple really. However, I'd welcome any attempts to convince me otherwise (yours included Nigel).

MB
Have both!SimpleGreen
Apr 25, 2001 11:02 AM
I have a steel bike right now and it's durable. I think however it would be cool to have both steel and AL. I think I might pick up a TCR2 one of these days to complement my steel ride. Having 1 "lifer" bike is nice. I would use the steel bike for training rides and longer distances, and the TCR for hilly rides or when I want to make my buddies suffer. A good 1-2 combo!!

SG
Make em suffer alwaysMass Biker
Apr 25, 2001 12:06 PM
On a somewhat related topic, the TCR really is an excellent weapon. You might find yourself using it often to make riders on fancier bikes suffer. And as for longer distances, the combination of a carbon fork, thinwall al. tubing, and a nice supple seatpost (DA in my case) makes the long (and bumpy) miles go by quite smoothly. I think you would enjoy it immensely.

Thanks to all those who chipped in with thoughts/opinions on European ti. Very helpful.

Your in Al. - MB
Russian titommyb
Apr 26, 2001 12:30 AM
Why is everyone so afraid of Russian titanium? Mir lasted up in space much longer than anything made with American titanium. There is no reason to believe that their standards are any lower than Americans'. Believe it or not, Russian metalurgists are every bit as good as anyone. Their prices are cheaper due to the relative abundance of raw material and the surplus readily available from previously military or aerospace applications. Does anyone really know anything about the foundries that supply Litespeed, Merlin, etc? I'd be surprised if their quality control is even close to Russian military specs.
Ti- US, Russian, Europe, etc.zelig1
Apr 26, 2001 3:41 AM
Much of Ti sourced by US bike manufacturers comes from 3 domestic producers. Allegheny Technologies which acquired Teledyne, Timet (Titantium Metals) and Sandvik. The latter I believe supplies Litespeed. Any country which historically produced specialty metals are likely to currently produce titanium including the US, Russia, Europe and Asia (primarily Japan).

Like anything else, regardless of location, the quality of the metal is based upon the reputation of the manufacturer. Those who seem concerned about Russian Ti should note that the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane had many of its larger titanium parts made from Russian Ti due to the lack of US manufacturing capacity and capability at the time.

I have not heard or read of Ti bikes having issues with tubing or plate (dropouts) failure. Problems seem related to poor construction and alignment which go back to the initial poster MB's question. There are not many Ti road frame manufacturers in Europe. Omega (UK), Derosa and Colnago (IT) are the only companies that come to mind. Do they contract their Ti work out to specialty manufacturers? Who knows? I've heard of some issues related to bad welding on the early Colnago Bititan's but nothing since and while the welds on the current Ovalmaster production aren't necessarily as neat as say a Seven, Merlin or Litespeed, that doesn't mean that they're not a structurally sound weld.

Like anything else, buy the product of a reputable manufacturer from a reputable dealer but if you have doubts, don't buy European Ti.