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Steel vs. Titanium(23 posts)

Steel vs. Titaniumr_thaw
Aug 12, 2001 6:38 PM
I am contemplating an Independent Crown Jewel (steel) vs. a Lite Speed Classic (Ti) new road bike. The prices are only $100 apart. Is there any big negative to either bike?
re: Steel vs. Titaniumzoot
Aug 12, 2001 7:08 PM
I was in a similar situation. Litespeed classic vs. 853 steel. I went with the classic. upon recieving the frame the rear triangle was misaligned by 4mm. I have heard from other folks that litespeed has been having some quality issues lately. the dealer didn't seem at all shocked about this. as for the ride, the classic although comfortable was too flexible for my riding style. I'm 6'1 175lbs. I returned the frame and went with a custom 853 frame. very good all around ride. less than 20lbs without any tricky stuff and still comfy over the long haul. best to try a ti frame and an 853 if you can and see which you prefer. good luck!
No quality control problems with mySlothlike
Aug 12, 2001 7:58 PM
Classic that I have had for over 4 years. Every manufacturer will have some frames with defects get by, but Litespeed offers a Lifetime guarantee and this person's experience is common from a high end frame manufacturer like LS but it does happen. Personally, for the price you'll be spending, I would go for the titanium as it is more bulletproof. My steel frames rust no matter what I do. The Classic rides awesome and is super comfortable. It climbs well, tracks perfectly, descends solidly and sprints well enough for my 185 lbs. I believe included the Classic with many other steel and aluminum and CF frames in a stiffness study and the Classic was shown to be as stiff or stiffer than the average frame in any material. 853 isn't known to be the stiffest steel as it is quite light. Don't get me wrong, Independent Fab makes a great bike, but the Classic is all that the Crown Jewel is and more IMO. The Classic is truly low maintenance, it will never rust, scratches can be buffed out by you and titanium is inherently a lot stronger than steel. I have had my Classic long enough for the novelty of having a nice bike to wear off and I should be itching for a new ride, but I am not. I love it more than ever. If you are primarily concerned with comfort, then go titanium. If you race crits, you should go with a stiffer bike than these two altogether. Go ride a Classic and decide if it is responsive enough for you. I find it perfect for my needs, but someone else may need a stiffer frame. I don't like too stiff as I had aluminum frames that beat the hell out of me and my motto is "if you are comfortable, you will be faster".
Hope this helps
Here is the link to the deflection testsSlothlike
Aug 12, 2001 8:35 PM
done on many differnt bikes to test for stiffness. It is a few years old, but the Classic hasn't changed too much since then and the few changes may have made it a little stiffer from mine. You can see that nothing comes close to aluminum for stiffness, but the Classic is right in the mix with the best of frames for stiffness. Remember size of frame has a lot to do with stiffness as well. 61cm or larger and flex can be a problem on any frame. Many of the steels were less stiff than the Classic and the newer/lighter steels should be more flexy in theory. Test ride will tell you the most. Let me know if this link helps or at least is interesting.
I'm glad you like your LS, but...Hank
Aug 12, 2001 8:57 PM
I think you've over generalizing a bit.

"853 isn't known to be the stiffest steel as it is quite light." Well, it really depends what the builder does with it.

"titanium is inherently a lot stronger than steel." It is? What do you mean by strong?

"If you are primarily concerned with comfort, then go titanium." Don't you think he should go with the bike that fits best?

"If you race crits, you should go with a stiffer bike than these two altogether." Sean Kelly rode a Vitus. (I wish that great Keith Bontrager article on stiffness was still on his site, but it seems to be gone now).

"My steel frames rust no matter what I do." What steel frames do you have and what do you do? I live in the Pacific Northwest, all my frames are steel, I ride in the rain all the time and I don't have any problems. Just simple maintenance like spraying Boeshield down the tubes once a year or so keeps them happy. IF takes it a bit farther and seals the tubes on their bikes.

I think he should simply ride both bikes and see which one he prefers and which one fits best. The IF comes in more sizes and they have great paint jobs. The LS is ti and if you hanker for ti and it fits, go for it. Both are great bikes.
Aug 12, 2001 9:46 PM
Yes, you are right that I am generalizing, but that is all any of us do on this or any message board as there is no absolutes for any one person. Hey, some people pierce their schweenies and say it feels good, but generally, most people say that would hurt. Ride quality of the same frame in different sizes has a huge difference in ride quality so yes, you have to test ride which is what I suggested. And generally speaking, there are "better" bikes for different purposes. Aluminum is stiffer than most other frame materials, generally and may be better for crits. There are exceptions though.
Yes, titanium has a longer fatigue life than steel and yes steel does rust. Unseen paint chips, sweat, moisture all take its toll over the years. I have a steel Fondriest as well which is a fine bike, but I personally find my Litespeed a better riding bike and is 2 pounds lighter. The strength to weight ratio is much better on my ti frame. As far a comfort, I think it is understood that the bike must fit correctly. High end steel can be very comfortable and my Fondriest is, but the titanium is far more comfortable to me. We all have to decide on the bike or handful of bikes we choose to own. If I could, I would have a room full, but I had to choose. I have had all material except carbon and thus far, I couldn't imagine another bike being so good as to change the way I see my Classic. If someone wants a bike that they plan to have for the long haul with basicically no worries, titanium is indestructable. When I ride my Fondriest and I hear a rock shoot up on my frame, I know I have to look to see the "damage" later and touch it up. That is a fact. With my Litespeed, I ride without worry. When I wash my bike, I don't worry about trapped water in the bottom bracket or anywhere else. With my steel Fondriest, I have to worry about that. These are realities and I have had well maintained bikes that rusted at the bottom bracket. IMO titanium is a great material that can be made to have the ride qualities of a steel frame. The inverse isn't necessaraly true as steel cannot be made to be as worry and maintenance free as titanium.
Hey, Slothmike mcmahon
Aug 12, 2001 9:51 PM
I must be missing you, but I've been trying to get an answer from you for a while. Are you posting under the names Slothlike and Lazyrider?
No Mike.Slothlike
Aug 12, 2001 10:11 PM
Coincidence?mike mcmahon
Aug 12, 2001 10:22 PM
Then it must be coincidence that you and Lazyrider both: 1) sign off with "Regards GLG"; 2) bought Litespeeds four years ago; 3) spend a lot of time defending Litespeed; 4) live in N.Y.; 5) have the same writing style; and 6) write lengthy posts, usually all in one paragraph. Just checking; thanks for the answer.
Bug off buggerI_Love_Shimano
Aug 12, 2001 11:29 PM
Hey Mike Mcdonald, lay off Sloth/Slothlike/Lazyrider. Let him post under 2,3,4, 5 or 10 names if he wants to. This is not a communist messageboard. Part of the Internet's essence is its anonymity, and that includes posting under several names. Since you're anonymous, you can and may post under different names. Heck, I can post under the name Dog, if I could hack through the site's systems, and start giving misleading (fatal or otherwise) answers to critical questions. Again, this is part of the joy of anonymity.

Get a life Mcdonald
O.K., Slothridermike mcmahon
Aug 13, 2001 5:15 AM
Nobody said you can't post under 10 names, respond to your own posts, post as Warren G. Harding, or tell people that Litespeeds are great using more than one name in a single thread. However, that doesn't mean everyone else who posts here is prohibited from noticing that you're doing this. Investigating another person's claims is also "part of the internet's essence."

P.S. I've got a life (but just one).
Aug 13, 2001 7:29 AM
yeah, I noticed that he was using at least two names, too. Don't really know what the point is, but...

Anyway, the only people I hear complaining about paint/rust problems have Italian bikes -- it's my understanding that the Italians have more restrictive environmental regulations, and as a result, their paint isn't as good. I have had paint problems on the 3 Italian bikes I've had but none whatsoever on the 3 high end U.S. bikes (two of which I've had 10+ years). Long story short: an IF ain't a Fondriest. Also, the powdercoating used by people like Steelman and others is pretty darn impressive--very tough. I think IF uses more conventional paint and goes for that hot rod gloss look, though -- stunning. And as I said in a previous post, they seal their tubes. So I think it's a non-issue.
Aug 13, 2001 7:51 AM
what is this? A conspiracy? Take it easy. Your obsessed with your "investigation". I_Love_Shimano isn't me either, but it is apparent that others also see you are a little obsessive compulsive. I have friends that sometimes post here and intentionally bust my balls as they know I post regularly. That may explain the similarities. They won't tell me what name they go by but I don't even notice half the thime. You on the other hand think you're Columbo and point out things that I would never give a second look. Your fascination is strange to me. I hope you don't have a girlfriend or wife. If she is out at the store too long, you may have to tail her or wire up the car to see what she is up to. Do you have a pair of infared binoculars? What a friggin nut!!!!!
Oh, please (nm)mike mcmahon
Aug 13, 2001 8:27 AM
Agree on powdercoatmike mcmahon
Aug 13, 2001 8:31 AM
I've got about 4000 miles on my new powdercoated steel frame and don't have a single nick, scratch, or blemish. I've ridden through some pretty nasty stuff: construction zones, gravel, roads graded for repaving. Based on my relatively short experience, powdercoat seems to be bomb-proof.
Frame painting...Cima Coppi
Aug 13, 2001 8:49 AM
I have no experience with a powdercoated frame, but I have read and talked to shop owners who have verified frames painted in Italy are not using the quality of paint as over in the States. This is confirmed by Torelli and Mondonico, both of whom offer painting of their frames by a shop in California (recommended) as well as Italy. My Merckx never rusted out in 14 years, so Belgian paints are high quality.

Italian paintmike mcmahon
Aug 13, 2001 9:00 AM
From what I've heard, the Italian paint (at least when new) looks more vibrant than U.S. paint. Someone told me this is the case because of environmental restrictions on the content of paint in the states. My Torelli was painted in the states and has held up pretty well after almost six years of hard riding.
Frame painting...cycleguy
Aug 13, 2001 5:14 PM
I have a Mondonico on layway with Italian paint. Loved the look but won't know how it holds up till I ride of course. I know they import most of their frames unpainted but part of the reason is also time. Where are Pinarellos, Colnago, Carerra (ms) and all the rest of Italian frames painted? Don't know about overall quality but I have read that you can't get touchup paint for Italian colors because of inviromental concerns.
Powder coat is niiiiiceDAS
Aug 13, 2001 12:48 PM
I just had my Sycip powder coated...Candy Apple Red.

So purty. Cheap, too. $60.
Powder coat is niiiiiceBirddog
Aug 13, 2001 4:34 PM
I had a frame powder coated a couple years ago and it only lasted 2 years. I started to get paint acne on the top tube in just six months. I had it repainted two years ago with automotive paint, and it too lasted two years. I'm getting ready to do it again. I might just powder coat it though, because it was cheaper. By the way, I sweat battery acid I think, I can rust out anything. I even got the paint blistering on an aluminum frame.
Powder coat is niiiiicejohn tully
Aug 17, 2001 4:11 PM
Is there a reason why most Ti frames by different manufacturers are not painted but rather left plain. Can you powder coat a Ti frame?


Ti can be powdercoated or paintedmike mcmahon
Aug 17, 2001 5:06 PM
As I understand it, the primary reason ti is left bare is for ease of maintenance: no chips or scratches. Some people go without paint on ti to avoid the extra grams. Over the past few years, many ti builders have offered paint as an option for ti customers who don't like the "industrial" look of ti. Builders who paint their ti frames seem to leave at least a portion of the frame bare.
re: Steel vs. TitaniumBlued Eyed Monkey
Aug 20, 2001 4:33 PM
I love both. I've been riding Steel for 10 years, and its a plush ride. I would choose steel over Aluminum anyday of the week. Just purchased a Airborne Titanium bike (Valkyrie). The ride is also excellent. My steel was slightly more comfortable, but that could have been just that I had gotten use to the configuration. On the margin, I'd go with Ti just because its lighter and about the same comfort level. However, forget about paying up for LiteSpeed...Go with The frames are excellent. You can spec out the components to exactly what you want. And, it 1/2 the price of LiteSpeed. I bought mine 3 weeks ago.