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a question about high end Ti(38 posts)

a question about high end Ticollinsc
Feb 25, 2002 8:56 PM
merlin, serotta, seven, moots, etc...

I was just looking at these bikes (dreaming, as always) and having trouble figuring out what the REAL difference is.

Geometries are all the same (considering these are all custom jobs, and even the stock frames are very similar) so im assuming the difference is in the tubing. Problem is its really hard to pick thru website propaganda and figure out what it really means.

so, and i know this could result in a huge flameware, i would just love to hear some peoples opinions who have tried the various similar bikes (Serotta Legend vs Merlin XL for example) and to hear also why you chose (or would choose) one over the other.


and please (please, please) no flaming, flamewars are for idiots.
re: a question about high end TiR-I-D-E
Feb 25, 2002 11:35 PM flames.

Firstly, I wouldn't mention Merlin in the same category as Moots, Seven and Serotta anymore. They are now under Litespeeds ownership and none of the same people are putting the frames together as they used to. I would add Independent Fabrications to that list instead though.

What is the difference? Not much in reality. For me, the brand that just "does it for you" is the one I would go with. For me, that would be Seven. It is commonly accepted that their welding is the best in the business. And their custom program is supposed to be fantastic. Great customer service.

Moots, is the other of the brands that does comparable welding and fabrication as Seven. Just look at one of their frames...drool. I also hear from a few guys that ride Moots road bikes that they are very responsive from the BB. Not like a lot of ti bikes that can be a bit soft.

Some folks love the ride of a Serotta, claiming that nothing else rides like a Serotta. Yada...yada...yada.... They are also great bikes, but their welds are nowhere near the quality of Seven or Moots. But don't get me wrong, that doesn't make them any less strong....just more ugly.

Go with the brand you like the most. Check out their websites, brochures, and visit shops that carry them. But be careful and don't listen too closely to any of the sales people. They will most likely steer you towards the bike they sell, or prefer...not which one is best.

Or...just write those names down on pieces of paper and put them in a hat. Reach in and pick out one....there you go!

Good luck,

re: a question about high end Tigwilliams
Feb 26, 2002 2:51 AM
I would just like to know what your backgroung in welding is, that you can say as if it is a fact that Seven welding is the best in the business. Could you give your expert opinion on why Seven welds are better than Serotta?

Good question!Nessism
Feb 26, 2002 7:23 AM
Welds should not be judged by the way they look on the outside.

In terms of which bike to get, I think it comes down to customer service, tubeset manipulation, overall aesthetics (including the welds), and esoteric considerations.

All of these companies make a quality product and try to treat the customer right. All these companies also have a high level of cashe which is important to many buyers. If cashe is not important to someone, their are other frames available that have better value than the ones listed in this thread.

As far as technical differences in these frames, the biggest difference is in the tubesets used. Merlin for example machines the outside of the tubes on the XL series to make a 'butted' tube profile. Serotta tubes are shaped and tapered to stiffen up the overall frame rigidity. Seven likes to use constant diamater rear stays which they claim are superior. I also think they use some internally machined tubes to creat 'butts' so to speak. And Moots, they are known for their extreem attention to assembly detail.

A couple of things to note about frames in general:

The overall frame stiffness should be the first consideration (after fit that is), NOT WEIGHT.

Butting the tubes in the mannor that Merlin and Seven does makes the tubes more flexable since they are removing material.

If stiffness is desired, go for a frame with large diamater tubing and/or a thicker tubes.

And lastly, don't expect a 3.0 lb. frame to be as stiff as a 3.5 lb. frame unless the builder us using some special super oversize butted tubeset - not very common even among the elite builders.

re: a question about high end Tiactually
Feb 26, 2002 7:10 AM
I wouldnt write off Merlin so quickly ( if it were two years ago i would agree)..
they are back to making great frames and tom kellog is still there..

I am about three weeks away from either an Axiom, an Odonata, or an Extralight..
just waiting for a test ride on the Odonata to make the final decision.. the Merlin rode beautifully....and the integrated headset was alright.. customer service has been thoughtful ...yaddah yaddah..

nothing answers questions better than your own test ride...

I find most of the opinions here to be based on rhetoric and not actuall time in the saddle..
go ride and see for yourself...and then tell these guys what you think..
I never listen to people that have the answers down like they are gospel...
Feb 26, 2002 8:53 AM
WOW, I didn't know that you should pick a bike because their welds are prettier than another bike's welds. That really simplifies things for me-THANKS.

You said "no flames please". Duh, you are practicing self-immolation. The only thing thing which you wrote that made any sense or showed that you had any basis for what you were saying is that it all comes down to the bike that does it for you-presumably you mean on the road, not admiring the welds in the showroom.

I actually did a strange thing-I rode some Ti bikes before I purchased one. The Serotta was lovely, the Seven was divine, the Merlin was a blast, and the Litespeed was delicious. I mean it, any of those bikes was way beyond my expectation, they were simply DE-LUX.

In my very large frame size the Litespeed had the rigidity and responsiveness, and overall feel that I wanted-and by that I do mean that those characteristics were not as realized in the others in my size (or slightly smaller as the case was for a couple of them). The fact that the LS was the least expensive was nice, but it was the performance of the bike that mattered. It probably didn't have welds that were as silky smooth as the others, but I did not know to look.

Ride em before you buy because $$$$$ doesn't necessarily give you the performance mix that you might want.
Feb 26, 2002 11:21 AM
Serotta" welds are nowhere near the quality of Seven or Moots." They are even "ugly." Seven welding commonly accepted as the best in the business. Talk to the sales people, but don't listen to them. Just go with the one that is the best. That would be Seven, right? IF has such a long history of making ti bikes - why they go all the way back to 2001.

Safe to say you haven't owned or riden any of the mentioned bikes. You just absorbed so much of the marketing tripe that you rail against.

What an asinine post - which fantasy world do you live in?
Feb 26, 2002 11:13 PM
You guys are too much. Very childish bunch of posts, and apparently you didn't read my post in the manner in which it was intended. Stop being so darned narrow minded!

FIRST...yes I have ridden each of the bikes I speak of, some of them at length (with the excetption of the Indy Fab). I also personally know a guy that used to work for Merlin until they sold and moved, so my Merlin info is from him.

As for weld quality....READ MY POST! I said that Serotta's welds were, in my opinion (well within my rights by the way), not as nice as Seven or Moots. Guess what, that opinion is shared by many folks that I know, and have met in the industry. I ALSO SAID THAT IT DOES NOT HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE STRENGTH OF THE WELD! I is just a personal preferrence that I have. I like to see nice welds on a frame that costs over $2,500!!!!! Call me crazy I guess.

I used to own a ti-Fat Chance hardtail (which my best friend now owns). The welds on that were unbelievable. I then bought an Ibis Bow Ti. I remember comparing the welds and noticing that the welds on the Ibis were not as nice as the Fat's. No big deal, just less pleasing to the eye. But guess what...that Bow Ti is still going strong as I enter my 6th season on it.

BY THE WAY...I remember showing my ti Fat to Steve Potts. For those of you who don't know who he is, and I imagine that probably goes for most of the shit heads that flamed me, is the master welder of WTB bikes (as well as his own very limited brand). He was in awestruck by the quality of work on that Fat. In fact, he specifically commented on how amazing the welds were. If Steve Potts can appreciate that type of work, I would feel very comfortable standing in his company when I say similar things about Moots and Seven.

**Oh and by the way, I believe that the difference in welding is due to the fact that Serotta uses a single pass technique, and Seven (probably Moots too), makes a second pass over the weld to make it look nicer. Purely for looks.

BUY THE BIKE THAT DOES IT FOR YOU. You mean to tell me that none of you have a brand that makes your heart beat a little faster when you see one? Perhaps it's a Derosa, Pinarello, Merlin, Seven, Colnago........whatever. When comparing frames of a similar material, and OBVIOUSLY similar quality (as in the original question of this post)....go with the company you like more (FOR WHATEVER REASON THAT IS) and the one that excites you. Nothing wrong with that!

Oh and by the way.....Indy Fab has a little more experience with titanium than you numb nuts think. There are still a few former Fat City employees with them, and Fat was one of the first companies to produce a ti mtb frame. Fat (may they rest in peace) also was one of the first to experiment with titanium tube manipulation. So don't be such an idiot and imply for a minute that Indy Fab has just jumped into the ti market.

I prefer not to post flames like this. But you guys read into my post whatever it was that you chose to read, and then attacked me. I can't wait for the responses now.....nothing would surprise me.

Feb 27, 2002 5:26 AM
Just like I thought some a**hole passing off as fact his opinion or something he heard secondhand from someone else.
Feb 27, 2002 8:29 AM
...and just like I thought. Some idiot who enjoys insulting others on the internet in order to make himself feel better. Way to go tough guy!

And it must be that every opinion you have is based 100% on your lengthy and personal experience. are amazing.

Feb 27, 2002 9:01 AM
What did you call eveybody in your last post. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Feb 27, 2002 9:19 AM
There you go again, reading into my posts whatever suits your purpose.

I did not call everyone names...I was aiming my comments to those who attacked me. If that was you, then insult intended. If not, then get over it.

Feb 27, 2002 9:37 AM
You mean everyone who did not agree with you.
Feb 27, 2002 10:07 AM
Uhhh no. Disagree with me all you want. I love to have friendly discussions with people who's view differs from mine. In fact, I feel that a lot can be learned in that process (on both sides).

You and a few others, attacked me and are now trying to portray yourselves as innocent vitims that I jumped on. Whatever works for you.

RIDE (this is becoming quite fun!)
Oh come now...Nessism
Feb 27, 2002 6:14 AM
In your first post you state regarding Seven, "It is commonly accepted that their welding is the best in the business."

And then you state regarding Serotta, "They are also great bikes, but their welds are nowhere near the quality of Seven or Moots."

You must understand that welding is a process that joins metal together. When someone states that a weld is of better "quality", this imply that somehow the metal is joined better.

I understood that you were refering to the apperance of the welds thus my comment to not judge the welds by the exterior apperance.

No biggie. Don't let people flame you down. But also, learn your lesson and try to be more clear in your comments.

Oh come now...R-I-D-E
Feb 27, 2002 8:41 AM
You are now disecting my post and attempting to break down each word and sentence in order to make it seem like I was wrong. I stand by what I said. IF you read the whole post, I said that the Serotta welds are in no way weaker than those of Seven or Moots! You are assuming that by my saying "quality of weld" I am referring to the structural integrtiy of it. I never said, or implied interpreted that. I made it very clear that it was a matter of appearance only. I also am only expressing my opinion, and one that is shared by many well respected folks in the industry. I would love to see you all insult any one of them for saying a similar thing.

So why don't we then buy bikes with sloppy paint jobs? What if I were to say that the "quality of paint" on bike brand X was less than bike brand Y because I did not like how it had drips or thin spots on it? Someone would no doubt come back at me with some comment on how both companies used the same paint and that I was an a**hole for saying that Brand X used a lesser quality paint.

Come on guys...

speaking of Mootscyclopathic
Feb 26, 2002 4:23 AM
Moots frames made by Sadvik who also makes Mongoose and sells frames under own TST brand.
Feb 26, 2002 5:37 AM
Cyclopath wrote:
"Moots frames made by Sadvik who also makes Mongoose and sells frames under own TST brand."

My understanding is that Moots makes their own frames. How is it that you make this claim?

speaking of Mootsdug
Feb 26, 2002 5:45 AM
MOOTS are hand made, 1 at a time, in Steamboat Springs, CO. by MOOTS. They do frames, bars, seatposts and stems. All in house. cyclopathic is wrong.
speaking of MootsTJeanloz
Feb 26, 2002 8:15 AM
Moots does all in house fabrication. If you're ever in Steamboat, a factory tour is well worth it. They lose more money than any mfgr out there- but it's a pretty cool facility.
Feb 26, 2002 11:49 AM
they relay on Sandvik tubing so basically it is the same
but I guess it is a philosophical question given the same geometry and the same tubing how different frames could be?
By that logic,TJeanloz
Feb 26, 2002 12:03 PM
Sandvik/TST is the single largest supplier of ti tubing to the U.S. bike industry. To my knowledge the only people who don't use Sandvik are Litespeed, LeMond, and Merlin. There's a world of difference between having Sandvik tubing and having Sandvik build your bike. Sandvik supplies titanium to a host of industries in the US, not just bicycles. So their knowledge of the industry is questionable

It's like saying that all Reynolds 853 bikes are the same...
Talking about TSTNessism
Feb 26, 2002 1:27 PM
TST is a very underappreciated company. They make a first rate product and don't skimp when it comes to quality. Several of my friends own them and they have proven to be a great frames (Diamondback, Dean, and G/T). Unfortunately, esoteric considerations are so very important to many buyers. I guess there is nothing wrong with buying something that makes you feel good. But what's wrong with a quality built frame for 1/2 or 1/3 the price of the elite builders?

Ok, sorry. Rant over.

Sandvik Ti has been around for over a decadetempeteKerouak
Feb 26, 2002 1:47 PM
I own a Sandvik Ti bike made in 1992. They were already a well established bike Ti tube manufacturer...

I never heard of them tubes failure... (Marin and Kona mountain and ...early Merlin I believe) And they don't do anything else but titanium...

They make water pipes and plane parts.

And alu goes in beer cans. What can be said of that...
re: TSTcyclopathic
Feb 26, 2002 4:03 PM
Since 1989, the highly skilled men and women of TST have been fabricating mountain and road bike frames for a number of different foreign and domestic customers such as Bontrager, Diamondback, Fuji, Marin, GT Mongoose Pro and Yeti. DEAN is missing, hmm

TST's proprietary weld fixtures and "zero gap" tube miter policy are designed so frames are so closely aligned after welding that little if any post weld alignment is necessary. Frames are aligned within 0.020" from the centerline of the frame, measured from the head-tube to the dropout.

they're aerospace company btw.. does it take a rocket scientist to build bike frame?
By that logic,LeeK
Feb 26, 2002 4:49 PM
IF doesn't use Sandvik either. I believe they use Haynes.

I could have sworn that Moots used Haynes too...

yup and Airborne makes SerottaHardy Harhar
Feb 26, 2002 10:09 AM
yeah, riiiight
and Giant doesn't make Trekscyclopathic
Feb 26, 2002 11:50 AM
lets face it
And cyclopathic sucks.........yourmom
Feb 26, 2002 12:34 PM

You are stupid and I am tired of hearing your mindless opinion about all things ti. You have no idea what you are talking about. Why don't you just do us all a favor and go ride a bike instead of being a know-it-all? Maybe we'll get lucky and you'll fall of your bike and some sense will get knocked into your little head......
And your mom is so fatcyclopathic
Feb 26, 2002 4:06 PM
you re even afraid to sign your name
as if cyclopathic is a real namenm
Feb 26, 2002 5:22 PM
coward nmcyclopathic
Feb 26, 2002 6:11 PM
that's funny!Ha HA
Feb 26, 2002 7:21 PM
speaking of Mootsk mand
Feb 26, 2002 2:21 PM
That's bullshit. If you are going to make statements like that, share with everyone where you found this information.
re: Objective or subjective decisiondzrider
Feb 26, 2002 12:10 PM
I have little or no doubt that any of these builders could make you or me a bike that would be a joy to ride. I have no way of knowing how to ojectively evaluate any of the differences other than weight and price. Since weight is not a huge issue for me and all of these frames are more than I'm willing to pay the decision would be much more subjective than objective.

I suspect this is a big part of why people get so emotional in defending their rides and attacking those they've decided against. The decision is really based on how the bike makes them feel and the rationale for the decision comes second. Bikes make riders feel good in many different ways -winning the light weight competition, coolest paint scheme, latest materials, etc. Nobody likes it when you piss on the source of their pleasure.

You may make the best decision by admitting that you're looking for a bike that makes you feel good and buy the one that does the best job of it. Few of us have had only one instance of bike lust. Satsfy this one as well as you can.
re: a question about high end TiPauline
Feb 26, 2002 4:21 PM
I test-rode a Merlin back in 1999 and thought it felt beautiful. I thought it was because of the titanium, so I bought a Litespeed Ultimate off the web at a great price, without a test-ride. It has the same tinny "ping-ping" feel as an aluminum bike, which makes it feel like you're riding a cheap soda can. I hate that. My husband told me that you pay more for that-- the brittle feel of a stiffer bike, which transmits power more perfectly from the bottom bracket. Last weekend I test-rode another Merlin, and it was creamy as butter, supple and smooth-- no pinging noises through the shifts. The salesguy said it's because the Merlin (a 1998 model-- one of the last ones made in Massachusetts) was made of 3Al/2.5V titanium, as opposed to 6Al/4V titanium, which is what my Litespeed is made of. I'm small and weak, so I don't care so much about a stiffer frame. I do care about how gorgeous the ride feels, because I want to love the ride. I put a down-payment on the Merlin frame. Anybody want to buy a 51 cm Litespeed Ultimate with Dura-Ace components?
the bottom line on ti............CAAD5 Kid
Feb 26, 2002 6:12 PM
Well, this has been an interesting discussion to watch unfold. So i take it we've all proven that moots does do their own stuff in house but use other companies tubing. That's the same thing as every company out there... Cannondale is supplied by Alcoa for aluminium tubesets...every bike company gets their tubesets from somebody. With regards to does matter who welds the frame....titanium is extremely hard to weld properly. It has to be done in a specific environment (i.e. argon gas completely surrounding the weld during the weld process to keep oxygen out) and the welder must be very, very skilled. The number of welders in the country who can do this well....very few..thats one of the reasons why you don't see everybody doing ti. Next, tubesets...everyone has to be supplied with ti tubesets because...1) the machines necessary to extrude a piece of ti (one of the hardest metals in the world) cost big companies like moots, seven, etc are supplied with tubesets that the mfgr makes to their specs (tolerances).
Secondly, most good ti companies are building bikes for other companies under private label.. For example lightspeed isn't just making lightspeeds, they're supplying a whole bunch of companies with frames (it just costs so damn much for the tools, and the number of ti welders are soooooooooo few).
The qaulity of the tubing matters, but so does the qaulity of the frame builder and designer. I can go online and order a reynolds tubeset and try to weld it together..but will it ride as well as a Indy Fab...i don't think so.
Hey, at least this didn't turn into a flame war! (nm)Erik W
Feb 27, 2002 8:54 AM