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"Resonably" pricedTI frames(15 posts)

"Resonably" pricedTI framesBikinBob
Jun 8, 2002 10:20 AM
I'm a newbie to this forum. I'm considering a new road bike. I haven't had a new frame in many years, just kept rebuilding the old steel Raleigh from the early '80's. It's just gotten too hard to find parts to fit the old frame, and I don't like to spend extra just because I'm riding something with old technology. Not to mention how much I like the newer technology anyway. I'm also concerned about it's structural strength due to some rust I've found.

So before I even start making the rounds, are there any good TI frames in the $1000-$1500 price range? I want to keep the full bike price below $3500, if I can. I'm trying to avoid going full custom, mainly due to the expense. If I have to spend too much for TI I'll just stay with steel(not remotely interested in AL, carbon fiber or the blends of the above). I'm curious about the LeMond, Merckx and Douglas TI frames. I like the geometry of the LeMond best. I always keep my seat all the way back on a "setback" post with a 73 degree seat tube. So the 72.5 degree angle of the LeMond is good, as is the 100cm wheelbase.

A few words about myself. I'm a 200+lb non-racer who prefers the responsive feel of a road race frame. I'm probably more of a spinner than a masher, but I do stand up when it's to my bulky advantage. Also, I don't have much problem flexing the BB on the GT AL MTB I use for commuting, especially if I'm taking off in a hurry from a stop. That said, I like the springy flex inherent in a steel frame, but would welcome the slight "comfort" advantage of a TI frame (getting older and still want to do some longr rides). Any comments and other suggestions are welcome.

consider airborne? nm.namir in SoCal
Jun 8, 2002 10:22 AM
I just took a look.BikinBob
Jun 8, 2002 10:56 AM
Not bad. Do you have one? I remember looking at them a while back when the Zeppelin first came out. It seems to have good reviews too. I might have to try to visit one of their dealers, if I don't have to travel too far to see one. Hopefully I'll be able to take a test ride. I've not actually ridden any TI yet. My "good" mtb is an IF. I love it, but want to expand my frame material options a little for the road. I'm curious just how much differently TI rides from steel. If I go to steel, I'll probably get a Crown Jewel.

Thanks, I'll keep Airborne in mind.
friend of mine has one, loves it. nmnamir in SoCal
Jun 8, 2002 11:11 AM
re: "Resonably" pricedTI framesgtx
Jun 8, 2002 11:01 AM
Sounds like you have the right idea looking at the Lemond and Meckx in terms of geometry. My guess is that the LS-built Merckx (the lower end one, anyway) would be a tad flexy for you in the bb area. Merckx was offering a higher end ti frame that was quite a bit beefier but I don't know if it's available anymore and it may be out of your price range. I know nothing about the ti Lemond--my guess is that you should be able to find one to test ride, though. I would also take a close look at the Dean El Diente frame--good quality at a reasonable price and they use a very beefy downtube. I think their larger sizes come with a 72.5 STA and anyway I think custom geometry is very cheap with them.

For steel, at your weight, I would also look at the Steelman 525 and the Colnago MXL.

Good luck
Yes, DeanNessism
Jun 8, 2002 4:01 PM
One of the best values these days especially considering they will select the tubes to fit the ride stiffness desired.

Regarding the rust issue of steel frames, it IS a real issue. Not so much rust through, but rust around cable stops and such are common - I learned this from personel experience. For those that sweat a lot, Ti is very nice from a surface durability standpoint.

The myth of titanium comfortunchained
Jun 8, 2002 11:46 AM has some steel Tommasini's in stock that retail at $1299. Modern steel tech combined with old fashioned craftsmanship. Most of the size have seat angles around 73 (a 72.5 would give you and extra 1/2 cm or so of setback). Give him a call as they are not listed on his website. Also Colorado cyclist has the Sintesi @999. I think in your case, because of your weight steel may be your best bet. Besides it is usually cheaper and almost as light, and it will last a long time if it is properly looked after.

This is not necessarily my opinion, it is reference material I have retrieved for you. Sorry, but the data tables did not copy in the original format.:

From the Rec.Bicycles FAQ:Subject: 8.31 Frame Stiffness
From: Bob Bundy
As many of you rec.bicycles readers are aware, there have beenoccasional,
sometimes acrimonious, discussions about how some frames are so much
stiffer than others. Cannondale frames seem to take most of the abuse.
The litany of complaints about some bike frames is long and includes
excessive wheel hop, numb hands, unpleasant ride, broken spokes,
pitted headsets, etc. I was complaining to a friend of mine about howthere
was so much ranting and raving but so little empirical data - to which
he replied, "Why don't you stop complaining and do the measurements
yourself?". To that, I emitted the fateful words, "Why not, after all,
how hard can it be?". Following some consultation with Jobst and a few
other friends, I ran the following tests:
The following data were collected by measuring the vertical deflectionat
the seat (ST), bottom bracket (BB) and head tube (HT) as a result of
applying 80lb of vertical force. The relative contributions of the
tires, wheels, fork, and frame (the diamond portion) were measured using
a set of jigs and a dial indicator which was read to the nearest .001
inch. For some of the measures, I applied pressures from 20 to 270 lbs
to check for any significant nonlinearity. None was observed. The same
set of tires (Continentals) and wheels were used for all measurements.
Note that these were measures of in-plane stiffness, which should be
related to ride comfort, and not tortional stiffness which is something
else entirely.Bikes:
TA - 1987 Trek Aluminum 1200, this model has a Vitus front fork, most
reviews describe this as being an exceptionally smooth riding bike
SS - 1988 Specialized Sirus, steel CrMo frame, described by one reviewas
being stiff, hard riding and responsive
DR - 1987 DeRosa, SP/SL tubing, classic Italian road bike
RM - 1988 Cannondale aluminum frame with a CrMo fork, some reviewers
could not tolerate the rough ride of this bike
---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
diamond 1 1 0 2 2 0 2 2 0 1 1 0
fork 3 11 45 3 9 36 4 13 55 3 10 40
wheels 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
tires 68 52 66 68 52 66 68 52 66 68 52 66
total 74 66 113 75 65 104 76 69 123 74 65 108
What is going on here? I read the bike mags and this net enough to know
that people have strong impressions about the things that affect ride
comfort. For example, it is common to hear people talk about rim types
(aero vs. non-aero), spoke size, butting and spoke patterns and how they
affect ride. Yet the data presented here indicate, just a Jobstpredicted,
that any variation in these factors will essentially be undetectable to
the rider. Similarly, one hears the same kind of talk about frames,
namely, that frame material X gives a better ride than frame material Y,th
Sorry, here is the url.unchained
Jun 8, 2002 11:53 AM
You will have to copy and paste.
good linkgtx
Jun 8, 2002 12:04 PM
here's another

Assuming the same tires and inflation, I do think that most of the percieved difference in ride quality is a result of geometry--mostly where the rider's rear end is in relationship to the rear axle--which Sheldon Brown explains with his bus analogy. Another factor, as your link explains, is differences between how frames sound--AL sounds stiff, carbon sounds muted, etc. Regarding ti, some people just want ti, which seems reasonable to me. However their reasons for wanting it sometimes seem a bit odd to me (for example, steel rusts--tell that to my 12 year old steel Merckx rain bike--no rust).

Anyhoo, I should go for a ride now...
The myth of titanium comfortLeisure
Jun 9, 2002 3:07 AM
One day I'm going to go through the long trouble of defining why such seemingly minute differences become so easily detectable. But it seems that the vast majority of riders begin to pick out differences in frame material after a while, and many of them figure out the same trends completely independant of other riders. I am one of those. When I started looking around for my first serious mountainbike I had no education on the differences of materials; never heard the myths or even knew what metals were used in frames. I tested a hardtail and came back saying "I know this has front suspension, but this feels harsher than my bike". The guy selling the bikes smiled and said he was impressed that I picked up on that so fast. I probably don't need to say which bike was cromoly and which was aluminum.
What myth?Kerry
Jun 9, 2002 3:54 PM
With the exception of weight, frame properties are all about design, not about material of construction. You can make a stiff or flexy frame from any material - you just play with geometry, tube shape, tube wall thickness, butting, gussettes, etc. There is no "myth of Ti comfort" any more than there is a "myth of KOPS." Ti comfort is just about many people who make Ti frames are also striving for low weight, which tends to make for a "softer" frame. I wouldn't suggest telling LS Ultimate riders that they have a "comfy" frame.
Did you read the article at the link?unchained
Jun 9, 2002 5:20 PM
According to the theory and test results provided a Vitus 979 will ride like a LS Ultimate or a Cannondale.

A flexy bottom bracket does not translate into a soft ride.
Jun 8, 2002 4:07 PM
All the other suggestions are great bikes. Check on Sampson sports. Can get great Ti frame. Record 10 for around $2700. I have the silverton and love it. (NM)Brooks
Jun 10, 2002 8:02 AM
re: "Resonably" pricedTI framespmf1
Jun 10, 2002 4:45 AM
Hey Bob --- For $3500, you have a ton of choices. All of them will be quite a bit nicer than what you have and you'll enjoy the new components as well. I looked a budget to frames for a friend a few years ago. Two brands I looked at were Habenero and Airborne. I was not impressed by either of these bikes. Both made in China and both have commercially pure (CP) tubing in some parts of the frame. This is not a big deal, but its something American fabricators do not do. Airborne always struck me as more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. They claim their bikes are custom as far as component selection goes, but their selection is pretty limited if you look at it. I've never ridden an Airborne and have no idea how they ride.

The Douglas ti bicycle sold by Colorado Cyclist (CC) strikes me as a good deal. I originally looked at frames made by Titanium Sports Technologies ( The CC bike is the same thing with stickers or paint. You can get the frame itself from TST cheaper, but you'd have a hard time building it up at anything below what CC is selling the finished bike for. The parts mix on the Ultegra and DA models is pretty good. There are no substitutions though, so if you just have to have a fancy fork, probably better off buying the frame from TST and doing it yourself.

There are other mfg like Litespeed that are high priced, but are sold at almost half price on a close-out when the newer model comes out. I got a LS Ultimate a few years ago. Bought the 1999 model in early 2000 for $1600 -- and that included a Look HSC2 fork. I've seen Ultimates on close-out for $1700 lately. Its a really nice bikek for someone big and powerful. Smaller guys often find it too stiff. I'm around your weight and really like mine. I think the worst deal LS has in frames is the Classic. The Tuscany is a better frame and its cheaper.

As far as Lemond, just another fine Trek product ....

Don't count out carbon. I have 2 carbon bikes and they are quite nice. Plenty stiff and durable. Give one a try before taking the plunge. What the hell, there's nothing to lose by keeping an open mind.