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Custom steel vs custom ti(14 posts)

Custom steel vs custom tistinkbug
Jun 6, 2003 1:05 PM
I hate to post another "what bike should I buy" question but here goes... I have a 4 year old Litespeed Classic. I love everything about the bike but think I could benefit from a better fit. I am interested in hearing from any people who own both steel and ti. I am interested in a light (3.5 pounds or under) steel frame. I love the way my bike rides and would sacrifice some stiffness for comfort. Are there any steel frames that can match the plush comfort of a ti frame, or should I just bite the bullet and get a Ti Seven? P.S. - I test rode a Trek 5500 and was not impressed, it was not close to the Litespeed in terms of smoothness(although it was much lighter)
Who Do Ya Love, Baby?jtolleson
Jun 6, 2003 1:33 PM
That's what it boils down to, I think. Folks buy steel over ti not because it is inherently "better" but because they want steel. They want skinny classic pipes with or without lugs, etc.

But IMHO, if you want steel, don't be a weight weenie about it. Get the steel you want for the looks and for the ride. Just one opinion, of course.

And if you love ti, then get another ti just with custom geometry.

There's no right answer.
re: Custom steel vs custom tigtx
Jun 6, 2003 1:40 PM
I'd talk to some builders who do both, like Carl Strong. I think comfort comes mostly from fit and geometry, not frame materials.
main reason for ti: living in humid, "salty" environment.colker
Jun 7, 2003 9:14 AM
like riding by the sea? live in florida? tropics maybe? lots of rusting around? buy a ti bike. if not, steel is almost as light, it has paint (colors are a beutifull thing), it is cheaper(not sachs) and there tons of excellent options of builders. ahh, steel can be lugged nad lugs are pretty.
As has been repeated on this board many times, it's not thebill
Jun 6, 2003 1:41 PM
material, it's the design. I had a LS Natchez that was really kind of stiff. I liked it when I was 15-20 lbs heavier, but as I lost weight it started feeling like it was beating me up (in my head? maybe). But it did, compared to my steel bike. Compared, in fact, to my scandium aluminum bike.
So, get what you want. Get high-end ti because you like the way it looks and because it's indestructible (sort of). Get high-end steel because you get the ride at a lower price point, and it's classic. Get high-end alu b/c it's light, it feels pretty great, and you're probably not going to keep the bike forever and/or beat the sh*t out of it.
My Ti/steel comparisonDMoore
Jun 6, 2003 1:42 PM
I have a Litespeed Ultimate that's 9 years old - not the plushest Ti bike, or so I'm told. There's no comparison between the way it rides and the ride of my custom steel Richard Sachs bike. The Sachs is much more comfortable, much smoother, more stable at high speed, and only about 1.5 pounds heavier. And don't get too hung up on weight.

For several years, I did a local mountain century (Ride Around the Bear) on my Litespeed. The ride has 9400' of climbing, so I thought the lighter the better. Last year, for the first time, I rode my Richard Sachs on the ride, and beat my previous best time by 20 minutes.

The added comfort and stability of the steel bike more than compensated for the weight difference. If you're racing, then I suppose every ounce matters. If you do race, you'd probably be racing on a disposable aluminum frame (mine's an Orbea this year). If you're talking Ti or steel you're probably looking for a long distance, comfortable bike. My steel Sachs is absolutely terrific for those purposes.
yes, but...gtx
Jun 6, 2003 1:55 PM
you're comparing a production ti bike with very short c-stays to a custom steel bike built by one of the world's top builders with, among other things, longer c-stays and a lower bb (I think Sachs uses a 8cm drop, which is significantly lower than most bike's 7cm drop). Have a custom ti builder duplicate the geometry of your Sachs and I bet you'd like it just as much--cept it wouldn't have the cool lugs or Joe Bell paint. ;)
Well, sure...DMoore
Jun 6, 2003 2:31 PM
it's a flawed comparison, but my real point was not to worry about a pound or two.

Actually, if you get a Holland Ti frame you'd the best custom Ti frame available, and it comes with the JB paint job as well. JB and Bill Holland share shop space. But still no lugs...
re: Custom steel vs custom tiMy Dog Wally
Jun 6, 2003 3:07 PM
At the custom level, whether you choose steel or Ti is almost academic, because either material can be made into a frame that will ride precisely the way you want it. I just recently test rode three custom Ti bikes: Serotta Legend, Seven Axiom, and Independent Fabrication Ti Crown Jewel. I went with the Crown Jewel because it had the sweetest ride I've ever experienced and the company was willing to ship me a bike to test ride. Can't beat that. But any of those three bikes would be terrific. It was hard to choose.
re: Custom steel vs custom tistinkbug
Jun 6, 2003 4:08 PM
Thanks for the replies... I guess my only concern comes from not riding a high end steel bike, as my LBS doesn't have any I am interested in to test. My brother has a custom steel Anvil, which is way too stiff for me, but like others said one can maipulate it to ride any way you want it to.
re: Custom steel vs custom tiPaulMC
Jun 8, 2003 6:52 AM
I would go with the custom steel since you can get what you want for less money than many production titanium frames. I have an Anvil myself and love it! How does your brother like his?
How much do the Sachs framesets cost?-nmcw05
Jun 7, 2003 7:29 AM
Latest prices I've heard...DMoore
Jun 7, 2003 1:26 PM
$2500 for signature model (frame and fork);
$3000 for 30th anniversary model (frame and fork), which is a very "retro" model.

See both at

My RS isn't the lightest bike I've ever owned - it's merely the best!
Its true, steel is realBNA_roadie
Jun 8, 2003 12:46 AM
I have a Merlin Cyrene, which is a fantastic bike, the tit. At least I thought it was until I got a Custom Casati Laser Steel. BIG difference. The steel bike is much more responsive and not so dead feeling.