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What Should I Consider when Buying a Titanium Bike?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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Visit your local bike shop and you're likely to see bicycles made from a variety of materials. More and more, shops are beginning to carry a healthy supply of carbon fiber bicycles, which are light and shock absorbing. But one of the materials you are likely to see a lot less in shops is titanium. The titanium bike provides a comfortable ride and lightweight frame, but fewer riders ride titanium because it is cost prohibitive.

A titanium bike -- with a titanium frame -- if built correctly with the correct tube diameter, will provide its rider with a soft, supple ride like a steel bike. It will absorb a reasonable amount of shock from rocky or uneven terrain, more so than aluminum, which tends to be more rigid and less forgiving over harsh terrain. The comfort and absorption levels of a titanium bike are comparable to those of steel bikes. So why not just buy steel?

The simple answer is weight. A titanium bike will weigh significantly less than a steel frame, depending on the tube diameter used in construction. This gives you the comfort benefits of steel without the weight penalty, as steel frames are typically heavier than most other frame materials. A material like carbon will give you the stiffness of aluminum, the light weight of titanium, and the shock absorption of steel or titanium, but carbon is equally cost prohibitive and is susceptible to damage from slight fractures--though it is very resistant to direct impact.

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In certain applications, titanium might not provide a rider with a significant advantage, specifically in situations where weight is less of an issue. For example, a touring titanium bike might use thicker tubing, allowing the frame to flex less and making the overall weight of the frame greater. Therefore, in certain types of riding, there may not be much of an advantage to titanium frame tubing.

Because of the high price of titanium, it is not uncommon to find frame manufacturers offering custom-built sizes. If you are considering buying a titanium frame, a good way to protect your investment and make sure it will suit your needs exactly is to get professionally sized. Many bike shops will offer such services, and you will be given one on one attention to ensure your new titanium frame will fit your body specifically for optimal comfort.

A titanium bike is ideal for a weight-conscious rider looking for a comfortable ride. If your budget is large and your riding needs are specific -- you are a bike racer, for example -- titanium can provide a soft, comfortable ride without too much flex, while still providing you with a lightweight bike that can handle racing or everyday riding.

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anon271686
Post 4

Great post. Titanium is getting more and more popular in the bike industry these days! Titanium frames can be made even lighter and more flexible with double-butted titanium tubes. The feel of a Ti frame is really nice, and makes for a really comfortable ride without the sponginess and bounce of traditional suspension.

donnie55
Post 3

A titanium bike frame is a high-end frame, but it is not the material itself that matters, but the processing is hard to work with. Unlike steel or aluminum, making a titanium bike frame is a labour-intensive and time-consuming procedure. That's why it costs so much. Van Nicolas and Everti are famous titanium bike brands, but the price is a prohibitive factor. Some Chinese companies also make titanium bike frames, like Waltly.

wander
Post 2

If you are considering buying a titanium bike make sure you get some proper cleaning materials to go with it. Depending on your bike frame, whether it is brushed titanium or clear coated, you will have different cleaning requirements.

A lot of forums recommend using solvents to clean the metal, but it is best to consult with your dealer. Some solvents, like acetone, can strip away the finish on your bike and cause damage.

Some dealers may recommend you get a finish bar, which works to brush the frame and restore its finish. There are lots of methods that work, but to insure your bike stays looking its best, ask your dealer for advice.

letshearit
Post 1

For those who travel a lot and are considering a titanium bike for its low luggage weight, you should look into the titanium folding bikes being offered.

These bikes are incredibly compact when folded and can weight as little as 18 pounds for a high end version. These are great for bikers that are looking to transport their bike via domestic flights, as baggage limits are often lower within country.

Another great benefit of titanium bikes is that with the custom sizing, you are going to have a much better ride. For long trips, and even cross country rides, this kind of craftsmanship is appreciated.

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