Author Topic: Steel or Ti  (Read 9876 times)

Steel or Ti
« on: July 31, 2016, 07:38:48 pm »
What are the pros and cons for steel v Ti

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2016, 11:05:55 am »
Well, where to begin? I suppose the first questions are what do you want the bike for and how much do you want to spend. The second thing is that if you are looking for performance such as for racing then the only sensible choice is carbon.

Now to your question;

In some ways, titanium is the ideal frame material. It has a good strength to weight ratio and doesn't rust.
However, it's relatively expensive and custom options are limited as most titanium frames are not made in the UK. Another issue is frames cracking. I don't know how common this is but plenty of reports on this forum. I believe it's down to poor quality control in far eastern factories. Still, if your want is road, audax or light touring, there are plenty of titanium options.

Steel does have its downsides. It is relatively heavier and can rust (except for stainless steel). However, where it comes into its own is versatility. There are still plenty of British builders around so you can get whatever you want if you are prepared to pay for it. There is nothing better, in my view, than sitting down with a frame builder and cup of tea discussing your frame, then returning several weeks later to collect it. If world touring is your thing then steel is a must. If you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken frame then there's a chance a local welder can fix it. With titanium, that's unlikely.

Finally, a word about forks. They come either in carbon or steel (I have seen aluminium forks but they're crap). A titanium frame will probably have carbon forks which limits your load carrying capacity. A steel frame can have either steel or carbon forks depending on what purpose you have in mind.

Personally, I love steel. Five of my six bike are steel, the sixth being a Brompton with titanium bits.

Well, that's my rant over, hope you find it useful.
I am often asked, what does YOAV stand for? It stands for Yoav On A Velo

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2016, 01:07:43 pm »
11 years of Audaxing on a Lapierre Ti frame (probably from Taiwan) with carbon forks. Brilliant.  Only changed because the missus egged her dad into buying me a carbon butterfly.
Tout à gauche sur le plat

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2016, 01:27:59 pm »
IIRC the problem with titanium frames cracking is down to contaminants in the welds, usually oxygen. The joints to be welded need to be very clean & it needs to be welded in an inert atmosphere.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2016, 01:35:14 pm »
Finally, a word about forks. They come either in carbon or steel (I have seen aluminium forks but they're crap). A titanium frame will probably have carbon forks which limits your load carrying capacity. A steel frame can have either steel or carbon forks depending on what purpose you have in mind.

Personally, I love steel. Five of my six bike are steel, the sixth being a Brompton with titanium bits.

Well, that's my rant over, hope you find it useful.
My titanium bike (which I love*) has steel forks. It used to have titanium but they withdrew them after a failure (someone OTP IIRC) & made me some steel ones. Justin Burls does titanium forks.

I also have a Brompton with titanium bits.

*My wife recently said while cycling behind me "You love your bike, don't you?". I replied "Yes, but  why did you say that?". She said "Because of the way you look when you're riding it."  :thumbsup:
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

T42

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Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2016, 04:15:46 pm »
I suppose all bikes have their resonance frequencies, but I've heard a lot more about Ti bikes shimmying, both Ti frame/carbon-fork and Ti frame & fork combos, with the latter being worse.  My own resonated when I put a rack bag on the back with no load on the front, which is why I started using a bar bag.
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eck

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Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2016, 06:54:49 pm »
I suppose all bikes have their resonance frequencies, but I've heard a lot more about Ti bikes shimmying, both Ti frame/carbon-fork and Ti frame & fork combos, with the latter being worse.  My own resonated when I put a rack bag on the back with no load on the front, which is why I started using a bar bag.
???
So, do we reckon that frame material may be a cause of shimmying? I've had two ti bikes, done a total of about 60,000km on them over about 12years, no shmmy ever. OTOH, I've had shimmies on a 531 Dave Yates and a carbon de Rosa.  :-\
It's a bit weird, but actually quite wonderful.

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2016, 07:43:22 am »
Shimmying is a multi factorial issue; not just frame material but also frame geometry, weight distribution, speed and road surface come into it. I've never experienced it in 44 years of cycling but maybe I'm just lucky.

To get back to the OP, choice of frame material for your bike probably comes down to which frame you like best rather than physical properties of the metal. Heart beats brain in this case.
I am often asked, what does YOAV stand for? It stands for Yoav On A Velo

Poursuivant

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Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2016, 09:21:11 am »
Frames on my bikes are steel, aluminium and titanium (though not all at once, obvs).

I've never shimmied; I put it down to my being a lardass rather than anything else.

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2016, 09:35:44 am »
I've got steel, carbon and aluminium bikes; I've only shimmied on aluminium.

Karla

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Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2016, 09:57:15 am »
Crabon ftw  :D

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2016, 08:06:59 pm »
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2016, 09:56:54 pm »
Last time I had shimmy was on a steel frame.

Headset needed tightening.  :facepalm:
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2016, 10:41:17 pm »
I had a steel (725) frameset from Argos that shimmied at about 40mph. 57cm size. My Spa Titanium Audax doesn't. Not sure I'd put that down to the material alone, though. The steel frame also had recurring rust, the main reason I switched to titanium. To my insensitive bottom there is no difference in general feel. Just no rust and no shimmy.

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2016, 11:12:50 pm »
The design and quality of build is far, far more important than the material. 

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2016, 08:03:10 am »
Repairs to steel are easier.
Tout à gauche sur le plat

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2016, 03:41:38 pm »
Steel is available in a great variety of diameters and profiles, so it's possible to combine different tubes from different manufacturers to produce the desired result.
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/new-research-unlocks-secrets-of-steel-tubing-189907

I saw a mixed, carbon/titanium bike by Cyfac at Semaine Federale.

It's possible to combine steel, Ti, carbon and alloy to produce the perfect bike. I've got two Reynolds 631 bike with carbon fork, a Pinarello Prince with carbon forks and rear stays, and a 531 double butted frame with 531 taper gauge forks. I don't like the hollow sound of carbon frames, the 531 bike rides and sounds the best.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2016, 05:40:39 pm »
This is an aspect of bicycle design I have never seen considered before; the sound of the frame. As percussion or wind instrument?
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2016, 05:44:29 pm »
I'd like to consider the olfactory and textural characteristics of frames (and other bike parts) too.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2016, 05:57:33 pm »
I had something like this, but with a hole in it that made it whistle. Irritating until I tracked it down.



Carbon fibre TT bikes with a disc wheel make the most noise, apart from Elliptigos.

Steel and Ti bikes are the quietest, until the Ti frame starts creaking from a crack in one of the welds.

Biggsy

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Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2016, 07:25:03 pm »
My frame best at transmitting and amplifying noise happens to be titanium.  It's more to do with the tubing size than the metal.  Great big thin-walled downtube - makes even a normal chain working normally sound as rough as a bag of badgers.
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Fast Bill

  • Per titanium ad tea room
Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2016, 12:05:11 pm »
I just love the way my Enigma Echo almost seems to sing. It's probably a road instrument rather than percussion or wind. I've no idea why it does this, it seems to be the frame, but I'm perfectly happy to accept it might just be going on in my head ... :)
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2016, 12:26:10 pm »
Maybe it is just in your head, but if your head can come up with lines like "per titanium ad tea room" then it must be full of joyous music!
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Fast Bill

  • Per titanium ad tea room
Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2016, 12:35:43 pm »
Maybe it is just in your head, but if your head can come up with lines like "per titanium ad tea room" then it must be full of joyous music!

That's just what the Doctor said ... on a serious note I do wonder if it's the double butted tubing but as I am neither an engineer nor particularly disposed to worry about it I am quite content simply to smile and keep pedalling !
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noisycrank

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Re: Steel or Ti
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2016, 12:48:24 pm »
The design and quality of build is far, far more important than the material.

For what it's worth this is my understanding based upon an article I read which quoted a series of tests. My particular interest was in Aluminium which has/had a reputation for being harsh. While looking for the article for this response I found a couple of pages about stiffness which don't say exactly the same thing but don't contradict it either and do highlight the importance of design.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_frametest.html

http://fitwerx.com/stiffness-compliance/

At the end of the day what you are looking for is a really good experience for you and probably a big part is belief.
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