Carbon vs Titanium

by Noelieboy   May 2, 2013  

AaaHhhhh Can somebody, anybody help me please....or maybe shed some light...???
I'm drowning in confusion, I have a list of bikes about as long as my legs & I don't know anymore.
I have a budget of £1,500 - £2k & I'm looking to upgrade my steed to something more worthy.

I Originally had a small list of Carbon bikes maybe a ribble R872, or a BMC roadracer, or a Specialized Roubaix, or a boardman road team, or a cinelli saetta, or a dolan (as I'm NW based) but then I heard about Ti & the Van Nich has been drawing me in.
Titanium sounds amazing but now I'm not sure if Ti is right...

I had ruled out aluminium as (generally) the ride is quite rigid & the roads in & around Greater Manchester aren't the best. my current Alu bike has me whincing in pain over the bumps but I've heard alu is on the comeback. I just don't know anymore.

i went to edinburgh cycles in manchester & the assistant then suggested more bikes to me, argh headache. these were the mekk potenza (sounds great for £1,100!), the focus cayo evo 4/6 & the cube agree gtc.

I suppose what I'm getting at is, would any of these (particularly Ti)stack up in a race if I was to start racing (which I'm considering) & is there a good allrounder to stop me buying 2 bikes Smile

thanks in advance

38 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Keep riding the bikes and testing em out. I tried a focus 3.0 and that was a very nice frame and ride.

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 22:18

9 Likes

I've heard great things about Sabbath Titanium.
I'm currently saving up for a Seven Titanium.

edit:
Check out the Road.cc tech page. I trust their reviews.

[custom] '12 Cannondale CAAD10 - Rival

badkneestom's picture

posted by badkneestom [129 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 1:12

7 Likes

Easy one to answer, under the age of 40 a carbon fixation is appropriate, aged 40+ this morphs into a titanium fixation. It goes with the turf, as unavoidable as overly long nose and ear hair.

posted by FMOAB [233 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 1:59

12 Likes

I race a Condor Moda Ti. Very nice.

Terry Dolan makes a very fine Ti bike. It may be a coincidence but he started producing them after I showed him my Condor...

Go and see him in Ormskirk in person. He'll give great advice and a competitive price.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1059 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 3:14

8 Likes

For the latest carbon framed - Di2 state of the art bike for under £2k, I don't think you can go wrong with the Ridley Excalibur...

http://www.pearsoncycles.co.uk/store/content/106/Ridley-Excalibur/

posted by Old Cranky [276 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 8:22

6 Likes

Old Cranky wrote:
For the latest carbon framed - Di2 state of the art bike for under £2k, I don't think you can go wrong with the Ridley Excalibur...

http://www.pearsoncycles.co.uk/store/content/106/Ridley-Excalibur/

That looks like some deal.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3188 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 9:55

8 Likes

Focus Izalco Pro 3.0
Race ready out the box.
Next year get some fancy wheels for it.

posted by abandoneur [18 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 12:56

10 Likes

I ride my Van Nic thru Greater Manchester every working day: super comfortable and quick over less than perfect road surfaces.

Me and my club mates got the scales out once. It weighed as much as the lower end carbon bikes in the group. So don't fear the apparent extra bulk.

It sounds like you only want to dabble in racing? My suggestion is to get a Ti, which will service the occasional race, with a view to a future carbon out-and-out racing beast purchase next season as you begin your n+1 strategy.

posted by putmebackonmybike [12 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 14:24

6 Likes

putmebackonmybike wrote:
I ride my Van Nic thru Greater Manchester every working day: super comfortable and quick over less than perfect road surfaces.

Me and my club mates got the scales out once. It weighed as much as the lower end carbon bikes in the group. So don't fear the apparent extra bulk.

It sounds like you only want to dabble in racing? My suggestion is to get a Ti, which will service the occasional race, with a view to a future carbon out-and-out racing beast purchase next season as you begin your n+1 strategy.

which Van Nic do you ride?
I've found a shop in bury that sells them, although they only have the Euro's in stock. I'm going to try it out at the wkend vs the Wilier XP.
hoping to join a club & start my racing career Smile

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [89 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 15:35

7 Likes

abandoneur wrote:
Focus Izalco Pro 3.0
Race ready out the box.
Next year get some fancy wheels for it.

cheers, I tried out the Focus Cayo & yes, it was a good ride better than the Mekk but not as comfy as the Roubaix but the Wilier XP blew these all away...

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [89 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 15:37

7 Likes

MercuryOne wrote:
I race a Condor Moda Ti. Very nice.

Terry Dolan makes a very fine Ti bike. It may be a coincidence but he started producing them after I showed him my Condor...

Go and see him in Ormskirk in person. He'll give great advice and a competitive price.

Definitley am planning a trip there, The Dolan Ti is one I'm looking at. Bit concerned as its titled "Titanium ADX"
other problem is you can't test ride the bikes at Dolan Sad

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [89 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 15:39

8 Likes

badkneestom wrote:
I've heard great things about Sabbath Titanium.
I'm currently saving up for a Seven Titanium.

edit:
Check out the Road.cc tech page. I trust their reviews.

Hi, Thanks for the advice. I like the Seven Carbon & Ti mix but at £4k its way too much for me...

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [89 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 15:49

6 Likes

It's the Euros. It's very good value.

You'll notice the slight 'sportive' geometry - but you can still go low if you're young and flexible enough and want to give it some welly. I stick tri-bars on it regularly for TTs - happy days.

Solid all-rounder then: but note no mudguard mounts if you're thinking it's a complete all-need solution.

posted by putmebackonmybike [12 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 15:58

6 Likes

putmebackonmybike wrote:
It's the Euros. It's very good value.

You'll notice the slight 'sportive' geometry - but you can still go low if you're young and flexible enough and want to give it some welly. I stick tri-bars on it regularly for TTs - happy days.

Solid all-rounder then: but note no mudguard mounts if you're thinking it's a complete all-need solution.

Sounds like a plan. I have the SKS mudguards which attach using a rubber clip so no problem with it not having the mudguard mounts. doesn't rain that much in M'cr anyway Smile

which club do you ride with???

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [89 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 16:24

6 Likes

Ashwell, Herts. Long story.

Several good clubs in what I suspect is your striking distance though - Lancs Road, Bury CTC, Clarion, Horwich, Manchester Wheelers. British Cycling's online club finder is comprehensive.

posted by putmebackonmybike [12 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 16:45

7 Likes

Chorlton Velo - best club in town! Big Grin

PM me if you fancy coming out with us.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3188 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 17:27

6 Likes

Sorry, but I don't understand how you can prefer the van Nic over the lynskey. I rode a van nic euros vs a lynskey sportive and the lynskey was far far better ride. I noticed that the bottom bracket flexed on the van nic but your money your choice.

posted by hammond83 [30 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 23:01

7 Likes

@Noelieboy, interested to know what your decision was in the end...?

If you still haven't decided, a couple of further thoughts, to try to persuade you down the Ti route!

Regarding weight, +1 to what putmebackonmybike said, I got the scales out for the first time the other day and the complete weight of my Ti bike was 7.75 kg (it's a large frame, I'm 6'2), so Ti not necessarily heavier than carbon..

I took it on a 10 mile TT last week and posted a 25.57, over rough roads, no tri bars, just standard set up, trying to keep on the drops for as long as possible.. Quicker than the various carbon TT rigs on the evening and I suspect I was a lot more comfortable! (obviously not a scientific comparison between frame materials)

I'd say it's as close to a fast all-rounder you can get, intended use of course is sportives, I don't feel beaten up after 4 hours and I'm sure I'm no slower than most riders on carbon.

So unless you're a seriously competitive racer, I do think you can get one bike to do it all if you go down the Ti route. worse case scenario is you end up with two wheelsets but using a single frame, perhaps light alu clinchers for sportive and swap them out for deeper carbon rims for racing. Still avoiding n+1, technically at least!

posted by 700c [556 posts]
15th May 2013 - 21:16

9 Likes

I have the Van Nic Mistral - very similar to the Euros, though slightly cheaper. I've compared directly with a Specialized Tarmac SL3 (used to own one) and two Cervelos (an S£ and an R3SL). My summary:

- the Van Nic is gloriously comfortable. The R3SL is pretty good, the S3 a little harsh (all with the same wheels, saddle, bars, tape etc). For rougher roads, it's easier to go quick on the Van Nic, because you're less worried about getting beaten up and less cautious about breaking something...
- the Van Nic isn't quite as stiff as either of the Cervelos in the BB, but is still very good. Unless you're a massive sprinter, the Van Nic is easily stiff enough to race on without feeling that the bike is holding you back.
- the Van Nic handling is gloriously stable without feeling slow. It might be the reduction of vibration from the ti frame, or just the geo, but I can throw it down descents in a way I simply can't on the S3. I can go almost as quick on the R3SL, but it doesnt feel planted like the Van Nic.
- the Van Nic won't crack if I crash it, or if the rear derailleur gets caught and rips off the frame into the seat stay (this actually happened on the R3SL, which is now being repaired). If you've got one shot at getting a great bike and you want to race it, get the Van Nic - you can crash it and, most likely, it will be fine in a lot of situations where you'd be needing a frame repair or replacement on a carbon frame.

Sorry for the long post - but in summary, get the Van Nic. It's a great ride, and it will instil confidence in a way the fantastic plastic struggles to do in many situations. I love my Cervelos, but they are very specialised tools. If I had to pick one of my bikes and get rid of the rest, it would be the Van Nic.

posted by step-hent [682 posts]
15th May 2013 - 21:43

2 Likes

Noelieboy,
If not decided
For comfort Titanium over carbon, titanium flexes well, so it can be a better shock absorber than carbon fiber. Titaniums wins

For durability, carbon is still not a good material for self-supported bicycle touring because of the different types of stresses on a loaded bike, according to deceased bicycle mechanic and bicycling website writer Sheldon Brown. Titanium is durable and maintains its shape well, but if damaged, it can be expensive and difficult to repair. A draw but for racing carbon.

Weight, Because of construction techniques, such a titanium bike might be lighter, but not because of changes in titanium's weight. A poorly constructed carbon fiber bike could be heavier than a well constructed titanium bike. A draw but carbon is mostly lighter.

References
• Smart Cycles: Frame Materials
• Sheldon Brown: Frame Materials for the Touring Cyclist
• REI: Understanding Bike Frame Materials
• The CARE Exchange: Material Assets
• Livestrong

On your chooses,

The Wilier Izoad XP (Looks, handling and comfort) but I do pass a lot of rider on them when raceing ,over the Roubaix (Quality frame, good kit not for every one )

Sorry to chuck a sapeer in the works but try these 5

1.Bianchi Sempre 2012( A Wonderfully poised frame with classy kit)

2.Felt AR5 2012 (The Felt rides very well, though its a stiff bike frame)

3.Trek Madone 3.5 (Wonderful ride, great value)

4.Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 (A great all-rounder)

5.Eddy merkx – emx 1 (Frantically fast and efficient race bike and smoth ride)

these are all carbon

Ti bikes In your price range you are going to struggle to find ti is there is one recommend

Genesis Equilibrium Ti (A good bike but not live up to its steel framed siblings)

At the end of the day the it is your chooses not other peoples

i currently ride a emx-1 and when descending it is stable and fast but long wateing time for parts.

posted by Ashleyhoaken [37 posts]
16th May 2013 - 10:43

3 Likes

700c wrote:
@Noelieboy, interested to know what your decision was in the end...?

Hi @700c,
Thanks for the help. I went for the Izoard XP in the end.
I was lucky enough to test both the Mistral & the Izoard side by side at my LBS (Leisure Lakes Bikes, Bury. Great service & knowledge)& I found the Izoard to just have the edge.
I wasn't sure if I was compromising by going for the Mistral & I had to think about storage aswell as I don't have a garage or shed at the moment, only an accomodating wife Smile
I went with my gut instinct at the time but now after your comments, I kinda wish I'd gone for the Mistral...
No, just kidding Smile
The Izoard is a great bike, very responsive & is suiting me down to the ground at the mo.
I'll see where the Izoard brings me & then maybe upgrade to the Ti at a later date.

Thanks very much for your help tho, good to know there are people out there willing to help. Big Grin

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [89 posts]
16th May 2013 - 12:33

4 Likes

Ashleyhoaken wrote:
Noelieboy,
If not decided
For comfort Titanium over carbon, titanium flexes well, so it can be a better shock absorber than carbon fiber. Titaniums wins

For durability, carbon is still not a good material for self-supported bicycle touring because of the different types of stresses on a loaded bike, according to deceased bicycle mechanic and bicycling website writer Sheldon Brown. Titanium is durable and maintains its shape well, but if damaged, it can be expensive and difficult to repair. A draw but for racing carbon.

Weight, Because of construction techniques, such a titanium bike might be lighter, but not because of changes in titanium's weight. A poorly constructed carbon fiber bike could be heavier than a well constructed titanium bike. A draw but carbon is mostly lighter.

References
• Smart Cycles: Frame Materials
• Sheldon Brown: Frame Materials for the Touring Cyclist
• REI: Understanding Bike Frame Materials
• The CARE Exchange: Material Assets
• Livestrong

On your chooses,

The Wilier Izoad XP (Looks, handling and comfort) but I do pass a lot of rider on them when raceing ,over the Roubaix (Quality frame, good kit not for every one )

Sorry to chuck a sapeer in the works but try these 5

1.Bianchi Sempre 2012( A Wonderfully poised frame with classy kit)

2.Felt AR5 2012 (The Felt rides very well, though its a stiff bike frame)

3.Trek Madone 3.5 (Wonderful ride, great value)

4.Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 (A great all-rounder)

5.Eddy merkx – emx 1 (Frantically fast and efficient race bike and smoth ride)

these are all carbon

Ti bikes In your price range you are going to struggle to find ti is there is one recommend

Genesis Equilibrium Ti (A good bike but not live up to its steel framed siblings)

At the end of the day the it is your chooses not other peoples

i currently ride a emx-1 and when descending it is stable and fast but long wateing time for parts.

Hi @Ashleyhoaken,
Thanks for the help.
I have read Sheldon Brown's blog before, some very useful stuff on there.
With regards to passing other Izoard bikes, fair enough a bike can only go as fast as the person riding it, hopefully my thighs of doom help on this matter Smile
From your list I had considered the Bianchi but it was the wrong side of £2k when i saw it, its now £1700 at Evans, Damn!!!
The EMX-1 i test rode at Edinburgh cycles, yes its avery good bike but the sales assistant suggested the Izoard to me & I felt that was better.
Maybe if your in the NW we could have a Izoard & EMX race Smile

Thanks again for your help...

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [89 posts]
16th May 2013 - 12:41

3 Likes

Noelieboy,
Thank you for the offer, but I am in the SW also just did an online price checker, the bianchi is under 2k and there was an emx-3 under 2k from 3k sorry to talk about the emx range. Enjoy the izoard and appy rideing

posted by Ashleyhoaken [37 posts]
17th May 2013 - 22:51

2 Likes

Carbon any day! Big Grin

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

King of the Mountains's picture

posted by King of the Mou... [31 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 11:10

3 Likes

I never quite understood this hierarchy of comparing metals and people saying 'upgrading' to carbon or Ti. Each material has it's own properties that suit all manner of riders. I still use Alu/Carbon Bianchi. Yes it's a harsh ride at times, that can batter me on a long ride but I get the feel I want in the bars which communicate to me well.

If I could afford and had the space I would buy a bike of each material to compare their merits. Simply don't write off Alu or any other material b/c the masses say so.

Just get your leg over the bike and find out for yourself, you maybe pleasantly surprised of the outcome. Wink

posted by toothache90 [34 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 18:04

3 Likes

According to my family and friends, I evidently have a fixation for carbon. It is, of course, completely unfounded.
Wink

posted by Super Domestique [1600 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 19:12

6 Likes

Sorry to jump in on an old thread, but this is a topic I've been pondering. The problem is, Ti bikes aren't as ubiquitous or ephemeral as carbon bikes. This means that you can get amazing discounts (up to 50%) on previous year's carbon bikes, but rarely for Ti bikes. I would be (and am) tempted to buy a discounted carbon bike with top end components, then sell the frame, buy a Ti one and fit the components to that.

lukea-d

posted by lukea-d [32 posts]
7th February 2014 - 12:42

1 Like

Hi all. I've read this post with interest. I currently ride an alu Felt hybrid. I've started cycling with a guy riding a Scott Alu road bike with carbon forks and I just can't keep up, especially when we hit a hill. Hence I'm looking for a road bike that will be comfortable over a distance, say up to 100 miles. Most rides are likely to be in the 20 to 40 mile bracket. To put it into context I'm 50 years old with a dodgy lower back, hence comfort is my prime focus followed by the need to cover miles more effortlessly.

So far I've tested the following:

Felt F5 - really quick but doubt I could hack it it over distance
Trek Domane 4.3 - I liked the seat post decoupler and it felt really smooth
Giant Defy Composite 1 - seemed ok but I didn't get to take it that far.
Considering the Giant Defy Advanced 1 - not tried yet.

My intention would be to upgrade the wheels to Mavic Ksyrium Elite S as I understand the included wheels in this price bracket aren't that great and both LBS offered a deal to do it with the bike purchase.

However I'm now wondering whether Ti should be the way forward. I haven't tried one so I'm not sure how they compare comfort wise. Reading the posts it sounds like there is not much in it weight wise and I'm thinking the additional robustness of Ti would be good as I'd like this bike to last me.

I'm not out to win any races or even compete. I just want to get futher with greater ease (without my car Smile ).

So now over to you more experienced bikers. I've got £2k to spend. What are you thoughts on the following given my brief above:

Ti vs carbon
Specific models for comfort
Wheels - would they really make that much difference?

btw I'm 6'2" and weight 187lbs.

Thanks in advance.

posted by legover [1 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 8:12

0 Likes

Went from one alu and one carbon to one Ti with/without guards and haven't
looked back.

It's just so much nicer to ride all day than either of the other two were, doesn't
weight that much more and scratches etc are fixed with a 3m scotchpad and
some gt85 Smile I'm looking to further improve comfort by adding a carbon post
but alu ones at 31.6mm seem to be just as flexy so still experimenting !!

Currently ride a Kinesis GF Ti v2 with handbuilt 32 spoke wheels ...... bliss

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [712 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 9:40

1 Like

Ti v Carbon? Carbon. Cheaper, lighter, stiffer (which doesn't equal less comfortable). I have a bespoke Ti frame from a well known US manufacturer - which I love - and several carbon frames. The latter don't stir the heart strings as much as the Ti frame when you look at them but they simply perform better and would be much, much cheaper to replace.

Comfort. The idea that Ti is inherently more comfortable that carbon or any other material is complete and utter tosh. My Ti frame has lots of toe overlap/a short wheelbase, which makes it an awesome crit bike, but it was built to race so it's stiff. Most myths about frame materials (aluminium is stiff, Ti is flexy, carbon is "dead") are only true of cheap versions of said materials. Cheap aluminium - and high quality aluminium has become rare with the virtual ubiquity of carbon - will ride "stiff". Cheap Ti is flexy. Etc. Here's a little secret that bike manufacturers don't tell you: if you want comfort put on wider tyres (25mm or even 27mm - of course the latter may mean that you need a frame with more clearance) and reduce tyre pressure (90/85psi). And select a bike with a small diameter seat post (27.2mm) not something with a 31.8mm.

If you can afford a bespoke Seven/Indy Fab/Moots etc, you should buy one. Really, everyone should - everyone should experience the pleasure of the process and the joy of owning your own (literally) bike. But if you can't, you should buy a carbon bike because bikes made from carbon are better tools and at the end of the day that is what a bike is.

posted by surly_by_name [144 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 10:44

3 Likes