Bike Forums - View Single Post - Looking for a titanium or steel gravel bike with a short chainstay
Old 02-02-20, 08:23 AM
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Lindarets
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Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Bikes: J.Guillem Atalaya Gravel, Orient All-Road, & Tomir mountain

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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
Thank you very much! Very informative. But it got me thinking. It looks like Atalaya is the titanium bike that offers plenty of stiffness, but at the cost of compliance (you said that it is not the comfiest and I read a review stating basically the same). So you buy a titanium bike for its comfort but at the cost of stiffness and when you want the stiffness you lose comfort. So what is the point when you can get the desired stiffness from carbon and at the same time you can engineer compliance to that frame whereas titanium you can make either compliant or stiff. I am thinking about a bike like Vielo V+1 which also has a short chainstay, is plenty stiff but at the same time has nice flexing rear end and a very compliant fork.

PS thanks for bringing the Spinergy wheels into the conversation. I am certainly intrigued by them.
sweetspot
You're welcome! I don't know that the focus of modern Ti is comfort- the material (as used in bikes) certainly has some liveliness that you don't always feel in other materials, but the frame shouldn't be the first stop when it comes to comfort. Good tires, a reliable gage, and a willingness to experiment with pressures are a lot less expensive and more effective there.

That said, titanium is particularly well-suited to gravel bikes. There's the liveliness, a slight springiness (or 'planing') that can be built in and does add something to the ride. But moreso you have durability, and longevity. In a sport where it's not uncommon to have rocks kicked into the downtube or a bike topple over at a rest stop, you don't need to worry about actually using a Ti frame. You can strap bags to a (raw) Ti frame or knock a muddy wheel out of true and not worry about wearing through the finish, let alone causing structural damage. And I personally take pleasure in the thought that Ti frames are disproportionately passed on rather than retired due to wear or crash damage- you can be reasonably certain that the Ti frame you buy today will be someone's town/errand/commuter bike in fifteen or twenty years' time.

What a lot of us missed was the moment where many off-the-peg carbon frames became more expensive than Ti- which just isn't the case any more. Both materials can be had across the price spectrum, but there's a lot more overlap than people seem to realize. Maybe it's nostalgia or trickle-down prestige from the custom builders, but many riders tend to connect emotionally with Ti in a way that they don't with carbon. And if you're looking at a mid-range or higher carbon frame I think that it's absolutely worth taking a good look at what you can get in Ti- our GRX bikes aren't much more than a good quality carbon frame with similar parts and our AXS builds are close to or less than most similar premium brands'.
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