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Question for titanium gravel bike owners

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Question for titanium gravel bike owners

Old 02-01-20, 01:15 PM
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sweetspot
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Question for titanium gravel bike owners

I currently ride on a steel bike and although it is very comfy it seriously lacks in terms of power transfer (too much flex when pedaling hard, especially from standstill). So now I look for a new bike that will offer a comfy ride but at the same time much better power transfer. Of course the obvious choice is a carbon frame but I wonder if titanium is also a good solution. Is it any better than steel in terms of power transfer or it will also flex a lot? What is your experience, especially compared to other steel and carbon bikes?
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Old 02-01-20, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
I currently ride on a steel bike and although it is very comfy it seriously lacks in terms of power transfer (too much flex when pedaling hard, especially from standstill). So now I look for a new bike that will offer a comfy ride but at the same time much better power transfer. Of course the obvious choice is a carbon frame but I wonder if titanium is also a good solution. Is it any better than steel in terms of power transfer or it will also flex a lot? What is your experience, especially compared to other steel and carbon bikes?
curious what your current bike frame is. Not many modern steel frames with OS tubing are viewed as noodly.
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Old 02-01-20, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
curious what your current bike frame is. Not many modern steel frames with OS tubing are viewed as noodly.
Jamis Renegade Exploit 2016.
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Old 02-01-20, 07:55 PM
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I remember when I first got my mountain bike. On the Greenway I thought I was flexing the frame, but then I saw the fork bobbing up and down. Fantastic fork for the rough stuff.
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Old 02-01-20, 08:02 PM
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You can make any material feel flexy, depending on the underlying engineering of the materials. Don't get me wrong, I love Ti--hence the user handle and the bike stable.
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Old 02-01-20, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
Jamis Renegade Exploit 2016.
That's surprising. I've ridden a Renegade it didn't find it flexy at all.
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Old 02-01-20, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
Jamis Renegade Exploit 2016.
Huh.
Maybe its other frame design characteristics(geometry) that make it feel flexible and lacking in power transfer.

Perhaps similarly to 23mm tires feeling faster than 32s presumably because more vibration is felt and we associate that with speed. If a frame is designed to feel stable and comfortable, it may seem flexible and lacking in power transfer, yet it is actually stiff and transferring power just fine.

I am 235 and my 80s road bike frames with traditional tube diameters(which are exponentially more flexible than a modern Renegade's tubing diameter) hasn't ever made me think I am losing power due to frame flex. So my modern steel frames defintely havent made me think they are too flexible.

I do suggest you read up on power loss from frame flex. Measured results may surprise you.



In any event, larger diameter tubing is exponentially stiffer. Find a frame with a large down tube and a horixontally shaped oval top tube as those tubes directly affect bottom bracket sway.
chainstays that are round and not vertically oval are also stiffer. Stiffer chainstays will help make it feel like power isnt being lost.
A lighter and stiffer wheelset completely changes the feel of a bike. Perhaps it's as simple as a different wheelset than stock.

There is an entire debate/idea in cycling about this very issue(frame flex) and 'planing' is argued to be beneficial in some instances and by some cyclists.
But I could totally see why it may feel bad and isnt for everyone.


Anyways, go get yourself a frame with a honking big downtube, some round chainstays, a 44m head tube with tapered steerer, and an absurdly stiff wheelset. That'll ride like night and day compared to the Renegade. You may be faster too. Placebo is a hell of a concept.
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Old 02-02-20, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Huh.
Maybe its other frame design characteristics(geometry) that make it feel flexible and lacking in power transfer.

Perhaps similarly to 23mm tires feeling faster than 32s presumably because more vibration is felt and we associate that with speed. If a frame is designed to feel stable and comfortable, it may seem flexible and lacking in power transfer, yet it is actually stiff and transferring power just fine.

I am 235 and my 80s road bike frames with traditional tube diameters(which are exponentially more flexible than a modern Renegade's tubing diameter) hasn't ever made me think I am losing power due to frame flex. So my modern steel frames defintely havent made me think they are too flexible.

I do suggest you read up on power loss from frame flex. Measured results may surprise you.



In any event, larger diameter tubing is exponentially stiffer. Find a frame with a large down tube and a horixontally shaped oval top tube as those tubes directly affect bottom bracket sway.
chainstays that are round and not vertically oval are also stiffer. Stiffer chainstays will help make it feel like power isnt being lost.
A lighter and stiffer wheelset completely changes the feel of a bike. Perhaps it's as simple as a different wheelset than stock.

There is an entire debate/idea in cycling about this very issue(frame flex) and 'planing' is argued to be beneficial in some instances and by some cyclists.
But I could totally see why it may feel bad and isnt for everyone.


Anyways, go get yourself a frame with a honking big downtube, some round chainstays, a 44m head tube with tapered steerer, and an absurdly stiff wheelset. That'll ride like night and day compared to the Renegade. You may be faster too. Placebo is a hell of a concept.
Thank you for reminding me that bike is a sum of its parts and I should not focus solely on the frame in search of a better power transfer (and more importantly, subjective feeling of it).

But you are saying in general that it is more about the frame construction than frame material and titanium with proper tubing will be plenty stiff, yes?

For example, what do you think about this particular titanium gravel bike frame:
https://www.jlaverack.co.uk/grit-range/

It looks stiff and power efficient? I am also thinking about shortening the chainstay to 430 or even 425 mm in this bike frame to improve the acceleration more.

Originally Posted by shoota View Post
That's surprising. I've ridden a Renegade it didn't find it flexy at all.
I thought so too until I started to ride and directly compare my bike to a couple of carbon gravel bikes. The perceptible difference is big. I also ride much more and got stronger. My neighbor is a semi-professional cyclist and when he attempted to pedal hard while holding the brakes, he made the bb area of my bike flex so hard that I thought it will brake. When doing the same on a carbon bike, the flex was much less apparent. So it is not only my subjective feeling...

Last edited by sweetspot; 02-02-20 at 03:17 AM.
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Old 02-02-20, 03:17 AM
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Grit has a bit of a similar look to the T-Lab in the top tube and chainstay. Nice it has threaded bb.

Things I'd change though are chainstay length and head tube angle.
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Old 02-02-20, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
Grit has a bit of a similar look to the T-Lab in the top tube and chainstay. Nice it has threaded bb.

Things I'd change though are chainstay length and head tube angle.
Exactly my thinking! I want to get the shortest possible chainstay that will clear 700x42 and 650x48. So somewhere between 425 and 430 mm. And slacken the head tube angle to something like 71 for more calm steering especially in 650b setup.

And what do you think about this bike?
https://jguillem.com/bike/atalaya-gravel

It has a very short chainstay and is described as a fast and stiff bike. Especially with 30,9 seat post.
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Old 02-02-20, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
Exactly my thinking! I want to get the shortest possible chainstay that will clear 700x42 and 650x48. So somewhere between 425 and 430 mm. And slacken the head tube angle to something like 71 for more calm steering especially in 650b setup.

And what do you think about this bike?
https://jguillem.com/bike/atalaya-gravel

It has a very short chainstay and is described as a fast and stiff bike. Especially with 30,9 seat post.
Looking at that a while back. Pretty good.

Personally though I'd prefer the bb drop to be a little lower; 75mm at least.

I do like the big 650b clearance though. Its not a typo? Like a ti Open Wide in that dept.

Last edited by tangerineowl; 02-02-20 at 03:40 AM. Reason: txt
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Old 02-02-20, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
Looking at that a while back. Pretty good.

Personally though I'd prefer the bb drop to be a little lower; 75mm at least.

I do like the big 650b clearance though. Its not a typo? Like a ti Open Wide in that dept.
not a typo. This bike has a specially machined chainstay yoke that allows for such a big tire clerance. Yeah, it looks like a titanium version of the Wi.De. bike.
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Old 02-02-20, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
Jamis Renegade Exploit 2016.
Are you Clydesdale? I doubt that frame is very flexy.
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Old 02-02-20, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
Looking at that a while back. Pretty good.

Personally though I'd prefer the bb drop to be a little lower; 75mm at least.

I do like the big 650b clearance though. Its not a typo? Like a ti Open Wide in that dept.
From the BB to about 6in down the chainstay is actually a single hollow-cast titanium piece that has the internal cable routing built in- it's the thing folks get most excited about when they see a bare frame in person.

Here in the desert where we run into a lot of sand and washboard but not a ton of mud I'm running 27.5x2.1in Vittoria Mezcals (53mm measured) on mine for rough days. 700s with 43mm tires will happily fit on a 1x, 38-40s with a front derailleur. Need to get my post count over ten to show a pic, but there's a recent photo on the Lindarets Instagram feed showing 2.2s which were a little tight and violate the 6mm all-around ISO clearance requirement.

Unless you get into Monstercross (29x2) territory, a 75mm drop might be too much- the 700x50 rated Evil only has an 80mm drop. it would make for a too-low BB on 30s and take away from the bike's versatility. As it stands now you can throw 28s or 30s on and join friends for a paved century without things getting weird.
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Old 02-02-20, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post

I thought so too until I started to ride and directly compare my bike to a couple of carbon gravel bikes. The perceptible difference is big. I also ride much more and got stronger. My neighbor is a semi-professional cyclist and when he attempted to pedal hard while holding the brakes, he made the bb area of my bike flex so hard that I thought it will brake. When doing the same on a carbon bike, the flex was much less apparent. So it is not only my subjective feeling...
I believe you. And honestly it doesn't matter if it's real or perceived, if you don't love your bike it's time to move on. There are soooo many choices out there now, life is too short to ride a bike that doesn't bring you joy.

For what it's worth I almost got a T-lab. We have a distributor here close to me and the bikes are fantastic. They look like carbon bikes made out of metal, and the paint is really well done. If you're leaning towards one I can't imagine you'd be disappointed.
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Old 02-02-20, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
Are you Clydesdale? I doubt that frame is very flexy.
I am just saying that accelerating from standstill is much quicker on a carbon bike and I can reach greater speed than on my steel bike with the same tires and the same air pressure. And I want that in my new bike.

Originally Posted by shoota View Post
I believe you. And honestly it doesn't matter if it's real or perceived, if you don't love your bike it's time to move on. There are soooo many choices out there now, life is too short to ride a bike that doesn't bring you joy.

For what it's worth I almost got a T-lab. We have a distributor here close to me and the bikes are fantastic. They look like carbon bikes made out of metal, and the paint is really well done. If you're leaning towards one I can't imagine you'd be disappointed.
Thanks! T-Lab looks very interesting but it also mightly expensive while I can get a very good deal on a J.Laverack GRiT frame. So if titanium, then rather GRiT with a custom geometry.

Last edited by sweetspot; 02-02-20 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 02-02-20, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Lindarets View Post
From the BB to about 6in down the chainstay is actually a single hollow-cast titanium piece that has the internal cable routing built in- it's the thing folks get most excited about when they see a bare frame in person.

Here in the desert where we run into a lot of sand and washboard but not a ton of mud I'm running 27.5x2.1in Vittoria Mezcals (53mm measured) on mine for rough days. 700s with 43mm tires will happily fit on a 1x, 38-40s with a front derailleur. Need to get my post count over ten to show a pic, but there's a recent photo on the Lindarets Instagram feed showing 2.2s which were a little tight and violate the 6mm all-around ISO clearance requirement.

Unless you get into Monstercross (29x2) territory, a 75mm drop might be too much- the 700x50 rated Evil only has an 80mm drop. it would make for a too-low BB on 30s and take away from the bike's versatility. As it stands now you can throw 28s or 30s on and join friends for a paved century without things getting weird.
Its just a personal ride feeling. Anything over a 27.5x2.1 / 700x33, and I'm fighting in my head the taller ride position on my 70mm drop bike. 75mm would be about right.
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Old 02-02-20, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
Its just a personal ride feeling. Anything over a 27.5x2.1 / 700x33, and I'm fighting in my head the taller ride position on my 70mm drop bike. 75mm would be about right.
Fair enough!
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Old 02-03-20, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
That's surprising. I've ridden a Renegade it didn't find it flexy at all.
I agree. How much do you weigh Do you have correct tire pressure for your weight? A good quality tire (maybe a Schwalbe G1?) will be great on there. I'd go with a good carbon frame over Ti though as a better deal and great tuned performance for lateral stiff, vert compliant...

Your Renegade will benefit from a much better wheelset however! The new GRX wheelset is very light and just $420.00

Last edited by dwmckee; 02-03-20 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 02-04-20, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I am 235 and my 80s road bike frames with traditional tube diameters(which are exponentially more flexible than a modern Renegade's tubing diameter) hasn't ever made me think I am losing power due to frame flex. So my modern steel frames defintely havent made me think they are too flexible.

I do suggest you read up on power loss from frame flex. Measured results may surprise you.
Jan Heine wrote a nice article on that. I took exception to it because it doesn't always match my experience. Taking an extreme example with track racing - with my steel bike I can jump on a paceline or close a gap, but it took so much energy I couldn't hold on. With my stiff Aluminum bike I can jump on and hang with no problem.

Jan's reply was basically agreeing with me in that - if I'm putting down 1000+ watts in a competitive situation the frame flex is going to hold me back. But if I'm touring or doing a more typical ride at 150-200 watts, the frame flex will make little to no difference because the "loss" due to frame flex ends up springing back and propelling you forward with no net loss (Planing as he calls it). Like I reference below - I can do fine on a time trial or a 1 mile plus effort on a soft cush metal bike, but for a 10-20 second max effort soft metal doesn't do it.

So yeah, with most riding frame flex isn't an issue. For high intensity or competitive riding - it really does in my case.
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Old 02-04-20, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
I am just saying that accelerating from standstill is much quicker on a carbon bike and I can reach greater speed than on my steel bike with the same tires and the same air pressure. And I want that in my new bike.
.
I finally bought the bullet and got a carbon bike. Not all carbon is equal, but this one has amazing acceleration. Doing something KOM for a mile, I can still do it on my 30 year old noodley steel bike, but for a hole shot, sprint, bridging a gap - its amazing.
My problem with Ti is I can't get enough test rides. Some Ti is reportably very stiff, some is very comfortable - all depends on how it is designed and that is hard to really tell without a test ride. :-(
I also like the idea of the durability of Ti, but realistically the components on any bike I buy are going to be obsolete before the frame wears out - no matter what the frame is made out of.
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Old 02-04-20, 09:22 AM
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While the placebo effect is real and shouldn't be ignored, it seems like the consensus at this point is that any actual energy losses to frame flex (within reason) are minimal to nonexistent. Modern frames within a given category are pretty tightly grouped when compared to bikes from ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. Some people prefer something that feels stiff, others like a lively ride- and neither is necessarily right or wrong. As much as we like to think of ourselves as rational, for a lot of us bikes are emotional purchases.
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Old 02-17-20, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
I currently ride on a steel bike and although it is very comfy it seriously lacks in terms of power transfer (too much flex when pedaling hard, especially from standstill). So now I look for a new bike that will offer a comfy ride but at the same time much better power transfer. Of course the obvious choice is a carbon frame but I wonder if titanium is also a good solution. Is it any better than steel in terms of power transfer or it will also flex a lot? What is your experience, especially compared to other steel and carbon bikes?
good steel is great. ti is great.
my ti frame is silly stiff but fast . by design not a cruiser fast racing frame i use 35's....
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Old 02-17-20, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetspot View Post
I currently ride on a steel bike and although it is very comfy it seriously lacks in terms of power transfer (too much flex when pedaling hard, especially from standstill). So now I look for a new bike that will offer a comfy ride but at the same time much better power transfer. Of course the obvious choice is a carbon frame but I wonder if titanium is also a good solution. Is it any better than steel in terms of power transfer or it will also flex a lot? What is your experience, especially compared to other steel and carbon bikes?
My recollection of physics (Laws of Thermodynamics) suggests that the power can't just disappear - it must go somewhere. And since your bike frame doesn't generate heat (which is how a lightbulb wastes energy, for example), I don't think that frame flex, if it exists, is robbing you of much power and acceleration.

Now, if you just want to spend money on a new bike, knock yourself out. If you want maximum stiffness, though, you should probably be looking at carbon fiber frames.
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Old 02-17-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
My recollection of physics (Laws of Thermodynamics) suggests that the power can't just disappear - it must go somewhere. And since your bike frame doesn't generate heat (which is how a lightbulb wastes energy, for example), I don't think that frame flex, if it exists, is robbing you of much power and acceleration.

Now, if you just want to spend money on a new bike, knock yourself out. If you want maximum stiffness, though, you should probably be looking at carbon fiber frames.
The frame doesnt generate heat when in use? Boy I would figure it does, but the heat is minimal and is cooled relatively quickly.
Frame flex probably doesnt rob a rider of 'much' power and acceleration, but you have to agree that energy is absolutely being lost going to the drivetrain to propel the bike forward when the frame twists while pedaling. More twisting = less energy that is concentrated on moving the bike forward. It takes energy to deflect the frame and that energy is 'lost'.
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