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Titanium Bikes

Old 09-30-20, 12:28 PM
  #26  
impolexg
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This is a rather timely thread for me. I'm 80% a single speed mountain biker and just ride road during the week when I don't have time to hit the trails. I have spent decades with an 80's cannondale as my only road bike, parts upgraded as they broke. I recently started to get really sick of the downtube shifters and only having 3 working speeds (because irreplacable hanger cracked and wont stay straight) so I decoded to treat myself to a newer road bike.

Being a cheap skate I've test ridden quite a few used bikes and so many duds. Carbon, Carbon Ti, Titanium, Steel Carbon, Steel. The standouts in my search were both carbon: a friends 2018 Orbea Orca, and a different friend's Pinarello F10, both carbon frames and both much more money than I would ever put into a road bike. I put just 20 miles or so on each. Both had bars too low for me but they both had a wonderful hard snap when I pedaled and were exciting to climb with. I could pop the front wheel with ease while climbing out of the saddle. They actually felt like lighter versions of the cannondale but they also had a much more muted road feel than the cannondale. Loved their short chainstays on both bikes and very precise and active steering.

My main mountain bike is a kona raijin setup singlespeed whose frame was made by lynskey and I love that bike, and lynskey's support has been excellent, so I finally settled on a used lynskey r330 with an enve fork. I have now ridden my new to me r330 for the past 4-5 days. I thought the bike felt fine in the parking lot, I thought it felt good, but now having put time onto it I'm starting to regret my purchase. The ride is very smooth and puts almost no road noise into my knees, which is nice, but also overall it feels slow and overdamped. I'm 80kg and climbing out of the saddle is feeling like a real drag which is a bummer for me because I mostly ride to do long climbs out of the saddle. Even seated when pedaling hard in rolling hills I feel like bike is sucking away my power. It feels pretty terrible to me when out of the saddle, like I've lost my pedal platform, like its sucking the snap out of my legs and hips. I have checked all sorts of stuff (cracked frame? brakes rubbing? bottom bracket shot?) and only thing I notice is when I do the classic "push on pedal to flex frame" trick is that the lynskey is very flexible (easy to move 1") where with similar force my old cannondale barely moves, and this with the same set of wheels swapped between bikes. The r330 is at least very positive and stable in turns and very comfortable, its handling is smooth and straight and easy, much better than the cannondale and not at all crazy like the old super flexy aluminum vitus whose back wheels would steer if you pedalled hard.

I compared the tube dimensions on the cannondale and lynskey. Lynskey has a bigger down tube, bigger top tube, bigger seat tube. Surprising because at same dimensions titanium is much stiffer than aluminum. But then I compare the rear seatstays and chainstays and both are much larger on the cannondale - so that must be where the undesirable flex is coming from on my r330.

I don't think my experience is an indictment of titanium, just of the model I purchased. Some comfortable bikes are too flexy for people that like a bike to have pop. My titanium singlespeed mtb feels quite stiff to me but maybe its just hard to tell when running a knobby tires at 28psi on a soft trail.

I'll ride the r330 a few more weeks but if I cant find a way to make it feel better I may end up having to find something a bit racier.

Also, be wary of people claiming that TI lasts forever. Its great that it doesn't corrode - I have an old ti mtb on my indoor trainer that is caked with salt and it doesn't care and all its steel bolts have corroded horrifically. But I have seen a moots hardtail during an mtb race whose chainstay broke free, and my own singlespeed frame developed a crack in the expansion slot below the seatpost clamp. In both cases a local repair would have cost more than the frame was worth.

My advice: don't be like me, spend time on a bike, especially climbing out of saddle, before you commit to buying.
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Old 09-30-20, 03:25 PM
  #27  
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I've ridden Aluminum and Titanium only; I remember my Aluminum being a pretty tough ride if the roads weren't perfect (very light but the vibrations were rough). I own a Litespeed and my next bike will most likely be a Lynskey Helix (when you live in East TN, why not buy a bicycle that's hand made down the road). I've never gone down the carbon fiber road due to my own concerns about frame quality and endurance. Carbon fiber won the frame war - just about every bicycle company makes a carbon fiber option and 100% of professional road racers are on a carbon fiber frame. I think in a perfect world its the perfect choice; however, that's not the world I live in. I ride Titanium because it's virtually indestructible, that's my only reason. It won't rust, it won't delaminate, if the welds are correct it won't crack, if it gets run over by a garbage truck - the odds are it could be bent but still rideable. Carbon fiber might have a better ride quality but I don't think I'm smart enough to know the difference. Ride both materials and see if you prefer one over the other - I don't think there is a right or wrong answer.
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Old 09-30-20, 03:35 PM
  #28  
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One interesting thing is that, with the new popularity of wider, lower-pressure tires, aluminum is much less harsh than it used to be. I ride a 2001 Aluminum/Scandium alloy Eddy Merckx. I recently switched from 23mm to 28mm tubeless tires. I also put on new carbon bars, stem and seatpost. The ride is much more plush than it used to be, but just as stiff and responsive. I'm digging it.
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Old 10-01-20, 08:16 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by CoachPC View Post
I own a Litespeed and my next bike will most likely be a Lynskey Helix (when you live in East TN, why not buy a bicycle that's hand made down the road).
Isn't Litespeed also made there? Why the switch if you don't mind me asking.
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Old 10-01-20, 10:55 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by impolexg View Post
This is a rather timely thread for me. . . . .
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Old 10-01-20, 11:12 AM
  #31  
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I rode the Iron Porcupine a few months ago. At one of the supported stops a volunteer told me that he had been keeping track of everyone's bike. Titanium was the most common frame material followed closely by steel then carbon. He told me the numbers, but I don't remember anymore. Seven was the most common bike on the ride. IIRC there were 5 sevens out of 38 riders.
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Old 10-01-20, 01:44 PM
  #32  
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I was curious so went and measured my frames with my calipers.

Bikes:
1986 cannondale sr1000 in 58cm, aluminum
2009? lynskey r330 in 58 (large?), titanium
2012 kona raijin mtb, 29", size large (made by lynskey for kona), titanium

As we all learned in physics the stiffness of a tube is linear with the moi, which roughly grows with the 4th power of the diameter. So tube diameter is the thing to measure. For each measurement of minimum outer tube diameter in mm. I'm providing the triple of <cannondale, lynskey, kona>:

Top Tube: 35, 33, 35
Seat tube: 32, 35, 36
downtube: 45,44,44
seatstay: 19x26,15,19
chainstay: 25.5, 20.5, 19

Of note, the r330 has manipulated tube shapes, they have diamond profiles 'n stuff. I just measured min diamter because it was easy and the difference is so small. The cannondale on the other hand has massively ovalized seatstays, their short diameter in direction of bike is 19mm but the long diameter across the bike is a whopping 26mm. The canondale seatstay difference was so large that I left it in the table.

Using the "press foot on pedal and eyeball it" technique the cannondale is very resistant to flex. Like really solid, not a spring. With same wheels the r330 is very flexy, boing-boing. The kona mtb with a 140 float 34 suspension fork and maxxis dhf 2.3 in front and a vittoria mezcal 2.25 in back was surprisingly resistant to flex, its flex seems to be much closer to the cannondale, and that is including some pretty significant tire flex.

Stiffness is complicated because all the components effect each other but it seems like the lynskey seat stay diameter is the source of the flex here, and the cannondale's wide seatstays are why it feels so sprinty (even though it is aluminum which is not as stiff as titanium).

If I were looking for a new bike (and I might be) I'd try and find out the tubing's diameters and as an 80kg rider that likes to climb out of saddle I'd want something bigger than the r330 offers.

I found a neat page that describes how to compute stiffness for a tube but I can't post it because this is my second post. If you're curious search for "how to design for stiffness using a geometric approach".
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Old 10-01-20, 02:53 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by impolexg View Post
I have checked all sorts of stuff (cracked frame? brakes rubbing? bottom bracket shot?) and only thing I notice is when I do the classic "push on pedal to flex frame" trick is that the lynskey is very flexible (easy to move 1") where with similar force my old cannondale barely moves, and this with the same set of wheels swapped between bikes.
How are you doing this...are you standing on the pedals and pulling up on the bars?
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Old 10-01-20, 03:54 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
How are you doing this...are you standing on the pedals and pulling up on the bars?
I was doing the classic and time-tested bikestore tire-kicker move: standing next to bike, hands on seat and bars, crank parallel to the ground. Press gingerly downward on pedal with ball of other foot and note how bottom bracket twists and deflects.

I get exactly the same impression of flexibility when standing on the bike and bouncing on a pedal.

In no way am I saying this is the most important property of a bicycle. The r330 tracks confidently and has a lovely effortless ride but it kind of just mushes when out of the saddle and that makes it feel slow. I'm still hoping something else is wrong, will take the crank off and see if something is up with the bb.
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Old 10-01-20, 04:07 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
Isn't Litespeed also made there? Why the switch if you don't mind me asking.

Yes both are made in the Chattanooga area.
1) I took a factory tour and was intrigued
2) I like the design of the Helix, whether its a marketing ploy or an actual structural revelation is irrelevant to me - I like the unique look
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Old 10-01-20, 05:58 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by wheelingmike View Post
Hey guys. I want to ask the people that owns both titanium and carbon bikes to see what are the differences, which one they ride the most, and why. I have been riding a 2015 Cervelo R3 for a few years now and I'm itching for a new bike. Absolutely love the R3 and will not be getting rid of it. I'm looking hard at a Lynskey Helix Sports with Di2 and would like some real life feedbacks. Thanks!
I was looking at Lynskey and got some LBS (multiple shops) feedback on them was there was mixed. The price seems too good to be true which kind of turned me off. I instead opted for a T-Lab X-3 (Gravel/endurance geometry) which because of COVID took 5 months to show up. 17 years between bikes, and this one was worth the wait.
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Old 10-02-20, 09:03 AM
  #37  
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I currently ride a Lynskey R300 disc that was semi-custom with internal cable routing. I have my first carbon fiber bike, a Look 566 on my trainer.
Prior to getting the Lynskey, I rode a Look 765 Optimum 1x for a year with Mavic Kysrium Pro Carbon wheels and UST 28c tires. The Look 765 was much better than the 566 with regards to shock absorption. The 566 transmitted vibration feedback from the road imperfections to a much greater degree than the 765.
I decided to purchase the Lynskey for the "I really want a titanium bike" rationale. I can't say that I didn't like the Look 765, but the Lynskey is a much smoother ride. Since I am using the same Mavic wheelset, that is not a variable. When pushing hard on a climb or accelerating, I notice no more flex in the Lynskey versus the Look. Climbing effort is the same as the weight difference is within a pound. The Lynskey is much more stable on fast descents and far more confidence inspiring at those elevated speeds. The feedback from various road surfaces is much more muted to non-existent.
I purchased the R300 because of the Ti being 3Al/2.5V alloy. This is certainly not the stiffest, but the tube shaping makes for stiff frame without harshness. So much of the perception of flexibility is due to rider strength, weight versus the frame design. To put this in perspective, I am 67 years old and weigh 145 lb. A 30 year old at 190 lb may have a completely different viewpoint. The Lysnkey R500 with Ti 6/4 is far more rigid for a stronger heavier rider but would totally lose the compliant ride other bicyclists would be looking for.
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Old 10-02-20, 09:13 AM
  #38  
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Hard to argue against the non corroding, and almost infinite fatigue life of titanium.
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Old 10-02-20, 11:04 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by impolexg View Post
I was doing the classic and time-tested bikestore tire-kicker move: standing next to bike, hands on seat and bars, crank parallel to the ground. Press gingerly downward on pedal with ball of other foot and note how bottom bracket twists and deflects.

I get exactly the same impression of flexibility when standing on the bike and bouncing on a pedal.
Wow, that sounds like a noodle.
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Old 10-02-20, 12:02 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by 1Lieutenant View Post
I purchased the R300 because of the Ti being 3Al/2.5V alloy. This is certainly not the stiffest, but the tube shaping makes for stiff frame without harshness. So much of the perception of flexibility is due to rider strength, weight versus the frame design. To put this in perspective, I am 67 years old and weigh 145 lb. A 30 year old at 190 lb may have a completely different viewpoint. The Lysnkey R500 with Ti 6/4 is far more rigid for a stronger heavier rider but would totally lose the compliant ride other bicyclists would be looking for.
I completely agree that stiffness is a perception of the rider. One factor you left out is the frame size. Bigger frames have longer tube segments so more leverage to flex. A smaller lighter rider on a smaller frame will have a totally different experience than a tall heavy rider on a large frame.

There's a pernicious myth that 6/4 is significantly stiffer than 3/2.5. You don't need to believe me and can verify by looking up alloy properties from all over the internet. Look up modulus of elasticity.

6/4 is 20% stronger but 0-7% stiffer than 3/2.5. That stiffness difference is small potatoes compared to what is achieved by a small change in tube diameter (remember tube stiffness grows with the 4th power of the diameter, it laughs at a puny 7% change.)

The extra strength of 6/4 means its possible to build a lighter frame from it at same strength but that is only by making the tube walls thinner which will make the frame more fragile than a thicker walled 3/2.5 bike.
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Old 10-02-20, 01:05 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Hard to argue against the non corroding, and almost infinite fatigue life of titanium.
The fatigue limit, also known as the endurance limit or fatigue strength, is the stress level below which an infinite number of loading cycles can be applied to a material without causing fatigue failure. Ferrous alloys and titanium alloys have a distinct limit.
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Old 10-02-20, 02:19 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by impolexg View Post
I completely agree that stiffness is a perception of the rider. One factor you left out is the frame size. Bigger frames have longer tube segments so more leverage to flex. A smaller lighter rider on a smaller frame will have a totally different experience than a tall heavy rider on a large frame.

There's a pernicious myth that 6/4 is significantly stiffer than 3/2.5. You don't need to believe me and can verify by looking up alloy properties from all over the internet. Look up modulus of elasticity.

6/4 is 20% stronger but 0-7% stiffer than 3/2.5. That stiffness difference is small potatoes compared to what is achieved by a small change in tube diameter (remember tube stiffness grows with the 4th power of the diameter, it laughs at a puny 7% change.)

The extra strength of 6/4 means its possible to build a lighter frame from it at same strength but that is only by making the tube walls thinner which will make the frame more fragile than a thicker walled 3/2.5 bike.
Thank you for the additional insight. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the most rigid titanium bikes used by heavier racing types seems to gravitate towards the 6/4 alloy.
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Old 10-02-20, 02:41 PM
  #43  
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just to be clear, I'm not the only person here who reads the brand "Lynskey" as
, right?
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Old 10-02-20, 02:51 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
just to be clear, I'm not the only person here who reads the brand "Lynskey" as
, right?

I've flashed many a WRT54Gs with DD-WRT!
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Old 10-02-20, 05:04 PM
  #45  
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ti bikes are bombproof i own and ride s bianchi ti megatube ti bike very fast stiff bike vs my old ti eddy merckx that was flimbsy as shat.
both when fitted well and tuned well are just wonderful to ride. no drama no worries

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Old 10-02-20, 05:14 PM
  #46  
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I just tried the bouncing on the pedal experiment with my 2 bikes: carbon Bianchi Infinito (61 cm) and Titanium Motobecane (59 cm). Nothing scientific, but I got an impression that the Bianchi flexed a bit more.
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Old 10-03-20, 05:59 AM
  #47  
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I've owned carbon bikes and a Lynskey Ti.

The Lynskey was comfortable and surprisingly fast - some of my fastest rides have been on it. However, I found the ride quality a little boring. You know when you stomp on the pedals and the bike surges forward? That seemed to be muted with Ti - it would often seem as though the brakes were rubbing or the BB was flexing. Note: it merely SEEMED that way. In actual performance, the bike rode really well. But perceived or not, I preferred the ride quality of carbon and sold the Ti bike.
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Old 10-03-20, 06:47 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
I've owned carbon bikes and a Lynskey Ti.

The Lynskey was comfortable and surprisingly fast - some of my fastest rides have been on it. However, I found the ride quality a little boring. You know when you stomp on the pedals and the bike surges forward? That seemed to be muted with Ti - it would often seem as though the brakes were rubbing or the BB was flexing. Note: it merely SEEMED that way. In actual performance, the bike rode really well. But perceived or not, I preferred the ride quality of carbon and sold the Ti bike.
I totally agree with this, except the conclusion (humor). Fast and smooth works for me. Must be an age thing.
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Old 10-03-20, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 1Lieutenant View Post
I totally agree with this, except the conclusion (humor). Fast and smooth works for me. Must be an age thing.
Ha, fair enough.
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Old 10-03-20, 05:31 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by SCTinkering View Post
I was looking at Lynskey and got some LBS (multiple shops) feedback on them was there was mixed. The price seems too good to be true which kind of turned me off. I instead opted for a T-Lab X-3 (Gravel/endurance geometry) which because of COVID took 5 months to show up. 17 years between bikes, and this one was worth the wait.
It looks nice, but why would a Ti frame maker opt for a press fit bottom bracket?
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