Airborne titanium frames?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Airborne titanium frames?

    Hi, I have read a number of reviews on them, the vast majority were positive but a few mentioned problems like misaligned frames, and bad welds. I have my eye on a 2004 Airborne lancaster 21". does anybody have any personal experience with these bikes and would be willing to give some input.

    Here is a post on pinkbike by me:
    http://vpfree.pinkbike.com/bb/viewto...792185#7792185

    Thanks
    -Kyle

  2. #2
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    Got a riding bud been riding one now for must be 7+ years and his is still going strong. Lovely looking welds. Can't remember exactly which model it is he has, but it's a HT.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
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  3. #3
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    Made overseas.

    The manufacturer still produces the same Airborne designs under it's own name:
    Hi-light. on ebay:
    http://search.ebay.com/search/search...ium&category0=

    geometry is the same as airbornes.

    When Airborne in north america shut down the actual company changed to:
    http://www.flyte1.com/

    If you wanted a newer company with warranty support.

  4. #4
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    to the top

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    to the top again.

  6. #6
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    any other input? how stiff are their frames?

  7. #7
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    I bought an used Lucky Strike frame for cheap from a mtb tour guide that had ridden the heck out of it for 3 years; the frame was so scratched up that the decals had practically disappeared.
    I sanded out the bigger scratches and buffed it with industrial scotch-brite and I had a like-new frame in my hands -that's one of the beauties of Ti.
    I originally bought it as a sidekick to my XC FS for training on the road and smooth trails, but I liked the ride so much that I started picking it over the FS for long rides and eventually ended up selling the FS.
    I've tried a friend's Litespeed Obed and another's Merlin XLM and leaving aside the name on the downtube, I haven't found any riding quality that would make me prefer them. As a matter of fact, the LS feels stiffer than these two during stand-up mashing.
    Now I'm riding more technical trails and I'm thinking about a long-travel rig for fun, but I'm definitely keeping the LS!
    It's light, stiff, comfy and it has stood up to a lot of abuse. What's not to like?

  8. #8
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    Thanks very much for the experienced opinion, It will definitely have an influence on my decision.
    Last edited by timms; 03-27-2007 at 08:22 PM.

  9. #9
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    I've been riding a 99 GT Xizang, well since 99 and I love it. Much more comfortable than Aluminum and I've never had a problem with it. You will notice that Ti is a bit flexy at first but after a few rides you won't even notice it anymore.

    I'm gonna keep this frame till it breaks (if it ever does) and even then I'll try to get it fixed or get another Ti hardtail.

  10. #10
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    I'm sure GTs extra triangle design helps with lateral stiffness as well. The consensus of the boards that I read, is that Ti bikes have gotten laterally stiffer. Does any one have input on this?

    Airborne/Flyte Ti frames have steeper seat tube and head tube angles, which should theoretically make it a faster bike, also their smaller rear triangles could make them stiffer in that area.?

    Does anybody here have Ti frame building experience?

    What materials or methods dictate the quality of a bike? Metal Purities; Tube manipulations; etc?

    Thanks

  11. #11
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    no thoughts?

  12. #12
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    HI Timms,
    I've owned an Airborne Mosquito frame for nearly 3 years now (similar to Lancaster but no brake bosses, longer fork geometry and stronger gusset for UK/Europe market) and I agree with Cleato above...one of the beauties of Ti is that you can make them look as good as new with little effort...a feature not to be underestimated as most fancy paintjobs can be ruined in one crash/bike rack/wall scrape.
    Im a fussy customer and im also a real stickler for fine detail so I can vouch for the high quality finish, the welds are fantastic and neat, and the details such as the laser cut disc mount and head tube badge still keep me gawping at the frame after 3 years.
    You are right in assuming that Ti frames are now being built with more lateral stiffness in mind, and the low downtube on Airborne frames not only looks great (like old skool Kona frames) but also add stiffness. Some criticism was labelled at Airborne frames for just this reason though, stating that Ti frames should feel more springy and bouncy, i personally love the ride characteristics though...each to their own i guess!
    One thing worth noting is that due to the double ovalised downtube, there is a tendancy for the frame to feel stiffer than most Ti frames when hammering it on the trail...
    I have also noticed that due to the rather long head tube (if you include the height of the headset cups, the headtube sticks out over an inch either side of the top and down tubes) there can be alot of flex up front when really pedalling hard out of the saddle as this extra length acts as a lever on the front triangle..this is even visible to see(!) but once you get used to the feel of Ti, you wont go back to harsh, brittle aluminium again! .The 21" frame you have your eye on will no doubt have the top and down tubes spread further apart than my 18" frame so I imagine this effect would be less aparent anyway, even though its not really a downside...its just strange when you first notice it! I guess its all down to the flex of the material.
    Check out the Hi-Light frames on ebay in the link above...they are a fraction of the original Airborne price...which was still a fraction of most the other manufacturers!
    If anything happend to my frame..id buy one of those at the drop of a hat. great looks, great ride, great longevity and great price.

  13. #13
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    BTW, Draco on your pinkbike link above has some very good advice...
    Ti frames are really about pimpery.. like any material, unless the frame is custom built for you, the improvement/differences are fairly minimal...but you want Ti....you just cant help yourself, you need it!!......... however, any Ti frame will feel less harsh than an Alu frame no matter how it is built.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieTiHardtail
    HI Timms,
    I've owned an Airborne Mosquito frame for nearly 3 years now (similar to Lancaster but no brake bosses, longer fork geometry and stronger gusset for UK/Europe market) and I agree with Cleato above...one of the beauties of Ti is that you can make them look as good as new with little effort...a feature not to be underestimated as most fancy paintjobs can be ruined in one crash/bike rack/wall scrape.
    Im a fussy customer and im also a real stickler for fine detail so I can vouch for the high quality finish, the welds are fantastic and neat, and the details such as the laser cut disc mount and head tube badge still keep me gawping at the frame after 3 years.
    You are right in assuming that Ti frames are now being built with more lateral stiffness in mind, and the low downtube on Airborne frames not only looks great (like old skool Kona frames) but also add stiffness. Some criticism was labelled at Airborne frames for just this reason though, stating that Ti frames should feel more springy and bouncy, i personally love the ride characteristics though...each to their own i guess!
    One thing worth noting is that due to the double ovalised downtube, there is a tendancy for the frame to feel stiffer than most Ti frames when hammering it on the trail...
    I have also noticed that due to the rather long head tube (if you include the height of the headset cups, the headtube sticks out over an inch either side of the top and down tubes) there can be alot of flex up front when really pedalling hard out of the saddle as this extra length acts as a lever on the front triangle..this is even visible to see(!) but once you get used to the feel of Ti, you wont go back to harsh, brittle aluminium again! .The 21" frame you have your eye on will no doubt have the top and down tubes spread further apart than my 18" frame so I imagine this effect would be less aparent anyway, even though its not really a downside...its just strange when you first notice it! I guess its all down to the flex of the material.
    Check out the Hi-Light frames on ebay in the link above...they are a fraction of the original Airborne price...which was still a fraction of most the other manufacturers!
    If anything happend to my frame..id buy one of those at the drop of a hat. great looks, great ride, great longevity and great price.
    Thanks for the absolutely amazing response.

    I'm looking forward to the lateral stiffness, I don't race but I love to go fast . That headtube information is quite intriguing, Guess it's designed to accommodate a shorter fork. and the longer toptube along with the steeper seat tube would put the rider in a very powerful pedaling position.

    You're right about Ti being a Bling material, But Airborne Frames on the Secondary Market are the Same price as acceptable steel frames anyway.

    Thanks
    -Kyle

  15. #15
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    I've seen some Aribornes on the net kinda cheap right now.........not sure if it's the remade Lancaster, or a true Lancaster.

    None the less, what's the spec for front forks on these things? I thinking if I buy one, I'd like to put my R-Seven on it, but are they designed more for 80mm travel forks?
    "That which does not kill you, only makes you stronger"



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  16. #16
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    toydeluxe- im about to fit an R7 to my frame, the Lancaster was designed to take 80-100mm forks, the Mosquito 100-125mm The top tube is longer than any frame ive riden though, which suits me with short legs and long body! My best advice would be to choose a stem length you think would fit nice, then take off another 10mm.

    timms- youll go fast on the Ti frame-for sure. It loves nothing more than an out of the saddle thrashing, plus when cruising on your saddle, it has the smoooth Ti feel. Just dont use a tyre that is too wide & knobbly if you ride on hardpack/tarmac frequently, it sends a trail buzz up to the frame , and the whole frame hums! , i guess the girls would like this feature though eh?

    You have to try Ti just to say youve done it! Good luck fella's

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieTiHardtail

    timms- youll go fast on the Ti frame-for sure. It loves nothing more than an out of the saddle thrashing, plus when cruising on your saddle, it has the smoooth Ti feel. Just dont use a tyre that is too wide & knobbly if you ride on hardpack/tarmac frequently, it sends a trail buzz up to the frame , and the whole frame hums! , i guess the girls would like this feature though eh?

    You have to try Ti just to say youve done it! Good luck fella's
    You read my mind, I wad definitely going to avoid the tubeless rim for a couple of reasons; not enough psi, weight and size of tires.

  18. #18
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    I found a used 2003 Lucky Strike that I'm considering.

    Will it take a 100mm fork? I'm stripping down my old Ibis to build another bike, so I'll have the option of my Mantiou Mars Elite (80), or my Manitou R-Seven Platinum (100).
    "That which does not kill you, only makes you stronger"



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  19. #19
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    not sure, but the aresti has a 100mm maximum.

  20. #20
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    Anyone know what size seatpost this bike will take?

    I'm not sure if I should keep a couple of my old Thomsons or not.
    "That which does not kill you, only makes you stronger"



    Haro WERX XCR
    Ibis Alibi
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  21. #21
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    27.2 on all Airbornes I believe

  22. #22
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    Here's a used Lucky Strike I got from the Seattle bike swap this year (it was hidden under the table and I just accidentally saw on my way out...lucky me I guess!). I used a 100 mm Float TLC and it is really good. I'm thinking of getting some disc tabs from DeKerf in Vancouver.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #23
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    Sweet!
    Damn they look good dont they.
    Ill try and get a couple of pics of mine up next week, im fitting a new Reba Team after deciding against an R7.

    what is it about the classic looks of a Ti hardtail? To me they are a work of art.
    I used to enjoy looking at readers rides on the old Airborne website, I just posted a thread on the new owners website (Van Nicholas) to see if they would be happy to do the same.

    Keep your LS for life dude !

  24. #24
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    I have owned my LS since 1998. I bought the frame new from Airborne and built the bike from there. I am very pleased with it and I have not had any issues with the frame. The welds look great.

  25. #25
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    Too bad it looks like flyte has gone under. It seems that no one has been able to reach them in almost a month and their site is down.

  26. #26
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    Got One For Sale!

    I have an 18" frame in new condition. It is a Hi-Light HM-2 (top line race frame). The Haro decals in the pics forthcoming are my attempt at having the Haro Mini I had when I was a kid. It was ordered as a "no-labels" version with V-brake studs and Disc tabs for IS Standard. It takes an inboard BB at 73mm (You can run a 68, I have pics of that coming). It can use any IS outboard BB (ie. FSA, Hope, Chris King). Geometry is 71/73, classical XC racing angles, and the frame is correct at 80-100mm front suspension. Head tube is 1-1/8", seat tube is 27.2mm and uses a 28.6mm clamp. The headtube length is about 5". Welds are flawless. Weight is 2.8lbs. Brushed finish, top tube mounts for hydro lines and cables. Top pull derailleur cable routing, top mount rear derailleur cable mounting (all cable runs the length of the top tube, so this is not a good cyclocross frame, and it is a bit steep for a rigid fork). Derailleur clamp dia. is 28.6mm, and there are no marks from mounting my XTR top-swing clamp-on mech (they have a nifty rubber frame-saver in them, and shift like nothing else I have used). Rear derailleur dropout is non replaceable 1/4" thick 3/2.5 Al/V Titanium, and is integrated into the dropout itself, which is stronger than a replaceable hanger and creates a stronger shifting platform. BB shell is clean and has perfect threading. It is difficult to damage a Ti shell with an Aluminum BB sleeve set. It IS imperative to use Ti anti-sieze when threading in your BB. It will seem to thread in very easily, so be ready with the appropriate tool when it stops. The stop is not enough torque for a safe bearing seat. Your BB should come with torque information. Seat-tube length is 18.5" from C of the bottom bracket and the seat post collar center. There is a significant collar sleeve for the seatpost, it is possible to use two clamps if you plan to use this frame in AM or 4X events. The collar is nearly 2.5". I found the seatstays to be wicked stiff for a Ti frame. Other frames I have ridden have a bit more wind-up in the rear triangle. This is not to say there is a bad thing about either quality, but on this frame, pedalling has a more immediate response, and trail handling is more accurate. The fork takes the back wheel with it with no forgiving side-flex, so it does take some getting used to. Side-flex is never a good thing anyway, it just wears out components. So, for those of you hunting for one of these frames, I will have pics up here in a bit, and will answer any and all questions. I am selling the frame for any reasonable offer, and have PayPal (verified account), and will move this to a more appropriate section of this site if necessary (sorry admin. if this is posted out of place). Shipping is with insurance included and will be $45 via USPS.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by timms
    to the top again.
    Is it really necessary to bump yourself? If anyone wants to reply they will. Let's give other threads their time at the top.

  28. #28
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    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MESE:IT&ih=007

    I will relist if the frame does not sell the first time around. If you want it, let me know in the sale that you are on here as a member, and I will reduce the final sale price by $25.

  29. #29
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    Airborne frames are made by the HangLun Frame factory in Beijing. In china they use Hi-light as trade mark and only have a different paint, they are the most widely used Ti frame in china almost every club have a dozen of it, I have hardly heard about any broken ones or because they are mainly used by older riders they never made the ride so extreme. We also have Airborne frames here but consider to 20% expence for the paint much less rider use it.
    sorry for my broken english...

  30. #30
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    Your English is fine, I got every word of it... no worries. I have never heard anything but good about them, and they are very hard to get in the US right now. Not sure why, probably tax on Titanium... who knows... I am looking forward to getting the Yeti built though, and I do hope someone really enjoys the frame I have... It deserves a loving rider who is not afraid to go fast!

  31. #31
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    I bought a new 2001 Lancaster off ebay about 6 months ago. The bike had been sitting in a shop, and I bought it complete for just over $700. Since then I have swapped forks, and put disc wheels and brakes on it (01's were still vbrakes).

    I'm really pleased with the bike. Compared with most other ti mfgs, airbornes have considerably longer toptubes. This works much better for me. Although the geometry seems steep, I actually find this bike to be much more stable at speed than the two litespeeds that I've owned previously.

    The welds are fine, but they are not nearly as pretty as some of the other ti bikes on the market. Given the screaming deal that these frames are, that seems like a decent trade off to me. I'm guessing that the lancaster is mostly constructed with straight (non buted) tubing, it also seems considerably stiffer than my previous litespeeds.

    Not a glamourus bike, but a very (very) good one. I'm keeping mine.

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