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Thread: Steel vs Ti

  1. #1
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    Steel vs Ti

    I am in the market for a new bike project and was thinking about building up a new hardtail. My two current bikes (HT & F/S) are Ti and while I have become a real devotee of the gray metal, considering stell this time. I love the fact that Ti is so resilient and durable. My six year old frame looks as good as the 18 month old one. Wondering about people's expeiences with some of the 'modern; steel alloys from a durability perspective. I live on Long Island and as such have wet, cold winters and plenty of salt in the air. I'm considering Sveen, IF, DeSalvo and Kish.
    MTBDad
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    "Freedom has a scent like the top of a newborn baby's head" - Bono

  2. #2
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    Reynolds 953?

    Quote Originally Posted by MTBDad
    I am in the market for a new bike project and was thinking about building up a new hardtail. My two current bikes (HT & F/S) are Ti and while I have become a real devotee of the gray metal, considering stell this time. I love the fact that Ti is so resilient and durable. My six year old frame looks as good as the 18 month old one. Wondering about people's expeiences with some of the 'modern; steel alloys from a durability perspective. I live on Long Island and as such have wet, cold winters and plenty of salt in the air. I'm considering Sveen, IF, DeSalvo and Kish.
    If you can wait until Spring, I'd suggest looking into an IF Reynolds 953 frame. It should be able to handle the elements and you'd be the first on your block.

    More about Reynolds 953 here. (I'm pretty sure the update date is wrong.)
    Last edited by tvrbob86; 02-07-2006 at 02:34 PM.

  3. #3
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    Also consider Strong

    I'm on a Ti HT but recently Carl Strong built me a custom rigid steel fork. He does good work and will set you up right.

    On Ti vs Steel, I still think steel has a little bit more 'snap' coming our of corners and accelerating. I'm comparing my 1996 Bontrager Racelite to my 2003 Strong Ti here but steel is still highly desirable and given the time and distance covered on my Bonty, you shouldn't have any concerns on durability of a well put together modern steel frame. Ti is just a little more forgving.

    On 953, I hear it's seam welded. Even though the tubes are thoughly test, who know how it'll hold up 10 year down the trail.

  4. #4
    I wasn't Kung Fu fighting
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    Steel vs Ti

    I have a steel kish and a ti kish, both are great bikes that handle beautifully... although I believe that has more to do with the quality of the builder, rather than the material. Modern steel frames still ride great, and are a lot lighter. My steel frame only weights .5lbs more than the ti... 3.8lbs, vs 3.3lbs. Ti rides with more comfort, but definately lacks the pop in the acceration that the steel bike has. Because the modern steel frames use very thin tubes, they are more prone to dents... also you have to be extra vigilant about rusting. Despite all that, I prefer the snappy ride of steel, so my steel bikes out number my ti bikes 4 to 1.

    As far as 953 goes, I think it's a much better choice for road than mtn due to the microscopic wall thinknesses of the tubes that reynolds will be using. Atleast i'd wait a while to see how they hold up. If weight is a big issue, stick with ti, it's still lighter than 953, corrosion proof, and still more dent resistant... and the cost of a 953 frame will rival the ti frame cost.
    Last edited by bykegnurd; 02-08-2006 at 09:09 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bykegnurd
    As far as 953 goes, I think it's a much better choice for road than mtn due to the microscopic wall thinknesses of the tubes that reynolds will be using. Atleast i'd wait a while to see how they hold up. If weight is a big issue, stick with ti, it's still lighter than 953, corrosion proof, and still more dent resistant... and the cost of a 953 frame will rival the ti frame cost.
    That is what I have heard too.

    Back to the task at hand; I have a steel, Reynolds 853 to be specific, and a Ti 3A/2.5V torched by the same manuf., and both HTs. The steel one is a rigid SS and the Ti is geared with a squishy front FWIW-I like both bikes about equal when it comes to ride quality. I give the nod to the Ti bike over the stutter bumps and gravel roads, it just feels buttery smooth but has lateral rigidity. The chainstays are banana-esq. on the Ti frame, whereas the steel frame has straight chainstays. Both have wishbone seatstays, and both are about the same size (the steel one feels a tad shorter in the standover (good for the junk ). The steel rig is no nonsense and is more like a Model-A Ford, spartan if you will but I like that. When I feel I want to ride gears and have a bit more Cadillac, I pull the Ti one off the shelf.

    Given no cost limits in the future it would be very difficult for me to decide because I love both materials. This is my rambling, and I am sure it did not help.
    Tuff Schist

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bykegnurd
    Ti rides with more comfort, but definately lacks the pop in the acceration that the steel bike has. Because the modern steel frames use very thin tubes, they are more prone to dents... also you have to be extra vigilant about rusting. Despite all that, I prefer the snappy ride of steel, so my steel bikes out number my ti bikes 4 to 1.

    I just moved from a steel IF to a Ti IF.

    I switched b/c the geometry of the Ti bike was a little more to my liking. This is my first Ti bike. Having said that I miss my steel ride. I miss the svelt tubing, the paint, and the 'snappy ride'.

    After my first ride, my mechanic asked me about the ride. I best described it as riding with a big pillow under my ass.

    I will grow to like the ride, but I often think of going back to steel.
    aLaN AT BikeMojo DOT com

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