Frame material question, should you always defer to a lighter frame material?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nakedbabytoes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    946

    Frame material question, should you always defer to a lighter frame material?

    So I like steel.
    There is this Salsa bike complete I like that comes in both steel and Ti. But the Ti look doesn't do anything for me, I like the paint job and components on the steel ride. I always said I would eventually get a Ti bike as it seems like that is the pinnacle of frame materials. And I like traditional looking frame tubes and triangles, so carbon fiber isn't really my bag. But here I am balking at the Ti option.

    So I have the cash for either, Ti complete or steel. Is this where I am an idiot to go with steel?
    The bike is Salsa Colossal.

    I run and do duathlons, but am far from podium standing. I don't want tri specific, had it, CF and high end stuff, hated the ride quality and dreaded it. I just want road curls, decent gearing, something I can race but yet ride with my kids on the paved trails or light crushed rock flat rails trails.

    I like the springy feel of steel, I have a Pugsley and a Conundrum unicycle. But I do have a Trek Transport cargo bike that is aluminum.

    I am 39. A small petite female. I run 35-40mpw and ride about as many each week as well.

  2. #2
    dru
    dru is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    2,459
    Ti is nice. Very nice. I'd have it if I could afford it. Steel certainly works just as well but has a small weight penalty, rusts, and just doesn't have the same cachet.

    BTW, all my bikes are steel, and one is a Salsa.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: J.B. Weld's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    14,016
    Are you able to test ride them? Ti has some nice qualities that can work especially well for light riders IMO.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nakedbabytoes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    946
    Unfortunately, I can't test ride either. I am short and they don't have the Ti version and the smallest they have in the steel is 56. I have looked at the floor model for the last 2 months. Keep talking myself out of buying, then go home and google the crap outta both options.
    I haven't ever ridden a Ti. Just steel, which I like, aluminum which is so/so, and carbon fiber which I do not like(or at least I didn't like it on my tri bike).

  5. #5
    AZ
    AZ is offline
    banned
    Reputation: AZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    19,198
    Ti is forever, which could be a very redeeming quality if you tend to keep things for a while.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: theMeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,981
    Don't really get buying a bike for looks, and would certainly not shoot down carbon or any other material because of it. But that wasn't your question.

    Best way I can explain is steel flexes and as ti does, but ti springs back harder and faster.
    Round and round we go

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nakedbabytoes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    946
    I guess if I tried it, that would help. Damn my lack of stature! It is rare that I can walk into a shop and test ride bikes that fit me, and walk out with one. I guess tomorrow I will call around and see if anybody has a Ti bike I can ride. Best I can do really.

    Can't explain the look thing really, I'm not much of a fashionista anywhere else in my life but with bikes, running shoes, and jackets, I sortof have to like it visually for it to catch my interest. So honestly, if it wasn't for the looks that caught my eye in the steel version, I wouldn't even be contemplating buying it in either version. I am just thinking value/ride quality wise, Ti is probably better money spent.

    I am complicated.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,483
    I think if I were "petite", I'd go for the .5lb lighter Ti frame...especially if $$ not a restriction.
    whatever...

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Brewtality's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    5,740
    It would be Ti for me. A Ti frame is potentially the last frame you need to buy.
    However, go with your heart. If you know steel, and like it, go with steel.
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    3,373
    You could buy the Ti and paint it ,or anodize it . You need to ride something Ti to see if you like it. Other thing neither all Ti , Steel ,Al ,or carbon ride the same.

  11. #11
    Cif
    Cif is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Cif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    180

    Re: Frame material question, should you always defer to a lighter frame material?

    If weight and money is an issue, I think buying a steel bike and a new light set of wheels would result in the same weight for less money.

  12. #12
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,033
    Another vote for a paint job.

    Go Ti, and have it painted to look like the steel bike, before being built.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nakedbabytoes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    946
    Wow, lots of Ti votes. I guess Ti is indeed the material of choice if cost isn't an issue.

    It isn't that I don't like the naked Ti look, I actually do, I think it is the black and red bits that don't really do anything for me.

    So here is what I am thinking. I like the stock steel Colossal the way it is. And if I did Ti, I would spec and accessorize it differently anyways. So I will go for the stock steel one now and ride it and love it, then when I decide to finally get a Ti ride, build it up exactly how I want it.

  14. #14
    I ride bikes
    Reputation: moefosho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    2,419
    I am going to vote for CF or Ti. You can get some pretty dang compliant and smooth riding Carbon if that is what you are looking for. Tri bikes are usually made to be pretty dang stiff with a little bit of vibration absorption.

    Ti is the superior material in terms of durability and it can be made extremely light and flexy or just a little bit heavier and stiff.

    I love steel too, but you are a looking at a couple extra lbs in frame weight compared to Carbon or Ti.

    Check out Sheldon Browns Frame material section. The carbon section is pretty outdated...
    Frame Materials for the Touring Cyclist

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    13,557
    You have a size related problem. You need to ride bikes and it appears you can only do that by buying the models you want to try. Ti or steels can be totally different from manufacturer to manufacturer. Small sizes can be less compliant than the norm.
    You need to ride them. Including carbon.
    Call the manufacturer and ask for an option. Talk to other riders who are the same size at events. Or get ready to buy and sell a number of bikes over a short period of time. Get a 30% discount from your lbs if this turns out to be your plan. Order two to start.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nakedbabytoes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    946
    Yes, my tri bike sucked. It was like riding a wooden roller coaster, fast but teeth rattling! I guess that one bike unfortunately colored my judgement of CF as a frame material. So I should give it another shot at some point.

    My LBS is great but very small. This will be my 3rd complete build from them in the last year, 2 of the bikes(this Colossal and my Pugs Necro) by special order for size and one, my current up for sale Salsa Casseroll was a floor model. I like the Cass ride quality wise but am looking for a bit more aggressive geo and a lighter wheelset, along with disk brakes. I want to stick with them as they are a good shop and nice guys. Unfortunately, they are too small to let me order both, build them, then return one OR sell it on the floor, mainly because of the bike size(smalls are hard to sell, I guess?)
    They said I would be their first Colossal sale, either material. They have 1 on the floor, a size 56, the most popular size they sell in road rides. Safe bet on their part, I get.

    I really am cool with sticking with steel right now, I just was curious if you should always go Ti if you can. I mean, sure if I can NOT spend $1500 needlessly, I won't. If Ti is indeed, that awesome, which it must be!
    But I can get either, so I wondered, and asked. I appreciate all the great advice and will see what I can do and what my LBS or the manufacturer is willing to do to let me ride both materials in the bike model I am choosing.
    One would think they would work with you more, I mean even the steel is $2399. And the Ti is $3899, so it isn't like a Schwinn that is $179 or something chump change wise. But I get the why, small shops and local purchase and such.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: theMeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,981
    It's hard to say since the thickness of material, the build and geo vary so but,
    Was never a fan of aluminum unless it is a fs, love steel for the way it rides, but would definitely go with ti because I love it more, it's lighter, and lasts longer. The only drawback IMO is the $ and you say that's not an issue so for me the choice would be clear, but I'd still want to test ride it fo sure.
    Sorta like telling you what my fav ice cream is and why it should be yours too, I feel your pain.
    Round and round we go

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: borabora's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1,069
    Salsa makes great frames. Money no object I'd go with Ti but generally money is never no object. For the same $$ I'd get a steel frame with higher end components versus the Ti frame with lower end components. You'd end up with slightly heavier bike but an overall nicer bike (shock, bar, post, drivetrain, crankset, brakes). Most people wouldn't be able to tell the net 1-2 lbs difference. The exception might be a serious racer who wants to lose the last oz for climbing. If you take care of your steel frame it will last as long as your Ti frame. If you end up with a frame problem then fixing steel is much easier than Ti.

    I think the benefits of flexy steel and Ti are much more relevant on a rigid bike than a HT. The retro look of steel and sometimes Ti is an acquired preference. While I like it some people just think that your bike is simply old.

    Unless you are making money riding your bike, it's a recreation and you should buy what YOU think you like best within the constraints of avoiding long-term disappointment.

  19. #19
    More than a little slow
    Reputation: dskunk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    651
    If you haven't already, you might want to post this question in the frame building forum. Bet you get some interesting replies.
    And I don't believe Ti takes paint very well, so you'd better like that industrial look.
    (And you're never an idiot for buying a new bike)
    Cheers, Dave

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: borabora's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1,069
    If you are seriously in love with steel but have sizing issues as shorter riders often have then you might want to consider a custom-built steel frame such as a Rocklobster. It's an extravagant choice but you'll end up with a on-of-kind bike that meets your exact specifications.

  21. #21
    ~ B A D A S S ~
    Reputation: car bone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    3,236
    is 56cm really suitable if you are smallish sized? I'm 176cm or so and 54-55 or thereabout is what most people say would be optimal for me. Sizing is more important than everything else.

    I would go for the steel one since its harder for the welders to fuk it up, ti is very very sensitive to contaminations in the sheilding gas and on the material. And this is not a custom frame, its semi mass produced. People care less then.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BacDoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    665
    Might want to check out the Russian Ti frames from Triton. Great quality and good price for a custom frame, plus they make unicycles too

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: joshhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    893
    Can you buy one of each?
    Bikes, lots'o bikes

  24. #24
    T.W.O.
    Reputation: mimi1885's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,168
    If cost is not the issue, why not custom ti? You said you need smaller than 56 right? If Salsa does not do custom go with Seven, Moots, Sycip, oh too many to list, however it'd be a while before you can throw your legs over it

    If you know what you like as far as ride quality and how you want the bike to perform and don't mind paying extra I'd go with custom ti, or steel they are almost equally b!tchen.

Similar Threads

  1. Which frame / fork material?
    By edubfromktown in forum Singlespeed
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 11-27-2012, 12:58 PM
  2. Frame Material Poll
    By MoabiSlim in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 70
    Last Post: 10-04-2012, 02:42 AM
  3. frame material?
    By zeppman in forum Commuting
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 01-31-2012, 11:46 PM
  4. Opinions on frame material
    By scpeters in forum Singlespeed
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 11-21-2011, 01:35 PM
  5. Frame Material
    By MoabiSlim in forum Frame Building
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: 05-01-2011, 02:15 AM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.