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  1. #1
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    Recommendations Chupacabra vs. Ti (either the Optimus Ti OR Carver 99er Ti)

    I have finally settled into the fact that my main ride is going to be my SS rigid. Currently I am running a Misfit Psycles Dissent AL.

    I love themisfit, but I have to admit I am somewhat weight-weenie-ing my bike. I have carbon seatpost, stem and bars, Raceface XC deus cranks, and XC one wheelset.

    The misfit frame, while a nice solid frame that I really do enjoy riding is a little hefty for aluminum at 4.5 pounds, AND it is raw aluminum, and I am a little concerned about how easily it scratches and dents etc.

    I am looking to upgrade when tax return money come sin and I have pretty well settled on two choices (well sort of three choices).

    I am going back and forth between going to a Chupacabra frame OR going the TI route with either the Optimus Ti, or the Carver Bikes TI 99er.

    Here's what I see as pros conns:

    CHUPACABRA: PROS: Cheaper. A LOT! CONS: I do tend to prefer the ride of steel, whcih everyone says is similar to TI, and my TI road bike seems to ride like steel (comfort-wise). The Chupacabra will set me back about $550 right now on huck and roll.

    OPTIMUS TI or CARVER TI: PROS: Much more durable and long lasting than an AL frame. Better ride. Gets away with RAW without chipping/scratching etc. as easily as AL. CONS: More expensive; A LOT! The carver frame or the Optimus TI would both set me back roughly $1400.

    I welcome your opinions... I guess the key opinion I am asking for, is if the ride of the TI would be worth the price jump from the Chupacabra...

  2. #2
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    That chupacabra is aluminum my friend. And its pretty hefty for an Al frame. But its pretty cool if you ask me with the switchplate system.

    Personally, for that much money, you could go custom steel or titanium (triton comes to mind. Great pricepoint too)

    I wouldnt buy a Vassago Ti bike. Too much at risk when dealing with Vassago for warranty issues.

    I ride a Jabberwocky and love it. But I got it second hand for a couple hundred bucks. Not enough to cry over if it breaks.
    I think the optimous Ti has the same geo. Which is great BTW.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    That chupacabra is aluminum my friend. And its pretty hefty for an Al frame. But its pretty cool if you ask me with the switchplate system.

    Personally, for that much money, you could go custom steel or titanium (triton comes to mind. Great pricepoint too)

    I wouldnt buy a Vassago Ti bike. Too much at risk when dealing with Vassago for warranty issues.

    I ride a Jabberwocky and love it. But I got it second hand for a couple hundred bucks. Not enough to cry over if it breaks.
    I think the optimous Ti has the same geo. Which is great BTW.
    I thought I had read somewhere the frame weight on the Chupacabra is 3.6 pounds... is that not correct?

  4. #4
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    I don't see the big deal with the Chupacabra is.

    I bought an On One Scandal two years ago and still don't want to part with it. 3.5 pounds, $350 at the time, and a very simple design.

    To further stoke this fire, I have never ridden a steel MTB I felt "rode better" than an aluminum one. I can tell more difference if my tire pressure is off 2 psi. Anyway, good luck with it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny K View Post
    I don't see the big deal with the Chupacabra is.

    I bought an On One Scandal two years ago and still don't want to part with it. 3.5 pounds, $350 at the time, and a very simple design.

    To further stoke this fire, I have never ridden a steel MTB I felt "rode better" than an aluminum one. I can tell more difference if my tire pressure is off 2 psi. Anyway, good luck with it.
    Yeah, the scandal is definitely on my short list... I'm just a little nervous about scandium still... While I am not exactly a Clyde at 180ish pounds, I ain't a featherweight either by cyclist terms...

  6. #6
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    I've been very happy with my Carver Ti, although the frame wound up being pretty stiff. The geometry is great and the build quality is nice for something made overseas. I weigh about 150 and after a bad experience with a different Ti frame that had a lot of flex, I had Carver build the bike with the head tube gusset, oversized down tube, and thicker walled tubing for the stays. It turned out to be a bit overkill with my body weight, and of course it made the frame a little heavier as well. I'd recommend their frame but unless you're a really big guy, probably stick with their basic design.

  7. #7
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    Don't worry about the material. A frame of any given material can be awesome, suck, break, or any combination of those. Unless it is made of popsicle sticks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny k View Post
    i have never ridden a steel mtb i felt "rode better" than an aluminum one. I can tell more difference if my tire pressure is off 2 psi.
    q f t
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  9. #9
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    I can absolutely feel the difference in a ti or steel frame vs an aluminum frame. I've had a jabberwocky and an optimus ti. Loved both of them and would not go back to a al hardtail. Spend the money and get a nice steel or ti frame.

  10. #10
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    SSJohn, do you have a pic of your Carver? I am planning on ordering one and am just going through the details before I do. I plan on rigid SS with sliders and oversized TT. I am 165 lbs. Davis suggested butting the TT to give it some flex. 1.2mm stays, ultra short with bent seat tube. I dont want it to be too stiff though..Any tips would be great too

  11. #11
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    err...I meant downtube, not TT...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanhugh View Post
    I can absolutely feel the difference in a ti or steel frame vs an aluminum frame. I've had a jabberwocky and an optimus ti. Loved both of them and would not go back to a al hardtail. Spend the money and get a nice steel or ti frame.
    Placebo effect. Saddle, seat post, and tire pressure and volume play a far greater role in perceived ride quality than does frame material.

    The question you have to ask is, if steel is really so hands-down superior, where are the extensive selections of steel frames from the high volume OEMs like Specialized, Trek, Giant, etc. etc.? Furthermore, We see new technology like hydro-forming and exotic alloys being implemented in AL frames to make them lighter and more stiff; I may be missing it, but I see no such advances being made in steel frames. Finally, if Ti is so superior, why is it rapidly being eclipsed by carbon as the high-end frame material of choice?

    Anyway, I am not sure how or even if it could be done, but I for one would be interested in seeing a double-blind study on this topic. I am skeptical that, all else being equal, anyone could accurately identify one frame material over another under these conditions. And until this happens, this will be a religious debate.
    Mind your own religion.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=PoisonDartFrog;8903099]Placebo effect. Saddle, seat post, and tire pressure and volume play a far greater role in perceived ride quality than does frame material.

    um, no... not a placebo effect. thanks for assuming I'm not capable of discerning differences between frame materials though. I've actually had the same setup moved around from frame to frame and there is most definitely a difference, and to me, a positive one.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog View Post
    Placebo effect. Saddle, seat post, and tire pressure and volume play a far greater role in perceived ride quality than does frame material.

    The question you have to ask is, if steel is really so hands-down superior, where are the extensive selections of steel frames from the high volume OEMs like Specialized, Trek, Giant, etc. etc.? Furthermore, ... ...
    Like many other things in our chosen hobby/sport, this is a debate that has no end. We could digress into a long drawn out argument etc. etc. Most folks I talk to tend to believe that there IS a discernible ride quality difference in different frame materials and I agree.... either way I am willing to accept that there is, be it PLACEBO effect, or effective marketing or whatever...what I am asking is for those folks who DO notice a discernible difference in frame materials, would the jump to TI be worth it to them?

    Specifically what are the opinions of folks who have ridden any, or all, of the frames I mentioned?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradg View Post
    SSJohn, do you have a pic of your Carver?
    Here are a few shots:









    My setup is still pretty much the same. I was running a Reba RLT ti at 80mm until I blew a seal and I dropped the stem a little bit which helped with the handling. I'm right at 5'-8" and my frame is a medium. I kind of toe the line between small/med. but decided on the medium due to my saddle height (it would have been cranked way up there on a small frame). I also had cable braze-ons for gears added since it was free. That way if I ever want to run gears I'm set and if I ever sell the frame it has broader appeal.

    Also that is a 2.55 Weirwolf LT in the rear and at 32x20 I'm able to set the sliders all the way at the front and have plenty of clearance, even with a mud caked tire.

  16. #16
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    Not to mention you can ride steel or Ti for years without issue. I have crashed my steel frame more times than I would like to mention and it still doesnt have 1 ding. I bet I couldnt say the same for AL or carbon. While I know that carbon has come a long way, I still wouldnt want to trust crashing it into a pile of rocks!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog View Post
    Placebo effect. Saddle, seat post, and tire pressure and volume play a far greater role in perceived ride quality than does frame material.

    The question you have to ask is, if steel is really so hands-down superior, where are the extensive selections of steel frames from the high volume OEMs like Specialized, Trek, Giant, etc. etc.? Furthermore, We see new technology like hydro-forming and exotic alloys being implemented in AL frames to make them lighter and more stiff; I may be missing it, but I see no such advances being made in steel frames. Finally, if Ti is so superior, why is it rapidly being eclipsed by carbon as the high-end frame material of choice?

    Anyway, I am not sure how or even if it could be done, but I for one would be interested in seeing a double-blind study on this topic. I am skeptical that, all else being equal, anyone could accurately identify one frame material over another under these conditions. And until this happens, this will be a religious debate.
    Can of worms: big companies won't necessarily build the best possible bicycle but somehting that's reasonably good and sells. They count on programmed obsolescence. They don't plan a bike you won't need to replace for decades. They have price points to compete. They sell image, races, weight, trends.. They sell a lot of what you don't need but could use eventually.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanhugh View Post
    thanks for assuming I'm not capable of discerning differences between frame materials though. I've actually had the same setup moved around from frame to frame and there is most definitely a difference, and to me, a positive one.
    You're discerning differences between frames. Not necessarily materials. Since you're a discerning mountain biker, you surely know there's a lot more to frames than material--geometry, wall thickness, tube diameter, butting, etc., etc,. ad nauseum.

  19. #19
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    Have you looked at the One9? IIRC, it's right at 3lbs.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaskaranddriver View Post
    You're discerning differences between frames. Not necessarily materials. Since you're a discerning mountain biker, you surely know there's a lot more to frames than material--geometry, wall thickness, tube diameter, butting, etc., etc,. ad nauseum.
    So to summarize: There may be differences in the way a frame or frame material feels, but you'll never ever know because there are too many variables that you'll never be able to accurately compare

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut View Post
    Have you looked at the One9? IIRC, it's right at 3lbs.
    the reason I'm focusing on the vassagos is their ogeometry results in a lower standover. At 5'7" I ain't on the tall side, and even for my height i have short legs. usually i have to go for much smaller frames to get the standover i like... with geo like the vassagos, i get the standover for my short legs and the TT length that better suits my arms and torso.

    Niners tend to go the other way, especially with their carbon frames with the upward arching TT...

  22. #22
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    [QUOTE=ryanhugh;8903638]
    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog View Post
    Placebo effect. Saddle, seat post, and tire pressure and volume play a far greater role in perceived ride quality than does frame material.

    um, no... not a placebo effect. thanks for assuming I'm not capable of discerning differences between frame materials though. I've actually had the same setup moved around from frame to frame and there is most definitely a difference, and to me, a positive one.
    Agreed, with reservations.
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  23. #23
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    Couple things:

    - My current SS is a Carver Ti - had it for almost 2 years, I love it and is way cheaper than a boutique bike(Ti) and the quality is fantastic. Worth every penny, but I got my frame at a fraction of the cost...

    - You CAN tell the difference between Ti/Steel/Alum frames...done all 3 with pretty much the same components and gear and the Ti is by far the "best" out of all 3

    - Everyone is jumping off the Vassago bandwagon, it was the "hot" bike about 3-4 years ago and due to warranty/frame issues and popularity fading, might make me weary about spending some coin on one.

    ....02.

  24. #24
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    The Optimus Ti hasn't been available for over a year now. The Lynskey built frames are long gone. Unless you find a used one you can cross it off your short list.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy33 View Post
    the reason I'm focusing on the vassagos is their ogeometry results in a lower standover. At 5'7" I ain't on the tall side, and even for my height i have short legs. usually i have to go for much smaller frames to get the standover i like... with geo like the vassagos, i get the standover for my short legs and the TT length that better suits my arms and torso.

    Niners tend to go the other way, especially with their carbon frames with the upward arching TT...
    Simple solution: Carver will build their bikes to whatever geometry you specify at no extra cost. I had a Lynskey for a little while and their geometry had a low standover. You may want to look at their specs. Or, you could build it like a Vassago.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanhugh
    um, no... not a placebo effect. thanks for assuming I'm not capable of discerning differences between frame materials though.
    I am embarrassed for causing you butthurt. Your anecdotal evidence has totally changed my mind.
    Mind your own religion.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by colker1 View Post
    Can of worms: big companies won't necessarily build the best possible bicycle but somehting that's reasonably good and sells. They count on programmed obsolescence. They don't plan a bike you won't need to replace for decades. They have price points to compete. They sell image, races, weight, trends.. They sell a lot of what you don't need but could use eventually.
    o
    This is a good point (points?), and I think it may have some merit, at least with some major manufacturers, but surely not all of them?

    Assuming that steel frames are in fact far superior to aluminum, as well as their popularity, and the fact that aluminum is more difficult and expensive to fabricate, i find it remarkable that not one major manufacturer is willing to take advantage of the competitive advantage that steel offers.

    Really, not Invested in this either way, just trying to think it through rationally.
    Mind your own religion.

  28. #28
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    SSJohn, your bike looks great! Did you stick with the stock 70deg HA? Any tips about frame set up would be greatly appreciated. I am thinking more and more about the slack and low approach with ultra short stays (~16.5") and 70deg HA...most reviews of this style are raves, anyone have a bad experience with this style of setup?
    As far as the placebo effect of material differences, I think some folks just can't feel the difference and they are the fortunate ones. They should stick with aluminum due to its cheap cost, light weight, and stiffness. For those that can feel the difference, most prefer Ti (I sure do!). I just wish "they" would accept their lot and move on, instead of trying to rationalize away their good fortune. : ) Peace!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog View Post
    I am embarrassed for causing you butthurt. Your anecdotal evidence has totally changed my mind.
    I'm not butthurt at all. But, I'm sure your feeling all clever and smug now, so I'm gonna bow out of this one so the thread can get back on topic.

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