Anyone race on Titanium bike? Thoughts on doing so?

My 2012 Noah race bike (updated components) has seen better days, but facing a 6+ month delays in ordering-shipping bikes from the the local shops, not many options to do anything new. Have started considering going back to alloy, specifically Ti. Anyone still racing on one? Have experience racing one? Have thoughts on racing on Ti in today’s age of super light-super aero carbon fiber?

I understand the drawbacks of weight and aero, though for a 3.5 w/kg 50+ guy with a non-existent sprint and no realistic aspirations for anything at a national/regional level (mainly local races), I’m not sure it’d matter that much.

Any and all thoughts appreciated. Happy New Year and thanks!

Grip it and rip it! Run what you brung and you will be fine. There is an overemphasis on equipment these days. Your fitness and tactics are bigger players than the bike you have as long as it fits you and you are comfortable putting it to the limit.

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Steve Tilford rode and raced on an Eriksen and swore by it. Can take a crash and not be destroyed. Good enough for me.

My frame is a racing geometry Ti bike and the manufacturer’s mechanic used to race the same frame to success. I can see why until my Hollowtech crank gave into the problem which sh1tmano says doesn’t exist it was a great bike. It’s not significantly heavier than carbon and its shaped tubes and internal routing feels aero (a significant amount of drag is the rider anyway, I think I have heard 80%+). The power transfer is unbelievably smooth and it also seems to outperform the folk I ride with who are on carbon bikes. In the back of my mind too it feels more robust more confidence building. I’m looking forward to getting it back on the road :+1:

I raced on Ti for years a long time ago. I rode a friends Ti bike earlier this year. That said, I would ride and race a Ti bike nowadays. It still looks and feels great.

Coincidentally, last time I was riding w/Steve Tilford, I was riding a Litespeed Ultimate. This would be ~2000 iirc.

Happy New Year everyone!

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I raced triathlon on a 2001 (?) Majestic Ti frame (Lightspeed build) until about 2 years ago when I moved over to a Felt IA10. I honestly do not notice a great difference between the two. The Ti is more forgiving due to its dampening characteristics, the Felt is stiffer for power transfer to the pedals. I would 100% race on my Ti.

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When I raced, I raced on a Merlin Xtra-Lite Ti rim brake bike. I loved it. The only reason I sold it was that the max tire width I could fit was 23mm, and since I no longer race, I wanted to be able to use wider tires for the sh*tty San Francisco / Bay Area roads.

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No one is getting dropped because their bike is titanium / non aero.

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I have a Colnago CT1 (titanium main triangle, carbon rear triangle and carbon fork) that I rode and raced for years. Ride quality was superb (made rough chip and seal roads feel like a rubber track), accelerated well, climbed well, typical Colnago “corners on rails” trait. Used it for The Death Ride in California (129 mi, 16k elevation gain), came in 5th or 6th. I wouldn’t hesitate to ride a quality ti frame again.

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I own a nice carbon bike (6.6kg) and last year bought a custom stainless steel bike (7.6kg). Both are equipped with comparable groupsets, and the mentioned weights are with the exact same racing carbon wheelset.

Both bikes are great, and I didn’t have the chance to race my steel bike yet, as there were no races last year. Nevertheless, I will definitely race on the steel bike whenever racing resumes. The steel bike is much more comfortable over long rides and is much more balanced (probably due to the custom geometry obtaining a better weight distribution for my weight, size and fit, but who knows?), so that I have improved all my downhill PR’s with it without even trying. The only arguments for using the carbon bike instead, would be the weight difference — although I don’t think this slows me down significantly — and perhaps more importantly the fact that if I were to destroy it in a crash it is much more difficult and time-consuming to replace, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

It won’t matter at all. Did most of my mass start racing on steel frames. On the occasion when I would race a carbon fiber bike, still rode in the pack and finished in the pack.

FWIW, it’s kind of amusing to race a steel or Ti bike nowadays. Folks notice and gives everyone something extra to talk about while going around in circles. Have at it and enjoy.

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I ride and race road on Ti … 5/5 — would recommend🤘

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Ti roadbike
Ti XC MTB

and at some point a Ti cyclocross bike.
Love them. Yeah, perhaps a carbon aero roadbike will be faster, dont really care. I dont only race the bikes. i want to enjoy them on leasurely rides too. And looking at them.

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The Ti bike won’t be un-aero. The narrower tubes are more aeroer than the fatter AL and CF tubes.

A modern AL or CF bike will ride better than most Ti bikes because they’ll have a longer exposed seatpost and have fat tires. The biggest difference will be the stiffness around the crank; the Ti bike won’t shift as well because the chainring can move around a bit. Otherwise you won’t notice the difference.

I don’t race on the road. But my first TI bike was an eyeopener to feel how good it can be to pedal a bike. I’m a big, 6’ 4" 210lb cat2 CX racer. And have raced and broken, about 6 treks (Boone’s and Crockets) as well as few steel bikes. Then had a custom seven built for me, with the build focused on stiffness in the drivetrain, and its the first bike ive ever ridden the doesnt feel squishy under pedaling. It litterally feels like its springing back. Personally, Im a bit outside the bell curve for size and power, but I imagine part of what im feeling is the property of Ti, part is the way this bike was designed and built for me.

I will try to go with a custom ti bike for myself whenever the focus is on pedaling from now on. Dependent on when I can afford it of course.

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  • If you believe what I learned at the WinTunnel when I was at Specialized school in 2014, a proper aero tube is the same aero drag as a round tube 1/3 the width (vertical orientation in this example).

  • Meaning that a 1.0" wide aero tube shape has the same drag as a pure round one of only 0.3". This is because round tubes are TERRIBLE in terms of drag, especially in the vertical orientation.

  • The actual cost to a completed frame comparison is far from simple, but suffice to say that even a “fat” tubed aero bike has notably less drag than a round tube version, even in steel or Ti with small diameter tubes. There is no way those are 1/3 the size of an aero bike.

As I mentioned above, those differences are functionally so small as to be negligible for us mortals and not worth concern.

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Your making some very broad staments there. Every alloy or CF bike I have ridden has wayyyyyy more flex around the BB than my current Ti bike. That doesnt mean there arent better designed CF and Alloy bikes out there. I dont feel like the ones I road were optimized at all around stifness. But, I’m just saying. Also, worth noting that fat tires are great, but stiffness to the chain stays is often a trade off of more tire clearance. Went with a dropped chainstay on my seven, which is designed to fit no wider than 35’s. I think the reason the treks all sucked was they were trying to make CX race bikes fit 45c tires.

I’ve got a Ti ultra bike. That material is a great option for ultra-endurance riding. The combination of reliability, durability, frame weight, and frame comfort are very well suited to ultra endurance racing IMO.

But if riding on a flexy bike bothers you, it’s not the way to go!

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What you say is of course correct, but only for when testing a tube in isolation and at a specific orientation wrt wind direction. I don’t have the means to prove any of the following, but I suspect in a real world situation the differences are marginal at best.

Consider a frame with round tubes. The headtube has the top tube and the downtube attached behind it so it is not just “a round tube” in isolation. Furthermore, the top tube probably is insignificant as well due to its orientation and the cross section of the downtube depending on the yaw angle is probably more of an ellipse than a round tube. Reducing the tube diameter should also help a bit and considering that it seems widely accepted that 80% of the drag stems from the rider and the remaining 20% are shared among frame, bars, wheels etc, I cannot imagine how a round-tube ti-frame would make that huge of a difference.

That being said, maybe I just suffer from confirmation bias since I really enjoy my round-tube frame and don’t feel to be slowed down by it at all — the contrary. Might have been a different story if I were a world tour time-trialist.

I don’t know what you are basing this on. You can get a Ti bike with “compact” geometry that will have a lot of exposed seat post, plus you could get it with a 27.2 seat post if you want extra “flex”. In addition, you can get Ti road bikes that will take a 30 / 32mm tire, or a gravel bike that will take 45mm tires. It all comes down to how you want the bike built / which bike you get.

What are you basing this on? I’ve had 2001 era Ti bikes (Merlin Xtralight) that I upgraded to SRAM eTap and it never missed a shift. Plus today, you could get a T47 bottom bracket that would be way stiff enough for any mere mortal.