Carbon or Titanium road bike, next/forever/last bike?

I have a Titanium Omega Alchemy. Bought it as a road bike and for doing grand fondos in France, (despite its recommendations as a racer) in 2003/4. Originally had 6600 triple, but slowly upgraded bits to R8000. It has been great. Upgrading components makes it look as if I bought it yesterday. Still going strong. Its a keeper.

Only catch is that around 5 years ago tyres and wider rims became popular and there are some wheels where I can only get a 23 on the rear, and one or two (Z404 for example) where I can get a 25 if the tyre is right. (Tyre hits clamp for front mech). It actually has carbon rear stays and a mix of titanium. I can put up with that :slight_smile:

I looked at a Bianchi carbon at the same time and it rode beautifully, but looking back I am not sure it would have survived as well.

I have other carbon bikes and aluminium bikes, but this has been a keeper. I would get another in a flash, were I looking for one, but no need so far. Might do a titanium gravel/winter trainer/touring bike some time.

My experience in trying out some early titanium bikes was that some were really harsh, whereas others were compliant and fast. A Litespeed I tried was awful (but it might have been that model or the wheels). I suspect the builds are more consistent now. Definitely look for a place where you can try them out.

PS when the club mates suggested we bring along our oldest bikes, one day, (They all have very modern & expensive carbon ones) I had to come with my more recent six year old carbon bike, as I had nothing older. that was still older than some of their “Oldest bikes”! :slight_smile:

Couple of photos to show how it has evolved.


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Ignore the titanium forever bike naysayers. I’m still riding and racing an almost 22 year old custom Seven Axiom. It’s on it 3rd drivetrain. Two Dura Ace 9 speeds and a recent conversion to Dura Ace 11. The second 9 speed update was after 15 years of consistent riding and while new components of that flavor where no longer being supplied by Shimano, there was plenty available on the aftermarket. Both used and NOS. Chains are still around. Cassettes not hard to find. Went to 11 because I wanted the extra 2 cogs in the back, and the aesthetics of hidden cables under the bar tape, but the 9 speed parts are still in good shape and sitting in my parts box. This frame has withstood years of racing, a couple crashes and last year survived getting ripped off the roof of my car when I drove it into the garage. I’m not anti-carbon. I also ride an Ibis Hakka MX, but I’m done buying road bikes. I love my Seven and it keeps on ticking.

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Right on. The “forever” bike isn’t a material, its the one you just like so much you keep it going. A friend has an original Merlin Extralight. Last year he had a shop hang Campy 12s on it and is as happy today as when he got it several decades ago.

Forever or not, if you are putting a leg over a great bike and going for a ride it’s all good.

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I just got a Moots Routt RSL. Best bike Ive ever owned by far. To me that was the best all around Ti bike out there, that I could get. I was between a Routt RSL and Firefly. Id shoot for 40mm or tire clearance and fairly normal geometry. Odds are you dont “need” custom geo.

Consider the long-term “future proof” of things like BB’s, headsets, etc. You can tell what will be available in 10-years (because its been around for the last 20).

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This is the biggest knock against my 2012ish Colnago. It can fit a true to size and not too tall 25mm tire. It would be nice to bump up to 28 (probably an actual 30mm) sized tire.

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Material is less important than fit. If you fit well on a stock frame, good for you and I’d be happy on carbon. Personally, at 6’4" I don’t fit any stock frames particularly well and have been riding a custom Ti frame for 9 years. Awesome. I have a new road frame on order (steel!) that will allow for modern wider tires and disc brakes. I plan to build it up with campy 12 and carbon wheels. The pound or so I’m giving up in weight to a carbon frame will not matter compared to having the fit I want. Can’t wait. Fit fit fit. That is what’s important. Get the fit right and everything else will be fine.

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