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Titanium bikes have become increasingly popular over the last few years, whereas carbon-fiber bikes have been bestselling bikes for many years. If you’re investing in a new bike, then you might be weighing up which of the two types is best for you.
We’re going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of both. We’ll recommend what type is best for who.
Let’s get going.
Advantages of Titanium Bikes
One of the biggest advantages of a titanium frame is the flexibility it offers. There’s a reason why titanium is the material of choice for many of the best shock absorbers. If the bike has a titanium frame, then the material’s flexibility helps to absorb shock.
Another advantage of titanium is the durability of the material. It’s one of the toughest metals that a bike can be made from. And that means that a titanium bike is a long-term investment.
Titanium is a lightweight metal, and this translates into a lightweight bicycle too.
Titanium bicycles come in a wide range of sizes. It doesn’t need to be made in a mold – a downside of the carbon bike. The fact that titanium can be altered, welded, or made to just about any size means that cyclists can purchase titanium bikes in any size too, so you can get a custom bike that’s a perfect fit.
Disadvantages of Titanium Bikes
Cost is certainly a drawback to titanium bikes. They cost much more than bikes made from steel, for example. As we’ve just learned, though, titanium is a hard-wearing material that’s difficult to break, so buying a titanium bike is a long-term investment.
But if a titanium frame does get bent somehow or damaged, it can also be extremely expensive to get it fixed. There are some cases when it just won’t be possible to fix it at all.
Advantages of Carbon Bikes
The first advantage of a carbon fiber bike is how smooth the ride is. This smoothness is down to the stiffness of the carbon frame, which translates into a better absorption of vibration when cycling, particularly on the road.
And it’s road cycling that carbon is best suited to, which is why manufacturers use it for many of the best road racing bikes. Added to the ride’s smoothness is a lightness that the material offers, which allows for a rider to get up to faster speeds and maneuver the bike more easily.
The material is also very stable, meaning it’s less likely to corrode than many metallic alternatives. Of course, that isn’t an issue with titanium bikes either, but if you’re torn between carbon and steel, for example, then you’ll find the lack of corrosion will be a benefit. Carbon is also able to withstand UV rays without causing any damage, either.
Carbon bikes are made with molds. And this creates a huge amount of freedom for manufacturers. Instead of being forced to manipulate tubing, for example, a bike’s designers can create a mold so that the bike’s frame is the exact shape that they want. And the shape isn’t the only feature that carbon fiber bike manufacturers can focus on. The complete freedom to design a bike how they want means that features such as stiffness or comfort can be at the forefront of designers’ minds as there is very little limitation because of carbon’s flexibility.
Disadvantages of Carbon Bikes
The first big drawback to a carbon bike is the lack of durability that the material offers. While the whole bike won’t crumble completely upon impact all the time, if a certain few weak spots are struck, then it could destroy the bicycle.
Also, carbon fiber bikes need to be made in a mold. And that severely limits the sizes that you can purchase a carbon fiber bike in. If you’re a larger cyclist or want a custom-fitted bike, it’s unlikely that carbon fiber will be your best option.
Who Should Buy a Titanium Bike?
Titanium bikes are expensive, but they’re expensive for a reason. They are highly durable. It’s unlikely you’ll ever need to replace a titanium bike, so if you’re seeking a long-term investment, titanium is your best option. This type of bike also offers a very smooth ride. And the nature of the material also means that you can get titanium bikes in a huge range of sizes. If you’ve ever struggled to find a bike with the right fit, think titanium, as there’s a very good chance that you’ll get an optimum fit with this material.
Who Should Buy a Carbon Bike?
There is a wide range of carbon fiber bicycles on the market. It’s better to focus on a specific type before you decide to go carbon. Some of the best racing bikes are made from this material, and the nature of the material means that it’s well suited to riding on the road, so carbon is a good option if you’re seeking these two advantages. Aero bikes are a type of carbon bike, and they’re very famous for the top speeds that they offer. Carbon is also renowned for its lightness, so if you’re keen to get an extremely lightweight bicycle, carbon is a top pick.
Which is Better?
In truth, neither is necessarily better or worse than the other. When it comes to choosing a bike, there are more important features to focus on than the frame’s material. We recommend you choose a bike that ticks all your boxes. That means that it should be suited to the type of riding that you intend to do, offer comfort, durability, and be inside your budget. Focusing on the fit of the bike, for example, is one of the most important features for any cyclist. If the bike doesn’t fit you properly, it won’t matter what it’s made from, as it won’t be comfortable – or fun – to ride it.