Have you come across a silver-colored bike and you wondered why its price tag was so high? You would be right to assume it was an aluminum frame. Guess again because titanium frames are in and they are strongly competing for title of the perfect ride.
I found myself in this very predicament last Summer when I decided to buy myself a bike to careen through the streets of France.
My mind was made up as I left the house to go pick out a bike of choice but my mind was boggled by the time I left the bike store with no bike in tow.
So, I went back to the drawing board.With some pros and cons I had gathered from the store manager and after a test drive on each bike,hereâ€™s how I decided.
What is the difference between Titanium and Aluminum Bike?
Kona Process 153
SRAM GX Eagle
Hayes Stroker Gram
SRAM Guide RSC
Manitou Minute Pro
RockShox Lyric Solo Air
RockShox Deluxe RT Trunnion
WTB Bronson 29â€
MAXXIS Minion DHF 27.5â€
Titanium vs Aluminum Bike â€“ How do they compare?
The strength of titanium is unquestionable and very reliable to the end of time. Unlike aluminum, it is resistant to fatigue and has no chance of chipping or corrosion.Â
Seeing as you can get a titanium bike that is close to the weight of an aluminum frame, this will never compromise the quality and sturdiness of a titanium frame and you can bank on it all year round and for all terrains.
No matter how little of it is used, titanium frames can be forged to be very aerodynamic making them fit for racing cyclists of all levels.
To match the strength of a titanium frame you would need more aluminum metal and possibly use thinner wall tubing to create this effect.
Incorporating more metal only where needed is done through a process known as hydroforming that is possible only using aluminum. This process makes tubes thicker or thinner in their walls and along their length.
This is particularly effective when faced with a joint that requires welding.
Aluminum designs bikes that are lighter in weight as compared to titanium which is close to two-thirds heavier.
All great riders know that your bikeâ€™s weight plays a huge role in your performance on the track.
Due to the heavier weight of titanium and its hardiness, it means less of it is needed to achieve the same or even better standards of strength as aluminum frames provide.
You should know that a lighter bike will give you a faster ride especially when trudging uphill. Another plus that comes with a light bike is the ability to accelerate and shift lanes dynamically.
This is why, as a cross country cyclist, I need to lose a few grams to give me a leg up over my competition. Luckily for me, it has worked every time.
However, not everyone choosing to cycle through varied terrains is looking to compete in an exhilarating ride just to be named champion.
Light bikes do not pack the same weight a heavy bike does which helps to cut through strong winds therefore aiding your speed.
Another drawback to a light bike is the difficulty in controlling your bike that will be heavily experienced especially on off-roads that are rough and rugged.
This is why those endure racers will mostly be spotting an alloy frame for better downhill stability.
While aluminum frames will spot dents and then break at these weak points if they are irreplaceable which is not as good as titanium frames which never break, bend, corrode or scratch in any condition.Â
Titanium frame users the security and assurance they need to freely ride their bikes to oblivion.
This is when it is compared to the alloy frames will show signs of damage before they cave in to the pressure. Thankfully, a dented aluminum frame can still be ridden although this is highly not recommended.
As most users worry over their aluminum frames that will slowly deteriorate over time, those of the titanium frames have a whole lifetime to enjoy their bike and pass it on or sell it still in good condition.
However, with the rise in technology, aluminum frames have been catching up and they do stand the test of time when infused with other metals after undergoing certain processes.
Titanium vs Aluminum Bike â€“ A comparison overviewÂ
To help further detail the differences between titanium and aluminum-framed mountain bike, I picked on two top bikes of either metal frame.
Lynskey Ridgeline MTB ReviewÂ[amazon box=”B07BZ85F5Y” template=”horizontal” ]
Made of titanium, this is a hardtail that is best ridden and customized for tours and long-distances even over gravel events.
The bike offers stability and flexibility equally due to the metalâ€™s natural strength. At the same time, the frame is indestructible and can traverse through any terrain in any condition because of the hours of work put into bending and forming it.
It is a full-suspension bike and while riding on the 29â€ tires, you are assured of a smooth and well-cushioned ride no matter how fast you are going.
It also features slider dropouts that accommodate riders who prefer to use the single speed alternative.
- Blend of comfort, swiftness, and lightweight
- Solid front end
Kona Process 153 CR[amazon box=”B017JRISZA” template=”horizontal” ]
This is an aluminum bike that comes alive when riding downhill and the roomy cockpit and short chainstays make the bike effortless in getting through curves.
It requires the rider to be fully active in the process to keep a steady grip on the bikeâ€™s front wheel controls. Shifting your weight back and forth as the terrain demands are key in maintaining your grip at every turn.
It features a plush rear leakage that absorbs massive hits with its 153mm of travel. Progression at the bikeâ€™s end also guarantees a cushioned riding experience but you need to watch out for stiffening when hard braking.
- A lot of standover clearance and room
- Powerful rear suspension
- Durable and Quality bike
- Requires an engaged riding style
- Slow on climbs
Verdict: So, which is better – Titanium or Aluminum Bike?
TheÂ Titanium bikeÂ is far better than the aluminum bike. Not only is it resistant to external conditions, but it can also be made as thin as possible while still maintaining its powers and provide great flex that lessens road vibrations.
If nothing else, the thought of owning an indestructible bike is more than enough reason for anyone who loves cycling to break the bank. This is a once in a lifetime kind of decision.
What is the single worst quality of titanium bike frames?
Apart from its rarity,Â the titanium metal is incredibly hard to work withÂ because it doesnâ€™t bend easilyÂ which gives us two of the reasons why it is so expensive to cop one.
How long do aluminum bike frames last?
You are guaranteed of durability anywhere between 5 to 10 years with alloy frames.Â This is because alloy possesses the shortest fatigue of any other bike frame material.