Carbon or Ti road bike frame?

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  • Carbon or Ti road bike frame?
  • TiRed

    Carbon. And forget disk brakes.

    This from a former Merlin rider who was involuntarily relieved of it! “Once you’ve gone black, there’s no going back”. Not strictly true, and I would like another Ti fixed road bike for commuting. But my carbon bike is lighter, stiffer and smoother than my former Merlin. Indeed my alloy TCR is lighter and stiffer too. But if it turns up again, I’d like it back.

    Mine’s a pro-level Giant Defy. Cervelos are nice too, particularly their high-end frames. But the single most important factor above all others is FIT.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    If you actually race, then maybe carbon is better.

    As a non-competitive rider, not sure I’d have another carbon bike. I need to lose more weight than the carbon bike would save. And Ti, or good steel, frames can be repaired more easily than carbon if you crash.

    Disc brakes are the next big “if” – Spesh will have a disc equipped Roubaix next year, their Secteur is already available. Might be worth seeing what happens over the next 12 months before taking a big financial plunge (if you race you will have to wait for the UCI to sanction them)


    Evening guys

    Just looking at buying a new road frame, I currently have a Litespeed Vela (Alu & Carbon rear end) and an enigma etape.

    I’ve been looking at another enigma but in my local lbs there is a reduced cervelo r5 that has caught my eye

    There isn’t much pricewise between the two once you’ve added forks & headset to the enigma, but does anyone have any feedback on cervelo and will I regret buying it over another ti frame?

    The big plus with the enigma is I’ll probably be able to add a disc mount to it, but realistically how quickly are disc brakes going to become mainstream?

    Ride wise, I’m doing around 100-150 miles per week, but this one will be a sunny day bike!


    I ride my Ti bike day in day out, it’s my trainer, winter bike the lot.
    My carbon only ever comes out on race days, the carbon feels like cheating compared to the Ti.

    If I didn’t race and had to choose one, it wouldn’t be either. It would be a Mercian Professional.

    Premier Icon jameso

    If I didn’t race and had to choose one, it wouldn’t be either. It would be a Mercian Professional.

    That is sound advice imo ) (but I’d have a Rourke 953 fwiw)

    It all depends what you want out of the bike. You don’t need to be a racer to prioritise racy aspects in a bike. If you do, the R5 would be a good option.
    Disks – who cares if they’re mainstream, just depends if you value the wet-weather braking enough to add the weight etc. For a sunny day bike personally I wouldn’t bother, haven’t seen the need yet anyway.


    Thanks guys,

    I did look at the Mercian, they are pretty local to me too. So custom fitting would be easy. That Planet X is good value but not really for me to be honest.

    I’m not racing at the moment, just general riding & club runs, so it needs to be a little bit durable too but it’s not the be all for me. Anyone got any experience of the BBright bottom brackets on the cervelo too?

    Brakes wise, it’ll be a sunny day bike so I’d say discs wouldn’t be essential just trying to future proof a bit

    My cheap 2nd hand alu/carbon Condor Squadra is more comfy to ride and feels faster than the £1k Ti Lynskey frame it replaced.
    Material choice is overrated in my opinion.

    ..and discs, Why? For CX maybe but on the road, nah.


    I’d go stainless steel – loving mine, nicer ride than the Ti frame I had previously.


    Titanium will crack, carbon will melt in the heat 😉 , custom steel is the way forward!

    Fit is everything. My Roberts just feels responsive, particularly on fast alpine descents, and it’s beautifully compliant. Great confidence inspiring bike.


    Cheap Ti and proper Ti are two very different things.

    A Van Nic just can’t compete to a custom Seven where every tube is chosen for the particular rider.

    You can keep your plastic tat and for that matter your stainless and normal steel


    I do love my ti merlin magia and have always snubbed plastic tat bikes
    But borrowed a sl3 roubaix for a ride last week and was very impressed with the comfort


    I have had a Van Nic ti, and I would have to echo the comments above. The Enigma Esprit below is the best frame I have ever owned. If you were anywhere near the Angus Glens and 6″3″ you could have a shot.

    Premier Icon kilo

    MoreCashThanDash – Member
    And Ti, or good steel, frames can be repaired more easily than carbon if you crash.

    Have you any basis for that? A number of carbon bikes have been repaired for clubmates, quite easily and one even repaired a snapped frame himself, which I’m not sure he’d be doing with ti or steel. I vote carbon (I have a Roberts and a couple of carbon frames and the carbon gets used more even though the roberts is lovely)


    Ti seems popular with the over 40’s ime and bike for life types. But really just go for that you want.


    My current road bikes

    Etape (Ti)
    Giant TCR SL (CF)
    Felt F4 (CF)
    Argon E112 (CF)

    Discounting the Argon as it’s a TT bike, I’ve got these for different types of riding.

    The Felt should really go as it’s a bit dead and arguably the wrong dimensions, but it gets used as the 2nd best, dry weather road bike.

    The Etape is the winter wagon and whilst it’s the heaviest, it’s seen the most miles and is I guess the most comfortable. I also have a Ti TT frame that I might resurrect.

    The Giant is a breath of fresh air compared to the other road bikes I’ve owned over the years. Yes it’s very racey and taut but at the same time it’s surprisingly compliant and more importantly, the geometry is right for me.

    If you’ve got the opportunity I’d say try a CF frame for variety and ‘Sunday Best’ type rides. I can from experience say that CF frames aren’t equal and that after the correct fit, construction and materials DO make a noticeable difference.


    Cheap Ti insert material of choice and proper Ti insert material of choice are two very different things.

    Holds true for Ti, Carbon, Steel and Aluminium. Geometry and fit are foremost, material comes after that.

    For Sunday best, I think that shiny/painted 953 is the new Ti. But then I commuted on my nice carbon bike with aero wheels this morning. Why? Because I just love riding it. Club runs, Masters races, Sportives. If it’s the bike you love to ride, then it doesn’t matter what the discipline. The caveat is Cat4 crash fests. Rode the carbon in one of those, and it’s back to the alloy TCR!!!

    … the carbon feels like cheating compared to the Ti.

    And this has more than a ring of truth about it.


    I looked at the Cervelo R3 when I was last shopping for a high end road bike, it was lovely and I was very tempted but ended up getting a deal on a Storck so went with that.

    If it’s a sunny day bike I’d go for the R5. I’ve been using my Storck (against my wishes) for commuting duties for the last year and it’s stood up well even through the worst weather. I wouldn’t worry about carbon being too delicate, just ride it and don’t crash!

    Also, if it’s a sunny day bike you don’t need discs.

    As above though, fit is everything so try them both.

    Premier Icon brassneck

    Ti purely because every Tom Dick and ‘Arry has a carbon bike now 🙂

    Premier Icon ransos

    Ti road frames are barely lighter than high end steel. If I wanted something flash, I’d go for a custom made steel from Rourke or similar, with disc brake mounts so it’s future-proofed.


    I’m tempted at some point to add a carbon frame to my small collection to complement my 6/4 Merlin which is now 8 years old. I can’t see it happening in the next couple of years but when I do it’ll also be built up with EPS because it would seem rude not to.

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