Thoughts on Ti hardtails

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  • Thoughts on Ti hardtails
  • iamsporticus

    Hi I fancy a new bike for no good reason other than a change

    I swapped from HT to 5" travel 3 years ago and love the comfort (sorry) and security not to mention the ability to bulldoze through anything

    The biggest deal is probably coming round a corner to see a rock field with no obvious wuss option and no room to stop
    On my old HT Id have hated it it at best and come off at worst

    On the other hand I have been feeling a bit detached like the cliches go and so am thinking about Ti

    Id appreciate any thoughts from those of you who ride a Ti bike, any of them, as well as those who have tried and then moved on, again there are obviously a fair few of them in the classifieds so theyre not for everyone


    I prefer a nice steel hardtail, cheaper and easier to fix if it brakes.


    a Ti frame isn’t going to suddenly make you a man!!

    tips for rock gardens on hardtails, pick a line that allows you to pump, manual & jump your way through, also the faster you hit it the smoother it will be. oh, and Stand TFU.

    Premier Icon Alex

    I have a 2006 Hummer – so adjusted for 5in forks – and I ride it 90% of the time. My FS (Pace 405) is brilliant but until it gets really rocky, I’d rather ride the HT.

    Main reason – I think – is it just more fun in singletrack. I was riding Cwmcarn this week chasing a friend on a FS, and while he could pedal over the rocky stuff, I was definitely having more fun in the corners.

    The Hummer (and to a greater extent the Pace) are not the high water mark for my riding. No way am I go to run out of bike, before I run of out skills/bravery. And the 405 is more like a HT with rear suspension than my old 5-Spot which was much more the FS experience, if that makes any sense.

    I’ve had alot of hardtails but this is the one I’m going to keep. It’s just a little bit better than what I’ve had before. Not a "magic material" but just great fun for everything but huge boulder fields.


    One day my chainset will arrive and I’ll be able to finish my Whyte 19 TI and see what it rides like πŸ˜₯


    6061 T6 Aluminium is the new Ti πŸ˜‰


    I have a van nic Zion and a yeti 575, the yeti barely gets used since I moved to Surrey from Liverpool. The yeti was great for rocky welsh trail centres which I used to be at most weekends but for all other sorts of riding the hardtail gets the nod. I am off to glentress on Saturday and am thinking the ht may be better as it is not too rocky if I remember rightly. The Zion has maverick sc32s on so would probaby cope well with rocky trails anyway but I am a wuss and prefer just to plough through rather than have to choose a line through really rocky sections.

    Premier Icon gamo

    I ride a cove hustler and an on one ti 456, had the on one since march and
    the hustler has hardly turned a wheel since,both bikes have the same build
    except the hustler has pikes and the on one revs, as much as i love the ti
    frame there is no way that it is as fast over rocks or really rough stuff
    it probably does smooth things out compared to an aluminum frame but not anything like a susser(unlike certain mag reviews leading people to believe that your going to blow your full sus mates away over everything!), technique is more important through rock gardens, off drops etc
    (and perhaps big cahoonas) ti frames are not a skill compensator.


    I’ve got a Ti456 fitted with 130mm Revs which is a really nice smooth ride. The bike also had burly feel to it which is great for going down and whilst weighing in at 24lbs it doesn’t take too much of an effort to keep it marching forwards on the climbs. With a fairly slack head angle (68.5) and 130mm forks it is tempting to just ride into things but I find the bike comes alive more if you actually drive it properly. It is fairly long too which makes it very stable when tanking along in a straight line but getting it down into corners I find takes a bit more push. It is a great all day all mountain bike giving a super smooth ride whilst still feeling connected to the trail but is not as agile as a shorter bike with steeper head angle and less travel.



    i have an airborne lancaster and love it, its designed for 80-100 mm forks.

    currently running fox f100 rlcs

    i bought it, re finished it with some scotch brite and applied some new stickers from van nicholas (much to the derision of the stw massive, as they are a bit low, and "fraudulent" etc but hey ho)

    got some new forks for christmas and havent been able to use them yet, been off the bike for two and half months, properly doing my head in!

    but i have to say that its the best frame i have ridden, (i’ve ridden a lot of varying quality alu hardtails) great feel, and theres a lot to be said for being able to polish out marks.

    sold my full suss as i just didnt use it much.

    some hastily taken pics


    I got one of the cheap Ti frames from China. It’s a copy of a Lancaster/Zion, so definitely at the XC end of the scale. This was to replace an Inbred, and although the geometry is much the same, it’s a completely different feel. The Ti bike is just so "lively" in comparison. It’s my default MTB now and gets used for all sorts. I have both suspension and carbon rigid forks for it and will choose which I think is gonna be more appropriate or most fun. There’s no doubt that handing (for instance) rock fields is a different skill from the FS, and on a very lightweight bike, it will definitely feel skittish, but there’s at least as good a feeling of satisfaction when you get it right.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog

    Coincidentally I also have a Pace rc405 and a ti hardtail, a setavento copy of a Rocky Ridge with a Pike up front, I love the ‘vento, but I’ve mostly been riding the Pace recently. It’s just a really nice balance of ooomph and involvement, feels hard-tailish and quick, goes like stink over rocks and stuff, climbs brilliantly. I don’t really ride trail centres, but what I do like about the ti frame is the way if sort of hits a certain speed and then smooths stuff out quite subtly. Not springy like steel, so much as damped feeling, if that makes sense. More involving than a lot of sussers, but the 405 is so nice that I’m not sure there’s that much in it πŸ™‚


    Thinking about one myself, though do the 1500/2500 price tags warrant one?
    I think if I was about to enter a prestigious event I might have my arm bent, but for UK xc, enduros, 24’s and general trails I’m not left wanting on aluminium or steel.
    I’d have gone BWDs route and had a Kona Kula copy made in Ti.


    oldgit – Member

    Thinking about one myself, though do the 1500/2500 price tags warrant one?

    For the right bike, mibbe. I’m just glad I got my frame for Β£350.

    Premier Icon Clink

    I got one of the cheap Ti frames from China.

    Where did you get this from then?

    Premier Icon psling

    I have / have had Litespeed, Dean, & IF hardtails. I also have / have had Orange & Kona steel hardtails. They all ride differently! Just being Ti or just being Steel is only part of it.

    Ti has great longevity but how many people really actually hang on to and ride one bike for years and years; IME even when people say that this is their ‘bike for life’ it’s only really until they find they want to move on to something they perceive as better, higher spec’d, more up to date geometry, etc..


    my thoughts are they are more expensive, and much like a hardtail.
    cheapo steel for me….


    Although I usually ride my XC FS (due to my slight bad back) I still have and regularly ride a cheap (-ish) Ti hardtail that I bought in 1996. It’s a Chinese built GT Lightning. I bought it on the small side so the geometry is more this century than last (at the time most XC racers were like gates). It’s now on it’s 4th set of forks, it won’t take discs but it still rides really really nicely. So they can be a ‘legacy’ purchase if you want them to. Oh, and I think it’s probably paid for itself a couple of times over. But I have to admit weapon of choice is usually the bouncy bike….

    i’ve got a Hummer and a Ti456 – Both are better than the FS (
    Nicolai Helius AM) for everything other than big rocks.
    and i libe in NE Scotland, so we have proper mountains and proper rocks πŸ˜€


    hehe, bizarrely on two of the stw arranged rides i’ve been on, a Ti frame was broken on each… all of a sudden like too 😯

    if you can afford it go for it, but steel works just fine for me

    hmm, a Ti kona kula does sound appealing though, but its probably not going to ride any better than an explosif


    I have a litespeed kitsuma ti ht and currently a titus supermoto, with a riduclous amount of travel, last summer it was an ellsworth moment, summer before just a ti hardtail.

    I love my kitsuma funny lively and made my local trails more intresting and challenging, i ride it with a suss post due to back and neck problems. At the moment I am riding full suss and due to above injuries i will for the next year, will I sell the Ti no, coz even if i ride three times a year it brings a smile to my face.

    If i was you I would get a steel frame and then ti. I bought a dialled bikes Prince Albert loved but got ti, did not need to really as they are great bikes.

    b a c o n

    Hmmm….even got the SS drop outs for it now !

    Once you get that Ti frame itch it won’t go away until you given it a good scratch.

    mike – i blAme you for my consumption of Ti πŸ˜€

    That Ti frame itch won’t go away until you’ve scratched it at least once. Some people need to keep scratching πŸ˜‰

    i’m down to the bone !


    I thought I needed a TI frame so got one and probably rode it no more than a handful of times, it just didn’t seem as much all round fun as a steel framed bike. The TI was awesome at speed of that there was no doubt, but if you are not on it then it felt a bit lifeless kind of numb which meant if you were having a lazy riding day just cruising around the trails it just wasn’t fun, where as a steel bike feels great slow, fast and in between.

    I love the way a good steel bike rides and therefore that’s what I know use other than my FS bike, don’t think I’ll be itching the TI itch again πŸ™‚

    It would be wise to have a good long test of TI before committing.


    Thoughts on Ti HT’s……….they are all different!

    I’ve had a fair few now and they all ride completely differently. The current one is incredibly stiff and direct, others have felt incredibly flexy (particularly the cheapest one).

    The longevity of them is fantastic as you can tidy them up relatively easily, but i think it’s too easy to group all Ti frames together when they all vary. It’a a bit like grouping all full sussers together when they vary hugely.


    Sorry to go against Ti but I prefer my Summer season 456 to the ti456. Soz!

    Premier Icon brant

    You should try a Ti Summer Season πŸ™‚


    I have a a couple of Ti hardtails now, a Soa and an On One Ti456, I also have a Merlin Works 4 FS. I did come from an S-Works enduro cos I thought I needed it, then I got a rigid SS and suddenly the S-Works felt dull, flatenned everything, awsome but needed no skill.

    My Ti 456 is the one I generally reach for and with 150mm DT Swiss up front and a Rohloff it is pretty bullet proof, although coming in at 26lbs. it is has pretty much the same angles as a 140 forked version as the DT is very short axle to crown, It is VERY different from the Soda, much stiffer and direct in the corners but still compliant like a good steel HT (my SS)
    The Soda was more flexy, more lively, you whipped it about which was huge fun through the singletrack but a bit too pingy on rocks for me.

    MY FS is also Ti but I wanted a FS that was closed to a HT but comfy for all day riding when I was knackered and wanted to pedal through stuff and for racing enduro’s which is what it has turned out to b, the key for me with the FS was the longevity and ease of keping a Ti frame looking good.

    I gotta say I love Ti bikes but I also love steel bikes, I would say a good Ti bike has the same feel as a good steel one, a little more lively perhaps, but definitely lighter and longer lasting and easier to keep looking good, the Ti456 is I would say stiffer than the steel one and more than 2lbs lighter in the frame….I do like skinny tubes though.

    Interestingly the livelyness still comes through on the Merlin FS, even thou it is theoretically isolated.

    I also find that a Ti HT bought s/H retains its value very well so would be a relatively cheap trial, initial investment excepted.

    Premier Icon cRaNkEnStEin

    I ride an Airborne Black Widow and a Setavento SS (with eccentric BB). Love them both and never stopped me riding rough stuff – just need to go a bit slower than a full bouncer. I owned a Blur LT with 135mm rear travel but hardly used it as there was nothing I could do with it that I couldn’t do with the Black Widow.

    My advice is go for a cheaper 3/2.5 Ti frame like Van Nicholas or Global. Second hand is a good option as Ti looks great forever and doesn’t corrode.

    Hope this helps.

    Premier Icon kiwijohn

    Steel is for people who can’t afford titanium.
    Aluminium is for beer cans.

    Premier Icon guitarhero

    You should try a Ti Summer Season

    Here we go again πŸ™‚ More details please


    Sticks neck out….I prefer the firmer rear of the steel though. The ti456 feels too jittery/’jumpy’. I know its probably brilliant for riders who ride very fast (when it comes alive?) but for a slow rider like me it just feels jittery at low speeds!

    forge197 – Member
    I thought I needed a TI frame so got one and probably rode it no more than a handful of times, it just didn’t seem as much all round fun as a steel framed bike. The TI was awesome at speed of that there was no doubt, but if you are not on it then it felt a bit lifeless kind of numb which meant if you were having a lazy riding day just cruising around the trails it just wasn’t fun, where as a steel bike feels great slow, fast and in between.

    That sounds a bit like my Honda Civic Type-R. Great fun when being caned, but a bit underwhelming when driven normally.


    Plus when you fall (cough over the bars) you dont give a **** about scratching a steel frame. πŸ˜€

    Gasman Jim

    I’ve had a Merlin Taiga since about 1995/96, (and until 2007 it was my only mountain bike). It’s still going strong after 13 years now and 4 summer trips to the Alps, a couple of weeks in the Rockies, and countless outings in North Wales and Scotlend. All the components have changed over the years apart from the CK headset and Royce BB. Considering all the abuse it’s had the frame still looks very good and would probably be pretty much immaculate if I gave it a rub with some scotchbrite and got some new transfers.

    In 2007 I took the plunge and bought a FS. After much deliberating I bought a Merlin Works 4.0. Love it. So much more comfortable but no loss of trail feedback (it’s only got 4" of travel). I can now ride all day with no backache, and as I head towards 40 that’s quite a big consideration for me. Amazingly it’s no heavier than the Taiga.

    Also bought a Merlin Extralight road bike in 2003, no plans to change this either.

    I’ve owned plenty of non-ti frames in the past, but would never go back. I think the big benefit of ti is it’s longevity not really the "ride". Sure you can still break them, but some (Litespeed & Merlin) have lifetime warranties for the original purchaser, and yes I do know people who have had successful claims under these arrangements. Being unpainted means there’s nothing to chip or scratch and if you hang on to your frames as I do then they do represent good value for money. Although recent price increases have pushed some of them beyond the realm of silly money.

    Gasman Jim

    Further to my above post:

    I think if you’re hoping to jump on a ti frame and experience a moment of epiphany, then forget it. They ride pretty much like any other expensive bike. Other things like choice of forks, wheels, tyres, and overall weight will have a much bigger influence.

    If you want a frame that will look as good in 10 years time as it does now, provided you don’t snap it in the mean time, then ti is the only option.

    Any help to you?


    If you want a frame that will look as good in 10 years time as it does now, provided you don’t snap it in the mean time, then ti is the only option.

    disagree on that part. I marked mine after only a few weeks- top tube scratches and a deep graze all the way down one seat stay. Like everything, it depends how careful you are with your possessions and if you fall etc.

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