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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:15 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 9:42 pm
Posts: 32
I've been drooling over lots of new machines lately but reality has to bite. I am limiting my budget to sub €2,000 (appx £1,650). One thing I did not want was aluminium. I don't race but do want a fast handling, good climbing bike. When I go out I go big miles on bad roads so comfort is an issue. This is also supposed to be a practical buy so the idea of replacing a frame every 3 years or so seems absurd to me. I had hoped to get up to Ultegra / Force group set level but will sacrifice that for a good frame.

So, not aluminium. I was about set on a Giant TCR Composite 1 as I could get a race frame, Ultegra group and come in close on budget. Carbon is comfortable but I am still not convinced about durability. I was out yesterday and met a guy on a Titanium "Seven" custom bike. It was stunning. Titanium had never crossed my mind but when I got home I found this: Van Nicholas Mirage. Its no custom Seven but this comes in on budget, has one step below Sram Force with the Apex group but it should be better value than carbon as I won't be upgrading the frame so soon.

Any thoughts? Any of you have one? Am I wrong about carbon not lasting? Will Titanium give me more of a "steel feel"?

Technically this is not a "retro" topic but I suppose my joy at seeing the Seven Titanium and the idea of buying a new bike with an old school feel was showing the retro in me.;)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:49 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 276
Although I had a different budget (nearly half of what you have), three years ago I was looking for something similar.

In the end I found a good frame, new, from the local bike shop, bought the groupset from Merlin and got the LBS to build it all up.

I ended up with a ~£1600 bike for just a shade over £1k (Ridley Triton-T with full Ultegra (including wheels) and FSA finishing kit). It is still the bike I choose for fast rides, using my "touring" Inbred 29er for long, plodding rides (multi-day, large mileage).

The advantage of doing this is that you are not compromising on anything, if you don't like a particular thing you just don't fit it, but fit what you do want.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:23 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 9:42 pm
Posts: 32
Actually my budget came about not so much because of the money I have available but because this is the point at which most bikes that had the spec I wanted could be bought. Giant TCR Composite 1, Focus Cayo 1 or 2, even going the route of Ribble (I have an old steel one already) still came out at that price for the spec. Less would be better. The problem is that even when I find frames at the right price that I could buy and spec to my own taste the cost of getting everything else separately has gone way above the cost of buying a complete bike off the shelf.

The Van Nichols was the least expensive Titanium I found on a short search but if there's better value out there I'm open to ideas.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:32 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:57 pm
Posts: 774
Don't expect a titanium bike to feel as responsive as a carbon race frame so really depends on how hard you plan to ride it. As for the longevity of carbon, no worries as long as you don't throw it down the road - they're a lot tougher than people make out - my CX race bike is carbon and it's been stacked plenty of times. Suggest you ride a range of different bikes to find what floats your boat.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 10:33 pm
Posts: 2192
Location: Suffolk
These frames are built in china by Hilite or some one like that. See if you can find a frame direct from that factory it willo be cheaper.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:43 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 1508
Location: Leeds
Where abouts are you? I have a DA equipped titanium frame you could try and I have 1/2 a plan to sell. Drop me a pm.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:36 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 9:42 pm
Posts: 32
@monty: I probably won't go back to racing, but even on a sporting cycle I tend push hard so I don't want to go all out touring. That's why race framed carbon was on my list. I do take care of my gear, as the condition of my old bikes will confirm, so part of this really is whether or not the carbon durability worry is legit. I know titanium will last but at the expense of response as you say.

@paininthe: Thanks for the offer! When's the next time you're in Ireland?:P I always see on threads "try the bike for yourself". Not always possible here. Stores don't tend to carry a stock of demo models. It will probably be as much down to cost and availability in the end.

@bm0p700f: I'll do a search. Though one of the things I did like about the Van Nicholas site was that they said they'd supply via my LBS. Ultimately my choice will be limited by that one other factor. The guy in my not so local store is a mechanic I've used for over 20 years. I travel an hour past many larger places to visit him because, basically, he's a genius. I don't mind if he can get a cut out of it and do business with the place I source the bike so if the Dutch will deal with him I'd consider it, but I think he'd make me eat it if I turned up with a Chinese frame I bought off e-bay. It's easy to say I'm daft if it costs me more or limits the choice but he will also the the first person I go crying to when I have a problem. Oh, and he's a Giant agent so the TCR really does get his vote. :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:49 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 7:53 am
Posts: 254
Location: Sheffield
I'm biased, but Titanium is awesome.....

Give me the Van Nicolas any day at that price over the rest of the jelly mound carbon and aluminium bikes available in the local bike shops.

If you are not in too much of a rush, keep your eyes on Planet X as I think they are having another batch of their own branded Van Nicolas bikes in at some point...


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:22 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 9:42 pm
Posts: 32
Yeh, I saw Van Nicholas listed as one of the bikes they stock but there's nothing in the link when you use it. Figured they had only stocked them historically and just never updated the web site when they ran out. Was not aware that it was a regular re-stock thing.

Anyway, I'll change my mind a million times before I have the money to act on it and by then I'll probably end up going for something completely different. :roll: In the mean time I'll keep playing around with the old Giant and get the gearing so I don't look like such an old man in the hills. :wink:

I think the answer here is that Carbon is "faster" for want of a better word to sum up all handling aspects. Titanium is more comfy. Carbon is not as durable but then, I am not going to be taking a hammer to it. And Titanium will last if...just in case someone else takes a hammer to it. Really it will probably have nothing to do with such practical argument. The real point will be that I was always riding something different. When everyone went to Alloy in the '90's I bought steel. Now that carbon is the thing, I consider Titanium. :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:19 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:19 am
Posts: 2096
Location: Sheffield, top city
titanium can be repaired if it all goes pear shaped from a crash. Carbon cant.


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