As I have mentioned earlier, I have been riding mountain bikes nearly everday for the last 20 years and have always been looking for the 'Holly Grail keeper for life bike' during all that time.
I thought way back in around 1996 when I bought a Marin Team Titanium, with White Industry hubs and cranks, XT and Manitou Ti forks, that I may have found that 'keeper'. See picture below, it sure looked pretty in an understated way.
I was wrong though, it was just another bike in a long line that just didn't hit the spot.
The ride was soft and sluggish, with no instant 'zipp' or 'take-off' acceleration that I was looking for on the hardpack. At best it would have made a beautiful all day cruiser as it was VERY comfortable and soaked up all the 'buzz'. Sold it after only a year of disappointment.
This bike almost put me off my dream of owning a Ti bike until I read the reviews on the Litespeed Obed way back in 1998. I then decided to give Ti one more final go and I am very pleased that I did. The ride is totally different to the Marin, the Obed just 'takes-off' on acceleration, I find it almost almost begs to be ridden fast and totally exhausts me while at the same time soaking up all the trail 'buzz'. Still make me 'grin' when riding it in anger after all these years.
My point is that if you have ridden Ti bike in the past, try not to assume all Ti bikes are the same. It would be like comparing a Halfords steel Carerra to a Reynolds 853 tubed frame, both are steel but a mile apart when it comes to 'feel'.
In summery after countless bikes over 20 years, only two have made it into my 'Holy Grail keep for life' list because of how they feel on the trail.
One is a Kona Explosif and the other is the 1998 Litespeed Obed, and thats from someone who thinks a Marin Team Titanium is 'disappointing'!
1998 Kona 853 Explosif, 1999 NOS Kona 853 Explosif, 1999 NOS Lynskey signed Litespeed Obed Ti, 1999 Marin Mount Vision (custom), Cannondale Bad Boy 700c Disc (everyday hack) and a 1993 Marin for the Wife. Latest build in progress is a 1993 Marin Eldridge Grade with original paint.
"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."