VamootsCR-1
  • Lyre_bird

    Just for the record, the stress strain curve for Ti 3Al2.5V alloy is linear below its elastic limit so the modulus (the slope of the S-S curve) is constant, just like every other metal. Tom is a very smart guy but he’s wrong on this one.

    • So is there a difference in the behaviour of Ti alloy versus steel to explain a difference in feel? Or is it simply a function of thinner tubing?

      • Lyre_bird

        Matt

        I don’t know what makes ride quality and I don’t think anyone else does either. There have been some theories regarding damping factors in metals accounting for the differences but these have been debunked.

        I’ve emailed you about some work I’ve done on the topic, I don’t want to hijack this review.

        • Chris Killer

          I wouldn’t mind a read of that too actually…

        • It’s a fascinating topic that I think will make for a great post at another time. I remember reading about the effort McLaren was undertaking to come up with a formula to define ride quality for Specialized. Ambitious no doubt, but I worry that they’ll miss something in trying to define it with a formula.

          • That would definitely make a good article Matt. Get to work! ;-)

      • echidna_sg

        Its not just steel that is different…
        having ridden two otherwise identical Ti bikes (same brand, model and geometry, very similar butting process), the one built from 6Al/4V was/is far harsher on the body over long distance than the 3Al/2.5V variant… but for climbing, the lack of sideways flex in the BB in the 6/4 frame makes it worthwhile…
        horses for courses ;-)

    • Duncan Farrow

      A technical question – does the S-S curve depend on the geometry of the of the material being tested? For example, is the S-S curve for a tapered rod linear if the S-S curve for a rod of uniform thickness is linear? My naive instinct tells me that it will be…

      • Lyre_bird

        As long as all the material stays below the elastic limit, the modulus is constant.

        For a given overall load there will be greater stress at the narrow end of the tapered rod; the strain at that end will also be greater but the ratio between them will be the same.

        I hope that’s clear enough.

  • CC

    Ti’s – all about the welds… them beads ~ :)

  • krashdavage

    Matt, I enjoy your reviews but just a general comment about wheels and tyres. Surely the wheels and tyres will have a significant effect on the comfort and response of each bike. Do you (and if not should you) have a set of baseline wheels you try with every bike your review? Say Mavic prebuilt or quality hand built? I’m sure CT would cough up the $ for you to keep those in the garage?

    • Wheels have an influence for sure, so I swap around wheels as I spend time on the bike. A low profile alloy wheelset (Stan’s Alpha 340s laced to DT 240s hubs and shod with 23mm Continental GP4000s) defines my baseline, it’s what I do most of
      riding on so I know what to expect from them.

      • Sean Doyle

        I think this is a highly important point. As Mark said above ride quality is impossible to define. WAY to many variables and everybodies senses are tuned differently. The marketing around it is full of hyperbole and lies basically. Wheels and tyres, seat and seatpost, stem and bars all have way more affect on ride quality than the frame. So as Matt has done in having a set of wheels he uses all the time or a lot, it gives him a base line to compare.

        What I do find pretty cool is that a high end steel frame will match for weight and fairly high end Ti frame for a lot less cost in most cases. (excl. stainless.) The days of steel being ‘heavy and flexy’ are long gone.

  • velocite

    Some months ago I resurrected my 1981 Apollo IV as a local and wet bike. Steel frame of course. My initial reaction to the ride was that if felt alive, that is my reaction was similar to Matt’s on this titanium bike. I even commented to friends that it was something of a revelation. 1000 kms down the track, having got thoroughly used to it, ‘alive’ is not the sense I get. I can feel the road for sure, but the bike itself I’d almost describe as dead – just transmits the road. I just consulted Wikipedia for Young’s Modulus for steel and titanium alloy, and I see that it’s about twice as elastic as steel, so I’m wondering how noticeable that in itself might be.

    But my bottom line is it’s a very subjective business, assessing ride quality. And I’m not tempted away from carbon.

  • I ride Ti

    I see on Twitter that Lance rode a Moots in the TdF charity ride.

    • VerticallyCompliant

      I find it interesting what bikes ex pros choose to ride on when they retire. Although I’m sure Lance, even with his diminishing funds didn’t fork out for his Moots personally.

      • Morten Reippuert Knudsen

        Lemond has been riding a custom Spectrum titanium for years (Tom kellogs own shop) – it looks like a mix between a Merlin Works TR and Works CR – semi compact with the bi-overlized tubes from the Works range – not the traditional classic etralight design but the modern design from 2006.

        Andy Hampston rides a Kent Erricson build Hampston Travelissimo TI with room for huge tires and SS torque couplers

        – i noticed on Eurosports transmission that Fletcha rides a Passoni – also a custom titanium frame.

        go figure why ex pros doesn’t seem to prefer overpriced chinese plastic frames the where paid to ride.

        • A tad disingenuous as Armstrong also rides a Parlee Z Zero.

  • VerticallyCompliant

    “Moots tunes each part of the frame with machining, internal butting and swaging.”
    It must be the added Swag that makes these so desirable.

  • Choco

    How do I say this without being negative? Full drive side pics! Rookie stuff…

    • Easy – you leave off the ‘Rookie stuff…’ comment.

  • Oddball

    How would this compare to a Baum?

    • A Moots costs less and has a shorter lead time, but there’s no easy option for a painted finish. As for ride quality, this is tricky because Baum doesn’t offer a stock frame because they customise each frameset to suit the needs/desires of each customer.

      • Oddball

        Thank you Sir

  • Oliver Romov

    I had a cr for a years and a half. Nice bike but totally over hyped. I sold it and now riding a Lynskey helix os. Could not be happier, the bike is stiffer more responsive and has better ride quality and oh yes it’s cheaper.

    • And you’d be the first person who has ever gone Moots – Lynskey and been happier. Glad you like your ride though.

  • duanegran

    Wonderful summary of the ride experience. I’ve been riding a titanium custom bike (not Moots, but a builder of equal competence) for a few years, having come from a decade of experience on carbon and it is hard to explain the difference. If you ever get a chance to test ride one you should. It isn’t for everyone but if you like to buy something once and enjoy it for many years it is hard to beat Ti bikes. My wife’s Ti bike is 15 years old and it looks and rides as beautiful as the first day she rode it.

    • Marylou P. Helms
    • Robert Merkel

      This.

      I have a carbon aero bike for racing, but my everything else bike has a Ti frame. I expect the frame will outlive me.

      • chop

        I got my Ti custom roadie from Russia 6 months ago (awesome quality, great price, long lead time), and I LOVE it. I don’t have much to compare to as previously I rode an 11yo alum cervelo that was harsher than a scorned mother-in-law, but I doubt I will ever change away from Ti now. Stiff and responsive, but much more comfortable somehow. Now starts a long and arduous N+1 conversation for Ti cx, new Ti mtb,…..

    • Eat More Lard

      Different experience for me. I’ve had a Ti bike for about 2.5 years now and I’ve never fallen in love with the “ride quality”. I love the silence of the ride – the “hum” as Matt says – but it’s just not been as comfortable or as exciting to ride as my BMC Teammachine, my go to bike (ridden over 500km in 24hrs on the Oppy recently). I really want to love the Ti but I’ve finally decided to sell her on and stay with the carbon. I fully accept it could well be the geometry that works better for me on the BMC (and my SystemSix before that and my CAD3 before that!) but I never got the Ti love. As for steel, well that’s a whole different story…

    • Morten Reippuert Knudsen

      agree… i still ride a my 2006 Merlin Works CR 3/2,5 size M with a little custum job in the geometry (2mm lower BB to emulate the low center of gravety from my 90’ies Moser Leader AX)

      I wouldn’t trade it for anything but a new Spectrum (Baum looks nice as well, and he seems to have the same ‘insights’ to tuning a ti i frame as Tom Kellog)
      – i’m getting older and less felxible and i could use a centimeter extra on the headtube, though, A pair of sandmachine cupplers, disc brake mount and clearance for 30mm tires (+2mm) would be usefull for my yearly alpine trips as well – but regarding basic geometry, tube dimensions and manipulation the Merlin Works CR is spot on.

  • Gabriel Sturges

    I ride a litespeed ti frame, as does my dad. I would never go for anything else. The feel of the bike is fantastic, and is very responsive, almost as though it wants me to push it harder. It may not be the most aerodynamic or stiffest, but to be honest, the most important component on the bike is the rider. If you feel comfortable on the bike, that will make you go faster than even the most aero, yet ill-fitted carbon rig

  • SeanMcCuen

    nice ti frames have an elegance up close, but I want one because they last and road feedback is superior to the dead feel of carbon.

    • Morten Reippuert Knudsen

      spot on. durability and roadfeel

    • I agree – well made Ti frames (like this Moots) have a beautiful industrial elegance, but not all carbon feels dead. Perhaps you could look at a wider range or a higher quality carbon item.

  • kasual

    Nice write up! Damn shame that this if your first metal bike review in almost 5 years with the publication. Ti and steel bikes offer
    terrific ride quality and, in the case of steel, terrific value. Now you need to subtly start encouraging the higher ups to solicit an
    853 and 953/XcR bike for comparison purposes, of course.

  • Winky

    I’m probably going to duck over to see Sam at Naked Bikes on Saltspring Island for my next winter bike. Steel (or perhaps Ti if the budget will stretch) with a race geometry in terms of position, slightly slower handling, hydraulic (non-SRAM) discs and fender mounts (and clearance). After many years on carbon, I’ll be interested to see what I think….

  • Andy

    I’ve been riding my moots for about about 10 years. It’s on its third group set, and every part on it has worn through and been replaced at least once (with the exception of the excellent Chris King headset and BB). After an incredible number of hard K’s, it still looks and rides like it did when it was new. It was checked on an alignment table after about 75k km’s and they said “Its dead straight – straighter than most of the new bikes that come through here”. Given the experience I have had on other bikes over the years, I reck’n that I’d have gone through at least three high-end carbon frames in this same time-frame. And the best thing is that I paid just under $3k for the frame new. So the cost equation needs to consider more than the one-time purchase price.

    Matt’s comments about ride characteristics are pretty spot on. I think that some of this stems from the the more “springy” feel of metal tubing. Carbon bikes feels more damped and inert — I have not ridden one that “pushes back”. Yes, carbon can be super light – and with the right design, geometry and build quality can be a great race bike. I rode a new S-works recently that had the most amazingly direct power transfer and agility. But carbon’s main advantage is that it can be used to pump out consistently high quality bikes at huge scale with very low manufacturing cost.

    Personally, I’d happily race the S-works, but I’d rather _ride_ on a well-made Ti bike.

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