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5 Reasons You Should Be Riding a Titanium Road Bike

Joel Smith

Before the advent of carbon fiber, there was a time that the only way to make a lightweight bicycle frame was by using titanium.

Titanium is half the weight of steel, twice as strong as aluminum, very resistant to fatigue, and doesn’t corrode.

There’s also distinctive ride quality to titanium that has created legions of followers. Titanium is stiff without harshness, comfortable without feeling spongy, and racy without beating you up.

It also looks the part. Titanium’s distinctive grey luster provides an inherent sense of quality and exclusiveness.

Despite the fact that the majority of road bikes today are made with carbon fiber, titanium’s allure has not diminished. In fact, there is a resurgence in titanium bikes, and for good reasons.

Here are five of them.

1. The Ride

Titanium has long been known for its ride quality. A well-designed titanium frameset will
ensure a more comfortable ride over a variety of road surfaces.

But it’s not just comfort that makes titanium so desirable — it’s the ideal combination of performance and comfort. There’s something about titanium that gives a sense of intent to the ride.

Over the past 10 years, Alchemy has focused on hand-making titanium frames locally in Denver, Colorado. But we didn’t stop there.

Our mission is to make the best riding titanium frames in the business.

We naturally surpass what other companies have done by investing in manufacturing our own titanium tube sets. This allows us to achieve a ride quality that is a notch above other titanium frames.

This pursuit of perfection is what makes an Alchemy, an Alchemy.

2. Make it Custom

Alchemy is one of the only bicycle companies able to make custom geometry carbon frames.

Typically, the default custom frame is made with titanium. That’s because a titanium frame can be welded in relatively unlimited ways, giving you the flexibility to make a bike absolutely yours.

Longer head tube? No problem. Shorter reach? Sure thing. 7 feet tall? You got it.

Alchemy offers a complete custom fit studio at its Denver headquarters. Our goal is to use the fit information to perfectly tailor the frame to your needs. And, Titanium is the right material for the job.

3. Light, Strong, Durable: Pick All Three!

You may get the reference to Keith Bontrager’s famous quote: “Strong, light, cheap —pick two.” I modified this a bit to fit the occasion.

A well-made titanium frame is tough, durable, and will stand up well to corrosion. Titanium frames are also light, which makes it the ultimate road bike material. But that also means it come at a cost.

For starters, the material itself is ounce-to-ounce more costly than all other frame materials produced today. On top of that, the base quality of titanium required to make a frame means it needs to be the best in the category. Before the torch even touches a tube, the cost is higher.

Secondly, it requires a special skill level to weld titanium. For most welders, it takes many years of welding experience before they feel they’re skilled enough to attempt titanium.

Our master welder, Jeff Wager, has 20-years of experience welding titanium, and it shows in every tube junction.

grinding a bike frame

4. Did I Say Durable?

I headed out for a ride recently when I saw a 20-year old Merlin cruising down the street. I was impressed.

Sure, the geometry was pure 1995. But the frame itself looked pristine.

Thinking that the bike must have been stashed away in some garage, I asked the rider how long they had owned it. Turns out they had been putting miles on it every day for the past 15 years!

How new the bike looked was a testament to titanium itself.

Titanium is highly resistant to corrosion, highly durable, and will stand up to some pretty serious abuse. Titanium has high tensile strength, which gives it the high fatigue strength that provides long-term durability.

Titanium can also take an impact without damaging the inherent structure of the tubes. So if you’re looking for a bike that is sure to last a lifetime, put a titanium bike at the top of your list.

5. Purpose Built

Alchemy road frames are purpose-built to provide a ride quality and craftsmanship that is unparalleled. We pride ourselves on focusing on the details and hand building a bike that will provide a higher level of performance.

Titanium is a perfect material to help accomplish these goals, especially for new categories like gravel and all road, where the terrain is exceptionally varied.

At Alchemy, we start with titanium tubes that are designed to maximize performance and ride quality…for each specific category. These raw materials are then thoughtfully constructed in a way that ensures long-term durability and a ride quality a notch above the rest.

Discover how our custom carbon fiber process informed our premium titanium road bike process »

 

Alchemy’s Joel Smith has been riding mountain bikes for over 35 years. Starting out in the dirt on a converted Laguna-brand cruiser in the mid-1980s, his immediate love of the sport turned into a lifelong career. Smith raced both XC and DH in the 1990s (in the now defunct NORBA National Series) and has worked on nearly every aspect of bike development over his nearly 30-year long career.

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