For anybody who’s ever yearned for that mythical bike of a lifetime, there are two exotic materials for tubing that spring to mind almost immediately when assembling the bike of our dreams. For many, the stuff of dreams is built with either Titanium or Carbon Fiber, and might even combine a fantastic hybrid of the two. The heavenly allure of these materials is matched only by their astronomical price-tag though, which makes the recent news of a brand new and much more cost-effective production method for Titanium alloys a fairly significant development. At least this news offers some people a reason to take a second look at the tubing on their dream-bike…While giving others the chance to consider the incredible properties of Titanium for the very first time!
For Comparisons Sake…
First and foremost, a great bike isn’t so much a matter of what it’s made of, as much as how it’s made…So there’s no need to revisit any age-old debates about what materials is superior.
Though many myths still persist, simply knowing that a bicycle frame is titanium, carbon fiber, aluminum, or steel will NOT tell you how it will actually perform. Each material has been used to produce some truly great bikes, and some rather forgettable bikes, but each material has some characteristics that are worth considering and comparing, the perennial debate between the 2 reigning champions of the exotic tubing world.
Carbon fiber (CF) composites have been described as having a passive (dead?) road feel, while most would appreciate this for it’s wonderful shock absorbing characteristics. Unfortunately, the both the durability and longevity of CF isn’t above reproach, and it has even known been known to fail catastrophically on rare occasions, so it’s far from ideal for the rigors of off-roading, or touring. Titanium (Ti) on the other hand, is of legendary durability has been described as having a much more lively feel similar to that of quality steel at a fraction of the weight, while still retaining a supple yet highly responsive ride. It’s timeless quality essentially makes it a lifetime investment that you can hand down to your grandchildren…
Time for Titanium!
But unlike Carbon Fibre, Titanium is set to experience a dramatic drop in price in the near future. So the idle fantasy of this dream scenario, where you get to choose between a Lamborghini and a Ferarri, might soon become more realistic than you’d expect…Here’s why.
Titanium has historically been an expensive material to produce. Ongoing efforts to replace the rather costly Kroll process (for reducing raw Titanium to its metallic form) have now resulted in a very recently commercialized and innovative new reduction method called the FFC Cambridge process. This breakthrough promises to “reduce” the cost of processing metallic Titanium by 25-50% and literally turn this once exotic and expensive metal into a common material for strong, light, and durable new Consumer products – So rather than only reserving it for the most specialized aerospace and sporting applications Titanium might soon be within the reach of the Common Man.
So if you have any interest in Metallurgy, NanoTech, BioTech, and Environmental & Health Sciences, you might already know that metalic Ti is only the very start of Titanium’s futuristic roles as a key enabler for many other exciting new technologies. If you’d like to take a peek at what’s just appearing over the horizon, where the Future of Titanium awaits our arrival…then come take a quick look at some key developments that will most certainly change the world completely via…