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Carbon or Titanium???

Which makes for a better bike?  Can a carbon framed hardtail ever be as good as a titanium one. Is a carbon frame going to wear out in 5 years time? Is carbon too stiff? Does it make more sense to save up and buy a titanium frame that will last a lifetime? Is the ride quality of a titanium bike superior?

These are questions we get asked a lot at the moment. With the new updated Ti 456 now available for pre-order and the Carbon 456 gearing up for full availability within a month there has never been a better (or more confusing) time to get into the world of top class hard tails. Hopefully this blog, written from a non technical viewpoint will offer a few ideas and a bit of clarification.

The 456 geometry is really well balanced, solid and extremely ridable whether it be on a steel, Ti or carbon frame. But of course the frame material does make a big difference. Steel has a great ride quality but is relatively heavy- what about the new carbon and titanium 456 frames then?

Carbon 456- Our latest carbon frame:

Carbon is stiff. More accurately it's stiff in only one direction, so we have specified the lay-up to be both stiff and strong around the bottom bracket area and the massive downtube.  The bottom bracket area has extra layers to maximize power transfer.  The Downtube has a unique profile for rock deflection and strength.

The Carbon 456 is a stiff frame, but it's not so stiff that you feel broken after a decent downhill. I rode it for a weekend up at Glentress and immediately fell in love with it. Fitted with Fox Float 32 140mm forks the balance was awesome. I found it to be incredibly controllable in every way- accurate tracking, sharp steering, balanced and efficient climbing, awesome downhill and in the air too...

This bike rides so light you feel like you want to fly. Rather than crash. But there's no feeling of jumpiness or fragility. For me it ticked all the boxes and I love the way you can just point it down the trail and go.

carbon 456








 
Ti 456- Latest generation of our classic titanium MTB:

Titanium is unquestionably different. A universally respected wonder material it pretty much offers all the ride characteristics that most of us need. The Ti 456 is fairly stiff, at least in the crucial transmission of head-tube areas, but when it comes to smoothness this is where the Ti comes into it's own. Riding Ti is as close to riding full-sus as you can come (with none of the weight and climbing penalties of course). The rear end is so supple you'd think it was sloppy. But it's not. The feeling of control lets you ride faster, more confident and more controlled and it's almost like the trails slow down to suit.

Titanium also has unparalleled durability and our frames are offered with a lifetime warranty.  It is almost indestructible. It will not rust or tarnish and it's ride quality will be just as good when you pass it on to your grandchildren.

ti 456

Summary:

It's difficult to say which is the better 456 outright as both have their own strengths. The way I see it is this:

If you like to fly down the roughest, hardest lines go for the Ti- it will make everything much more controllable. However if your style is more skipping through the bumps and chosing the fastest, smoothest line then you will love the Carbon- it's super fast and agile yet easily tough enough to take on the very hardest of trails.

In the coming weeks we'll be running a series of technically related blogs that hopefully will help answer some of your questions. If there's anything you'd like to know in the meantime drop us a line and we'll try our best to answer!

10 August 2010

Comments

  • JonB (On One Team)

    The 456 geometry has been the same since before 2006 Ben. The 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mentally seems to be doing the trick- we love the various 456's more than ever...

  • JonB (On One Team)

    Hi Simon, there was a slight communication breakdown between Stevo and myself and indeed the Ti 456 is marginally heavier at 1700g. Thanks for getting in touch.

  • BenC

    @JonB - Is the geometry for the current carbon and Ti 456's the same or has it changed in recent years? I have a 2006 456 that i run with 100mm pace forks. I love the setup but its time to go lighter, will these be the same? Thanks

  • BruceM

    What's the weight difference (if any) between the two frames?