There seems to be a constant debate over the best material to build bikes with. Whether it’s titanium vs. carbon or aluminum vs. steel, each has their own benefits and disadvantages. When it comes down to it, though, titanium-framed bikes can venture places that other bicycles shouldn’t. While it’s possible to take aluminum framed and other types of bikes on these adventures, people find out pretty quickly that titanium was the way to go.
1. Rainforest Trails
In Costa Rica rests the Arenal Observatory Lodge. It’s surrounded by rain forest and a volcano. The view is majestic, but for those who want to enjoy this ride while ensuring their bike goes the long haul, it’s important to have a titanium-framed bike in their checked luggage.
There are countless reasons why someone would take along a titanium-framed bike while visiting volcanoes and rainforests, but the main benefit boils down to a lack of rusting. Unlike other materials, titanium doesn’t rust when exposed to the elements.
This is essential when riding in places that see high yearly rainfalls and extreme humidity – like a rain forest. The area surrounding Arenal Volcano might not offer the only rain forest biking trails in the world, but titanium can undoubtedly take on any of these soaked locals.
2. Steepest Trails Imaginable
Even some people who love mountain biking don’t enjoy the steepest hills. Some people enjoy the brisk breeze that comes along with a 25MPH downhill ride, but for those who want to take on the steepest hills, it’s important to be properly equipped before hitting the trails.
For those who really want to be prepared, this means bringing along a titanium-framed bike. The main reason behind this is its weight. The simple fact is that steel-framed bikes are heavier than their titanium counterparts.
While the weight differentials may not seem significant when shopping for a new bike, this certainly changes when it comes time to carry it through the Antz Basin in Idaho. The trails on Castle Peak will quickly make the difference in weight apparent.
3. Roughest Trails Out There
Whether someone calls them “gnarly” or “very technical,” rough mountain bike trails offer adventure that rookies should build up to rather than jumping right in. From the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland or Porcupine Rim in Utah, these trails are made up of steep drops, dusty trails and multitudes of rocks ranging from areas of pebbles to giant boulders.
These trails can be especially tough on a bicycle, so it’s important that the frame can take hits without breaking. This property is known as elongation, and when compared to aluminum or steel, there is no contest. Great aluminum frames have elongation numbers upwards of 12 percent. Quality steel, on the other hand, can get up to 15 percent.
When it comes to titanium, these numbers sit anywhere from 20 to 30 percent. There are certainly trails out there that can bend a titanium frame past its breaking point, but a cyclist would have to try extremely hard to find it.
4. Every Day is a Winding Road
One trip to the trails around Lake Placid in the Adirondacks will provide novice mountain bikers with enough sharp turns to last a lifetime. A lesser cyclist or bicycle would result in scraped elbows and a damaged bike. While sharp turns can spell disaster for any rider or bike frame material, titanium provides the best protection.
This is partially due the aforementioned elongation property. It helps bikes take bigger bumps, but it also has a certain springiness to it. This property allows the bicycle to react better to the actions of the rider. A lesser bike simply won’t have the ability to respond to sudden and jolting moves by the individual riding it.
Throw in the fact that sharp turns are their most dangerous on steep grades (which titanium-framed bikes are also perfect for), and there’s an undeniable match made in heaven.
5. Biking the Deserts
Palm Desert and Coachella Valley offer some of the best desert trail rides in America. Super adventurous cyclists will head out into the desert on without worrying much about a trail to lead the way. Regardless of their chosen locale, the heat is going to have a damaging effect on bikes made from common materials.
This is due to the potential for paint damage. Heat will warm up any frame material, and this ends up drying out the paint over time. In the long run, this equates to higher maintenance costs for those who don’t want to ride a bicycle that looks cracked and peels.
Due to its anti-corrosive properties, though, this isn’t really an issue with titanium-framed bikes. This is because they don’t even need to be painted. The truth is that paint is more of a layer of protection than a form of decoration or self-expression on a bicycle. While titanium bikes can be painted to match their owner’s tastes, adding this additional potential hassle is far from necessary.
Titanium Bike Benefits Outshine the Competition
During most people’s childhoods, they don’t care what their bicycle frame is made of. For those who hold onto the love of cycling as they grow up, though, frame material has an increasing effect on the enjoyment of their rides. Aluminum or carbon frame bikes might be okay for riding around the track, but for locales ranging from Costa Rica to the White Cloud Mountains, titanium frames remain superior.