If you’re thinking of purchasing a new bike or replacing an old bike, you may want to consider investing in a bike with a titanium frame.
In 2022, the most popular bike frames are carbon, aluminium, steel, and of course titanium. Titanium frames most likely last the longest out of these metals - but how long exactly do they last? Are they resistant to corrosion and rust?
If you want to know more about titanium bike frames, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn all about titanium, titanium bike frames, and how long titanium bike frames last.
What is Titanium?
Reilly Cycleworks was one of the first bike brand to discover the magical properties of titanium in bike frame design. The bike industry's ongoing search for a 'perfectly balanced' bicycle (in terms of stiffness, weight, comfort and durability) is ironic as the material with the best of these characteristics has existed for a long while; Titanium - it is stunningly lightweight and responsive for when the pace or road goes up but beautifully smooth and efficient for all day comfort.
First discovered back in the late 1700s in Cornwall, titanium is one of the most popular metals. The chemical symbol for titanium is Ti - with the atomic number of 22. The most common titanium compound is titanium dioxide, which is used in the manufacturing of white pigments. Some other compounds may include:
- Titanium trichloride
- Titanium tetrachloride
Titanium can be alloyed with a variety of metals such as aluminium and iron to produce strong yet lightweight alloys. Some industries that use titanium alloys include the automotive industry, aerospace, industrial, agriculture, medical, dental, and many more.
Despite being a relatively expensive metal, titanium is pretty abundant in the earth's crust - being the ninth most plentiful. Typically, titanium has a silver appearance with a low density and a high strength. This is why it’s one of the best materials to use for a bike frame - read on to learn how titanium bikes are made.
The Benefits of Using Titanium
As we’ve established, titanium is a great metal to use in a wide range of industries. It’s one of the strongest metals - even stronger than steel. One of the key benefits of titanium, aside from its strength, is that it’s lightweight. This makes it the perfect material for vehicles and bicycles - specifically bike frames.
After all, no cyclist wants to be riding on a bike that weighs them down, do they? Titanium has a gravity of 4.5, which is roughly 60% lighter than the same amount of iron, and 40% lighter than the same amount of copper. Another benefit of using titanium is that it’s non-toxic and biocompatible. Other metals such as steel, iron, and aluminium can be toxic, but titanium is completely non-toxic to animals and humans.
Titanium has an impressively high melting point of around 1688°C - so you certainly won’t have to worry about leaving your bike out in the hot sun during the summer months! This is one of the reasons why titanium is used in jet engines and foundries.
Although titanium is strong, pure titanium can be soft - which means that it can be easily fabricated and machined into a variety of components in a wide range of applications - a prime example being titanium bike frames. Read on to learn more about how titanium bike frames are made.
How Are Titanium Bikes Made?
When used in bike frames, titanium is used as an alloy with other metals such as aluminium or vanadium.
During the process, different proportions of titanium and other metals may be used depending on the desired properties - for example, more titanium may be added to make a stronger and more durable frame. Titanium tubesets may be hydroformed or they can be cold drawn - but this depends entirely on the manufacturer.
Does Titanium Rust?
One of the reasons that titanium is so widely used is because of its strength - not only does it have a high melting point and great strength, but pure titanium is also rust-resistant. However, titanium mixed with other metals could rust depending on the alloy.
Titanium oxide relies on the presence of oxygen - which is generally formed around the outer layer of pure titanium. Without titanium oxide covering the pure titanium, it could easily corrode like other corrosive metals.
This means that if titanium is stored in an environment with no oxygen (for example, a vacuum or in space), then the titanium would corrode as it would be susceptible to oxidation, chemicals, corrosion, and rust.
The bottom line is that when used in bike frames, titanium oxide will not rust, and should remain in top condition for a long period of time.
How Long Do Titanium Bikes Last?
Reilly's titanium bike frames come with a lifetime warranty from delivery for the original owner. This isn't just because titanium is such a strong metal, with great stiffness and resistance. Our best-selling gravel, adventure and road bikes are built to Mark Reilly’s ground-breaking frame geometry, optimised for comfort and speed. Handbuilt using premium grade titanium for durability and finesse, Reilly frames will last you for decades of rides to come.
Titanium is rust-resistant, which means it’s able to withstand corrosion - which is one of the contributing factors in its long life span. Titanium is also unaffected by extreme temperatures - so if you live in a humid area, a cold area, or a rainy place, your titanium frame bike will be sure to withstand the elements and remain in top-notch condition. Unlike some other metals, sun exposure won’t damage titanium bike frames, meaning you can keep your bike safe all year round.
Are Titanium Bike Frames Expensive?
Because titanium is such a durable and strong metal, you can expect titanium bike frames to be more expensive than other material bike frames - for example, steel bike frames and aluminium bike frames. It's also remarkably stylish, durable and lightweight. Thanks to our years of experience in producing titanium bike frames, your dream bike will provide unrivalled experiences for years to come.
Our extensive titanium bikes range reflects decades of experience crafting titanium bikes. Starting with our T325 Road Caliper, priced from £3,549, famed for being fast, direct and beautifully smooth, to our most recent offering, the brand new Fusion, priced at £7,499, with its aerodynamic cast titanium frame set to rival carbon racing bikes on the road.
Many of our customers agree that a Reilly bike is an investment in your dream ride. You'll get a bike for life that goes the distance, perhaps it's our Gradient and Gradient T47 titanium adventure bikes that "do-it-all", or the resilient, all-season, all-road Spectre with its relaxed race geometry that's a sportive and ultra distance favourite.
Our knowledgeable and passionate team of experienced, self-proclaimed ‘bike nuts’ will take the time and care to work with you to create your dream ride whether it is a frameset or a full bike build. With component customisations, mirrored, anodised and painted finishes, you can create your Reilly, your way. Our aim is to put the individual back into the bike. Find your forever titanium bike now.