The Lifetime of A Titanium Bike Frame
Compared to other materials, titanium bikes will last you a lifetime. They are known for this, which is why they are more expensive. However it is down to the properties of this magical metal that make it perfect for bike building.
One of the first things to say about titanium is that it has multiple properties that mean it is long lasting, making it a hugely popular material in the cycling and aerospace industries. It is lightweight, extremely durable, allows for slick and streamlined forms and has an excellent finish, particularly our brushed frames, which adds a classic design feature that makes titanium bikes the holy grail of bike ownership for many cyclists.
The Magical Properties Of Titanium
Without going into the entire history of the element, it’s fair to say its anti-corrosion properties make it an excellent material for use in bike building. However, the material is only the start of the journey, as without the design expertise of Mark Reilly and expert construction of Neil FitzGerald, the true benefits of titanium would not be realised.
It is thanks to our decades of experience that we can offer astonishing experiences, whether you’re zipping around a city on a daily commute route or switching between on and off-road adventures. Custom built, most of our existing clients are suitably fitted to our standard geometry. This has been something we have worked on and tweaked over many years of building frames and bikes. We always try to eliminate toe overlap and create a frame that handles to perfection, be it a racier T325 or a more relaxed all-day bike like the Gradient.
How Do We Use Titanium?
The metal is not used in its purest form, we use alloys that are perfectly suited to your forever bike rides, whether that’s a road bike to get you around the city for work or on city breaks, or pursuing your love of adventure for premium endurance rides.
Looking in more detail at the titanium alloy, we use the best possible grades used in bike building. In order to understand why the design, materials and manufacture of your titanium bike contribute to ensure it will last a lifetime, here is a little more on the grades we use.
What Is 3AL2.5V?
Firstly, we use 3AL2.5V, known as grade 9 in the engineering world. This is the most widely used grade for making titanium bike frames and simply means it is an alloy of 3% aluminium and 2.4% vanadium, a few other trace metals and the rest titanium itself. We only use 3AL2.5V titanium for frame tubes and this ensures fantastic ride qualities.
This means our 3AL2.5V tubes have the ultimate tensile strength of 960MPa (a unit known as Megapascals) which is an important factor in design. This grade also has a very light density and has an elongation figure of 12-15%, meaning all tubes are cold worked.
What Is 6AL4V?
The other grade of titanium we use at Reilly Cycleworks is 6AL4V, known as grade 5 in the engineering world. It is extremely difficult to draw into tube form due to its colossal strength, and it is a material that our founder worked with in the 1990s, working as a designer on innovating seamless tubes. We were pioneering tube design at this grade was at the same time that the mill started working on Boeing, highlighting the extreme durability of this prized material as a strong and lightweight alloy to safely carry passengers in the air.
The 6AL4V description just means that grade 5 is an alloy of 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium, a few other trace metals and the rest titanium itself. At Reilly Cycleworks we use 6AL4V titanium not only for frame tubes but also for head tubes, BB sleeves, braze ons and head tubes as it is not only is it incredibly strong but is easier to machine. Yes, easier to machine but hard to draw into tubes, a very complex material.
Our 6AL4V tubes are in addition made from ELI (Extra Low Interstitial gas purity) grade titanium allowing us to butt and shape seamless tubes to much tighter tolerances needed for frames such as our T640. The ultimate tensile strength increases to 1150MPa.
Reilly Cycleworks T640D – Pure Titanium Excellence
Looking more closely at our T640D, our flagship titanium road frame, a lifetime bike, the design and engineering of titanium and the grades used give this bike unparalleled geometries, lightness and strength to push you to your limits. If you have a bike like the T640, you will never be held back by the limitations that carbon and steel bikes can present.
Firstly, the T640D design addresses the twists and turns and bumps in the road to navigate anything that life throws at you. Ultra butted 6AL4V seamless main tubes add up to a design that is staggeringly stiff yet supremely comfortable.
This frame is lighter, stiffer and more compliant than the 3AL2.5 Designed for a tapered fork which adds incredible, sure footed, razor sharp handling, with reviewers highlighting how it not only has maintained its vibration absorbing properties, but that when stepping out of the saddle the bike feels extremely solid and stiffer, especially around the bottom bracket, thanks to this hardwearing grade 5 titanium frame.
Other Ti Heroes
The Gradient and Gradient T47 adventure bikes are “do-it-all” Reilly heroes. The resilient, all-season, all-road Spectre with its relaxed race geometry is a sportive and ultra-distance favourite. Let’s not forget the brand-new Fusion, with its aerodynamic cast titanium frame and sleek appearance is set to rival carbon racing bikes on the road.
If you’d like to chat to our team of passionate ‘bike nuts’ about your next titanium lifetime bike, we’d be happy to chat to you about off the peg and custom builds available.