‘Why Titanium?’ The one question we get asked most of all.
The answer is not quite as easy as it would seem as we’re divided into two schools of thought on the subject, the emotional and the scientific
The emotional is all about our experiences on Titanium bikes and the science is all about the cold facts the really point to the efficiency and practically of using Titanium to make a bicycle, especially a mountain bike.
We’re on Ranmore Common just south of London circa 1989 and about 200+, fledgling, fully rigid MTBer’s show up to one of the first mountain bike events in the UK.
This was about the first time I saw a Titanium mountain bike nestled in a sea of Saracen Tuff Tracks, Muddy Foxes and Cannondales was The Marin Team Titanium. Probably one of the first ever Ti mountain bikes produced. Feel free to email if you know better.
The Marin Team Titanium was ridiculously expensive even back in day when you could buy a packet of crisps for 25p, it cost a few thousand pounds, but it looked so right, like nothing I’d seen before, it was the perfect vision of how a mountain bike should look combined with the metal; raw, balanced and aggressive. The love affair with Ti had begun.
Fast forward to 2013 and here we are now making Titanium mountain bikes, amongst other quality pushbikes and it’s safe to say that all the people involved with Kingdom will admit that their best bike rides, races or adventures involve Titanium. ?
It's hard to explain in words, it’s not like you straddle a Titanium bike and your life suddenly changes. It’s more about the journey and the experiences on route that bonds you to Ti, ask anyone that owns a Ti bike and they’ll tell you the same thing ‘nothing else feels the same’, and as far as I can tell that feeling is emotional.
Titanium is a wonder metal. The Russians pioneered the development of Titanium during the cold war as a material for hi tech weapons like the Mig fighter, with the US following close behind and classifying Titanium as a ‘Strategic Material’.
The most common type of tubing used in bikes is Ti-3Al-2.5V, this is a mix of Titanium, 3% Aluminium and 2.5% Vanadium. This blend of Titanium has a high strength and low density that allows for the building of frames that are lightweight, extremely strong and durable.
Titanium does not break down, rust or corrode in any type of atmospheric environment and has a high fracture toughness and fatigue resistance resulting in a frame that can take a pounding and will not fail.
The other unique property of titanium is it's low elastic modulus. Titanium's low elastic modulus translates into a natural dampening effect on vibrations and bumps which allow titanium hard tail frames to have a smoother ride than other hard tail MTBs.
The combination of titanium's high strength and low modulus give Ti frames a spring effect, and it’s because of this spring like effect, that Titanium bikes have such a good energy transfer that does not sap energy from the rider like alloy, carbon or steel.