Home
Titanium is still a viable — and beautiful — lightweight alternative

Steel is a really nice material for making a bicycle frame, but for many cyclists, titanium is an even nicer choice. Once a very rare and exotic material and a luxury choice for those rich enough to afford it - titanium is notoriously difficult to work with - the cost of a titanium frame has dropped significantly in recent years, to the point where it could almost be deemed, if not affordable, at least a viable alternative to top-end steel and carbon fibre frames.

Titanium is desirable because it’s lighter than steel and stronger than steel and aluminium, and its high fatigue strength means a titanium frame should last forever. It’s those traits that have ensured it has continued to be a popular choice with cyclists wanting a fine riding frame that will last the length of time. Plus of course there is the fabled ride quality, which is reminiscent of a steel frame with plenty of spring and high comfort, but it can be used to build a stiff race bike depending on tubing diameters and profiles.

Enigma Evade - seat tube

Enigma Evade - seat tube

Most titanium frames are made from 3Al/2.5V tubing (where titanium is alloyed with 3% aluminium and 2.5% vanadium) and 6Al/4V, a harder grade of titanium, is seen on much more expensive framesets. Because it’s hard and expensive to make 6Al/4V into seamless tubes, it’s often used for machined parts like dropouts and head tubes.

The unique colour of titanium ensures it stands out against most other road bikes. Various finishes are available, the tubes can be brushed or bead-blasted and can even be painted if you prefer, but many people buying titanium do so partly for its unique and timeless appearance. A titanium frame will still look good in 10 years time.

Titanium has been used to make bicycle frames for about 30 years. In the early days, there was only a handful of brands specialising in titanium, and US brands like Seven, Serotta, Litespeed and Merlin built an enviable reputation for their expertise with the material. Titanium frames are now commonly manufactured in the Far East which has led to prices coming down quite a lot, into the realms of affordability for many.

Here are 15 titanium road bikes we’ve reviewed — and loved — in recent years.

Reilly Gradient — £1,799 (frame, fork & headset)

Reilly Gradient.jpg

Reilly Gradient.jpg

South Coast-based Reilly Cycleworks has produced the Gradient as a do-everything adventure and gravel bike, with a lovingly finished titanium frame and smart specification in this £2,399 complete bike. It provides a ride that is as lovely as the bike is to look at, with space for wide tyres for heading off into the wilderness or adding dirt and gravel roads to your route, and a high level of refinement.

Read our review of the Reilly Gradient

Snowdon Paradox — £1,975 (frame only)

Snowdon Paradox.jpg

Snowdon Paradox.jpg

The name of the first model released by Bristol's Snowdon Bikes is apt – the Paradox. It doesn't look it, but it'll take many a drop-bar carbon whippet to the cleaners. And your lower back will thank you.

Read our review of the Snowdon Paradox

Alchemy Eros — £3,400 (frame and fork)

Alchemy Eros.jpg

Alchemy Eros.jpg

The Alchemy Eros is a sublime road bike. It handles with grace and finesse and compares very well to not only the best titanium road bikes but to many of the best carbon fibre frames too. 

If there's a downside to the Alchemy it's that the price is prohibitively expensive and puts it out of touch for many. You are buying a frame that is made in the US, though, and there are a plethora of custom options so you can detail a very bespoke bike.

Read our review of the Alchemy Eros
Find an Alchemy dealer

On-One Pickenflick frame & fork — £899.99

On One Pickenflick

On One Pickenflick

Last year’s road.cc Cyclocross and Adventure Bike of the Year winner, the On-One Pickenflick, is one of the most affordable 3Al/2.5V titanium frames we’ve ever come across, though it's not quite the staggering bargain that it's been in the past. The Pickenflick is a cyclocross bike at heart, but On-One sells it as a bike for adventure riding and sportive use. It has the versatility that a lot of UK cyclists look for, with geometry designed for comfort and features including disc brakes, space for wide tyres and eyelets for mudguards and racks.

Read our review of the On-One Pickenflick

J.Laverack J.ACK — £1,950 (frame only)

J.Laverack J.ACK - riding 1

J.Laverack J.ACK - riding 1

One of the newest bicycle brands to launch this year is the J.Laverack, with the debut J.ACK, a titanium frame with disc brakes and internal cable routing. The J.ACK has been designed to conquer any road or off-road surface, with space for wide tyres (up to 33mm) and plenty of clearance around them for mudguards. All cables are neatly routed inside the frame to keep the lines clean.

Read our review of the J.Laverack J.ACK frameset

Reilly T325 — £1,399 (frame only)

Reilly T325 - Riding 3

Reilly T325 - Riding 3

The new brand of Mark Reilly, formerly of Enigma Bicycle Works, the T325 is the most affordable in the range. His 30 years of frame building experience shows in the frame, which is lovingly designed with neat details such as an externally reinforced head tube, oversized main tubes, space for 28mm tyres and internal routing for a Di2 groupset. At a claimed 1,275g, the frame is a worthy alternative to a carbon fibre race bike.

Read our review of the Reilly T325

​ Kinesis Tripster ATR — £1,850 (frame only)

Kinesis Tripster ATR - full bike (2).jpg

Kinesis Tripster ATR - full bike (2).jpg

The Kinesis Tripster ATR can handle a really wide range of riding, and it's beautifully made, comfortable and responsive. There's very little we wouldn't be happy doing on it. ATR stands for Adventure-Tour-Race and that's the clue that it was Kinesis' ambition to make this bike as versatile as possible. The frame is beautifully put together. The welds are extremely neat and the minimal graphics – and laser-etched head badge – are just what you want on a titanium frame, leaving most of the bike as bare metal. Throughout a huge range of types of ride, and lots of commuting and shorter excursions, the ATR confirmed itself as a composed and comfortable ride. It's quick if you want it to be, but also relaxed and easy to pilot. For the most part, it's lovely.

Read our review of the Kinesis Tripster ATR

Kinesis GF_Ti Disc — £2,050 (frame and fork)

Kinesis GF_Ti Disc - full bike.jpg

Kinesis GF_Ti Disc - full bike.jpg

The Kinesis Gran Fondo is now available with disc brakes, a popular upgrade to a popular bike. We gave the original a glowing review back in 2013, and with disc brakes proving popular on endurance bikes, the update has been a success. With wider tyres getting ever more popular, the new bike will accommodate 32mm tyres without mudguards, or 30mm with mudguards. The cold drawn seamless titanium tubeset has internal cable routing and it’s modular for mechanical and electronic groupsets.

Read our review of the Kinesis GF_Ti Disc

Van Nicholas Chinook — £2,439.99

Van Nicholas Chinook - riding 1

Van Nicholas Chinook - riding 1

Van Nicholas is a Dutch company that specialises in titanium, and the Chinook is a thoroughly traditional titanium race bike. While modern titanium road bikes are all about oversized tube diameters and fat head tubes, the Chinook is all skinny tubes and slender stays. But it still offers a buttery smooth ride with delicate handling and really wins you over. A very refined ride.

Read our review of the Van Nicholas Chinook

Moots Psychlo X — from £5,800

Moots Psychlo X

Moots Psychlo X

The Psychlo X from legendary titanium framebuilders Moots is a extremely talented bike, with bags of speed complemented by comfort and assured handling. It's adept at cyclo-cross racing but is really capable of rides of far bigger scope and imagination than an hour around a muddy field, the mainstay of 'cross races in the UK. It's a popular bike with the growing gravel race and adventure set in the US, and if you want a bike of such capability, the Psychlo X will fulfill your wishes.

Read our review of the Moots Psychlo X

Mosaic RT-1 — from £4,799

Mosaic RT-1 Riding

Mosaic RT-1 Riding

US titanium frame builder Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles hail from Boulder in Colorado, founded by Aaron Barcheck who used to work for Dean Titanium Bicycles. That expertise shows in the RT-1, a finale built titanium frame with custom butted, size-specific 3Al/2.5V titanium tubes with a full bespoke option available. The ride performance is, as you’d hope, excellent, with a pleasingly taut characteristic that likes to go fast, all of the time.

Read our review of the Mosaic RT-1

Sabbath September Disc — £1,200 (frame, fork & headset)

Sabbath September Disc-2

Sabbath September Disc-2

The Sabbath September Disc is an audax bike that’s right at home on the daily commute, club ride or sportive, with disc brakes and the titanium frame joined up front by a carbon fibre fork. The September Disc was one of the first breed of new versatile titanium road bikes designed with disc brakes, and the 3Al/2.5V takes up to 35mm tyres with mudguards. If you want one bike to do just about everything, with the exception of racing, the Sabbath is a fine choice.

Read our review of the Sabbath September Disc

Pretorius Outeniqua Disc — £2,390 (frame, fork & headset)

Pretorius Outeniqua Disc - full bike

Pretorius Outeniqua Disc - full bike

Disc brakes have been popping up on titanium road bikes with increasing frequency, and London-based Pretorius builds the Outeniqua Disc frameset from predominantly oversized tubing to provide the stiffness for what is to all intents and purposes a race bike, with the stopping power of disc brakes. The geometry keeps the handling fast and nimble, yet the bike can be equipped with mudguards, though tyre width is restricted to 23mm with them fitted. Without mudguards, the frame takes 25mm tyres.

Read our review of the Pretorius Outeniqua Disc frameset

Enigma Evade Ti — from £3,399

Enigma Evade - riding 1

Enigma Evade - riding 1

The latest bike from Enigma is the beautiful Evade, which combines oversized main tubes with a 44mm head tube to offer a high level of stiffness. That ensures it offers a rewarding ride for those cyclists that like to press hard on the pedals. It’s rare to see a painted titanium frame but Enigma has done a wonderful job here, marrying the decals to the finishing components and wheels.

Read our review of the Enigma Evade Ti

Do you ride titanium?

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

Here's some more information on how road.cc makes money.

You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

55 comments

Avatar
kevvjj [384 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

LYNSKEY?

Avatar
kevvjj [384 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

SEVEN?

Avatar
kevvjj [384 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

LITESPEED?

Avatar
Jack Osbourne snr [713 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

I love titanium.

I have a Zerofour Evolution which is nearly 8 years old and still rides and looks like new after many thousands of miles.

I still adore steel, but Ti ticks even more boxes for me.

If I was able to store another bike, any one from this article would do me!

Avatar
DaSy [824 posts] 1 year ago
10 likes

My Litespeed Icon is just coming up to 10 years old and despite working in the bike industry and having had access to a great many other bikes, nothing has ever made me want to change it.

At 51 I think I plan on it seeing me out! I'm looking to stock-pile some Dura Ace 7800 parts just so that I can keep it the same for a long time to come.

Avatar
Jack Osbourne snr [713 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

Stockpiling... I did that with Campag Record when they went all carbon on me.

I have enough alloy chainsets to see me out!

Avatar
Sipullan [8 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I have a Sonder Camino Ti. I only got it a couple of months ago but my aim is that I'll never need to buy another frame and that it will tackle anything I can throw at it. It's taking some time to get used to but I'm still hopeful that it can perform both of those functions.

Avatar
maviczap [197 posts] 11 months ago
3 likes

How can the Moots and others above 4000 cost so much more than say the Reilly?

The tubing is going to cost the same, 

My old Ti Planet X was a Van Nicholas, made in the same Far East factory, and it was very nicely made. So I can't see why these top end bikes are sooooo much more expensive.

Go look at Reilly's site, they have some T325s on sale at the moment.

Avatar
mattydubster [89 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Having only been into cycling in any serious way for about 6 years now, I went through a heap of bikes trying to settle on 'the one'.  I ended up with an Enigma Ecroix which I've now had for 2 years and plan on keeping it for many many years.  It is a completely wonderful 'do it all' bike and makes me smile every time I go out for a ride.  I recently did The Dirty Reiver on it and it behaved impeccably.  I love titanium  1

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2025 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

still use my Raleigh ti manufactured in '96, handbuilt in UK with tubes manufactured in Birmingham and have the framebuilders card. it's a bit of a gate at 62cm but is circa 1650g and i sold the original forks with the R753 steerer and got some Mizuno full carbon about 11 years ago.

Still only 7.3kg with Ultegra 6800 and 2001 Mavic SSCs and a cinch taking high speed turns/50mph descents.

If you have a chance, get one.

Avatar
srchar [865 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I have a Van Nicholas Ventus which I absolutely love the look of.  It handles nicely with an Easton EC90 SL fork and a pair of Zondas.  However... the secondhand Cervelo R5 I picked up recently is a far, far better bike.  I hadn't realised how much the bottom bracket of the titanium bike flexes until I jumped on the Cervelo.  Doesn't look as nice though.

Avatar
700c [1260 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

still use my Raleigh ti manufactured in '96, handbuilt in UK with tubes manufactured in Birmingham and have the framebuilders card. it's a bit of a gate at 62cm but is circa 1650g and i sold the original forks with the R753 steerer and got some Mizuno full carbon about 11 years ago.

Still only 7.3kg with Ultegra 6800 and 2001 Mavic SSCs and a cinch taking high speed turns/50mph descents.

If you have a chance, get one.

Overall weight of 7.3kg seems very light for that size frame. Is it flexy?

I have a kinesis gf ti (v2 now) which is a quick, responsive ride and wonderful to descend on. 57 cm and with decent tubs it's 7.9 kg which isn't too bad. The inclusion of only the disc version in this list, IMO is missing the point of this bike. Sure you can get your 32 mm tyres on, guards etc if that's your thing but is a shame for a bike that begs to be smashed! Not to mention heavier, costlier..

Avatar
tomisitt [59 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

No Spin Spitfire? Tsk!

 

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2931 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

The engineer in me appreciates titanium as a material because it's light and strong and has good fatigue resistance. Intrinsically it has greater value than carbon fibre too, as well as being more durable. I know which I prefer.

Steel is a great material for making bikes from. Titanium is too.

Avatar
LastBoyScout [448 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Airbourne?

Avatar
amazon22 [290 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
LastBoyScout wrote:

Airbourne?

Became/absorbed into Van Nicholas about 10 - 12 years ago.

Avatar
LastBoyScout [448 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
amazon22 wrote:
LastBoyScout wrote:

Airbourne?

Became/absorbed into Van Nicholas about 10 - 12 years ago.

Thought they'd been re-launched, but current website is totally different and looks like they only do mountain bikes now.

Avatar
2trax [14 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
Quote:

 The latest bike from Enigma is the beautiful Evade ...

Well, apart from the Evoke, the Echelon, the Evolve, the Escape, the Examplar and the Excel Disk which I'm fairly sure all came after the Evade.

Avatar
CharlesMagne [91 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

I've had my Sabbath Silk Road for 6 years and pushing 27,000 miles. Truely a frame for life, just wish it now had discs!

My wife's jealous of it.

Avatar
curdins [60 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Tommasini Mach? You're missing the best of the bunch,

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2025 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
700c wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

still use my Raleigh ti manufactured in '96, handbuilt in UK with tubes manufactured in Birmingham and have the framebuilders card. it's a bit of a gate at 62cm but is circa 1650g and i sold the original forks with the R753 steerer and got some Mizuno full carbon about 11 years ago.

Still only 7.3kg with Ultegra 6800 and 2001 Mavic SSCs and a cinch taking high speed turns/50mph descents.

If you have a chance, get one.

Overall weight of 7.3kg seems very light for that size frame. Is it flexy? I have a kinesis gf ti (v2 now) which is a quick, responsive ride and wonderful to descend on. 57 cm and with decent tubs it's 7.9 kg which isn't too bad. The inclusion of only the disc version in this list, IMO is missing the point of this bike. Sure you can get your 32 mm tyres on, guards etc if that's your thing but is a shame for a bike that begs to be smashed! Not to mention heavier, costlier..

Nope, I can still knack out a 800+ watts on it but it's not really an all out racer, the original owner used it as a training bike, he was a cat 1 or 2 rider IIRC, I bought it from him around 2002, off ebay of all places and for an absolute song (and it really was like daylight robbery on my part)!

The low overall weight is because it's got lightweight kit on it, the Mizunos are 400gm, Easton EC90 bars 190ish, ti post, FRM c/set, lightweight saddle, lightweight tyres/tubes, as I said it's 1650g for the frame itself and old skool tube size so only for 1" forks and not the oversize down tubes you see nowadays which adds weight.

Actually I just checked my tables and it's 7.4kg excl pedals, with my mid depth carbon tubulars, down tube shifters and some hollowed out SRAM carbon gear shifters used as brake levers it was a shade under 7kg.

The only slight downside is that max tyre size is 27mm with short drop calipers, not a massive problem in all honesty.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2025 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
CharlesMagne wrote:

I've had my Sabbath Silk Road for 6 years and pushing 27,000 miles. Truely a frame for life, just wish it now had discs!

My wife's jealous of it.

Brave choice with black chainset and white forks/finishing kit, nice bike though.

Avatar
srchar [865 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
LastBoyScout wrote:

Thought they'd been re-launched, but current website is totally different and looks like they only do mountain bikes now.

The guy who sold Van Nicholas now runs J.Guillem.  They make some nice frames but I discounted them for my new fast commuter build because none of them take mudguards.

Avatar
Hymie [2 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

I've recently got my Lynskey r230 back after a warranty job fixing the chainstays that had cracked.  For various reasons was without it for about 18 months and had pinched most of the components off it to build a gravel bike so when i got the frame back I had it drilled for di2.  I'd forgotten what a smooth ride it was and much prefer it to my Cervelo r3

Avatar
CXR94Di2 [2116 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Tripster V2 for me Di2 discs wide tyres

Avatar
BikeJon [210 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

This is one of my Ti bikes. Well I've upgraded the forks and saddle since but you get the idea. It's lovely to ride. With CX geometry I can swap the wheels and ride it anywhere.

Avatar
kangaroocourt [7 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Passoni??

Avatar
graybags [101 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes

I went down the Chinese route through a UK contact, turned out rather well !

Avatar
only1redders [112 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
maviczap wrote:

How can the Moots and others above 4000 cost so much more than say the Reilly?

The tubing is going to cost the same, 

My old Ti Planet X was a Van Nicholas, made in the same Far East factory, and it was very nicely made. So I can't see why these top end bikes are sooooo much more expensive.

Go look at Reilly's site, they have some T325s on sale at the moment.

Whilst very very expensive, the Moots frames are beautifully put together and certainly more custom than the Reilly. I'm no expert, but I don't think that all tubes are created equal. In addition, you've got to consider the welds. I bought a Moots 2nd hand from a friend, but am now trading it in, as just a bit too small. Fancy a ride?!

Avatar
Gene00 [3 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes

I have to agree titanium frames are pretty special.
Heres the Enigma Excel I built up in Jan this year.

Pages