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Titanium road bikes have many qualities that can't be matched by machines made from other materials. Founded in 1989 by Luciano Passoni, Passoni was one of the first manufacturers to produce titanium road frames anywhere in the world and continue to pioneer their use.

Why should you use a titanium bike?

Professional cyclists have used a titanium frames for decades. Among our earliest customers were professional racers unhappy with the products supplied by their sponsors. They would come to us to create custom bicycles with characteristics that could only be achieved through the use of titanium. These unbadged titanium bicycles proliferated through the peloton during the nineties as riders sought out bikes whose strength-to-weight ratio exceeded that of the steel frames available at the time. Yet, while titanium frames were prized for being both lightweight and incredibly strong, they were also comfortable and provided unparalleled dampening properties. It was also possible to form the material into shapes capable of allowing intense power transfer. In short, our first titanium bikes offered a race-winning difference, even if their use often upset the teams sponsors.

Nevertheless, despite these qualities, titanium road bikes enjoyed only a brief period at the head of the professional peloton. By the turn of the millennium, theyd been largely replaced by mass-produced aluminium and carbon models. However, what's best for professional teams and their suppliers isnt the same as what's best for individual riders. Titanium still has many qualities to recommend it. Today, the best titanium road bikes continue to offer many riders a perfect balance of weight and ride characteristics. Many riders, at the end of their career choose to buy a titanium bike, for the better comfort they can find with it. Check the stories of Filippo Pozzato, Juan Antonio Flecha and Andrea Tonti, and why they chose to ride a Passoni bike.

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Key qualities of a titanium road frame

Titanium offers unrivaled advantages for bicycle creation, thanks to its exceptional tensile strength to density ratio. Reduced weight for great resistance. Now let's go find out what are these characteristics more in detail:

1) Titanium's Properties

As a material, titanium has a high tensile strength relative to its density. This property made aerospace a prominent first area in which titanium was employed. However, the same qualities that made it ideal for planes also make it an excellent material from which to produce bicycles. That is if you can overcome the engineering difficulties and high costs associated with working with the material.

2) Titanium frames vs carbon frames

The characteristics of any titanium road bike come from the inherent qualities of the material itself. Besides being strong and light, these include a high degree of corrosion and fatigue resistance. Applied to the bicycle, this means the lifespan of a titanium frame should far exceed that of a carbon fibre alternative. As a result, a titanium frame will maintain its attractive appearance and structural integrity even after decades of use. Despite its toughness, titanium also has incredible natural dampening abilities. On a titanium bicycle frame, these help to absorb road vibrations and provide a smoother ride. This results in greater comfort, along with reduced fatigue. It's a property that makes titanium bikes especially well suited to longer rides or mixed surfaces. This quality of titanium frames is closely related to their superb impact resistance. Titanium has a remarkable ability to absorb energy without permanently deforming or compromising its structural integrity. This resilience makes titanium frames less prone to crash damage, accidental drops, or minor collisions.

3) Aesthetics of titanium frames

Then there's the question of aesthetics. Titanium bike frames generally have a classic silhouette, with svelt tubes and harmonious proportions. Titanium also has a naturally beautiful and hardwearing finish which can be polished or used as a canvas for painting or etching.

4) Not for high level competition

Whilst titanium has many advantages, it's clear from looking at the current world tour bikes that is isn't made for competitive riding at the highest level. Whilst it was once sought after by riders at the highest level, carbon fibre's strength to weight ratio and ability to be moulded into more extreme, aerodynamic shapes has lead to it's dominance as a material at the highest level. But, like in motor racing, a Formula 1 car isn't very at home on the road, and extreme race bikes aren't often ideal for regular use. It's all about finding the right bike for your particular uses and needs.

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Hand made titanium bicycles

The best titanium road bike is also likely to be one thats made especially for you. Unlike bicycles created of carbon fibre, the custom-build process is well suited to producing titanium road bike frames. Today, over 80% of Passoni's titanium road bikes are made to measure with custom geometry and the ability to fine-tune other details thanks to the bike fitting, including fittings and clearances. As can be the Titanio disco or the XXTi for example. Despite all its extraordinary qualities, titanium is notoriously challenging to work with. It's extremely hard, requiring specific tooling to cut and shape. It also reacts negatively with oxygen, nitrogen, and other gases in the air during welding. For this reason, titanium frames must be welded in a controlled environment. Our argon chamber allows us to control the air around the frame precisely. We still use the same chamber we acquired from Alfa Romeo in 1989. Since then, every one of our titanium frames has emerged from this bathysphere-like contraption. Its one of many instruments weve acquired to help produce our frames over the years. However, the knowledge and skills built up by our artisan workers are even more critical than the specialist machines in our workshop. Each is a world-leading expert in titanium frame production.

Owning a Passoni titanium bike

If you're interested in a new bicycle, we believe titanium offers qualities and possibilities unmatched by other materials. And if you decide a titanium bicycle is the best fit for you, we remain the experts in working with this incomparable material. Its one that we first brought to the cycling world and one we continue to pioneer.

Read more about titanium on the Passoni website, or get in touch regarding commissioning your custom Passoni.

SC Passoni Interview

Interview with Passoni Titanio