The Best Titanium Gravel Bikes
Titanium is an ideal material for bike frames, as it is lightweight and strong, yet resistant to fatigue and corrosion. Titanium bikes are highly sought after for their legendary ride quality and longevity.
The best titanium gravel bikes of 2023 feature an unpainted, brushed finish or with mirrored highlights that give them a unique look.
The best titanium gravel bikes of 2023 are designed to handle the toughest terrain and provide a smooth, comfortable ride. They feature a lightweight frame that is strong enough to take on the roughest trails, yet light enough for long-distance rides.
The frames are also designed with geometry that allows for more stability and control when cornering and descending.
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What to look for when buying a titanium gravel bike.
When buying a titanium gravel bike, it is important to consider the frame geometry, components, and overall weight. The frame geometry should be designed for stability and control when cornering and descending. Components should be of high quality and durable enough to handle the toughest terrain.
Titanium gravel bikes offer a great price-value ratio and are becoming increasingly popular among cyclists. Quality of the frameset and components are important factors to consider when choosing a titanium gravel bike, as they will determine how well it performs and how long it will last.
Warranty, customer support, and other features should also be taken into account when selecting the best titanium gravel bike. Lastly, the overall weight should be light enough for long-distance rides but strong enough to take on the roughest trails.
What are the best titanium gravel bikes?
Rondo Ruut Ti Gravel Bike
The Rondo Ruut Ti Gravel Bike is a titanium bike designed for tackling gravel roads with ease. Built on a lightweight titanium frame and fork, it features flat mount disc brakes and clearance for wide tires up to 50mm.
It also comes with thru-axles front and rear, a carbon fiber seatpost, and Shimano’s Ultegra drivetrain. Whether you’re exploring the backroads or commuting, the Rondo Ruut Ti Gravel Bike has you covered—allowing you to experience an adventure like no other bike can.
Planet X Tempest
The Planet X Tempest is the ultimate gravel bike for complete saddle comfort and flawless performance. It is constructed with a titanium frame and fork for superior durability, handling, and responsiveness. The Tempest comes equipped with a precision-shifting 10-speed drivetrain and wide range of gears to help you tackle any terrain.
Plus, the included 700C wheel set is made from lightweight aluminum, providing an optimal balance between strength and speed. Get ready to explore—the Tempest is perfect for rides on roads, paths, and everything in between.
Litespeed Ultimate Gravel
The Litespeed Ultimate Gravel is an incredible titanium gravel bike that pushes the boundaries of performance. From your local back roads to the most demanding off-road trails, this rigid gravel bike provides a smooth and responsive riding experience.
With its butted 3AL/2.5V titanium tubing and designed specifically for mixed terrain handling capabilities, the Ultimate Gravel is perfect for any gravel adventure.
Naked Bicycles Gravel Titanium
The Naked Bicycles Gravel Titanium is a lightweight and durable bike engineered to handle the rigors of gravel exploration. This is a complete titanium gravel bike that features 3AL/2.5V titanium tubing and disc brakes than provide superior stopping power no matter the conditions.
With its wide range of gearing, you’ll be ready for anything from steep climbs to fast descents on your next adventure.
Sonder Camino Ti
The Sonder Camino Ti is a groundbreaking titanium gravel bike designed for maximum stability and comfort on rugged off-road adventures. Featuring a lightweight but strong titanium frame, the Sonder Camino Ti will handle any terrain you throw at it.
Depending on the build you purchase, the frame is equipped with mechanical disc brakes for responsive maneuvering and precise stopping power—and the wide range of Shimano gears so you’ll never miss a beat. With its compliant ride quality, confident handling, and incredible durability, this titanium gravel bike will take your adventures to the next level.
The Lynskey GR300 is the perfect bike for gravel exploration. Crafted out of titanium and designed with adventure in mind, this versatile bike is the perfect balance between speed and comfort.
The disc brake SRAM Force 1x drivetrain gives you incredible control and performance on any terrain, while All-Road geometry provides a multi-discipline riding position that’s great for gravel rides but also works well off-road or on your daily commute. With customizable options for seating, gearing, and wheel size available, the Lynskey GR300 offers unparalleled versatility to tailor your ride to any terrain.
The Bearclaw Thunderhawk is a titanium gravel bike that blends style and performance. With an aerodynamic frame made of double-butted titanium, it provides a lightweight yet highly responsive ride that’s perfect for tackling any terrain.
Ever wondered why people buy titanium? We put on our sensible pants to find pragmatic reasons to buy Ti.
Words images. James Raison
If you want a bike frame that’s good value, light, and stiff then you gotta go.carbon fibre. I know, I know you were probably expecting me to sing the praise titanium as the material that’ll lead us to the promised land of cycling perfection. But titanium is not an everyman frame material. Generally speaking carbon fibre is better for most people. So what are the pragmatic reasons to buy Ti over carbon fibre?
Well, there’s a couple of titanium frames in the La Velocita stable so we thought it was time to discuss our experiences.
Mike’s Baum and my Curve Belgie Spirit are two great examples of pragmatic reasons why you’d drop the extra clams on Ti. There’s been plenty written around the internet about the nature of these materials so we’ve donned our sensible hats for this one.
We’ve also got an article for the Pragmatic reasons to buy an aluminium frame so read that once you’re done!
Titanium gives you the flexibility to make a bike absolutely yours if you use a custom maker. That milimeter perfect fit is very much owned by the metals. That means custom titanium frames can be very special indeed.
There’s two very nice road bikes in my shed right now (sorry I know them being in the shed is on the disrespectful side, but that’s another story). There’s my 2016 BMC SLR01, an absolute top end bike, super light, fast, stiff, comfortable. I love it. Then there’s the fairly new arrival, my Baum Corretto a completely custom titanium beast built to my exact weight, proportions and riding style. it’s beautiful.
Both bikes are awesome. They both look great, they both ride great. they are both priced in the ‘ridiculous’ bracket and would be worthy of carrying a rider much better than me.
So when I go for a ride which bike do a reach for? It’s the Baum every single time. In fact the poor old BMC has not had a single outing since the Baum intruder arrived.
Why you ask? Well it’s the fit. It’s just perfect, everything is exactly where my body needs it to be. It’s ride is smooth and delicious, I can go down hills with more confidence as my body is put in the perfect position. and it’s truly one of a kind. Yes it’s a bit heavier, yes it’s not quite as sharp. The BMC still has the edge when accelerating, but when you’re riding along your favourite road and are truely at one with the bike, it’s a special experience that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of.
I went for Titanium specifically because it wasn’t carbon. I used cold, calculated, emotionless machine logic to buy a bike that I could abuse.
Carbon fibre is a bit like an egg; directionally strong but weak when hit in certain places. This is especially true of modern bikes with creative layups that see bike makers pushing for incredible thinness in non-load bearing spots. Some carbon frames sport warning stickers not to sit on the top tube or your vast bulk could damage it. That’s not all carbon bikes, but it’s an extreme illustration of the point.
My Curve Belgie Spirit has led a hard life as an ultra-endurance rig coated in bags, a foul weather hack, getting thrown into an aeroplane’s underbelly, and a gravel grinder. This bike rolls with every punch I give it. I don’t worry if it falls down at the local cafe. It’ll probably dent the bricks.
There’s safety in titanium. It can take a lot of punishment without the vulnerability of carbon fibre. Titanium is a material that can be abused.
There’s a distinctive and lovely ride quality to titanium that is incredibly neutral. It’s like the perfect centre of all the other materials. The stiffness of aluminium but without the harshness, the slight spring of steel without feeling spongy, and much of the raciness of carbon fibre without getting beaten up.
It would be naive to call it the best ride quality of all frame materials because that depends on personal preference and the finishing kit around those tubes. There’s no doubting that it’s a pleasurable ride though. Long-time titanium frame owners will get a bit misty-eyed about their rigs. Mostly because titanium’s longevity means you’ll still be riding it in 20 years.
Riding titanium frames is a real pleasure. People wouldn’t be dropping so much money on these frames if they were pigs to ride. The titanium bikes I’ve ridden have been smooth, calm, composed, and predictable. They’re the grand tourers of the bicycle world.
Titanium Vs Carbon Fiber Bike: Pros and Cons
The frame is arguably the most important individual component of your bike. It’s often the most expensive as well. When it comes to choosing a bike frame, one of the most important considerations is the material it’s made of. The ideal frame material depends on the type of riding you do. This guide outlines the pros and cons of titanium vs carbon fiber bike frames. We’ll compare weight, comfort, durability, handling, cost, efficiency, longevity, and much more to help you decide which frame material is best for your next bike. This guide covers both road and mountain, bikes.
Titanium Bike Frames
Titanium is a high-end and highly desirable bike frame material. It is particularly popular among year-round riders, bicycle tourists, gravel riders, long-distance riders, and those who want a custom-made frame that will last a lifetime. Titanium can be used to build pretty much any type of bike including high-performance racing bikes and mountain bikes. These bikes are highly desired for their smooth ride quality, comfort, and long lifespan.
Titanium is a metal that is commonly used in the aerospace industry. The material is incredibly lightweight, strong, and durable. In fact, titanium is 40% lighter than steel with the same tensile strength. It is nearly twice as strong as similar aluminum alloys. In fact, it has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. Titanium is also resistant to corrosion, unlike steel. It also doesn’t fatigue, unlike aluminum. These properties make titanium bike frames highly prized.
Bike frames aren’t made from pure titanium. Instead, they are made from a titanium alloy. The titanium used to build bicycle frames is typically alloyed with aluminum and vanadium. Varying levels of each element are used to change the physical properties of the finished alloy. Alloying titanium improves strength and durability and reduces the weight of the frame. Many framebuilders market their titanium tubing as ‘aerospace-grade’.
The most common type of tubing used to build titanium bicycles is called 3Al-2.5V. This is titanium that is alloyed with 3% aluminum and 2.5% vanadium. Another common titanium alloy is 6Al-4V. This is a harder alloy that is often found on higher-end bikes. Because it is harder to work with and more expensive, 6Al-4V is sometimes used to make smaller parts such as the head tube or dropouts.
Titanium frame tubes can be butted or straight gauge. Butted tubes are thinner in the middle and thicker on the ends. This reduces the weight of the tubes while maintaining strength. Some titanium frame manufactures don’t offer butted frames because butted titanium tubes are harder to work with. This makes it more difficult for the framebuilder to build the bike to your exact specifications. Also, titanium tubes are pretty light so the weight savings is minimal.
Titanium tubes are usually cold drawn into shape. These days, frame builders can also shape titanium bikes with a process called hydroforming. This process involves placing the frame tubes in a mold then injecting the mold with fluid at incredibly high pressures. The tubes form into the mold. Hydroforming can be used to fine-tune the tube shapes to optimize the frame for stiffness, weight, or aerodynamics. This can also help design frames with internal cable routing. Titanium frame tubes do not have to be round.
After the frame tubes are shaped, they are welded together. The most common type of welding used to bond titanium frames is TIG welding. Titanium is a notoriously difficult metal to weld well. The main reason is that titanium reacts with oxygen. It is also sensitive to contamination. Welding titanium is a labor-intensive process. To learn about the welding process, check out this interesting article.
Carbon Fiber Bike Frames
Carbon fiber is the most commonly used material for building high-end and high-performance road bikes and mountain bikes. These days, almost all professional racing bikes are built from carbon fiber. For many competitive cyclists, carbon fiber is the only choice.
This material was initially developed for use in the aerospace industry. It is essentially made from plastic reinforced with super-strong fibers. Carbon fiber is the lightest material used to build bicycle frames. It has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than titanium.
Carbon fiber is a composite material. It is made from super-strong fibers that are woven into sheets and bound together with resin or epoxy. The individual carbon fibers are made by processing a polymer into filaments of carbon atoms that measure just 5-10 microns in diameter.
Thousands of these filaments are combined to form a tow or ribbon. These tows are woven together then bound with resin. The resulting material is a composite. The material is then layered and shaped into bicycle frames using molds and heat.
Manufacturers can use two different techniques to build carbon frames. Most carbon fiber frames are made by building each frame tube separately then bonding them together with a glued insert. This is called bonded or lugged construction. This design makes it easier for manufacturers to offer custom-sized frames and custom frame geometries. They can cut the tubes to length then bond them together. Custom molds are not required for each frame size. The frames fit together kind of like tinker toys.
Higher-end carbon fiber frames are built by molding the head tube, downtube, top tube, and seat tube in a continuous piece. This is called modified monocoque construction. These frames are also called bladder molded. Monocoque frames are more expensive because a custom mold must be created for each frame size.
There is a massive amount of variation in carbon fiber bike frame construction. For example, manufacturers can vary the weave of the carbon tows, the type of resin used, the thickness of the carbon layers, the construction style, the direction of the fibers, the grade of the carbon fibers, the number of filaments per tow, the density and type of fibers used, the way the carbon is heated and molded, etc. Each of these variations can play a role in the finished bike’s ride characteristics, durability, stiffness, and comfort. Manufacturers can optimize the frame for any type of riding.
For more info, check out this interesting article about how carbon fiber bike frame construction.
- durable– Titanium can survive harder impacts without cracking
- Comfortable ride- Titanium frames offer a bit of flex, allowing the frame to absorb some bumps
- Longer lasting- A titanium frame can last a lifetime
- Excellent ride characteristics- Titanium bikes offer a lively and smooth ride
- Cheaper- Because titanium frames last longer, they cost less in the long run
- environmentally friendly- Titanium can be recycled
- Safer- Titanium frames give you some warning signs before failing
- attractive- Many cyclists enjoy the aesthetics of round, unpainted tubes
- Better for carrying luggage-You can use your titanium bike for bicycle touring
- Harder to repair– Titanium is difficult to weld
- Heavier- Titanium is denser and weaker than carbon fiber. The frame tubes weigh more
- Less efficient- Titanium frames are heavy, create more drag, and flex more. It takes more energy to ride
- Creaky- Aluminum parts rubbing against the titanium frame can make some annoying sounds
- Lighter weight- Carbon frames weigh 1-1.5lbs (450-680 grams) less than titanium
- Excellent handling– Carbon fiber frames are stiff and responsive
- Easier to repair– Broken or cracked carbon fiber can be patched
- Comfortable ride- Carbon fiber offers excellent vibration absorption qualities
- efficient- Carbon fiber frames are lighter, more rigid, and more aerodynamic. It takes less energy to ride
- Quieter- Carbon frames are less creaky
Titanium Vs Carbon Fiber Bike Frames
Titanium and carbon fiber are both high-end frame materials. Both can be used to build responsive, comfortable, durable, and lightweight frames for both road biking and mountain biking. That said, each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. In this section, we’ll compare titanium vs carbon fiber bike frames in-depth.
Carbon fiber frames are lighter than titanium frames. In fact, carbon fiber is the lightest material used to build bicycle frames today. A lighter bike climbs and accelerates faster and maneuvers more easily because you move less mass around while you ride.
On average, a carbon fiber frame weighs around 680 grams (1.5 lbs) less than a comparable titanium frame. A top-of-the-line carbon fiber frame will weigh around 450 grams (1 lb) less than a comparably high-end titanium frame.
Many manufactures sell 6.8 kg (15 lbs) complete carbon fiber road bikes. This is the minimum bike weight permitted by UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) rules. Carbon fiber frames can weigh as little as 700-1100 grams (1.5-2.4 lbs).
Titanium road bike frames, on the other hand, weigh around 1475-1700 grams (3.25-3.75 lbs). The lightest titanium frames weigh around 1150 grams or 2.5 lbs. This is similar to a modern steel frame weight.
The weight difference will be a bit greater on mountain bike frames because they contain more material. High-end complete carbon fiber mountain bikes can weigh as little as 9.1 kg (20 lbs). Comparable titanium mountain bikes weigh around 2 lbs more.
Carbon fiber frames are lighter than titanium frames because the material is much less dense. Modern carbon fiber has a density of about 1.9 grams per cm^3. Titanium has a density of about 4.5 grams per cm^3. Carbon fiber has less than half the density of titanium.
Carbon fiber has a high strength-to-weight ratio but it isn’t quite as strong as titanium. Because carbon fiber is so much less dense, more material can be used to create enough strength while still maintaining a light weight.
Of course, the frame material isn’t the only factor that determines the frame weight. You’ll also need to consider the quality of the frame. A low-end carbon fiber frame will contain filers and more resin, which increase weight. A low-end carbon frame could weigh around the same as a titanium frame.
Another factor to consider is the weight of the components. An ultralight carbon fiber frame fitted with heavy low-end components could weigh more than a titanium frame fitted with lightweight high-end components. For example, switching to high-end carbon wheels can reduce your bike weight by around 300 grams. Higher-end groupsets are significantly lighter than lower-end models. The weight of the tires, handlebars, hubs, etc. all play a role
For recreational riders, the weight difference between titanium and carbon fiber frames is pretty insignificant. In fact, most riders could probably stand to lose the extra 1-2 pounds difference rather than cut the weight from their bike. This would produce a better performance gain than riding a lighter frame.
Winner: Carbon fiber. A carbon frame weighs around 1.5 lbs or 680 grams less than a titanium frame, on average.
Titanium Vs Carbo Fiber Comfort
Titanium frames offer a more comfortable ride than carbon fiber. The reason is that titanium does a better job of absorbing shocks from the road. This is possible because titanium is less rigid than carbon fiber. It can flex a bit as you ride.
When you hit a bump with a titanium bike, the frame can deform slightly to absorb some of the energy. This makes the ride feel smoother. When you hit the same bump with a more rigid carbon fiber frame, most of that energy transmits through the frame and into your body. This makes the ride feel harsher. You’ll feel every bump a bit more on a carbon bike.
For this reason, titanium bikes are preferable for long-distance riding like bicycle touring, bikepacking, and gravel riding. The smoother ride allows you to spend more hours in the saddle without feeling fatigue or discomfort.
Having said this, some cyclists find that carbon fiber does a better job of absorbing vibrations from the road. This may be because the material is less dense. Good vibration absorption can help to reduce arm and hand fatigue.
The way the frame is engineered also plays a major role in the comfort of the bike. For example, manufacturers can engineer carbon fiber frames in a way that makes them more flexible in some places and stiffer in others. This is possible because carbon fiber can be fine-tuned. Manufacturers can vary the thickness of the carbon fiber, the type of resin, the type of fibers, the direction of the fibers, the density of the material, etc. to change the rigidity of different parts of the frame. The material is almost infinitely tunable.
Summary: Feature-rich flat-bar trekking bikeAvailability: WorldwideList Price: £800 / €730 / US760 / CA450,090
The entry-level touring bike from major German bike maker Cube is the affordable and simply-named Cube Touring. The basic model in this extensive range is currently one of the cheapest off-the-peg touring bikes on the market, and is widely distributed across Europe and North America.
If you’re used to the appearance of British or American designed tourers, you’ll notice some big differences, such as the flat handlebars and adjustable stem, the resulting upright riding posture, and the front suspension fork, as well as other details like a kickstand, a hub dynamo, and LED lights as standard. These are all fairly typical features of touring bikes from German and Dutch makers, where utility and comfort takes precedence.
In an effort to cater for a diverse customer base, the Cube Touring range comes in several frame variations and sizes, including the classic diamond frame (5 sizes), women’s specific with a sloping top-tube (3 sizes) and a step-through frame for riders with impaired mobility (3 sizes), all in a choice of two colour schemes.
The ‘semi-integrated’ rear rack, which is held in position by the mudguard/fender, is unorthodox, and the seat stays and front fork don’t have standard mounting points, complicating any modifications to the bike’s luggage-carrying capabilities. Riders looking for an entry-level touring bike that can be upgraded in the future may also decide to pass on the Cube Touring for these reasons.
The rest of the specification is impressive at this price point. The entry-level Shimano V‑brakes and drivetrain components are sensible. As with any bike, you’ll want to fit your own preferred saddle, but the inclusion of ergonomic grips, lights, fenders and a kick-stand makes the Touring more or less ready to hit the road right out of the box.
All that said, perhaps the bike’s strongest selling point is the price. The recent disappearance of several popular entry-level touring bikes has left a gap at this end of the market – one that the Cube Touring happily fills.
- Check out the full Cube Touring range on the Cube website.
- Find your local dealer in Cube’s online directories of stockists in the UK and Europe, the USA, and Canada.
- Don’t buy this bike online. Support your local bike shop (UK list)!
Decathlon Riverside Touring 520
Summary: Good value forward-thinking light tourer Availability: UK EuropeList Price: £800 / €800
There’s no denying the success of Decathlon’s no-frills approach to designing, manufacturing and selling sports and outdoor gear. The Riverside Touring is the entry-level model in Decathlon’s new foray into touring bikes, and for many riders will be a welcome addition to the sparse options at this lower-budget end of the market.
The Riverside Touring 520 is based on an aluminium frame, whose geometry sits somewhere between the old-school rigid mountain bike and today’s trendy gravel/hybrid rides. The frameset sports a big range of mounting points for more or less any luggage configuration you might imagine, including a front lowrider or fork cages, a traditional rear carrier rack should the semi-integrated stock rack not be to your tastes, and no less than five bottle cages.
The riding position of the Riverside Touring leans towards relaxed and upright, with the sloping top-tube helping with mounting and dismounting, and flat bars with so-called ergonomic grips and bar-ends atop a stack of head-tube spacers, all pointing to a bike designed with the casual or newcomer rider in mind. Comfortably wide 1.75″ tyres will be equally content on asphalt and gravel at the 700C (28″) wheel diameter.
Looking at component choice, Decathlon have specified a 1×11 drivetrain (ie: a single front chainring driving an 11-sprocket rear cassette); unusual on a tourer where riders tend to benefit from a wide and fine-grained range of gear ratios. The hydraulic disc brakes are also an unorthodox choice for a touring bike. Both will have traditionalists up in arms, citing increased chain wear rates, a reduced choice of gear ratios, and the near-impossibility of repairing hydraulics on the roadside.
There is a certain amount of validity to such criticisms, but a quick scan of the many customer reviews of this bike suggest that these concerns may be more theoretic. In the regions of the world this bike is likely to be used, spares and repairs for this bike will be abundant. And if you want to take it further afield, you can always fit cable disc brakes and/or a regular drivetrain.
Certainly one of this bike’s great strengths is how widely available it is for test-riding, Decathlon having hundreds of locations across Europe and increasingly further afield. Indeed, I can easily imagine a first-time tourer with a reasonable gear budget walking out of the store with not just the bike but a full set of luggage and maybe some camping gear too.
There are only four frame size options, however. Taken together with the wheel size, this may prevent those with short body lengths from finding a good match with the Riverside Touring 520.
In summary, while Decathlon have leaned pretty far into the crossover between classic touring and the gravel bike trend, there’s little to find fault with at this price – and there’s considerably more scope for upgrades here than other entry-level touring bikes in this list.
- Buy the Riverside Touring 520 in the UK from Decathlon.
- The bike is also available from Decathlon branches across Europe and beyond.
Fuji Touring Disc/Disc LTD
Availability: Sporty steel-framed light road tourerList Price: £1,250 / €1,450 / US450,500
Japanese manufacturer Fuji’s entry-level touring bike is the Fuji Touring Disc (mainly for the US) or Disc LTD (for Europe). It features a Reynolds 520 cromoly frameset with classic British/American-style drop-bar touring geometry and a full set of mounting points for racks/lowriders, fenders, and bottle cages.
Both versions feature the well-regarded TRP Spyre cable disc brakes, 36-spoke 700C wheels on Shimano hubs, and a reasonably solid rear rack as standard.
The plain Disc has a Shimano Deore 3×10-speed chainset from the mid-level ranges of the mountain-bike series of components, and is a little more bare-bones than some of the bikes in this list: you’ll need to fit your own front lowrider, fenders, lights, etc. The Disc LTD has many of these accessories fitted as standard, and has a 3×9‑speed Shimano Sora chainset with slightly higher gear ratios, making it a more road-oriented package.
Both variants represent high ambitions in a good-value package aimed at a rider who wants a classic road-oriented touring bike, with the plain Disc in particular still happy on a bit of gravel and dirt.
The Fuji Touring Disc and Disc LTD come in no fewer than seven frame sizes, allowing precise fitting and fewer compromises for short or tall riders. A final note is that the distribution of the Disc and Disc LTD model variants seems to vary depending on whether you’re looking in Europe or North America, so do check what’s available in your local area.
- Find a list of global dealers on the official Fuji website.
- Don’t buy this bike online. Support your local bike shop (UK list)!
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