Best titanium road bikes 2023
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Best titanium road bikes 2023

Nov 24, 2023

The best titanium road bikes, as reviewed by the BikeRadar team

This competition is now closed

By Simon von Bromley, Oscar Huckle

Published: September 5, 2022 at 2:20 pm

The best titanium road bikes combine a weight that's less than steel with strength that's greater than aluminium, making titanium one of the best – and most luxurious – frame materials.

While carbon fibre is clearly the material of choice for top racing frames, titanium is no slouch either when put to good use. Titanium might add some weight compared to the best carbon frames, but the ride quality is excellent, with a renowned smoothness over rough ground.

Beyond those enticing qualities, titanium also boasts excellent fatigue life, and thanks to its inherent corrosion resistance, can be left unpainted for a unique, elegant finish that will look as good in 25 years as it does now.

Titanium does have a reputation for being expensive, and that's not undeserved, but if the prospect of a titanium frame is appealing, it's worth taking into account the complete lifespan of a bike. If it lasts you the rest of your riding life, then the value proposition starts to look a lot better for titanium.

We’ve rounded up the best titanium road bikes (with a fair smattering of gravel-competent machines) as reviewed by the BikeRadar team. Check out what to look for when buying a titanium bike at the end of this article.

Though Kinesis is better known for its range of aluminium bikes, it has quietly offered a decent titanium road bike for a long time. The GTD name is an abbreviation of ‘Go The Distance’, which is just what it's designed to do – this is an ultra-endurance, mile-munching machine, with rack and mudguard fittings and a third bottle cage mount.

Its disc-brake setup allows clearance for up to 34mm tyres, meaning you can comfortably fit big rubber, too. Cable ports let you run electronic or mechanical drivetrains.

Kinesis has tweaked the geometry of the V2 bike, making it sportier, but there's still a 71.5-degree head angle for stability on long rides. You can choose your own components, as the GTD V2 is a custom build.

Technically a gravel bike rather than a road bike, the Mason Bokeh Ti mixes the capability for fast road riding with off-road competence. The frame tubes are shaped to perform different functions, rather than all being round, and there are 3D-printed titanium dropouts.

As with all Mason's bikes, there's a lot of choice of components, so you don't need to go with the 47mm 650b tyres fitted if you want a more road-going spec.

Built up with a selection of smart components, Reilly's Gradient is capable of tackling all kinds of on- and off-road adventures.

The frameset is the real star of the show though. As well as being stunning to look at, the Reilly Axis ‘ultra-butted’ tubing and frame angles imbue the bike with a lively ride that balances speed and comfort incredibly well.

As befits an adventure bike, it also has mounts for luggage, mudguards and a third bottle cage as standard. Reilly backs its workmanship with a lifetime warranty on the frame.

A titanium bike for the person who wants one bike to race forever more, Reily's T325 has a semi-compact frame for added stiffness and an aggressively short head tube to help you get into a long and low position.

It's not quite as light as an equivalent carbon race bike, but unless you’re only riding hill climbs or a real weight weenie, you probably won't notice this, so good is the ride quality.

Reilly also offers a lifetime warranty on the frame.

Ribble's Endurance Ti is built from top-grade, seamless double-butted titanium and its silhouette closely resembles its carbon sibling.

Although it has endurance geometry, it's skewed more towards the sportier side of the spectrum, coming up a little longer in reach and a little lower on the head tube. It is a titanium bike designed with wet weather in mind, with eyelets for mudguards included.

With a mechanical Shimano Ultegra R8000 spec and Ribble's own-brand components under its Level moniker, the Endurance Ti has an impressive ride quality. It glides over poor surfaces and it has lively handling.

With its oversized head tube and bottom bracket, as well as a semi-compact frame design, Sabbath's Mondays Child is stiff enough to race, with its confidence-inspiring geometry making it a particularly noteworthy descender.

Its high-stiffness does mean a little sacrifice in ride comfort, but the smartly specced tubeless-ready wheels and tubeless Schwalbe Pro One tyres soften the ride enough for all-day comfort.

The frame also comes with a lifetime warranty, so you needn't worry about it lasting the distance either.

Sonder bikes come from UK outdoor retailer Alpkit. The Colibri comes with internal cable routing and three bottle bosses. As well as SRAM Force 22, it's available in Rival 22 and Shimano builds.

There's enough frame clearance for 46c tyres in place of the fitted 32mm WTB Expanse tyres, or you could fit mudguards and a rack for commuting or touring duties. It's a capable all-rounder that can handle gravel as well as smooth or smoothish tarmac.

Dolan has a well-earned reputation for producing good-value bikes, and its Titanium ADX Disc reinforces that.

The smart-looking frame and Deda carbon fork come kitted out with Shimano's excellent Ultegra groupset and a host of other quality components, all at a very reasonable price for a titanium bike.

With its tall head tube (205mm on our tester's 58.5cm bike), it has a sportive-focused geometry, but this is a bike designed to pamper you over long distance. Unless you have the flexibility of a professional road racer, you’ll likely appreciate the elevated position.

You’ll also probably appreciate the generous tyre clearance – thanks to the addition of disc brakes, the Dolan has clearance for up to 35mm tyres, so you can go big enough to smooth out rough roads or take on light gravel.

Sitting at the racier end of the spectrum, the Vamoots Disc RSL has stiff, oversized tubing and aggressive angles and fit, but still maintains that classic, smooth titanium ride quality the material is so prized for.

Unlike many small frame builders, Moots is able to incorporate modern manufacturing processes such as 3D printing (which is used to make the dropouts, for example) into its process. The result is a beautifully constructed titanium bike that blends the best of classic and modern production methods.

It all comes at a cost though – whether you spec it with the latest and greatest components or go for something more workmanlike, there's no getting away from the fact that this is a rather expensive bike, to say the least. If your pockets are deep enough though, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

Although technically a gravel bike, the Enigma Escape is a jack of all trades and can be used as a posh commuter bike or a long-distance tourer, no matter the terrain.

The frameset is packed with mounting points for mudguards or luggage. There is an optional C-Six ADV fork that contains triple mounts for further options. Its geometry is reminiscent of an endurance road bike and is not particularly radical, and the ride feel is pleasantly damped, although the rear end is more firm with a fatter 31.6mm seatpost.

Spa Cycles has been catering to the needs of British touring cyclists for more than 40 years, so the company knows a thing or two about what works for that type of riding.

The Elan combines smart, old-school styling and features such as external cable routing and a threaded bottom bracket, with modern touches including disc brakes and decent tyre clearance, making for a reliable, do-anything bike that will serve you well for a very long time.

The 10-speed Shimano 105 drivetrain (complete with a triple chainset for a true blast from the past) that came on our test bike is a little dated, but it performed admirably and Spa Cycles offers plenty of customisation options if it's not to your taste.

Van Nicholas is a Dutch brand that has done more than its fair share to popularise titanium bikes – and for good reason. The Yukon Disc has a great frame that could be made to truly sing with a few different component choices (as on our test bike).

At 9.67kg including full-length mudguards, it's pretty lightweight for a touring bike, and its 34t x 34t bottom gear ought to be low enough to winch you up steep pitches. Likewise, there's very little flex from the frame, making it an efficient climber.

The slightly dropped seatstays might not appeal to the purists, but it's a modern design touch that differentiates the Yukon Disc from its peers.

Like any kind of bike, geometry plays a massive part in the way a titanium bike rides and handles, so you should ensure the bike you purchase matches the type of riding you intend to do on it.

Titanium bikes tend to be designed for long-distance riding, so the geometry will often be relatively relaxed, with a taller head tube, slacker angles and a longer wheelbase.

The slacker steerer angles and longer wheelbase aid stability and give a slightly slower, more deliberate response to steering compared to a twitchy race bike.

It also puts you in a more upright position, with less weight on your hands and less strain on your neck, shoulder and back muscles. You might have to sacrifice a little in aerodynamics, but over the course of a long ride across rough terrain the gains in comfort could pay dividends.

If you want to race or have a more aggressive position on the bike, you’ll be looking for a frame with a shorter head tube, steeper angles and shorter chainstays.

The advent of disc brakes for road bikes has not only been great for slowing you down, but has opened up the possibility for manufacturers to build in much greater tyre clearance to bikes. Subsequently, many titanium road bikes now have clearance for up to 35mm road tyres.

This not only brings benefits in terms of comfort and potentially reduced rolling resistance, but it also has the potential to massively increase a bike's versatility, moving firmly into gravel bike territory.

This is ideal if, for example, you live in a country (such as the United Kingdom, where BikeRadar is based) where the road quality generally varies from bad to appalling.

Even if you prefer rim brakes, many modern rim brake calipers can accommodate up to 28mm tyres on wide rims, so it's worth checking the frame and fork can handle that as well.

A titanium bike is likely to cost a fair amount more than an equivalent carbon one, or the best aluminium or steel bikes, simply because the nature of the material makes it more difficult to construct frames and parts from.

Without going into too much detail, the machining, welding and finishing of titanium bikes are more labour-intensive processes that require specialist skills and equipment, compared to other frame-building materials. All of this increases production costs and, inevitably, these costs are passed on to the consumer.

However, where a titanium bike makes up for its initial cost is in longevity. It's an extremely resilient material, meaning titanium bikes can take a lot of knocks and punishment without trouble.

With that in mind, many manufacturers will offer a lifetime warranty on titanium frames to the original owner, giving you peace of mind that should you run into any production issues further down the line they’ll have you covered.

Senior technical writer

Simon von Bromley is a senior technical writer for Simon joined BikeRadar in 2020, but has been riding bikes all his life, and racing road and time trial bikes for over a decade. As a person of little physical talent, he has a keen interest in any tech which can help him ride faster and is obsessed with the tiniest details. Simon writes reviews and features on power meters, smart trainers, aerodynamic bikes and kit, and nerdy topics like chain lubricants, tyres and pro bike tech. Simon also makes regular appearances on the BikeRadar Podcast and BikeRadar's YouTube channel. Before joining BikeRadar, Simon was a freelance writer and photographer, with work published on, and in CyclingPlus magazine. You can follow Simon on Twitter or Instagram.

Technical writer

Oscar Huckle is a technical writer at BikeRadar. He has been an avid cyclist since his teenage years, initially catching the road cycling bug and riding for a local club. He's since been indoctrinated into gravel riding and more recently has taken to the dark art of mountain biking. His favourite rides are epic road or gravel routes, and he has also caught the bikepacking bug hard after completing the King Alfred's Way and West Kernow Way. Oscar has a BA degree in English Literature and Film Studies and has close to a decade of cycling industry experience, initially working in a variety of roles at Evans Cycles before joining Carbon Bike Repair. He is particularly fond of workshop tool exotica and is a proponent of Campagnolo groupsets. Oscar prefers lightweight road and gravel frames with simple tube shapes, rather than the latest trend for aerodynamics and full integration. He is obsessed with keeping up to date with all the latest tech, is fixated with the smallest details and is known for his unique opinions.

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