Author Topic: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?  (Read 960 times)

onebikeoneworld

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Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« on: January 04, 2018, 02:31:03 PM »
I've been considering changing out some bolts that look a bit worn, and was wondering about the idea of changing to Titanium ones. They're certainly not cheap (http://tibike.co.uk/shop/ seem to have them at about £3 a go) and a quick glance at the bike suggests there are north of 50 bolts.

Has anyone does this? What precautions should be taken? Would the interface on Titanium bolts be less prone to rounding from Hex keys than on stock bolts? Is it just a way to spend £200 to save 100g on a Thorn Raven which weighs a silly amount.

pavel

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 04:20:34 PM »
Well thinking about this I vaguely remember some of the properties of titanium.  It is a poor conductor, it is less dense than steel and thus lighter, more ductile and has a much higher elongation rate, and superior tensile strength. Now that is off the top of my underpowered head - so double checking might be in order, and I wonder myself how that would play out. 

Normally if you go to theoretical extremes, all the differences except weight can be seen as either good or bad thing depending on the over-all design objectives, but I feel that it's similar to the idea of what one bicycle salesman told me once, how an ahead stem is stronger than a quil stem.   I asked him was "under which conditions, where are you measuring the various forces,  and what sort of numbers did your testing show?" He responded  - well everyone knows this and left - which was a desirable outcome for me.   

I don't think it matters except as a good topic on a rainy day, inside a warm pub, with some of one's drunk friends, where it becomes very important as the beers are put away.  On a real bicycle it does not make any sort of difference, I'm sure.  I mean if one worries about the strength of a quill stem not being enough, where it would take forces that would shear your arms off at the shoulders, before shearing the stem. Better to not use carbon fiber handlebars instead, or even avoid aluminum perhaps rather that worry about the stem.  I dunno, it all seem like a lot of marketing driven fetishism.  And so too with titanium versus steel bolts on a bike.

But we are "guys", and thus I highly recommend titanium bolts.  If there is a mountain somewhere, it must be climbed. Titanium bolts will allow for almost three Cliff Shot energy gells to be carried without a weight penalty and due to the superior melting point of titanium, in the case of a nuclear war they will be the last thing to melt, potentially saving time and money on the rebuild. 

I've never pondered this before - but now I realize that I too need titanium bolts. The bigger question gnawing on me now however is - the benefits of titanium rims and tireless tubes.

mickeg

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 05:58:22 PM »
I can't imagine why you would want Titanium bolts.  If you want the corrosion resistance, use stainless.  Almost all of the bolts on my bikes are stainless.  I am not sure what the shear strength is on Titanium bolts, but I do know that my stainless bolts are good enough.

I do not know how much weight savings there would be from switching to Titanium from stainless, but I would not be surprised if I could achieve even more weight reduction if I cleaned the dirt off of my bike, especially under the fenders (mudguards) where dirt accumulates.

pavel

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 06:36:16 PM »
I can't imagine why you would want Titanium bolts.  If you want the corrosion resistance, use stainless.  Almost all of the bolts on my bikes are stainless.  I am not sure what the shear strength is on Titanium bolts, but I do know that my stainless bolts are good enough.

I do not know how much weight savings there would be from switching to Titanium from stainless, but I would not be surprised if I could achieve even more weight reduction if I cleaned the dirt off of my bike, especially under the fenders (mudguards) where dirt accumulates.


That is a common mistake to call that "dirt".  It is in fact "UV protection" and I make sure I never remove it from my bike - the way my wife thinks "UV protection" should be removed from bicycles and cars.  It also saves me hours each week, now that I've become more enlightened. 

PH

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 06:38:29 PM »
I canít work out where there would be 50 bolts (Which by the way will almost definitely be screws)
Is your bike made from Meccano?
IMO The weight saving will be so minimal as to be worthless.  If you have any screws just plugging spare threaded holes, you could swap them for nylon screws, which will be lighter than ti.

Danneaux

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 07:25:27 PM »
Quote
I canít work out where there would be 50 bolts (Which by the way will almost definitely be screws)
Well, let's see...

On my Nomad (for example):
Fork:
4- racks
2- mudguard stays
1- headlight
2- dynamo clamp adapter mount
1- underside fork crown mudguard mount
2- v-brake bosses

Stem:
4-clamp
1-headset preload bolt

Frame:
6- water bottle mounts
2- upper rack mounts
2- lower rack mount
2- mudguard mounts
2- disc brake mounting tab
2- M8 eccentric bolts
1- seat collar pinch bolt
1- underside seatstay bridge mount for mudguards
1- chainstay bridge mount for mudguards
1- v-brake bosses

Then, we have components:
2 - external BB crank pinch bolts or main crank bolts if internal BB
4 or 5- chainring bolts and sleeve nuts
(4-nuts on v-brakes...don't count 'cos nuts not bolts)
2- Thorn Exp mudguard stay mounts on rear rack
2- cross-brace on Thorn Low-Loader Mk V front racks
2- brake lever mounting clamp bolts
2- crosstop brake lever mounting clamp bolts
2- v-brake cable clamp bolts
1- saddle rail clamp on seatpost
(8 draw bolts and nuts for mudguard stay mounts...no Ti equivalent, so don't count)

...unless I missed something, that's it. [No, it isn't...I lost count. ??? There's four more bolts in a Thorn EXP rear rack]

Total on frame/fork: 37 unless I've lost count
Total on components: 18 22
Grand total: 55 59

All the best,

Dan.


« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 11:29:24 PM by Danneaux »

pavel

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 07:49:40 PM »
yeah .... but what about those titanium rims? it would get me to my touring destination 34 seconds a day earlier on the average 70 mile (112 km) day .... every day. How's that not an amazing thing?

Danneaux

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 08:15:11 PM »
Quote
...but what about those titanium rim
Because titanium is more dense than aluminum and therefore heavier (though still lighter than steel), you would likely be slower on a course that required frequent starts/stops or uphill. On a flat course with steady-state pedaling, you would likely be about the same speed overall once you had reached cruising speed.

All the best,

Dan.

Danneaux

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 11:41:37 PM »
The OP asked...
Quote
Would the interface on Titanium bolts be less prone to rounding from Hex keys than on stock bolts?
To get around the problem, I have replaced some of my socket head/Allen bolts with hex-head bolts. The surface area is larger, the span across the fastener is greater, and of you only have an open-end wrench with you, you have three shots/face-pairs for removal (though I prefer box-end wrenches).

I installed mine on my rack mounts. They make removal much easier over time as the interface ages.

Similarly, I sometimes thread a longer bolt clear through a rack braze-on and secure the rack with a locking nut. In the event the bolt fractures, it makes removal an easier task. I know Andy Blance does this also.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 11:46:14 PM by Danneaux »

Andre Jute

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2018, 11:57:44 PM »
34 seconds a day earlier on the average 70 mile (112 km) day

34 seconds is maybe a bit optimistic for a 100g shaving, but even half that, 17s a day, 220 days a year, say, is definitely worth $200. That's over an hour, and back in the day my time was charged at very much more than that.

It's not difficult to conceive of many other circumstances in which 17s in 70m would be worth much more. At Le Mans for instance, 17s in every five laps would be a crushing margin at the end of the 24h race of nearly 14 minutes, for which Audi or Porsche or Toyota would be happy to pay tens of millions.

All of that said, I have only one ti screw on my bike, and that was given to me by Julian (Julk) with a double-saddle-rail to micro-adjustable seatpost adaptor and, IIRC, was all that would fit. All the rest are stainless, because that is the optimum rustfree choice as George says.

***

Expensive enough to find stainless screws in all the required sizes and lengths (which is why you should prefer bike manufacturers and component makers who supply stainless screws as standard), near impossible to do it in ti. In addition, the wider availability of stainless sizes/lengths makes fitting longer screws and self-locking nuts in selected locations (where you have to disassemble/reassemble the component or assembly often, and therefore you don't want to use Loctte) so much more likely and consequently your life so much easier when you're trying to assemble your bike on the busy sidewalk in front of an airport building.

mickeg

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2018, 12:54:19 AM »
Since we are on the topic of bolts, ...

Just a quick recommendation for blue Loctite on all rack bolts.  I also use it on kickstand bolts (Thorn recommends against kickstands).  Since I lost a shoe cleat bolt last summer, I now use it on those bolts too.  After Dave (SJS Shop) commented on dissimilar metal corrosion, I also use it on my Rohloff drain plug screw.

Thorn/SJS has a specific recommendation for which loctite is recommended but I think that it uses a model number specific to UK vendors.  I am in USA, sometimes I use a competitor product instead of genuine loctite branding.  The version of loctite you want says on the package that the bolts are removable, you do not want something that is permanent, you only need to guard against vibration causing them to fall out.

Other bolts like water bottle bolts, seatpost bolt, stem cap bolt, I instead use grease instead of loctite.  Grease is a viscous liquid, that high viscosity will reduce the likelyhood of a bolt falling out compared to a dry bolt that has come loose.  But they can still come loose, so carry a few spares on a bike tour.  On my Thorns that had a tab on the front fork to mount a bottle dynamo, I carry my spare bolts threaded into that tab.

On my seatpost bolt, I have cut a small slot in the end of the bolt.  That way if I torque it too much and break the bolt, I should be able to extract it with a small screwdriver. 

I met a biker in Iceland, we were over 100 km from any form of retail establishment.  He had used up all of his spare bolts, so he was obsessive about making sure his bolts were tight every day.  And he went so far as to wrap tape around the bolt and frame on each of his rack bolts to make sure that if the bolt started to come loose, the tape would prevent it from coming all the way out.  After talking to him, I was so glad I used some blue loctite.

Danneaux

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2018, 02:02:33 AM »
Quote
Just a quick recommendation for blue Loctite on all rack bolts.  I also use it on kickstand bolts (Thorn recommends against kickstands).  Since I lost a shoe cleat bolt last summer, I now use it on those bolts too.
Boy! I sure agree with you, George.

Just one caution when torquing lubed bolts (and Loctite is like a lubricant while it is wet):
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11655.msg85102#msg85102
Quote
On my Thorns that had a tab on the front fork to mount a bottle dynamo, I carry my spare bolts threaded into that tab.
Me too. It is a good place to store a spare pair of SPD shoe cleats, too. The threads are the same M5 x 0.8mm.

Best,

Dan.

pavel

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2018, 08:14:39 PM »
But is it still a proper adventure if one does not lose any bolts at the worst possible time? 

I use thread compound on every nut and bolt on both my bicycles and motorcycles.  Contrary to what some may first think it helps things stay put  (preload) as well as to take off.

I wonder if there is any galvanic action between Titanium and the Steel in Thorn tubes in that sea air of Britain?


julk

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2018, 11:55:58 PM »
Onebikeoneworld,
Go for it - then both the bike and your wallet will weigh less!
You will also be creating a family heirloom for the distant future.
I found http://www.torontocycles.com/Selling/Titanium_Bolts.html has a large choice and not too pricey.

I really really tried to find a longer M7 ss bolt for the clamp on my Nitto S84 seatpost, but nothing suitable emerged from my internet efforts. My Brooks saddle has rear springs and this alters the angle of the clamp making a longer bolt a safer full thread fastening at the front end. The supplied Nitto bolt was a couple of threads short in my setup.

I must admit a have a bit more titanium on my BromptonsÖ
Julian.

mickeg

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Re: Titanium bolts? Mad waste of money or any purpose?
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2018, 12:56:27 AM »
...
I wonder if there is any galvanic action between Titanium and the Steel in Thorn tubes in that sea air of Britain?

Did you buy the Titanium bolts after all?

I still think you want steel bolts.

Attached photo shows a steel rack bolt and steel fender bolt on my Titanium frame.  (If you are tempted to give me a hard time for showing a non-Thorn in the photo, I bought the XT hub and the Spyre disc brake unit from SJS.)

Titanium is highly reactive to Oxygen, a Titanium Oxide coating develops on the bare metal.  But the Titanium Oxide coating that develops on it is very corrosion resistant which is one reason that Titanium frames are often unpainted, I would expect that you would not have any problem with having Titanium in direct contact with other metals.