[CR]Re: Campagnolo titanium parts

Example: Framebuilders:Alex Singer

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 10:58:00 -0800 (PST)
From: Tom Dalton <tom_s_dalton@yahoo.com>
To: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net>
In-Reply-To: <20060116183959.71836.qmail@web81101.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
cc: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Re: Campagnolo titanium parts

Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

I've never heard of extensive failures of Zeus 2000 Ti bits, as happened on some of the early Campy SR ones, although maybe Zeus learned from Campy's mistakes.

Tom's reply: Or maybe it was because there was at least a two-two three order of magnitude difference in the number of units in service. I've never heard of a failure on anything Zeus 2000, but than again, I can't recall ever riding or racing with anyone who had any Zeus 2000 stuff on his bike. At Campy-plus prices, without the benefits of being the standard of the day, it was not especially popular. It's cool stuff, but cool has it's limits.

Jerry wrote: Also, Ti pedal cages make sense, since they are lighter than steel, but harder than Al.

Tom's reply: Yes, if you are using alloy cleats. With nylon cleats, alloy cages don't wear out, and have the benefit of being lighter and cheaper to make.

While I'm certainly not a metallurgist, I know that the ti used in bike parts does not resist wear anywhere near as well as steel. Ti cogs wear faster. If ti was as hard as steel, I don't think Campy would have pressed on all those steel races.

Tom Dalton Bethlehem, PA Yeah, I have a couple of those BB's from Barron, although not handy. Maybe the steel races deceived me into believing the cups were alloy. I've said a few times that Zeus made more intelligent use of Ti than Campy. I've never heard of extensive failures of Zeus 2000 Ti bits, as happened on some of the early Campy SR ones, although maybe Zeus learned from Campy's mistakes. I believe the 2000 pedals and BB's used the same bearing sizes as the steel Criterium parts, simplifying maintenance. Also, Ti pedal cages make sense, since they are lighter than steel, but harder than Al.

This last brings me to a question for the metalurgists on the list. I always though Ti was harder than steel, but maybe only because it is notoriously difficult to work, which isn't necessarily the same thing. How does the hardness of Ti in fact compare to high-grade steel? I believe some of the cogs on both current Campy and Dura-Ace cassettes are avilable in Ti, and I get the impression these don't wear as well as steel. Is that the case?


Jerry Moos Big Spring, TX


Jerry Moos Big Spring, TX

Tom Dalton <tom_s_dalton@yahoo.com> wrote: I was just poking around the 'net looking for pics of Zeus rings when I got your message. It appears that I was wrong about the ti rings on Zeus 2000 cranks. They all appear to be drilled aluminum alloy, though there a a couple of versions and a some are black anodozed while others are clear anodized (or not anodized?). No evidence of a ti version.

I'm pretty sure the BB cups were ti, presumably with a steel race inserted. Barron is selling some French threaded sets. I recall hearing that the arm bolts were ti, which strikes me as a bad idea given the risk of galling. It did become fairly common to mate ti-on-ti fasteners in the 90's MTB scene however, though that's hardly a vote of confidence.

Tom Dalton Bethlehem, PA

Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net> wrote: I have a quite a bit of Zeus 2000 stuff. The pedal cages are indeed Ti, and perhaps the pedal axles, as well as the BB axles. I didn't think that the BB cups were Ti, but I could be wrong. I'd have to look as to the crank bolts. But I'm 99% sure that the rings are Al, not Ti. Or at least there is nothing in the color, weight, or overall appearance of any of the rings I have to suggest they are anything other than aluminum. One of the 2000 cranks is totally original as installed by Jack Moran of the former City Cycle in Little Rock, AR, on the ALAN Super Record he built for me in 1981. If there are Ti 2000 rings I have never seen, then Jack must have pulled a fast one by substituting Al rings on me. However, that was never Jack's style, so I believe what I have are the genuine 2000 rings, extensively drilled Al.. Can you imagine drilling that many holes in Ti rings?


Jerry Moos Big Spring, TX

Jan Heine <heine93@earthlink.net> wrote: >It is well within the realm of possibility that Rebour asked about
>the nature of the obviously different black rings and headset and
>was told that they were made of titanium. The titanium BB, pedal
>and hub axles, along with the titanium derailleur pivot bolts, were
>the biggest selling points / innovations on the SR group, and it is
>easy to see where an uninformed PR guy might make assumptions about
>the nature of the strange black parts in order to give an
>interesting explanation. Incidentally, as depicted in the Raleigh
>catalog referenced by Mr. Maasland, the lower brackets of the SR
>post were also black anodized in the prototype groups.

That makes a lot of sense.
>The twist in this whole story is the pedal cages. The black
>anodized aluminum cage on the SL pedal would surely have been
>familiar to Mr. Rebour by the end of 1973, since the unit was
>introduced about two years earlier. This being the case, it does
>not seem odd that he would have initially identified the chainrings
>as also being aluminum, but it does seem odd that he would accept
>Campagnolo’s later assertion that the rings were titanium (assuming
>the info came from Campy). Then again, titanium was pretty unusual
>stuff in the bike industry in 1973, and I would be surprised if, at
>that time, Mr. Rebour would have had any experience distinguishing
>titanium from aluminum based on visual inspection.

Knowing how hard it is to work with deadlines, I suspect that putting out the show report, doing the drawings, etc., things slipped through. Altogether, Rebour did not always have the greatest grasp of technical things, as evidenced by the weight savings quoted below. When in doubt, he seems to have accepted the manufacturers' info, however unlikely.
>One thing that cast serious doubts on the whole possibility of
>titanium SR rings is the bizarre assertion that only titanium would
>allow construction of a cut-down ring of sufficient strength. I
>think a lot of NR rings had undergone aftermarket surgery by late
>1973, and it was pretty well known that they were reliable.
>Moreover, how could a change in the chainrings save 260 grams? Does
>a pair of NR rings even weigh that much?

I totally agree. In fact, looking at the densities of titanium, I doubt that an SR ring made from ti would be lighter than an NR aluminum ring!
>Another thing to consider is the competition. This is really
>grasping at straws, but is it possible that someone somewhere at
>Campagnolo felt a need to (mis)represent their new group as having
>more titanium than it actually did because of the introduction of
>the Zeus 2000 group? That group actually did have titanium rings
>and pedal cages as well as titanium BB cups and crank bolts, none of
>which was seen on standard SR parts. Realistically, the Zeus 2000
>group was probably a few years off, but it’s certainly an
>interesting coincidence that the 2000 group actually had the
>titanium parts that Campagnolo was at least asserting that they
>would offer.

Could it be the other way around - that Zeus read Rebour's report and figured, they, too, had to make all these ti parts. BTW, are you sure about the ti rings? My sources indicate that the Zeus 2000 rings were aluminum.
>As for the 1973 appearance of a NR derailleur with ti bolts, the
>explanation that Maasland provided seems plausible. However, I
>think it is very odd that Campagnolo was displaying something other
>than a standard production SR rear derailleur by 1973, since they
>were supposedly in production by then.

Were they in production in 1973? Or did they start making them in late 1973/early 1974, using pivot bodies stamped "73"? As Chuck Schmidt once pointed out, medium-sized companies don't have assembly lines for each product, but they make one product/part, then warehouse it and retool the line for the next.

So we don't get much new info from that Rebour report, just some misleading assertions. Certainly, titanium was the hot stuff in 1972 and 1973, with Ocana using a Speedwell ti frame to win the Tour and all these ti bits on Merckx' hour record bike. So I can see that the Campagnolo representatives - as you speculate - might have "talked" more ti into their parts than they actually contained.

Jan Heine, Seattle
Vintage Bicycle Quarterly
c/o Il Vecchio Bicycles
140 Lakeside Ave, Ste. C
Seattle WA 98122