poolstick

All three sit around $2500 (found the '15 Ti used). I've only gotten a chance to ride the '17 Warbird Aluminum around a parking lot, which I liked a lot. It sounds like some reviews claim the compliance on the newer, aluminum warbirds is better than the older Ti ones? That's hard to believe, but may be the case. The steel RLT gets good reviews, but I can't find one in a reasonable distance to test ride.

I'm not overly concerned about weight, but am looking for something reasonably quick and at least moderately comfortable. Probably will do mostly longer mixed/gravel rides and maybe the occasional CX race or commute.

It seems like I'm splitting hairs a bit here, but any thoughts or experience with each bike would be great!

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Soundwave
I love my RLT Steel, but I don't think I could buy a bike without hopping on it first.  The price is a bit of a premium compared to the others as well.  If the Warbird geometries are the same, and you like the ride, I would probably go with the Ti version.
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moe53
The Ti Bird is probably not set up with thru axles or DI2 routing if that makes any diff to you. It didn't to me. Great bike.
Enlightenment begins where the pavement ends. [idea]
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poolstick
Yeah, thru-axles would be nice but isn't a deal breaker. Don't think I'll ever go the DI2 route.
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moe53
I hear ya, been riding mtb for 25 years and never finished a ride thinking I needed ta's. Some do, good for them.

PS paid $2800 for the Ti Bird brand new, Salsa was blowing them out last year.
Enlightenment begins where the pavement ends. [idea]
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DrSpoke
Does your Ti Bird have disc brakes?  Are they "needed"?  If so, good for you.

I paid $2,300 for a Ridley X-Trail 2 years ago - so what.  I've been riding 45 years - so what.  I've got road bikes with a 2x5 gearing - so what.  I've got mountain bikes with 3x8 gearing - so what.  Do they work?  Sure.  Are they the latest tech?  Of course not.

The point is that technology moves on.  So, I guess, I'm one of those "good for them" guys.  When I purchase a new (complete) bike I generally try to get the most current tech available.  This doesn't guarantee it will be "future proof" as technology changes rapidly at times but hopefully I'll be ok for a few or at least a couple of years.

That is, the comment on thru axles is, at best, gratuitous.  Of course they are not "needed" as bikes have been rolling fine for over a century without them.  I've also got Schwinn bikes from the 70s with solid axle hubs/wheels w/15mm nuts to bolt them to the frame or fork - basically 1930s or older tech.  And they spin fine.  But they're dang heavy w/the steel rims and I'm not sure I want to ride them over rocks though I'm sure I could.

So, if by "needed," does that mean we should be riding 1890s technology?  The "need" is based on personal requirements.  Thru axles are the current tech for frames/forks/axles/hubs - not that it won't change next year.  I have thru axles on both of my gravel bikes as I have 3 bikes using this system - a Pivot Mach 429 Carbon mtn bike, a Niner RLT 9 Steel and the Ridley.  This allows me to interchange wheels/tires/cassettes between the bikes (gravel) and/or have a backup in case I destroy a wheel (on the Pivot).  This may or not be important to you but valid reasons for me.

I have friends w/bikes that have thru axle front and QR rear.  Why is this?  Because the manufacturers have updated their forks to current technology because it's quicker and cheaper but haven't yet updated the frame because it talks longer and much more expensive.  But I'm sure the next version will include it.

As re Di2 - I recently converted my Ridley from mechanical Ultegra.  I didn't expect much of a difference, nor expected to like it, but wanted to try it.  The difference has been rather amazing.  That is, I love it.  I can do full power upshifts and downshifts.  No dropped chains ever.  My Garmin displays the gears I'm in and even gives me diagnostics if my fine tuning is off a 1/16 of a click.  Needed?  Of course not.  But pretty cool.

So make your choices based on your personal "needs" or preferences and not somebody else's.
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smharstedt
I bought a 2017 Warbird 105 in March.  I'm loving the bike, I have about 700 miles on it so far. The updated frame design is much smoother than the 2015 or earlier version. 

Before I purchased I also test rode a Vaya and the RLT Steel.  The Vaya was great, but I did not need the rack mounts and the bike felt a bit slow compared the Warbird and RLT Steel.  I really wanted to like the RLT, but the fork felt really harsh to me, with larger tires it might be better.  I also did not like the 1X11 set up for gravel.

You are the only one that can pick the right ride for you, if you can ride all 3 back to back that will give you the best comparison.  Honestly they are all good bikes, you just need to find the best fit for you.

Good Luck!
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moe53
DrSpoke.  Chill out dude. 
Enlightenment begins where the pavement ends. [idea]
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ljsmith
moe53 wrote:
DrSpoke.  Chill out dude. 


While reading Dr Spokes post I felt like someone was pointing a finger right in my face yelling at me.  
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moe53
Seems like he took offense at something. Jeez, it's only bikes. Funny.
Enlightenment begins where the pavement ends. [idea]
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NoCoGreg
In my experience, and my opinion, is that wheels and tires have the largest affect on ride comfort.  I don't care what the frame material is nor the geometry, a set of 33mm tires pumped to 80psi is going to be punishing when compared to the same tires at 40 psi and some 40mm tires at 35psi will feel even better.  Wider rims will increase the stiffness of the tires - this is because the tire sidewalls will be straighter as opposed to the lightbulb shape they will make when mounted on a narrower rim.  However the flex of the tire on the narrower rim will also affect the precision of the steering.

So if you want the option to have more comfort, get a frame which accommodates big tires.

The frame wheelbase and geometry will have a lot to do with comfort and flex.  Longer chainstays allows more flex (aka compliance). Similarly, more slack (smaller) seat and head tube angles and increased fork offset (rake) will increase vibration absorption by increasing compliance.  All of these dimensions combine to affect the overall wheelbase.  Longer wheelbase makes handling more predictable and stable (aka slower steering).  

Stiffer, less compliant, frames feel quicker because the bike does respond faster.  But on a long gravel ride compliance reduces fatigue and larger tires roll faster.

Also, when testing/comparing bicycles, the wheels and tires will make a big difference.  A narrower and lighter tire will feel much quicker primarily due to the less weight (inertia).

To your question on the Warbird, yes Salsa could have made the aluminum Warbird more compliant than the previous Ti version. But the Ti frame will be much more resistant to denting, scratches can be rubbed out and there is no paint to chip.  I would expect the Ti Warbird to hold it's value better than the aluminum version.

Happy shopping,
Greg
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Erik_A
I would choose the bike that allows for the largest tires.  I know that the early Warbirds would only fit a 33c cyclocross tire, where the newer ones fit 40c plus.  

40c min in the rear and 46-48c in the front would be a nice option.  

Companies like Lynskey (who makes the Warbird frame) can make ti frames as stiff or compliant as they want.  Lynskey's more expensive 29er bikes (Pro series) are very stiff, while the cheaper MT29 are the most flexible, with the Ridgeline in the middle.
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PMC

This is my fourth season on my Ti Warbird and I still love it.  It's been through three different build configurations and a few different wheelsets.  Yes it's QR, yes the rear tire clearance isn't like the new stuff but overall it really works well for me.  I run MSO 36 tires and have tons of clearance so that's good enough for me.
I love the geometry and ride qualities and will probably never part with it.  Sure it'll be built up with different stuff again at some point but the frame & fork will stay until they are no longer serviceable.  

 

Wife has a 13 orange alloy bird and no plans on replacing that one either.

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dstookey
I have 2013 custom built orange Warbird and run Clement MSO 40's with no issues. Wheels are Stans No Tubes Iron Cross.
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moe53
Later year Ti Warbirds were made by ORA Engineering in Taiwan, just like the new Salsa Ti bikes that just were announced. That accounts for the differences in clearance in various years. I run 38's, with plenty of clearance. I tried 42's and they fit with about 2mm clearance.
Enlightenment begins where the pavement ends. [idea]
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jboat
Did you ever make a decision? I have been trying to track down a Ti Warbird 58cm for a while now. They seem to be tough to come by.
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poolstick
I actually ended up finding an 2015 AL Warbird up for sale on Craigslist, and went with that. So far so good, and saved quite a bit of $$!
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