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Old June 1st, 2018, 08:36 PM   #1
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titanium bolts and other light things

Just in the process of fitting about 91 titanium bolts to the old girl to reduce a bit of weight and get rid of some of the ugly factory stuff manufacturers put on our bikes. They are a beautiful thing if that's not too weird to describe a fastener.

It will be interesting to see how much weight is in the stock ones, everyone tells me they're about half the weight so we'll see. I've done other stuff like lithium battery, full titanium exhaust, wheels, dbholders subframe, tail tidy etc like most of us but not a lot of carbon fibre just because the plastic is quite light.
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Old June 1st, 2018, 11:08 PM   #2
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Titanium & Stainless Steel Fasteners

You should probably get familiar with the principles of galvanic corrosion to better understand why Ducati uses zinc plated steel fasteners (and purposely not stainless) to sacrifice the plating to corrosion instead of the expensive aluminum parts that they thread into.

One of the design considerations for a motorcycle is corrosion resistance. So when you disassemble it, make changes or replace components, and reassemble it, you need to be aware of a few things.

Galvanic Corrosion

The manufacturer uses a number of different metal alloys, plastics, and coatings - each selected for its cost, weight, strength, appearance, and corrosion resistance among other things. What also needed to be considered, is that when any two different metals touch each other, electricity flows between them (which is how a battery works), and the surface of the metal lower on the list (below) corrodes.

For example, when aluminum or magnesium are in contact with carbon or stainless steel, this galvanic action will corrode the aluminum or magnesium. So the approach is to use steel fasteners to fasten steel parts together, whenever possible.

One problem is that aluminum fasteners arenít very strong, so aluminum parts are held with steel fasteners, but in special ways to reduce corrosion. Carbon steel bolts threaded directly into aluminum is generally avoided, for example.

Hereís a list of some commonly used metals. The farther apart (top to bottom) on the list the two materials are, the more corrosion that will occur to the material lower on the list when they are held in contact.

Stainless steel, type 316
Nickel (passive)
Silver solder
Cast iron
Mild steel
Galvanized steel
Zinc (often used as a sacrificial anode in marine environments)

One way to control this galvanic corrosion is to use metals closer to each other in the above list, or by electrically isolating metals from each other. Zinc plating of steel fasteners for example, is used to reduce the metal dissimilarities with aluminum and magnesium. Paint and coatings are used to prevent metals from touching.

Keeping the two dissimilar metals dry will also slow the corrosion process but just the moisture in the air on a humid day is enough to cause a problem.

Anti-Seize Products

If a fastener wonít get disassembled for long periods of time, itís a candidate for using an anti-seize compound during assembly. There are three formulations widely available based on copper, aluminum or nickel.

The way anti-seize compounds work is by placing a third dissimilar metal between the two base metals. So the corrosion of a thread in a magnesium part caused by a titanium bolt is reduced by an intermediate copper-rich or nickel-rich thread coating grease. The aluminum anti-seize compound is for use between (say) stainless steel and magnesium.

Torque Values

If the same materials are being fastened together, then they are assembled dry to the manufacturerís torque values - unless otherwise specified. In critical fasteners such as the axle nut that holds the rear wheel on superbikes, the spec calls for lubricating the threads prior to assembly. The torque spec assumes a lubricated thread. Read your manual.

In general, a thread treated with either an anti-seize or regular grease requires a lower torque value (than a higher-friction dry thread) to create the same tension in the fastener. So, if you make a modification that changes a component material, such that anti-seize is now needed, youíll need to torque the fastener to an approximately 10% lower value to avoid over-tensioning the fastener (according to Machinery's Handbook, 25th ed.). A new torque wrench is usually accurate to Ī 3%.


If a bolt is torqued to the specified value thereís no need for thread locking adhesives. When the manufacturer is designing a critical connection that will be subjected to vibration, a lock washer is incorporated to prevent loosening.

So to sum-up, if you use titanium hardware to replace the zinc-plated steel hardware, you can develop worse corrosion problems. The zinc is sacrificial in the sense that it corrodes preferentially, thereby protecting aluminum and magnesium components assembled by/to it.

It depends on how the titanium (in fact, any material) fastener is used. The picture below shows the galvanic corrosion of an aluminum plate (after just six months) caused by using a stainless steel screw. The stainless itself doesnít corrode, it causes the aluminum to corrode. The corrosion using a titanium fastener will be worse than for stainless.

In the above situation if you used a zinc-plated steel screw (like Ducati stock hardware) the zinc plating would corrode first, and in doing so, protect the aluminum part instead of the other way around.

In fact, thatís what youíre seeing when youíre looking to replace that scruffy-looking hardware ... the inexpensive fastenerís plating protecting the expensive aluminum and magnesium parts.

So, what Iím warning here is that if you replace your corroded fasteners with a corrosion-resistant (but more-dissimilar) material such as titanium or stainless steel, you can shift the corrosion to the aluminum or magnesium if the two dissimilar metals are touching. Anti-seize materials will help by inserting a third material that itself will corrode but slow down the galvanic action.
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Old June 1st, 2018, 11:24 PM   #3
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Yes from one who has done a lot of this - they are beautiful. A nice sense of finishing off the bike as you replace fairly ordinary steel fasteners with tasty Ti and alloy ones.
And of course they come in colours now, if you're that way inclined (check out Pro-Bolt if you haven't already).
As to weight saving - the actual material is just 60% the weight of steel, although often the Ti fasteners have a 'leaner' profile. Aluminium alloy is close to 30% of the weight of steel.
So the fasteners aren't a cheap way to save weight, but worth doing nonetheless. (The lithium battery is actually a cheap way to save almost 4 kgs in pure weight terms, as well as being a better battery).
Fasteners retaining plastic parts can be replaced with aluminium, which is a good saving, given there are so many of them.
Shouldered bolts can be replaced as composites if you are or know a machinist. I made a number of shouldered bolts by adding an alloy threaded ferrule to a Ti bolt (eg. cam cover bolts) Loctited on.
The shouldered bolts on my fairings etc. (earlier model) I created with black aluminium screws with ferrules made of black nylon. A bunch of those are way light.
Enjoy your project, and the result - a bike that feels that bit more distilled. 'Essence of Motorcycle' perhaps! A lighter bike does almost everything better. Braking, accelerating and handling. And easier to manhandle in/out of the garage.
Only drawback is a more 'flighty' feel over big bumps, and a tendency to be more affected by crosswinds, but it's worth those minor trade-offs.
I've removed 23 kgs from mine (over 50 lbs) still road legal, and 91,000 kms says I love it! Can get a bit pricey when you start onto ceramic brakes and a magnesium swing arm, but love knows no limit!
Another tasty item I can recommend is the TPO front axle, in Tennalum. It is a beautiful thing, and amazingly light.
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Old June 1st, 2018, 11:33 PM   #4
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Shazaam's post appeared while I was writing mine. It is true that these corrosive values change when you change materials, and these are worth knowing.
However with careful assembly (with the copper-based anti-seize, often supplied with the fasteners applied) I have seen no evidence of a problem, and I started doing all this to my 1098 ten years ago.
That is - worth being aware of, but not a big problem on a bike which is stored indoors. My RAM magnesium swing-arm is the part which I will be keeping a close eye on in that regard, as magnesium definitely doesn't like moisture getting past its protective coating.
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Old June 2nd, 2018, 08:56 AM   #5
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Interesting... very detailed and fruitful feedback on the subject.

I always enjoy reading posts from Shazaam and pat1098.
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Old June 3rd, 2018, 02:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Proctologist View Post
Interesting... very detailed and fruitful feedback on the subject.

I always enjoy reading posts from Shazaam and pat1098.
Yes for sure nice to hear, I used Permatex Anti-Seize Lubricant that is an aluminium, copper, and graphite lubricant blend so hope it copes with Ti in a mix of metals on the Pani.
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Old June 8th, 2018, 04:05 PM   #7
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Hi guys
Where do you buy the titanium bolts from?
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Old August 6th, 2019, 03:01 PM   #8

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Ti bolts

Iv'e been buying Ti bolts and parts from Podium Racing either through his site or his ebay store great value on engine bolt kits which I have carried from bike to bike more than once, great resource.


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Old May 26th, 2020, 06:02 PM   #9
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He looks great my friend
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Old Yesterday, 03:55 PM   #10
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Old Yesterday, 05:03 PM   #11
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Swapping bolts for titanium on anything other than a race bike is a waste of money . Great for cosmetic value but that would be it .
If you don't have time to use your products, what's the point of having them? So you can "be a man" and prove your dominance by showing people your purchasing power? ...........
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