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  1. #1
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    What type of frame material do you prefer and why?

    I am starting to look at new or slightly used frames to build up a race bike on. I just wanted to hear what people were using and why they like or dislike it. What would you buy carbon fiber, alum, steel, Ti, or some type of hybrid. Any thoughs on moans and groans will be great.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Oh-oh... another frame material thread. Although materials do make a difference, there are [1] many different subspecies of each type of material which can muddy the disinctions and [2] designs which can make one material feel like another. I think that the frame design itself and manufacturing process used to create it contribute more to the feel and performance of the bike than the base material. I also think another big factour is the wheels.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  3. #3
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    Good point about the wheels A great frame roll as smooth as the wheels will carry it. I guess what I am after is what will you get from lets say an good alum frame vs a good Ti frame. Is Ti going to be a more smooth ride while Alum more rigid and responsive?

  4. #4
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    Go ride some bikes.....

    you can't beat actually riding the bikes you like the look of, preferably on similar roads and at equivalent price points. My idea of a harsh or compliant ride may bear little resemblance to yours, likewise, handling, climbing, etc. Your weight, riding style and preferred equipment will all factor in as well.....

    If you're in the slightly used market, look out for signs of crash damage/repair.

    Like Khuon, I am a bit wary of going into the whole frame material debate (yet) again. Ride some bikes- and buy the one you go back to and want to ride all day!

  5. #5
    Dude who rides bike BikeInMN's Avatar
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    Maybe not the answer you're looking for but...

    Race frame = light, cheap and stiff or in other words aluminum. For me comfort isn't a selling point for a race frame but I will say that I have no problems getting comfy on aluminum.

    Lots of guys like Cannondale CAAD 3/4/5/6 models for the high bottom bracket. They give you a bit more clearance to pedal through corners, which is nice for criterium racing. I raced a CAAD4 two years ago and really liked it. Cannondale frames are also pretty cheap if you shop around. A CAAD5 with full carbon fork can be had new for around 750 USD.

    I'm currently racing a 59cm Bianchi EV2 that is really light and stiff enough for my needs. I'm also a huge fan of Bianchi geometry and handling. It just feels right to me. My mid season race weight at 6'1" is around 155-158 so I'm not super hard on frames and can get by on pretty light weight stuff that bigger guys would crush like a soda can.

    If you were new to racing, I wouldn't recommend sinking huge money into a race frame as you have a pretty good chance of crashing it. Not that it'd be totally trashed but it would hurt more to trash a really nice Ti or CF frame IMO.

  6. #6
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    i prefer carbon. if designed correctly, it can yield a soft ride, great stiffness, and feather-light weight. to me, it's just the most versatile material out there. and if you take good care of it, it should last you as long as any metal frame.

  7. #7
    don d.
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    If I were you, I'd go down to your local Nascar feeder round dirt track and watch the stock cars race around, then go into the pit area and see how the cars look after the race. This is how your bike is going to eventually look IF YOU'RE REALLY GOING TO RACE! The point is that if you really want to race, buy a rock um', sock um' racing frame that will take some abuse and get you through the season or that at least has a good warranty to cover you through a couple of seasons of racing.

    If you want a "racing" bike to ride on parade at the local club ride, then buy something that has words like "lightest frame in existence" in the ads, or "manufactured out of the newest latest Scamdium tubing-so light we had to tie it down to take these photos".

    Most manufacturers make a durable aluminum racing frame, usually weighing ~3.5lbs(1.6kgs), frame only, that would be ideal for a solid racing frame. These are usually made out of 7005 aluminum or 7020 aluminum. Dedacciai 7005 aluminum is a solid tubeset for a solid alu racer. Check out web sites for ALAN, Coppi, Basso, DeRosa.

    Steel racing frames by Bianchi, Coppi, Basso, Tommasini, Colnago, Rex, and Lemond are also good solid racers, albeit slightly heavier, with the advantage that you may be able to straighten a steel frame after a crash(important to the racer on a budget).

    Ti has a reputation for being more durable in crashes, the least likely material to bend/go out of alignment, etc... so the premium you pay for an all ti frame may be worth it, but you can still find an all ti frame for ~$1000.00. See Colorado Cyclist Douglas Ti frames or Tommaso Ti bikes for $1500 or Airborne Ti frames for ~$1000.00.

    Please let us know what turns out to be the best frame material for you.

  8. #8
    don d.
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    Just read the "Cat 5 Racing" thread. You must read this b4 buying a frame.

  9. #9
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    is this thread about the best material irregardless of price?
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  10. #10
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    CARBON
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