Mountain Biking - Trek's ZR9000 frame alloy -- real or hype?
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12-09-06, 04:38 PM
"Lighter than Al, stronger than steel". Sounds wonderful. If true. Anyone know how much of it is true and whether a ZR9000 frame would suit someone who likes steel, trusts steel, & doesn't want to mess with aluminum?
Does the 9000 stand for the aluminum series? I read in a book that like 6000 series is Al and some other metals, and same with 7000, but with silicon or magnesium or those are with another series. I cant tell a difference on my fuel from regular Al. Except I know the tube walls are slimmer (and lighter?). Though, I would like to experience a nice steel framed bike.
12-09-06, 06:21 PM
It's basically very thin aluminum tubing.
Don't get me wrong, I consider myself a Trek fan (I still own three of them).
Trek is tight-lipped about the exact aluminum alloy they've coined "ZR9000", but my best guess is it's 6013.
"Lighter than aluminum, stronger than steel" means very little. There are many grades of steel, and yes, some of the higher grades of aluminum are stronger than the weakest grades of steel.
If you're a fan of steel frames and their ride, you may not like the ride of Al, but longevity-wise, Trek stands behind their products quite well.
12-09-06, 07:42 PM
I have a 2003 Trek Fuel 80 with the ZR9000 that I have beat the crap out of, but it still is in one piece with no cracks. I was a steel only guy too but it's made a believer out of me.
What series AL would Trek's Alpha Aluminum be?
12-09-06, 08:37 PM
The only thing that I like bout TREK is their Lifetime warranty, my friend he did a jump and his frame cracked. Send to TREK and they replace a new one for him. How good is that :D
12-09-06, 11:38 PM
is it bad that I picture this guy for wheelhot
"Dr. Jones, Dr. Jones!"
oh, just read some of his posts and imagine the kid from Indiana Jones saying it, it gives me a laugh and a half
12-09-06, 11:40 PM
huh? dun get ya
12-10-06, 12:17 AM
not know what "Indiana Jones" is
12-10-06, 01:40 AM
Sombody say Indiana Jones?
12-10-06, 04:01 AM
haha, i remember that scene from Indiana
Siu Blue Wind
12-10-06, 04:49 AM
They say it has some Zirconium in it? *shrugs*
12-10-06, 06:55 AM
whats Zirconium, I failed my Chemistry :D
Trek owns Gary Fisher. They're sister companies. Why can't they be called brother companies?
Anyway, I broke my frame a couple months ago and got a brand new one back with my choice of custom color.
That's what they're supposed to do, they have a lifetime warranty.
The ZR9000 is supposedly the first aluminum designed solely for bicycle construction. Other aluminums have been made for other things and then adapted to bikes. (quoted from either Trek or Fisher's site)
I like mine though it did break once.
Where's Falanx when you need him?
Could it be 7075 AL? The most abundant metal mixed in is Zirconium.
12-12-06, 01:08 PM
Um, it's aluminum? It works for me...
This is total horse.
Quick caption metallurgy -
6000 series: Al-Si-Mg. Precipitation hardenable, medium strength, readily weldable, suffers from grain boundary weakness.
7000 series: Al-Zn-Mg-Cu-Ti. Precipitation hardenable, very high strength, weldable or so, suffers from grain boundary weakness unless doped with silver.
8000 series: Al-Li, principally, but were developed from 7000 series, so may have any additions from them. Precipitation hardenable, high strength, 1%Li lowers alloy density by 3%, so lighter than most Al alloys but Li boils in the weldpool making them a b*st*rd to weld until the Russians developed new techniques. Now only a partial b*st*rd to weld.
9000 series: at present unassigned to a specific precipitate chain. So, what I think Trek have done is a "Look, look, here, totally NEW alloy system" mental association with the four-digit moniker. Which is outright intellectually dishonest, but, meh. This will be a doped 7000 series. What's even more silly is that zirconium, if I recall tends to cause overaging in alloys....
The only alloying element that causes any behaviour at all like a steel in Al alloys is scandium. And that is not added to make the alloy stronger
Thats the only thing you need to remember.
Siu Blue Wind
12-12-06, 02:11 PM
Thanks Falanx - -to the rescue before I could (in my limited fashion) respond. I did find a reference to a Russian engineering paper on scandium and zirconium alloying, but that's all the further I got before you stepped in and set things straight.
By all means, post them. There's no such thing as too much information.
More info - - a short (layman's) Wikipedia piece and a one-page PDF on scandium and zirconium alloying of aluminum:
12-12-06, 08:45 PM
thanks Falanx, I always wondered what Scandium are, by the way, If you say steel was inserted into alloy and that is not to add strength, what is it added for?
Part of it is so that welding and heat treating don't cause the metal to crystalize (if I was reading things right).
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