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Old 12-29-05, 12:43 PM   #1
solomr2
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Durability of Alloys and Composites

Either I'm not very good with the search tool or there is little written about this topic.

I'm shopping for a new ride and was hoping to get an aluminum frame with Carbon Fiber forks and CF seat stay. There have been some comments made that these materials don't last as long as cro-mo, and CF often gets stress fractures in only a couple of years.

I use my bike for exercise, I ride about 12-15 miles a day, 5-days a week, on paved surfaces. I want a bike that will last at least 5-10 years. My cro-mo hybrid Bianchi has served me well for nearly 15 years, but I'd like something more modern and a little lighter and a little more comfortable. But if these materials are not durable then I may have to reconsider my choice.

I welcome comments from everyone, but would really appreciate feedback from those with actual experience in this regard, be it good or bad.
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Old 12-29-05, 04:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
uh.. steel ain't heavy... if you got the money..

look into a curtlo... custom steel... made just for your ass

and lightweight components can easily make up for a heavy steel frame.
For once Merton is right on the money here.

If you divide the cost of a bike like a "Rivendell" over a period of years you can own a
serious steel bike that will ride, and last, better than any aluminum / carbon fiber junk
you could spend your money on.

There IS a reason that custom builders all use steel, mate.
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Old 12-29-05, 05:00 PM   #3
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I can't recall anyone on bikeforums post about their frame failing due to fatigue (or whatever is the carbon fiber equivalent) regardless of what material is used in the frame. Maybe there's only a small number riding bikes older than a few years, but I doubt that.

I think it's more along the lines that frame fatigue takes a long, long time regardless of what material is used. If carbon fiber forks cracked and failed after just a few years, product liability lawsuits are going to soon put every high end bike company out of business.

Buy the bike you like and don't worry about frame failure. Most good bikes have lifetime frame warranties anyway. Just be sure to buy new from an authorized dealer if you want the warranty.
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Old 12-29-05, 05:10 PM   #4
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Looking at a KHS user manual, there's a note: steel frames, 25 year warranty. Aluminum frames, 5 year warranty.

I look forward to revisiting this discussion in a few decades.
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Old 12-29-05, 05:46 PM   #5
solomr2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
Looking at a KHS user manual, there's a note: steel frames, 25 year warranty. Aluminum frames, 5 year warranty.

I look forward to revisiting this discussion in a few decades.
Now that is interesting. This is the first reference I have seen to date of any significance that hints aluminum may be less durable.

I just checked the IBEX warranty and they warranty all frames (no mention of materials, and no exclusions) for the life of the frame to the original owner.

Last edited by solomr2; 12-29-05 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 12-30-05, 07:43 AM   #6
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While I suppose that everything has a failure rate, the simple fact is that I have never had a bicycle frame that didn't last longer than I wanted it to last.
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Old 12-30-05, 11:37 AM   #7
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Trek has a lifetime frame warranty.
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Old 12-30-05, 01:26 PM   #8
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Just got back from my LBS, I was looking at a trek 1500, with alum frame, carbon fork and carbon seat post. It does indeed have a lifetime warranty.
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Old 12-30-05, 04:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
notice that those lifetime warranty's include something for wear and tear.
No actually, I didn't notice anything different from the steel frame warranties. In fact the Trek and Ibex don't even differentiate between materials. What have you seen?
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