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  1. #1
    #5639 robertkat's Avatar
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    Frame materials.

    In the process of getting ready to buy a new bike. Likely going to have a frame built custom. But I'm also looking at stuff in the shops. My current ride is aluminum. I like it, but I still miss my old steel Diamond Back. Seems like all the road bikes mowadays are some odd carbon fiber this and that. I want something that will take abuse and last, but doesn't weight half a ton. So I'm curious if anyone prefers steel or aluminum.

  2. #2
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    Titanium is incredible. Strong, lightweight, looks great without paint.

  3. #3
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Titanium, definitely! Its light, stiff, and can take a beating.
    I really like my Habanero. You could get one of those frames and switch over
    the components from your aluminum bike. They do custom geometry for not too
    much extra.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertkat
    In the process of getting ready to buy a new bike. Likely going to have a frame built custom. But I'm also looking at stuff in the shops. My current ride is aluminum. I like it, but I still miss my old steel Diamond Back. Seems like all the road bikes mowadays are some odd carbon fiber this and that. I want something that will take abuse and last, but doesn't weight half a ton. So I'm curious if anyone prefers steel or aluminum.
    Well, it depends on what you mean by "abuse", but there are tons of riders out there on carbon bikes that ride their bikes very hard.

    But, custom carbon is really 'spensive.

    If I had to choose between steel and aluminum, I'd choose steel in a heartbeat, especially for long-distance ride, as aluminum is more harsh.

    But I do like the idea of titanium, and you can get it in custom frames.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  5. #5
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    I too would recommend a custom to be made of the Ti stuff. Expensive but a very low maintenance material.

    I made my touring/rando ride out of Ti as a custom.

    If you go this route or even other materials you should consider some other things that may be nice to have on a custom rando/tourer.

    1) S&S couplings. I didn't consider it until after. I was able to get Bilenky cycles to mod the frame but it woulda been better to do it from the start
    2) tire/fenders clearance. If you are planning to carry a load at times then you want to consider the widest tire/fenders to put on the bike Can't easily widen the rear triangle after it's built.
    2A) Brakes... Wider tires may influence your brake choice... Cantilevers V brakes long reach calipers
    2B) rear triangle length... Will be longer the taller the tires/fenders need to be...
    3) Other items... Pump Peg? I like full frame pump so that was at the top of my list.
    3A) Down tube shifter bosses... I added these even though I use STI. I didn't like the little barrel adjusters and in long distance cyclotouring I carry a spare DTshifter as a backup incase the STI breaks..


    In the final form my bike was roughly a cyclocross design with the cross removed in favor of touring/rando riding...

  6. #6
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    I got a custom bike built up with steel, mostly for cost considerations and general level of "trust" with steel frames. However, I've also seen a lot of folks on long rides who kit out steel frames with carbon forks and seatposts to save weight and enjoy some of the shock dampening qualities of carbon.

    Folks who are seriously considering a custom frame built up for randonneuring are advised to read up on the Bike Quarterly article about what makes for a good randonneuring bike. Even if you do not intend to ride anything longer than a double, a lot of the advice is applicable and makes sense.

    You'll notice, of course, that the least important topic is the specific material for the frame. Frame weight is relatively unimportant over long distances; what is key is reliability, comfort and then speed -- in that order.

  7. #7
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    I went Ti, but would have been perfectly happy with a steel frame as well, and actually could have built up 2 steel frames for what I have into my Ti frame...!

    Heres what I did and why. (my custom Ti IF ClubRacer)

  8. #8
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Something I wrote up about Frame materials.

    http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php...about+bicycles
    Race-o-meter:
    Broken until next season

  9. #9
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    IMO, the frame material isn't super critical. Hocam's piece is very detailed and a good read.

    Were I to have a custom frame made it would be either titanium or steel. Titanium makes into a very functional frame that should last more-or-less forever, offers good ride qualities, and looks decent. Steel obviously makes a fine frame, usually a bit heavier than titanium, susceptible to rust if not cared for properly, and very good looking.

    Peronally, I choose steel -- especially for a custom -- primarily because it's traditional and attractive. Were I to take those "irrational but otherwise valid" reasons out of the picture, titanium really makes a lot of sense.

    As for ride quality, IMO your tires and inflation pressure utterly overwhelm differences in frame materials.

  10. #10
    yeah soup rashfreedom's Avatar
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    Why not try and find another diamond back. between craigslist, ebay, and your local thrift stores I would imagine it wouldnt be hard to find a bike you like and not break the bank. There was a diamond back hybrid next to the trek I bought yesterday at salvation army. Both these bikes were immaculate as far as rust goes. Unfortunately it is in DC.

  11. #11
    bikeaholic Brinehawk's Avatar
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    I would take steel hands down especially with the oz tubing!!!!!! light as alum. but still strong definatly worth checking out

    light, strong, affordable, pick two

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