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Old 09-14-05, 11:45 AM   #1
the brave
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Scandium versus Carbon Frames

I'm an owner of a Scott Genius RC 10 2004 with a scandium 2 frame. I was having a look at the 2005 and 2006 models and most of the top range bikes are comming with carbon frame. Scott bikes are quite expensive, hence it's not easy to keep updated every year. Apart from the price, this bike is great and really does a very good job on trails, there's no bob, a good geometry and its frame is quite light.

I was just thinking on the fact the manufacturers, on a annual basis, using the new tech available try to offer us, lighter bikes, frames, better components, and so one ... what i$ the limit for that? I really appreciate these efforts and would like to have the money to replace my bike with the same periodicity.

I had sent an email to scott usa, asking them to give me technical arguments to understand what have motivated them to replace the scandium by carbon in their 05 and 06 bike models, but haven't gotten any response, so far.

Now a days the majority of the bikes are comming with carbon frames, this is just because carbon is fashion or because technically speaking it's better than scandium or any other light material? Comming back to Scandium ... When Scott released the genius with scandium 2, they propagated that it would be the best bike and so on, the lighter, the most special, etc and 1 year later they replaced the scandium. Does anybody here have any clue on the reasons for that, scandium is more expensive than carbon? The manufacturing process with scandium is more complicated increasing production costs?

I would like to have some opinions if possible as I'm quite curious.

Cheers.

william
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Old 09-14-05, 10:56 PM   #2
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I was wondering about Scandium too.
I've been checking out the Salsa Moto Rapido with its carbon seat stays. It's the only frame I've come across so far with both C and Sc. I'm thinking all aluminum alloy is basically basically the same. I have a Specialized S works road bike with all sorts of random metals in it.
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Old 09-14-05, 11:26 PM   #3
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Easton says [somewhere, I can't recall] that the Scandium is stronger than good old 6000 or 7000-series aluminum, or even the metal matrix aluminums. This means that you can use tubes with thinner walls, which keeps frame weight down with similar frame stiffness levels. I also understand that it can be hard to work with, as it is weakened by excessive heat. Overall, it ain't cheap. Carbon fiber is the ultimate in terms of workability. You can make it into any shape you want, with customizable stiffness characteristics. You mold it, so the manufacturing process can be made very streamlined. It also happens to be fairly light stuff. It also has massive bling factor.

What's better? It depends on your frame design. A complicated design that would involve a lot of bending and working of metal tubing might be better accomplished by CF. Scandium might be better on a design with lots of straight lines. The Scott is not a complicated design. Is the CF needed? Maybe, but you can't expect Scott to sell the same bike two years in a row. There would be no reason to upgrade, and they wouldn't sell enough bikes. IMHO, I say it's marketing.
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Old 09-15-05, 12:00 AM   #4
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Scandium is flexy. (At least the Salsa one I have ridden was)
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Old 09-15-05, 03:31 AM   #5
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So let me get this straight. Your mad that in the new years models, they might have made the bikes out of something better than what you bought? who cares, go ride some trails. Just in case you hadn't noticed, every company whether it be computers or bikes improves every year. The ipod for example is now in color and is smaller and thinner and has a 60gb capacity. Deal with it, every year the old model is left in the dust.
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Old 09-15-05, 07:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkrobe
Easton says [somewhere, I can't recall] that the Scandium is stronger than good old 6000 or 7000-series aluminum, or even the metal matrix aluminums. This means that you can use tubes with thinner walls, which keeps frame weight down with similar frame stiffness levels. I also understand that it can be hard to work with, as it is weakened by excessive heat. Overall, it ain't cheap. Carbon fiber is the ultimate in terms of workability. You can make it into any shape you want, with customizable stiffness characteristics. You mold it, so the manufacturing process can be made very streamlined. It also happens to be fairly light stuff. It also has massive bling factor.

What's better? It depends on your frame design. A complicated design that would involve a lot of bending and working of metal tubing might be better accomplished by CF. Scandium might be better on a design with lots of straight lines. The Scott is not a complicated design. Is the CF needed? Maybe, but you can't expect Scott to sell the same bike two years in a row. There would be no reason to upgrade, and they wouldn't sell enough bikes. IMHO, I say it's marketing.
Thanks for your reply, pinkrobe. Your explanations were of great worth and I fully agree with you when you say that it's marketing ...
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Old 09-15-05, 05:17 PM   #7
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I doubt marketing is really the whole reason. Not trying to aggravate you- but I believe Carbon is better. Scandium is aluminum. Maybe a couple % of a good 7000 series frame contains scandium. Scandium 'I believe' lets you weld certain Al metals together. Which would be lighter, stronger etc. To make a Al frame light they have to cut materials down, and shape tubes. At some points in the frame the wall is very very thin. Easy to put a hole in. Carbon is lighter and stronger,enough said.

As far as marketing- I have yet to see a ad that says- "This is the best bike, until 2006!" At one point the Model T Ford was cutting edge technology. Cutting edge! A frick'n mass produced metal body on wheels that move on their own! Do I want one? no, I am waiting until the 68 chev comes out.
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Old 09-15-05, 05:37 PM   #8
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Ehh you won't catch me on one of those Carbon frames or one of those fancy pants Scandinavian frames (what are they making them out of lutefisk now?) I can't afford the cost of constant replacement
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Old 09-15-05, 10:47 PM   #9
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I've been researching scandium as well. It appears that it allows the tubing to be a smaller diameter and therefore flex a little as if it were steel or Ti. It needs to be in an alloy with a good mix such as 7000, otherwise, there is no reason to use it other than marketing. The roadies seem to like it.
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Old 09-16-05, 12:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Raiyn
(what are they making them out of lutefisk now?)
Yes, they boil the metal for days, then dry it, then boil it again, then dry it. Then they add clarified butter. The ride is subtle...
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Old 09-16-05, 06:59 AM   #11
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I got an email from Scott and they have attached a file giving some explanations on Scandium (see below), but didn't tell me why they have replaced one by another. Carbon should be better than Scandium and less difficult to work with.

Quote:
Scandium is number 21 on the periodic table of elements. It was discovered over 120 years ago but gained importance during the Cold War, when Soviet scientists and engineers began experimenting with it as an aluminum alloying element. They discovered that it allowed them to weld high-strength aluminum alloys they previously could not.

In the bicycle world, Scandium refers to frame tubing made from an aluminum alloy that includes the element Scandium. In most cases, the tubing base is a high-strength, 7000-series aluminum alloy. The addition of Scandium allows the stronger, non-weldable base aluminum alloy to be welded. Previously, these and similar base alloys could only be made into a frame by bonding them together using high-strength adhesives and cast or machined lugs–almost like high-tech tinker toys.

Compared to standard 7000 series aluminum, the addition of scandium gives this new alloy the following added benefits:
• Improved strength
• Better fatigue and failure properties
• Enhanced weld strength

Scandium opens up new opportunities for frame engineers. In the past, aluminum tubing required larger diameter tubes to achieve the strength necessary to support riding. The larger diameter tubes resulted in stiff ride characteristics, which are fine for time trials but less than ideal for century rides. With Scandium tubing, frame engineers are able to use smaller diameter tubes, thinner cross sections, and shaped tubes to tune the ride characteristics of each frame while using less material. This results in comfortable, efficient, and light frames.

Scandium frame tubing also has increased fatigue life and improved failure modes when compared to traditional aluminum frame tubing. These added benefits come as a result of the same complex metallurgical reasons Scandium allows non-weldable alloys to be welded.

This technology and these benefits do not come free and easy. Raw Scandium is not as abundant as many other alloying elements and is difficult to extract from raw ore. Production of Scandium alloys is relatively new and is being done on a much smaller scale than other aluminum alloys. Welding Scandium requires the use of new technologies and different materials than other aluminums. Proper heat treatment is critical to frame strength and integrity, which prohibits many aluminum frame manufacturers from being able to work with Scandium. Most importantly, knowledge of the frame building material and proper design are still vitally necessary.
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