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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 04-24-06, 02:21 PM   #1
splytz1
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aluminum vs. steel drops

other than weight, and, I would assume, strength, what are the pros and cons?
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Old 04-24-06, 02:31 PM   #2
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I think that aluminum doesn't rust, or doesn't rust as much as steel.
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Old 04-24-06, 02:44 PM   #3
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Alum is stiffer, steel gives, suposedly...
Thus, steel lessens the shock in the hands/wrists.
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Old 04-24-06, 02:52 PM   #4
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correct me if I'm wrong, but i think its the other way around
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Old 04-24-06, 02:53 PM   #5
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aluminum is stiffer and lighter and does not rust.
steel is shinier, heavier, and flexier and does rust.

i say shiny decides it all!
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Old 04-24-06, 02:55 PM   #6
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aluminum is stiffer and lighter, but thats not really the case for bars. The black deda pista bars are aluminum and are much lighter than my nittos, but they flex a lot more also. The deda bars I have are great for the streets because of the flexibilty, absorbing shock more than my nittos and also they have a oversized clamp area which is comfortable to grip. Not good for track though because of the flex.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:04 PM   #7
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I believe that's a misconception. Aluminum is actually more flexy than steel (gasp, egads, nowai!!!). The reason that we don't usually think about it is that aluminum bikes use tubing with much thicker walls than steel. This compensates for its lack of strength. So if you took two identical bars, one made with a standard aluminum alloy and another with your standard steel alloy, the aluminum would flex more (hence wangster's situation).

and from wikipedia:

Improper use of aluminium can result in problems, particularly in contrast to iron or steel, which appear "better behaved" to the intuitive designer, mechanic, or technician. The reduction by two thirds of the weight of an aluminium part compared to a similarly sized iron or steel part seems enormously attractive, but it should be noted that it is accompanied by a reduction by two thirds in the stiffness of the part. Therefore, although direct replacement of an iron or steel part with a duplicate made from aluminium may still give acceptable strength to withstand peak loads, the increased flexibility will cause three times more deflection in the part.

Where failure is not an issue but excessive flex is undesirable due to requirements for precision of location or efficiency of transmission of power, simple replacement of steel tubing with similarly sized aluminium tubing will result in a degree of flex which is undesirable; for instance, the increased flex under operating loads caused by replacing steel bicycle frame tubing with aluminium tubing of identical dimensions will cause misalignment of the power-train as well as absorbing the operating force. To increase the rigidity by increasing the thickness of the walls of the tubing increases the weight proportionately, so that the advantages of lighter weight are lost as the rigidity is restored.

Aluminium can best be used by redesigning the part to suit its characteristics; for instance making a bicycle of aluminium tubing which has an oversize diameter rather than thicker walls. In this way, rigidity can be restored or even enhanced without increasing weight. The limit to this process is the increase in susceptibility to what is termed "buckling" failure, where the deviation of the force from any direction other than directly along the axis of the tubing causes folding of the walls of the tubing.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:06 PM   #8
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yup, aluminum is flexier, which is why i ride alu drops on the streets, i get pounded to death with steel.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:16 PM   #9
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Same is true of alu v. steel stems? I seem to recall reading that steel drops, alu stem would give you the stiffest setup, combination-wise.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:18 PM   #10
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depends on whether or not the aluminum was designed to be stiffer and heavier or lighter and flexier.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:19 PM   #11
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yeah, what you said about the alu stem possibly makes sense, since the stems are pretty burly, enough so that its so much material it won't flex.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:20 PM   #12
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aluminum is only stiffer in frames where they use oversized tubing thus creating a very strong and stiff frame that doesn't flex but doesn't absorb road shock either. If you tried to use aluminum in same size tubing as steel, it'd absorb shock, but it'll also fail quickly because its much weaker than steel.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:23 PM   #13
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i stand massively corrected.

except on the shiny part.

GO WITH SHINY!
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Old 04-24-06, 03:25 PM   #14
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What about carbon fibre? My carbon bars are pretty stiff and very shock absorbent.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:29 PM   #15
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So why is it that the keirin riders prefer the Alum/Steel combination? If the Alum bars are truly flexy, wouldn't Steel/Steel make the most sense if they were to comply with NJS regulations and have the stiffest setup?
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Old 04-24-06, 03:35 PM   #16
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balance of weight and flex. You'll feel the bars flex more than you would the stem and the aluminum stem is lighter so this way they'll get a lighter setup without a huge sacrifice in stiffness... I think.

JM, the Easton carbon track bars are sexy, but for 300 clams, a little too sexy.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:38 PM   #17
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Even the wholesale on those Easton bars is astronomical. As much as I would like to build a world caliber track bike (monocoque carbon frame, Mavic wheelset, Easton bars), I simply don't have 10 Gs lying around.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:56 PM   #18
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i just got my steel nitto b125 drops and OMG they are so shiny....i'm in love with them
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Old 04-24-06, 04:17 PM   #19
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sorry, just to clarify: alu or steel: which bars will absorb more bumps in the road and are therefore easier on your hands/shoulders?
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Old 04-24-06, 04:20 PM   #20
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alu. but you wont get as much sex as you do with steel.
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Old 04-24-06, 04:22 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onetwentyeight
alu. but you wont get as much sex as you do with steel.
but you'll be in worse shape for those times when the only sex your getting is from yourself.
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Old 04-24-06, 07:45 PM   #22
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I think you'll get as much sex. I think people with alum bars put that much more thought into their ride rather than going with the less expensive, shiny bits..
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Old 04-24-06, 11:09 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onlythebest
sorry, just to clarify: alu or steel: which bars will absorb more bumps in the road and are therefore easier on your hands/shoulders?

more of a tire pressure thing than handlebar material
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Old 04-24-06, 11:25 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redfooj
more of a tire pressure thing than handlebar material
+1, but aluminum bars will help a bit also. If you ride mostly on the top then you won't be able to tell much difference. The bars won't flex much at the tops, its in the drops where the flex and shock absorbing happens.
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Old 04-24-06, 11:29 PM   #25
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I've got both steel and alu nitto bars/stem combo and steel is definitely easier on the hands. Less vibrations, less shock, and probably less flex (both are super rigid). Steel's heavier though (about 500g more), and I'm no physisicts, but based on feel, I think it's mass might be the reason why it's more comfortable.
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