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Thread: Aluminum Frames

  1. #1
    LTD born on a bus's Avatar
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    Aluminum Frames

    Yeah, i did the search but didn't find the info I was looking for, So if you like chastize me for my questions..Anywho, there are a couple of al frames around my price point (spicer, iro, brassknuckle) and I like to hear from people who ride al frames in the street.
    I am not totally deadset on al, but I am interested. However I am concerned that they might not be able to take the abuse riding in nyc puts on them. I've also heard something about al frames having a shorter life span than steel, is that true? Any thoughts?
    Thanks in advance for your witty and insightul input.

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    Senior Member iamtim's Avatar
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    My fixie is a steel Nishiki from the early 70's (it's so old it needs the old, French-style 22.0 stem), and my roadie is an aluminum 2006 Trek. I'll eat my hat if my Trek is around and ridable in 30 years.

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    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    No frame can handle unlimitd miles, no matter what they are made out of. I had two vintage steel frames crack on me in 2006, once in the BB shell and the other on the seat tube just above the BB shell. If you ride it long enough, it'll eventually break. Personally, I don't want to ride the same bike for 30 years, so if I can get 10-15 years of hard miles out of an Al frame, thats good enough for me.

    I rode an aluminum framed road bike around Manhattan for 2.5 years before I moved out of the city...its still going strong another 3 years after having moved out. I also ride the piss out of my Al Redline Monocog and its still going strong. People have a preconcieved notion that AL frames are inherently weaker or less durable than steel frames. Its just not the case. If that were true you wouldn't see AL cyclocross, MTB and BMX frames. True, the strongest frames out ther are steel, for instance BMX street or dirt jumping frames, but those things are way overbuilt for everyday use. Generally, AL frames are built with thick enough tubes to withstand as much abuse as equivalent steel frames. If AL frames were inherently weaker, or if they broke after a few years, no one would make them or they'd be breaking all over the place. A good AL frame will hold up in NYC or anywhere else.

    Depending on how hard you ride the frame, it may not last as long as a steel frame, but you are still probably going to get tens of thousands of miles out of it. Do you want to ride tens of thousands of miles on one bike?...I don't. You will probably either die or get a new frame long before it breaks. On the othed hand, it may actually last longer than steel if you ride in the rain and snow and keep it outside.
    Last edited by mihlbach; 01-01-07 at 02:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mihlbach
    No frame can handle unlimitd miles, no matter what they are made out of. I had two vintage steel frames crack on me in 2006, once in the BB shell and the other on the seat tube just above the BB shell. If you ride it long enough, it'll eventually break. Personally, I don't want to ride the same bike for 30 years, so if I can get 10-15 years of hard miles out of an Al frame, thats good enough for me.

    I rode an aluminum framed road bike around Manhattan for 2.5 years before I moved out of the city...its still going strong another 3 years after having moved out. I also ride the piss out of my Al Redline Monocog and its still going strong. People have a preconcieved notion that AL frames are inherently weaker or less durable than steel frames. Its just not the case. If that were true you wouldn't see AL cyclocross, MTB and BMX frames. True, the strongest frames out ther are steel, for instance BMX street or dirt jumping frames, but those things are way overbuilt for everyday use. Generally, AL frames are built with thick enough tubes to withstand as much abuse as equivalent steel frames. If AL frames were inherently weaker, or if they broke after a few years, no one would make them or they'd be breaking all over the place. A good AL frame will hold up in NYC or anywhere else.

    Depending on how hard you ride the frame, it may not last as long as a steel frame, but you are still probably going to get tens of thousands of miles out of it. Do you want to ride tens of thousands of miles on one bike?...I don't. You will probably either die or get a new frame long before it breaks. On the othed hand, it may actually last longer than steel if you ride in the rain and snow and keep it outside.
    Wrong! Where is the logic in this?

    People have a preconcieved notion that AL frames are inherently weaker or less durable than steel frames. Its just not the case. If that were true you wouldn't see AL cyclocross, MTB and BMX frames.
    What really matters is how thinly the tubing is drawn. I.E. a 1990's AL Cannondale MTB is not the same as my 2004 Lapierre made out of Scandium. The tubing on my bike is super thin, and the thing probably has a weight limit of around 200lbs. I just saw a picture on cycling news of a bianchi axis broken at the head tube. AL frames are inherently weaker and less durable than steel. The material is still strong enough for applications in cross, mtb, etc.. if built "correctly", but frames that achieve light-weight often sacrifice durability and rigidity to do so.

  5. #5
    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    al does work harden but and a big but if you buy a quality frame constructed of oversized tubes and you try and buy it as small as you can ride so it is as stiff as it possibly can then there is little to no plex therefore no chance or limited chance for it to work harden

    same story with ti why do you think the usaf axed the sr-71 the ti airskin had to be replaced all the time due to it expanding and contracting at suppersonic speeds
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Geek Extraordinaire sivat's Avatar
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    Lots of mountain bikes are made from aluminum, and they take more abuse than even the worst nyc streets will put on them. Generally, a steel bike will last longer than an aluminum, and, generally, the ride on an aluminum bike is more harsh than a steel bike. Work hardening has less effect on the frame than general fatigue. Steel has a fatigue limit (meaning there is a certain stress level at which steel will never fail, regardless of the number of stress cycles) while aluminum does not.
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    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    I thought I just sorta said that but sivat I wish I had your way with word man you seem to always put it together
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    I LOVE ME A GOOD FOIGHT octopus magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retem
    al does work harden but and a big but if you buy a quality frame constructed of oversized tubes and you try and buy it as small as you can ride so it is as stiff as it possibly can then there is little to no plex therefore no chance or limited chance for it to work harden

    same story with ti why do you think the usaf axed the sr-71 the ti airskin had to be replaced all the time due to it expanding and contracting at suppersonic speeds
    That's quite possibly the worst analogy to ever use when regarding bike metalurogy.
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  9. #9
    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    jets were born out of bicycles dude the wright brother made bicycles and powered flight possible remmebr the kittyhawk flyer was driven by modified bicycle parts
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    Doortrapper popluhv's Avatar
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    two things to keep in mind:

    Not all aluminum is the same, and aluminum frames w/aluminum dropouts will get notched where the wheel sits.

  11. #11
    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by popluhv
    two things to keep in mind:

    Not all aluminum is the same, and aluminum frames w/aluminum dropouts will get notched where the wheel sits.
    10 dalla bmx tugs solve this problem easy
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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