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Old 01-28-07, 02:24 PM   #1
FidelCastrovich
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Aluminum touring bike?

Hello all,

(First thread, whoo hoo! First post ever, actually)

Okay, cut to the chase - i have an opportunity to buy a very well equipped touring bike, for about 70% of the actual price ($1800 instead of $2500).
Other than the fact that it is unbelievably spec'd (Brooks saddle, Schmidt hub dynamo, Busch&Miller lights, tubus racks, Magura hydraulic brakes - well, you get the picture) the only thing that's keeping me from pulling the trigger is the aluminum frame.
I don't get why anyone would make a bike in this price range from anything BUT steel, but hey, i don't know everything. So, i thought i'd ask people who know more than me,since i'm a bit of a newbie to the whole touring business.

Whaddaya guys think?Anyone own aluminum touring bikes?Anyone can compare aluminum with steel as far as touring goes?

Here's the link for the bike, it's a small German boutique maker, who, for some reason works only with aluminum.
http://www.trenga.de/details2007.asp...&ID=89&lang=EN
The site is in German, but it's pretty easy to figure out what's what.

Thanks for your input,
Fidelito.
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Old 01-28-07, 02:53 PM   #2
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It's personal preference. I only have one aluminum framed bike (a Bergamont) and I hate it. I seem to feel every bump in the road, regardless of which tires I use. All my other bikes are steel. Other folks love aluminum. What do you ride now?
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Old 01-28-07, 02:56 PM   #3
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That bike is totally boss. Don't worry about the aluminum tubes. The fat tires smooth out the ride.
I guess they sell these bikes in Cuba. Hey, aren't you getting a little old for riding?
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Old 01-28-07, 03:18 PM   #4
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When I spend a good deal of money on a tourer I like to feel that I'm going to have it for life...the frame at least, as everything else can be replaced. I know that a good steel frame can easily last this long with a bit of care which is not the case with an aluminium frame. These frames have a limited life-span and that would be the deciding factor for me as I do become very attached to my bikes.
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Old 01-28-07, 03:50 PM   #5
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My Marin Novato is an aluminum frame and works fine for touring. People have said steel allows for a smoother ride as it absorbes shock etc...but can you really feel the difference? I dunno.
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Old 01-28-07, 04:28 PM   #6
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Gee - a steel frame lasts a lifetime, but not an aluminum one?
I've had my Trek 8000 - modified for touring - since 1989.
It's been in 40 below and 110 above weather.
Between commuting and touring it has more than 100,000 miles on it.
Does that qualify as long-lasting??

I had a chromo-frame tourer, but I didn't like the spaghetti feel when it was loaded down.
I like the rigid feel of the aluminum frame. Maybe I just have a steel butt.
But I've done plenty of brutal dirt roads with gear in the Southwest, Wyoming, Canada, and Alaska.
So - - I say go with what works for you.

That said - - you should probably ride an aluminum bike for a while to see if you like it.
Y viva la Cuba!

Juan

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Old 01-28-07, 05:28 PM   #7
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The material that it is made from is less important than how it is made. You can't generalize and say all steel bikes are great and all aluminum bikes are garbage. Life isn't that simple. Ride is dependent on things like geometry, size OD of tubes, wall thickness, butting, and so on. I'll bet it is great if the builder has a fine reputation.
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Old 01-28-07, 06:45 PM   #8
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I'm with you. Out of interest is there ANYBODY who can honestly claim they've blind tested a well built Alu frame bike vs. a well built Steel frame bike? I'm not talking about "well compared to my steel/alu bike, it rides...." but actually really blind testing? Just curious. I'd love to see the results, and if indeed anybody could tell.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson
My Marin Novato is an aluminum frame and works fine for touring. People have said steel allows for a smoother ride as it absorbes shock etc...but can you really feel the difference? I dunno.
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Old 01-28-07, 06:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onbike 1939
When I spend a good deal of money on a tourer I like to feel that I'm going to have it for life...the frame at least, as everything else can be replaced. I know that a good steel frame can easily last this long with a bit of care which is not the case with an aluminium frame. These frames have a limited life-span and that would be the deciding factor for me as I do become very attached to my bikes.
How do you "know" that steel will last a "life time" and aluminum won't? And ow exactly do you define a "life time"?
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Old 01-28-07, 07:25 PM   #10
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Cannondale makes great Alu touring bikes-- maybe the strongest touring frame ever made on a production touring bike.

Good Alu frames are just as good steel ones.... it's all personal choices really.
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Old 01-28-07, 08:16 PM   #11
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I think aluminum has a bad reputation as a carry over from the early aluminum bikes when manufactures were still experimenting with aluminum. Current production aluminum bikes are vastly improved from the earlier days and should compare well with a good steel bike
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Old 01-28-07, 09:47 PM   #12
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I've heard claims that aluminum is easier to break or fracture, a big no-no while touring as you can't repair it..even if you did have a steel frame, what are the chances of having a spot welder in the rear pannier?

I'm wonder if adding either a steel or carbon front fork would make a difference or perhaps a carbon seat post. I think better grips and saddle will solve most of the problems I've been having. You don't see many road racing bikes with steel do you? Some of these guys are on the road for hours, days..I'm sure they've dealt with similar issues?
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Old 01-28-07, 11:10 PM   #13
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I had a canondale rigid one of their ealy post big wheel small wheel deals. It was a great off road touring bike. I used it comuting, and thought it rode great. I thik the first choice if you somehow break a tube would be a splice some tube clamps and a stick or mufler tape While you are much more likely to find someone who welds steel than AL, you are very unlikely to find anyone who welds thin wall tubing. You are reasonably likely to find someone who weld sheet metal, and can scab on some plates. Steel might have the edge but it's still iffy. Bets way to avoid broken frames is to ride the bike like you are 50 miles from the trailhead, if you are. It's like mountain climbing in the boonies: Maybe it's an easy fix but you have to get to the hospital first, and a lot of guys I know who were set in the boonies needed a break and re-set when they got home.

You can read through this stuff if you want to learn more about material properties. Robow has already given the sumary.

http://www.bobbrowncycles.com/eng.htm#section1
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Old 01-29-07, 01:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
It's personal preference. I only have one aluminum framed bike (a Bergamont) and I hate it. I seem to feel every bump in the road, regardless of which tires I use. All my other bikes are steel. Other folks love aluminum. What do you ride now?

Right now i have a Pinarello Sestriere road bike (steel+carbon fork) and a Marin Kentfield city bike, which has been somewhat modified to make my daily commute the joy that it is - 5mi each direction, hilly like hell, crazy Israeli drivers - nothing like it!

I know what you're talking about, that aluminum feels like it passes every bump on to your butt, even though i ride with 35mm tires inflated to 50 PSI max. Maybe it's because the frame is cheap, i don't know.

On the other hand, i seem to have been convinced that it's not the material itself, but the geometry and the chemical manipulation that the material undergoes, that determine how a bike will ride. And with a 43.1'' wheelbase the Trenga TDH 9 that i'm interested in will probably ride better than a steel bike with a shorter WB.

To complicate things even more (or to make them more simple, for some of you) - has anyone noticed and was bothered by the fact that the bike has 32 spoke wheels? The rims are the very strong Mavic A319, but for some reason they decided to go with 32 spokes, albeit the DT Alpine III, which are bombproof.

Any thoughts on that?


Thanks again,EVERYBODY!
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Old 01-29-07, 01:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
Right now i have a Pinarello Sestriere road bike (steel+carbon fork) and a Marin Kentfield city bike, which has been somewhat modified to make my daily commute the joy that it is - 5mi each direction, hilly like hell, crazy Israeli drivers - nothing like it!

I know what you're talking about, that aluminum feels like it passes every bump on to your butt, even though i ride with 35mm tires inflated to 50 PSI max. Maybe it's because the frame is cheap, i don't know.

On the other hand, i seem to have been convinced that it's not the material itself, but the geometry and the chemical manipulation that the material undergoes, that determine how a bike will ride. And with a 43.1'' wheelbase the Trenga TDH 9 that i'm interested in will probably ride better than a steel bike with a shorter WB.

To complicate things even more (or to make them more simple, for some of you) - has anyone noticed and was bothered by the fact that the bike has 32 spoke wheels? The rims are the very strong Mavic A319, but for some reason they decided to go with 32 spokes, albeit the DT Alpine III, which are bombproof.

Any thoughts on that?


Thanks again,EVERYBODY!
I've found that the quality of the build of the wheel is just as, if not more important than, the difference between 32 and 36 spokes. For example, I have a fixed gear bike with 28H Campy Pista hubs laced to Mavic CXP 30 rims with Sapim spokes. These wheels were built by a master wheel builder and have survived the cobblestoned and potholed streets of Riga with no problems. They are still true today.

That being said I also have 36 spoke wheels on my tourer....
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Old 01-29-07, 02:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
Hello all,

(First thread, whoo hoo! First post ever, actually)

Okay, cut to the chase - i have an opportunity to buy a very well equipped touring bike, for about 70% of the actual price ($1800 instead of $2500).
Other than the fact that it is unbelievably spec'd (Brooks saddle, Schmidt hub dynamo, Busch&Miller lights, tubus racks, Magura hydraulic brakes - well, you get the picture) the only thing that's keeping me from pulling the trigger is the aluminum frame.
I don't get why anyone would make a bike in this price range from anything BUT steel, but hey, i don't know everything. So, i thought i'd ask people who know more than me,since i'm a bit of a newbie to the whole touring business.

Whaddaya guys think?Anyone own aluminum touring bikes?Anyone can compare aluminum with steel as far as touring goes?

Here's the link for the bike, it's a small German boutique maker, who, for some reason works only with aluminum.
http://www.trenga.de/details2007.asp...&ID=89&lang=EN
The site is in German, but it's pretty easy to figure out what's what.

Thanks for your input,
Fidelito.
It appears to have a cro-moly fork if I am reading the spec list correctly:

Rahmen-Gabel: TRENGA DE RLT Cut 3.1 Rahmen, double butted 7005 AL T6, TRENGA DE "HPL" Alugabel, CrMo Gewindeschaft

The cro-moly fork really smooths out the ride and is what Cannondale uses to on their bicycles.

The bicycle seems to be well-thought out.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
I've found that the quality of the build of the wheel is just as, if not more important than, the difference between 32 and 36 spokes. For example, I have a fixed gear bike with 28H Campy Pista hubs laced to Mavic CXP 30 rims with Sapim spokes. These wheels were built by a master wheel builder and have survived the cobblestoned and potholed streets of Riga with no problems. They are still true today.

That being said I also have 36 spoke wheels on my tourer....

Yeah, the build is just as important, i know - in the first couple of weeks that i had my city bike, i had alot of problems with spokes breaking, and the rear wheel going out of true. at some point, when my frustration reached a boiling point, i demanded that the wheel be rebuilt. Since then, it's seen about 3000 miles of daily abuse, including my 180lbs and a rear pannier, and it's been as straight as an arrow.
Nevertheless - you just can't argue with a higher spoke count. I mean, some touring bikes come with 40 and even 48 spokes in the rear. So why would anyone go with less than 36, at least? Beats me.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgiaboy
It appears to have a cro-moly fork if I am reading the spec list correctly:

Rahmen-Gabel: TRENGA DE RLT Cut 3.1 Rahmen, double butted 7005 AL T6, TRENGA DE "HPL" Alugabel, CrMo Gewindeschaft

The cro-moly fork really smooths out the ride and is what Cannondale uses to on their bicycles.

The bicycle seems to be well-thought out.

According to Google Language Tools, the fork is aluminum (aluGABEL, gabel=fork) and some part of it (shank???) is cromo.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
According to Google Language Tools, the fork is aluminum (aluGABEL, gabel=fork) and some part of it (shank???) is cromo.
It's probably an aluminum fork with a Cro-Mo steerer.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:57 AM   #20
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BTW, it seems to me that you are trying to justify buying this bike because it's on sale, even though you have serious concerns about the vital parts (frame and wheels). Why?
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Old 01-29-07, 03:10 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
BTW, it seems to me that you are trying to justify buying this bike because it's on sale, even though you have serious concerns about the vital parts (frame and wheels). Why?

You're right, i AM trying to justify buying it. Not just because it's on sale, but because it's very well equipped and thought out(for the most part), and because Germans don't do anything half-a$$ed. Again, it's a small manufacturer, why wouldn't they build the bike this way, if they didn't think it's going to hold up?

And my concerns may very well be serious, but since they are purely theoretical and are based solely on "Internet experience", i wanted to ask people who have some actual experience and hands-on knowledge. Bicycle touring is not developed in Israel (tiny country, going for even tinier) , there's no one i could ask here - so you guys seemed like the best bet.

Sorry to clutter the pipes. :-)
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Old 01-29-07, 03:17 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
You're right, i AM trying to justify buying it. Not just because it's on sale, but because it's very well equipped and thought out(for the most part), and because Germans don't do anything half-a$$ed. Again, it's a small manufacturer, why wouldn't they build the bike this way, if they didn't think it's going to hold up?

And my concerns may very well be serious, but since they are purely theoretical and are based solely on "Internet experience", i wanted to ask people who have some actual experience and hands-on knowledge. Bicycle touring is not developed in Israel (tiny country, going for even tinier) , there's no one i could ask here - so you guys seemed like the best bet.

Sorry to clutter the pipes. :-)
There is no cluttering of the pipes, I just wanted you to think of your motivation for wanting to buy this bike. Germans like everyone else, do some things halfassed and design some poor products.

Why don't you check out the bikes at Thorn, I think they might be more of what you are looking for.

http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/models.html
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Old 01-29-07, 05:54 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawani
Gee - a steel frame lasts a lifetime, but not an aluminum one?
I've had my Trek 8000 - modified for touring - since 1989.
It's been in 40 below and 110 above weather.
Between commuting and touring it has more than 100,000 miles on it.
Does that qualify as long-lasting??

I had a chromo-frame tourer, but I didn't like the spaghetti feel when it was loaded down.
I like the rigid feel of the aluminum frame. Maybe I just have a steel butt.
But I've done plenty of brutal dirt roads with gear in the Southwest, Wyoming, Canada, and Alaska.
So - - I say go with what works for you.

That said - - you should probably ride an aluminum bike for a while to see if you like it.
Y viva la Cuba!

Juan

Foto de Lucy en Alaska:
Not for me it doesn't. When I say "life-time" I mean life-time.

I had a steel frame built 1960 and after a respray it's still going strong. Our group has bikes from the 30's and 40's and the frames are still sound.

Like it or not, Alu frames have not been around long enough to prove themselves in terms of durability.
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Old 01-29-07, 07:54 AM   #24
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If the wheels don't work out you could always just get 36 spoke wheels. You probably wouldn't have any trouble with the front wheel so you'd only have to get a new rear wheel.
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Old 01-29-07, 10:20 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
Yeah, the build is just as important, i know - in the first couple of weeks that i had my city bike, i had alot of problems with spokes breaking, and the rear wheel going out of true. at some point, when my frustration reached a boiling point, i demanded that the wheel be rebuilt. Since then, it's seen about 3000 miles of daily abuse, including my 180lbs and a rear pannier, and it's been as straight as an arrow.
Nevertheless - you just can't argue with a higher spoke count. I mean, some touring bikes come with 40 and even 48 spokes in the rear. So why would anyone go with less than 36, at least? Beats me.
The specifications for the wheels say that they are 36 hole.

Wheels

NabeVR: Schmidts SON 28 Nabendynamo 6V / 3W, 36 L.
NabeHR: Shimano Deore XT FH-M760, 36 L.
SpeichenVR-HR: DT 2,0 mm Niro / DT Alpine III 2,0-1,8-2,34 mm Niro
Felgen: Mavic A 319, single eyelet, schwarz, 32 L.
ReifenVR-HR: Schwalbe Marathon Racer Reflex, 35-622 mm
Schlšuche: Schwalbe SV 17, 40 mm Ventil


With Alpine III spokes, they should be rugged enough.
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