Old 01-21-11, 02:42 PM
  #19  
EKW in DC
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 2,053

Bikes: Trek 830 Mountain Track Drop bar conversion

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Originally Posted by TheDazed View Post
I just checked it out on their site. It looks nice but has an aluminum frame. I seem to recall hearing that this is a no-no because aluminum is so fragile. Thoughts?
Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
bicycle rims are made out of aluminum, some are more durable than others but no one is making them out of steel. In other words bikes made for a non-fragile use are not fragile, no matter what the material is.
LeeG is right. Don't let the aluminum frame scare you off due to a fear of weakness. I have put about 5,000 miles on an aluminum hybrid frame. I weighed in excess of 300 pounds when I started cycling on it. It's my only bike, and I use it as a regular commuter/grocery getter, so in addition to my still sizable self it also almost always carries a rack trunk and panniers full of clothes, lunch, groceries, etc. IOW, aluminum can be strong.

The bigger issue w/ aluminum would potentially be ride characteristics. Some say that the ride on an aluminum frame is very unforgiving, that it doesn't help to soak up the little vibrations and bumps along the road. Some say that's more just a function of the fork, and that a steel fork mated with an aluminum frame is just as good as a steel frame and steel fork. I can't speak to this w/ any authority, and it's a matter of some debate, so I'll leave that aspect alone other than to mention it's out there.

For cheapest options, I like the idea, already mentioned, of looking for an old steel MTB frame, non-suspension fork and use the balance of your budget to make sure that all the other components are in good shape.

The LHT is available as a frameset only (i.e., frame and fork). MSRP is $430 US. Nashbar also has a touring frame and fork. It's even cheaper than the LHT. Not sure of shipping Canada, though. You could build up one of these frames, perhaps even with some of the components from your other bikes depending on their specs and the qualitly of the components on them now...
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