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How well do the older glued carbon tubes into aluminum lugs frames ride?

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How well do the older glued carbon tubes into aluminum lugs frames ride?

Old 09-21-15, 08:15 PM
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How well do the older glued carbon tubes into aluminum lugs frames ride?

Was wondering if someone could tell me how well some of the early carbon/aluminum frames ride, the ones where carbon tubes were glued into aluminum lugs. Specifically, do they creak at the lugs when ridden hard, or anything like that? And on steep climbs when you'd really be laying down some power do they flex a lot/at all? Things you like about them, dont like?

I'd really appreciate any experienced replies on this topic - thanks!
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Old 09-21-15, 08:38 PM
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Depends. There was a wide range of assembly skill and control when carbon was just starting to come onto the market. But that speaks to integrity and failure.

The other aspect asked about is ride quality. This is independent to build grade. Once again some frames were better thought of then others. As opinions are too many and only yours counts I don't think i'll go down that road, except to say that the large makers generally had a better understanding of and motivation to be in the middle of the ride quality bell curve.

Lastly i'll add that one should be careful to judge yesterdays stuff with today's state of the art. When tubular steel was first used the market thought it was great, compared to bar or strip steel frames. Now many think steel frames are for slow riders who are lost in their past. Andy (who still rides old and slow steel, just like his body).
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Old 09-21-15, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
Depends. There was a wide range of assembly skill and control when carbon was just starting to come onto the market. But that speaks to integrity and failure.

The other aspect asked about is ride quality. This is independent to build grade. Once again some frames were better thought of then others. As opinions are too many and only yours counts I don't think i'll go down that road, except to say that the large makers generally had a better understanding of and motivation to be in the middle of the ride quality bell curve.

Lastly i'll add that one should be careful to judge yesterdays stuff with today's state of the art. When tubular steel was first used the market thought it was great, compared to bar or strip steel frames. Now many think steel frames are for slow riders who are lost in their past. Andy (who still rides old and slow steel, just like his body).
Thanks for the reply. I ride cromoly framed bikes, so wouldnt be comparing the early carbon frames to the current ones. I guess my main question is are the glued frames as stiff as a lugged cromoly frame? For some reason I feel like the stresses on the bottom bracket would be tough on glued tube bikes, and am wondering if there would be creaking or flex.
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Old 09-21-15, 09:49 PM
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A glued joint can be every bit as strong/stiff/cheap (pick two..) as any other joining method. Shucks, even bubble gum in enough volume and placement works. The early carbon tubed bikes were after some weight reduction and their stiffness wasn't being prioritized. Some followed in the footsteps of the prior AL frames WRT tube diameters and joint dimensions. When these earlier AL frames were whippy the following carbon ones weren't much stiffer. But when the big two companies (T, S and G) got their heads around the properties and existing technologies their products bubbled to the surface and others were compared to them. The outliers like Calfee (sorry forget their earlier name) were so infrequent that they didn't come across the common shops or riders. Andy.
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Old 09-21-15, 10:36 PM
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I think it would be more meaningful to ask how specific models of carbon tube / aluminium lug frames ride, because they differ substantially from each other. Just as lugged steel bikes do, a super lightweight racer rides differently from a gaspipe.

And you'd probably get the most response in the C&V forum.

I'll give you one data point. I have a Vitus 997, which has aluminum lugs and large diameter ovalized carbon tubes. Dates from the late 1990s. When hitting a sharp bump, this bike softens the impact so much, that at first I kept getting off to check if something on the frame was broken. But when jumping out of the saddle, it feels as stiff and accelerates as quickly as my (very stiff) aluminum Cannondale. The designers really got the laterally stiff / vertically compliant thing. I don't get any chain rub even with high pedaling force.
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Old 09-21-15, 10:44 PM
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My '94 Trek 2300 cf/Al composite was a comfortable ride and strong enough to survive a serious crash unharmed (the bike, not the rider). It lacked lateral and vertical stiffness. I replaced it with an all cf 5500 which was much stiffer.

Last edited by Al1943; 09-22-15 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 09-22-15, 06:51 AM
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Really depends which frame you're talking about, but there should not be any creaking unless something is wrong or broken.

In my experience the small-tube aluminum/carbon glued frames are a little more flexy than a standard lugged chromoly frame. I only weigh 140lbs and I'm not a sprinter so this is fine for me. But if you're a big heavy rider this could be an issue. If you're very tall these frames are probably not for you as they get worse in the largest sizes.

In the small-tube realm, I used to own a Specialized Epic (carbon tubed road bike) that I enjoyed. Right now I have an SR Litage glued aluminum frame. It's great but as I said, a little flexy.

I've had a few of the early Trek glued aluminum frames in both road and MTB. Those are excellent and used slightly oversized tubes to approximate a steel frame, which they do a pretty good job of IMO.

I've not owned a Cannondale but ridden a couple and with the bigger tubes they use, they seem to be both stiffer and harsher.
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Old 09-22-15, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Al1943
My '74 Trek 2300 cf/Al composite.
'74?? Are you sure you don't mean '94? I'm not sure Trek was even in business in 1974 and carbon as a bicycle construction material was nowhere to be found at that time.
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Old 09-22-15, 07:38 AM
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I have one of the most recent carbon tube/aluminum lug frames, a Look 481SL. It was the last of its line before Look moved on to carbon lugs on the 585 and 595. Comfort is great on the frost heaved roads around here. While is isn't as stiff as my 595 I certainly don't feel as if I am giving up much in the way of performance for the improved ride quality. A compliant frame can be a godsend if you are riding hard on bad roads, this bike can hold a line through a bumpy corner without turning a hair, and I don't feel all beat up at the end of a long ride. I also has a KG381 and it was a great race bike, I always felt in control even in the worst conditions
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Old 09-22-15, 08:39 AM
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Fine .. Used to own an Epoxy joined AlAn
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Old 09-22-15, 01:55 PM
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Only partially relevant, this article about the Raleigh Technium (al tubes bonded to (steel?) lugs) is an interesting read, especially note the crash pic at the end, the main triangle (and the bonded joints) were the only part of the bike that didn't get taco'd!
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Old 09-22-15, 03:02 PM
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It all runs together sometimes. Thanks HillRider, you're right of course.
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Old 09-29-15, 08:55 AM
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Thanks a lot for those replies everyone. That Raleigh Technium story is pretty interesting, as well as some of the others' experiences.

Anyway this is a frame I was thinking of picking up and building into a road bike for myself. My hesitancy is that I do a lot of hill climbing and have even flexed the BBs of TIG welded cromo frames before. So carbon tubes glued into aluminum lugs makes me worry that after buying the frame and all the (used) parts for the build, I'd take it out for its maiden voyage and find out the BB was too flex-y for my taste - negating the entire project. What to do..

https://portland.craigslist.org/clc/bop/5238531694.html
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Old 09-29-15, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89
Anyway this is a frame I was thinking of picking up and building into a road bike for myself. My hesitancy is that I do a lot of hill climbing and have even flexed the BBs of TIG welded cromo frames before. So carbon tubes glued into aluminum lugs makes me worry that after buying the frame and all the (used) parts for the build, I'd take it out for its maiden voyage and find out the BB was too flex-y for my taste - negating the entire project. What to do..
The 7900 is so cool! And rare, I've only ever seen a couple in person or for sale.

That said, I might not buy it especially if you plan to do much riding in the rain. I've seen the Trek carbon tubed frames fail from corrosion at the joints. On the other hand, I've never seen or heard of their glued aluminum frames failing. I've had a couple over the years including one MTB that I used as a winter beater. They are super strong.

It might also be too flexy for you. Hard to say.
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Old 09-29-15, 10:29 AM
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I have a first year (2004) Cannondale Six13 and it rides very nice. Never had a problem with the frame creaking or being flexy when climbing or putting the power down. It rides smoother than my other Cannondale CAAD bikes and weighs in at 16 lbs 12.16oz as pictured.



I built it with hilly fondos and fun rides in mind so I wasn't going for all out wight reduction. It is one of the "Legalize my Cannondale" bikes that were under the UCI minimum weight (in fact several other bikes were but didn't go crazy with their marketing) but compared to my all aluminum 1998 R4000 it is within 100 grams when talking just frame to frame. The main thing you are getting with a AL/Carbon frame is compliance as they were not as light as many people remember them.


It is interesting to note that after 2004 Cannondale only did the toptube and downtube out of carbon. The raw aluminum/carbon frames have problems with galvanic corrosion but I don't know if that affects the frame strength as the carbon tubes were physically bonded with the tabs not just epoxy or whatever.
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Old 09-29-15, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by FastJake
The 7900 is so cool! And rare, I've only ever seen a couple in person or for sale.

That said, I might not buy it especially if you plan to do much riding in the rain. I've seen the Trek carbon tubed frames fail from corrosion at the joints. On the other hand, I've never seen or heard of their glued aluminum frames failing. I've had a couple over the years including one MTB that I used as a winter beater. They are super strong.

It might also be too flexy for you. Hard to say.
Thanks for that info, I think I might just grab that frame and take the chance - I dont ride in the rain, lol.

My main ride - and my wife's, are both older lugged Trek mtbs, and their frames are incredible imo. I kind of feel like Trek generally doesnt make poorly thought out products, so maybe this frame is just what I'm looking for.
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Old 09-29-15, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Butchchr
I have a first year (2004) Cannondale Six13 and it rides very nice. Never had a problem with the frame creaking or being flexy when climbing or putting the power down. It rides smoother than my other Cannondale CAAD bikes and weighs in at 16 lbs 12.16oz as pictured.



I built it with hilly fondos and fun rides in mind so I wasn't going for all out wight reduction. It is one of the "Legalize my Cannondale" bikes that were under the UCI minimum weight (in fact several other bikes were but didn't go crazy with their marketing) but compared to my all aluminum 1998 R4000 it is within 100 grams when talking just frame to frame. The main thing you are getting with a AL/Carbon frame is compliance as they were not as light as many people remember them.


It is interesting to note that after 2004 Cannondale only did the toptube and downtube out of carbon. The raw aluminum/carbon frames have problems with galvanic corrosion but I don't know if that affects the frame strength as the carbon tubes were physically bonded with the tabs not just epoxy or whatever.
Awesome bike there, amazing weight! I dont consider myself a weight weenie but.. I can definitely appreciate the ultralights.
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Old 09-29-15, 01:51 PM
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That Trek should be fine. My 1991 Allez Epic is still going strong. Raced it for 10-yrs with numerous crashes. I've weight 155 to 245-lbs during that time and had no qualms about riding off kerbs or the occasional dirt short-cut.
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Old 02-07-20, 07:02 PM
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creaking bottom bracket on glued frame?

I ride a Miyata Carbontech 7000, from 1991 I believe. No creaking at bottom bracket. If it creaked I'd imagine the glue joint failed, which is known to happen with that technology. Specialized Epic had the same technology.
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Old 02-07-20, 08:04 PM
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As a guy who works with Carpet Fiber every day, any creaking is a joint about to fail. if it doesn't creak it is ok! The epoxy used to bond the two materials together is the question, If it was not high enough in its yield strength, it will sooner or later break,and that is what the creaking is. HTH, MH
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Old 02-07-20, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by radioarno
I ride a Miyata Carbontech 7000, from 1991 I believe. No creaking at bottom bracket. If it creaked I'd imagine the glue joint failed, which is known to happen with that technology. Specialized Epic had the same technology.
Zombie thread. I replied in this thread 5 years ago and I am happy to report that my Look 481SL is still happily zipping over rough Quebec roads without turning a hair 5 years later
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Old 04-16-20, 12:17 AM
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This is my road bike: an Opera Leonardo, from the early 2000s (the bb is stamped 00). Carbon main tubes and wishbone chainstays with alu lugs, chainstays and head tube.
It's a small frame (49cm), I've only seen one other like this, and I'm very happy with the comfort and acceleration. So far so good with longevity!
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Old 04-16-20, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89
Was wondering if someone could tell me how well some of the early carbon/aluminum frames ride, the ones where carbon tubes were glued into aluminum lugs. Specifically, do they creak at the lugs when ridden hard, or anything like that? And on steep climbs when you'd really be laying down some power do they flex a lot/at all? Things you like about them, dont like?

I'd really appreciate any experienced replies on this topic - thanks!
Sean Kelly raced and won on cobbles on a glued Vitus. If itís good enough for The King.....
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Old 04-16-20, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Litespud
Sean Kelly raced and won on cobbles on a glued Vitus. If it’s good enough for The King.....
True, but his frames were replaced by the team at least every year if not more often through the racing season. Long term durability wasn't a consideration.

I have a '92 Trek 1420, their bonded aluminum frame, that's still in the family and still in good condition. It rode pretty much like the lugged steel Bridgestone it replaced but was a bit lighter. When Trek first introduced their bonded carbon tubed/aluminum lugged frames a year or so later, they wrapped the glue joints with a layer of fiberglass to insulate the carbon from the aluminum and avoid the galvanic corrosion that destroyed some of their competitors.
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Old 04-16-20, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
Now many think steel frames are for slow riders who are lost in their past. Andy (who still rides old and slow steel, just like his body).
Well, Andy, at least your body still has some steel in it. Jim (who rides CF mostly, but also enjoys his 1999 LeMond Zurich in 853).

Alas, I got no more steel.
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