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Road Test/Bike Review (1986) Non-Ferrous Showdown --14 Aluminum and Composite Bikes

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Road Test/Bike Review (1986) Non-Ferrous Showdown --14 Aluminum and Composite Bikes

Old 01-19-21, 05:26 PM
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Road Test/Bike Review (1986) Non-Ferrous Showdown --14 Aluminum and Composite Bikes

Aluminum frame bikes featured are CANNONDALE SR400, KLEIN Quantum, TREK 2000, CENTURION Facet, MIYATA Omnium, CILO-VITUS,
RALEIGH Technium 440, KETTLER Alpha SM Pro, and GUERCIOTTI Record.

Composite frame bikes featured are TREK 2500, ECLIPSE Carbon 7, NISHIKI/ALAN Carbon, PEUGEOT PY-10-FC, and VITUS Plus-7 Carbone.

Only bike photos (with complete or partial text) and the specifications tables are included in this post.
A pdf copy of the full article is available here for the next 7 days: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AgHfxA8atbGnln3p...rGt5Z?e=5Y7QX2

















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Old 01-19-21, 05:45 PM
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Nice to see that Kettler in there. Pretty rare bike. And apparently for a reason.
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Old 01-19-21, 08:47 PM
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Ahhh, very cool.

I had the chance to ride that Peugeot when one came into the shop I was working at. I like a whippy frame so I really remembered it's test rides. I considered it one of the "coolest" bikes I ever worked on/test rode, along with a ti Fat City, a 753 Raleigh, and a wood Renovo.
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Old 01-20-21, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Nice to see that Kettler in there. Pretty rare bike. And apparently for a reason.
My son had a Kettler pedal car, but I only learned recently that they also made bikes. I suppose not many ever made it to middle America where I live.
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Old 01-20-21, 09:21 AM
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Funny saying that in OH, the only Kettler bikes I've ever seen were in Dayton.
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Old 01-20-21, 09:29 AM
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A girlfriend of mine in Baltimore, MD, owned a ladies-frame aluminum Kettler. Probably bought it in her home town of Montclair, NJ.
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Old 01-20-21, 09:37 AM
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By the way, the article reports that most of the various aluminum bikes tested, including the Cannondale, were at least as comfortable as comparator steel bikes (of the same wheelbase). The testers also thought highly of the carbon bikes. They include measurements of frame deflection in three planes, too, so their opinions are backed by numbers. Wonder whatever happened to their Tarantula frame testing setup.
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Old 01-20-21, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere View Post
My son had a Kettler pedal car, but I only learned recently that they also made bikes. I suppose not many ever made it to middle America where I live.
Originally Posted by Dylansbob View Post
Funny saying that in OH, the only Kettler bikes I've ever seen were in Dayton.
Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
A girlfriend of mine in Baltimore, MD, owned a ladies-frame aluminum Kettler. Probably bought it in her home town of Montclair, NJ.
Spending most of my bike life in the Midwest US, I don't recall seeing a Kettler bike. It seems like Kettler had a decent marketing budget and distributer coverage of the US at the time .
Here's a 2-page ad from the same July 1986 issue.

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Old 01-20-21, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere View Post
My son had a Kettler pedal car, but I only learned recently that they also made bikes. I suppose not many ever made it to middle America where I live.
Originally Posted by Dylansbob View Post
Funny saying that in OH, the only Kettler bikes I've ever seen were in Dayton.
Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
A girlfriend of mine in Baltimore, MD, owned a ladies-frame aluminum Kettler. Probably bought it in her home town of Montclair, NJ.
I grew up with the Kettler pedal cars. That is to say, two of my cousins and my little brother each had one. Much to my chagrin, as I would have loved to have one.

I have seen exactly two Kettler bikes so far. One was a ladies' step-through, the other a gents' model, which I bought immediately, just to finally have my own Kettler.

As bought:




This model is slightly earlier than the Alpha from the review, but the details, such as the somewhat crude lugs, are recognizable:



Some details are really nice, IMO, and give the frame character, such as the seat cluster. Don't mind the Gazelle bolt. It will be replaced:

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Old 01-28-21, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Nice to see that Kettler in there. Pretty rare bike. And apparently for a reason.
Kettler core competence was/is garden furniture, Pingpong tables and the "Kettcar", a pedal-driven go-cart for kids (if you haven't ridden one, you haven't been a child growing up in Germany).

All of this involved welding Aluminum so at one point they decided to use that expertise for building better bicycles, in fact the "Kettler Alu Rad 2600" from 1977 may have been the first mass produced welded Aluminum bike ever:



Key selling point was the low weight (at 13kg/28.5lbs it wasn't really lighter actually, the tubing wasn't particularly high end and rather thick walled) and they sold like hot cakes.
They also gained a reputation for breaking - I saw a ladies mixte like the one in the pic literally break in half behind the steering tube in front of my very eyes once.

Those issues were solved or at least mitigated during the production time of course and they were decent utilitarian bikes who didn't rust, so they remained popular. The foray into higher end and racing bikes bore limited success, possibly more for image reasons than anything else.

The Kettler Strato Aero with teardrop shaped tubing was ahead of its time. It also came in a high end touring version with racks, lights and fenders; buddy of mine rode one and uses it still today.



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Old 01-28-21, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by martl View Post
Kettler core competence was/is garden furniture, Pingpong tables and the "Kettcar", a pedal-driven go-cart for kids (if you haven't ridden one, you haven't been a child growing up in Germany).

All of this involved welding Aluminum so at one point they decided to use that expertise for building better bicycles, in fact the "Kettler Alu Rad 2600" from 1977 may have been the first mass produced welded Aluminum bike ever:

Race Inc started mass producing Aluminum BMX bikes in 1976, but I can see how this could be the first mass produced aluminum road bike.
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