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Frame Material Preference Poll

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View Poll Results: Frame Material Preference
Carbon Fiber
39
30.71%
Aluminum
10
7.87%
Steel
61
48.03%
Titanium
17
13.39%
Voters: 127. You may not vote on this poll

Frame Material Preference Poll

Old 11-11-22, 02:53 PM
  #76  
ClydeClydeson
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Before aluminum was the dominant frame material and steel was still king, failures of steel frames was common, especially very light frames.

There were some growing pains when the industry moved to aluminum, but after those problems were sorted out the overall failure rate per bicycle sold was lower than in the steel era.

Titanium frames, again especially very light ones, had a fairly high failure rate. I have seen about half as many broken Litespeeds as I have seen intact ones.

Early carbon frames often` failed where the carbon was bonded to aluminum lugs and fittings. Other failures are usually due to bad maintenance (overtightening clamps for instance) or due to 'misadventure' that may have been the end of a frame made from any material.

I did not vote because there are pros and cons to each and personal preference is as important as any 'data' people are throwing around.... except for racing - it does seem that carbon is the best material for bikes intended for racing.
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Old 11-11-22, 03:18 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
The shape of the bar is irrelevant -- the fact is that aluminum can corrode, and there are many examples of aluminum bars corroding to support that.

The shape of the bars may be irrelevant but the bar tape and wrapping is relevant because it traps and holds in all that salty sweat against the tubing and ruins it. Never happened to me yet. Not a speck of corrosion on any of my aluminum bars... This is a non-issue on a frame.
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Old 11-11-22, 03:39 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The shape of the bars may be irrelevant but the bar tape and wrapping is relevant because it traps and holds in all that salty sweat against the tubing and ruins it. Never happened to me yet. Not a speck of corrosion on any of my aluminum bars... This is a non-issue on a frame.
You claimed aluminum only corrodes if it comes in prolonged contact with corroded steel. Thatís utter nonsense.
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Old 11-11-22, 03:39 PM
  #79  
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I'd say the OP has succeeded.
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Old 11-11-22, 04:02 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I was trying to say that AL breaks more easily, but I obviously don't know the engineering terms. Thanks for the clarification.
No problem.
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Old 11-11-22, 04:06 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I'd say the OP has succeeded.
Yep, I am definitely looking harder at Carbon. I initially had strength concerns, but I just need to wrap my head around it. My concerns don't appear to be based in fact. Smokey
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Old 11-11-22, 04:10 PM
  #82  
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Thanks to everyone that responded. I can see now that a carbon bike is probably in my future and not aluminum. I've already eyed some nice carbon endurance bikes and will proceed in that direction. I'm sticking to the 105 mechanical group set though because of familiarity and my well stocked parts bin. Time to go for a ride, Smokey
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Old 11-12-22, 05:09 AM
  #83  
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Apologizes for my belated reply. Steel because I have always ridden high grade steel road and mtb bikes with an exception of one which is a 1992 merida albon a mix between4130 Crmo seat and stays glued into a 6061front triangle and a 4130crmo fork. Steel is comfy, lively, durable and easy to repair. As they say "Steel is real". I always favored one tube manufacturer over others which is Reynolds. 3 of my 7 bikes are made of Reynolds tubes. I have one Dedacciai DR Zero high grade steel italian made MTB. The next MTB will be in steel again and very probably a Reynolds 853 frame.
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Old 11-12-22, 05:30 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
Before aluminum was the dominant frame material and steel was still king, failures of steel frames was common, especially very light frames.

There were some growing pains when the industry moved to aluminum, but after those problems were sorted out the overall failure rate per bicycle sold was lower than in the steel era.

Titanium frames, again especially very light ones, had a fairly high failure rate. I have seen about half as many broken Litespeeds as I have seen intact ones.

Early carbon frames often` failed where the carbon was bonded to aluminum lugs and fittings. Other failures are usually due to bad maintenance (overtightening clamps for instance) or due to 'misadventure' that may have been the end of a frame made from any material.

I did not vote because there are pros and cons to each and personal preference is as important as any 'data' people are throwing around.... except for racing - it does seem that carbon is the best material for bikes intended for racing.
Some modern high grade steel such asd the Reynolds 953, 931 and 921 can outlast any titanium frame whether it is in terms of resistance and durability. The cost of a reynolds 953 frame was 4000$ if not more. The 853 pro team was also used in the late 90's by theTVM team who road gazelle made of Reynolds 853 proteam tubes. When you want a high grade steel bike all depends how much you want to invest in it. The columbus genius was a high grade series of tubes but often prone to breaking because the welding techniques and procedures were not always respected .An interesting link about the columbus steel tubes history and comparison with its competitors . I have never seen an older 753 or 531 reynolds frame being broken but I have seen an important number of columbus genius frames whether MTB or road bike being broken. I can't speak about titanium since I haven't encountered nor don't know a person with a broken titanium bike frame.
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Old 11-12-22, 06:40 AM
  #85  
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Many people posting here have already seen this report of the results of fatigue tests of a number of high-end road bike frames as performed for the German Tour magazine back in 1997, but for those who haven't, here it is. (Short version: two aluminum frames and one carbon frame survived the testing. All of the steel and titanium frames failed. The testers concluded that the failures had less to do with the frame material and more to do with the design of each frame and with how careful the builder was during the building process.)

For those who might object that the steel and titanium alloys used for building frames have improved since 1997---that's true, but aluminum and carbon technology has improved too, of course.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/...tigue_test.htm
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Old 11-12-22, 07:17 AM
  #86  
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There is no best material. Too many other variables. This is a good read:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html

In a nutshell:

Did you know that:

  • Aluminum frames have a harsh ride?
  • Titanium frames are soft and whippy?
  • Steel frames go soft with age, but they have a nicer ride quality?
  • England's Queen Elizabeth King Charles III is a kingpin of the international drug trade?
All of the above statements are equally false.There is an amazing amount of folkloric "conventional wisdom" about bicycle frames and materials that is widely disseminated, but has no basis in fact.

The reality is that you can make a good bike frame out of any of these metals, with any desired riding qualities, by selecting appropriate tubing diameters, wall thicknesses and frame geometry.
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Old 11-12-22, 07:33 AM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by SpedFast View Post
Thanks to everyone that responded. I can see now that a carbon bike is probably in my future and not aluminum. I've already eyed some nice carbon endurance bikes and will proceed in that direction. I'm sticking to the 105 mechanical group set though because of familiarity and my well stocked parts bin. Time to go for a ride, Smokey
Most of the higher-end mainstream endurance bikes are carbon anyway. Everything else (steel, alloy, ti) is either in the budget category or boutique/custom market. So just go with the flow and you are unlikely to be disappointed.
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Old 11-12-22, 07:37 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post

The reality is that you can make a good bike frame out of any of these metals, with any desired riding qualities, by selecting appropriate tubing diameters, wall thicknesses and frame geometry.
While true, you just can't get away from the simple fact that some materials have a higher stiffness/weight ratio than others. Some materials are also easier to manipulate/shape and fabricate than others. Some materials are also more expensive than others.
So you just have to pick some priorities when choosing a suitable frame for your needs and budget.
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Old 11-12-22, 07:52 AM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Many people posting here have already seen this report of the results of fatigue tests of a number of high-end road bike frames as performed for the German Tour magazine back in 1997, but for those who haven't, here it is. (Short version: two aluminum frames and one carbon frame survived the testing. All of the steel and titanium frames failed. The testers concluded that the failures had less to do with the frame material and more to do with the design of each frame and with how careful the builder was during the building process.)

For those who might object that the steel and titanium alloys used for building frames have improved since 1997---that's true, but aluminum and carbon technology has improved too, of course.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/...tigue_test.htm
Interesting but that test in question didn't include high end steel framed bikes with tubes such as the Columbus Nemo , the Columbus Genius, the Dedacciai Dr Zero 18 mcd v6ht and even the Reynolds 853 and 631. I doubt that aluminium frames will outlast them. Back in the days all Cannondale frame were made in the USA,that is not the case anymore. Where as for carbon, good luck for repairing a broken frame. For instance the Columbus Genius won a number of victories in the road bike racing and mtb racing races and championships from early 90's to mid late 90's beating aluminium and carbon made bikes. In 1991, the Genius tubing, made of Nivacrom steel, was an unprecedented success. For the first time in the history of cycling, the concept of"Differential Shape Butting" appeared, which only Columbus technology, now the master of the know-how connected with the strain of a frame could design. In 1994, to celebrate 110 years of Bianchi, Columbus strengthened the friendship that born between the fathers of the two companies, making MEGATUBE solely for the Treviglio company, the first oversize tube for high-performance, strong and lightframes. Megatube has become a must and is now one of the strong pointsof the Milanese company, with more than 14 different shapes. In 1995, the Columbus adventure also began in the mountain bike sector with the OR tubing for Cinelli and the custom series for Tom Ritchey (the first fork blades with a variable thickness). With the CYBER tube set (1994), specifically for mtb use, with subsequent forms, and then with Genius mtb, Columbus began accumulating World Championship mtb victories: from Brentjens with American Eagle to Acquaroli with Bianchi, to the Sunn Team and their multi-medallists Vouilloz, Martinez and Chausson. The competitive sector is obviously not the least: from Coppi and Bartoli who were the first to use the Columbus tubes, passing through Merckx, Gimondi, Hinault, Lemond, Argentin, Fondriest, Chiappucci, Roche, Rominger, Pantani, Chioccioli, Armstrong, Rijs, Bartoli and Olano to Tonkov, Brochard, Zuelle and Virenque.
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Old 11-12-22, 08:34 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by georges1 View Post
Interesting but that test in question didn't include high end steel framed bikes with tubes such as the Columbus Nemo , the Columbus Genius, the Dedacciai Dr Zero 18 mcd v6ht and even the Reynolds 853 and 631. I doubt that aluminium frames will outlast them. Back in the days all Cannondale frame were made in the USA,that is not the case anymore. Where as for carbon, good luck for repairing a broken frame. For instance the Columbus Genius won a number of victories in the road bike racing and mtb racing races and championships from early 90's to mid late 90's beating aluminium and carbon made bikes. In 1991, the Genius tubing, made of Nivacrom steel, was an unprecedented success. For the first time in the history of cycling, the concept of"Differential Shape Butting" appeared, which only Columbus technology, now the master of the know-how connected with the strain of a frame could design. In 1994, to celebrate 110 years of Bianchi, Columbus strengthened the friendship that born between the fathers of the two companies, making MEGATUBE solely for the Treviglio company, the first oversize tube for high-performance, strong and lightframes. Megatube has become a must and is now one of the strong pointsof the Milanese company, with more than 14 different shapes. In 1995, the Columbus adventure also began in the mountain bike sector with the OR tubing for Cinelli and the custom series for Tom Ritchey (the first fork blades with a variable thickness). With the CYBER tube set (1994), specifically for mtb use, with subsequent forms, and then with Genius mtb, Columbus began accumulating World Championship mtb victories: from Brentjens with American Eagle to Acquaroli with Bianchi, to the Sunn Team and their multi-medallists Vouilloz, Martinez and Chausson. The competitive sector is obviously not the least: from Coppi and Bartoli who were the first to use the Columbus tubes, passing through Merckx, Gimondi, Hinault, Lemond, Argentin, Fondriest, Chiappucci, Roche, Rominger, Pantani, Chioccioli, Armstrong, Rijs, Bartoli and Olano to Tonkov, Brochard, Zuelle and Virenque.
It's now 2022 and all the pros are exclusively racing carbon frames, road and mtb. Armstrong also rides carbon frames today - has some link up with Ventum.
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Old 11-12-22, 08:42 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
It's now 2022 and all the pros are exclusively racing carbon frames, road and mtb. Armstrong also rides carbon frames today - has some link up with Ventum.
The pros ride what they do because their sponsors, the bike companies, supply their bikes. It's a promotion of sorts. Because the sheeple will follow what the pros do with the hopes they will ride like the pros.
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Old 11-12-22, 08:55 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
The pros ride what they do because their sponsors, the bike companies, supply their bikes. It's a promotion of sorts. Because the sheeple will follow what the pros do with the hopes they will ride like the pros.
Pro teams are not forced into sponsorship deals. They are free to align themselves with any manufacturer they choose, and can ride steel bikes if they think it will give them an advantage.
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Old 11-12-22, 10:54 AM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
The pros ride what they do because their sponsors, the bike companies, supply their bikes. It's a promotion of sorts. Because the sheeple will follow what the pros do with the hopes they will ride like the pros.
Whenever I see someone use the word "sheeple" non-ironically, it drives home how good a job advertising agencies have done at convincing every American male that he's an individualistic freethinker who can express his superiority to the masses through his purchase choices. Those guys are probably the same 92% of driving-age American males who believe that they're above average in driving skills.

Paraphrasing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit:

If I ever meet an American male who doesn't claim to be a one-of-a-kind nonconformist, I'll shake his hand and give him a five-cent Daniel Webster cigar.
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Old 11-12-22, 10:55 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by SpedFast View Post
Yep, I am definitely looking harder at Carbon. I initially had strength concerns, but I just need to wrap my head around it. My concerns don't appear to be based in fact. Smokey
Iggy list update in 5, 4, 3....
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Old 11-12-22, 11:09 AM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Whenever I see someone use the word "sheeple" non-ironically, it drives home how good a job advertising agencies have done at convincing every American male that he's an individualistic freethinker who can express his superiority to the masses through his purchase choices. Those guys are probably the same 92% of driving-age American males who believe that they're above average in driving skills.

Paraphrasing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit:

If I ever meet an American male who doesn't claim to be a one-of-a-kind nonconformist, I'll shake his hand and give him a five-cent Daniel Webster cigar.
Well IDK, most marketing assumes buyers want to be one of the crowd. "Everybody's doing it, you don't want to be the odd ball left behind, do you?" It has nothing to do with being a one of a kind nonconformist. It has to do with making your own choices based on knowledge rather than what evryone else is doing. If your choice happens to be what everyone else is doing, then at least it's a choice made because you have done the research and it's the best choice for YOU, not just because everyone else is doing it.

It just irks me that so many people think something is great for them because the pros ride it. The pros have achieved a fitness and skill level that few of us mere mortals will ever achieve.

And no, sorry, I don't smoke.
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Old 11-12-22, 03:03 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by SpedFast View Post
Yep, I am definitely looking harder at Carbon. I initially had strength concerns, but I just need to wrap my head around it. My concerns don't appear to be based in fact. Smokey
Strength should not be a concern with a fiber-reinforced resin frame. High strength to weight is a main reason (but not the only reason) the reinforced resin frames are so successful. Brittleness and fracture damage are the things to watch carefully for.

Otto
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Old 11-12-22, 03:25 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
So you took us till the mid 90’s, almost 30 years ago. You have not explained how steel overcomes it’s massive strength to weight disadvantage to carbon nor the ability to modify the layup throughout the bike. A 1,500 gram carbon bike will be more durable than any equivalent weight steel bike. A Specialized Aethos S-Works comes in at 585grams try that with any other material. But I did enjoy all the fancy branding for what is essentially heat treated steel. But my favorite was the “Differential Shape Butting”.
Can you repair a carbon bike frame if crashed ? Not as far as I know. But with a steelframe you can. The Reynolds 853 introduced in the mid 90's (1994 to be exact) is Reynolds’ premium grade of ferrous steel. 853 is an air-hardening steel. The benefits of this are particularly noticeable in the weld area, where, unlike conventional steel alloys, strength can actually increase after cooling in air immediately after welding. 853 is heat-treated to give high strength and damage resistance, and the steel properties allow thin walls to be used so that lower-weight but fatigue-resistant structures can be made. The 853 Pro Team was used by the TVM road racing in gazelle bikes in1998. To get back to the Columbus Genius topic, in 1991 Columbus introduced some Differential Butted Shape butted (DBS) tubesets in which the shape of the butt actually follows the area of the tube where most of the stress is. GENIUS was the first of them. The butted ends on GENIUS are shorter, so the whole set was the first one strictly designed for TiG welding. If the genius tubes were this bad they wouldn't have been in production and wouldn't have been used on professional road bike racing bikes and mountain biking professional racing bikes. A wide selection of tube thicknesses and diameters allowed GENIUS tubing to be used in many different types of frame types. Carbon started to be used massively in late 90's early 00's. There is a martensic ageing steel that dwarfs the carbon made frames, it is the Reynolds 953 developped in the 2000's.This alloy that can achieve tensile strength in excess of 2000 MPa, Reynolds achieved a strength-to-weight ratio that can take on the world’s best. The resilient ride of steel, very high impact strength (similar to armour plating) and fatigue resistance combine to provide an extraordinary material. The 953 is of course more focused on custom made frame rather than on an industrial scale because it is a very expensive material and there are specific techniques of how to weld or filet braze it. We might agree to disagree but steel is a material with loads of potential and remember also that before the introduction of more exotic materials such as aluminium, titanium and carbon,Reynolds was considered the dominant maker of high end materials for bicycle frames, with 27 winners of the Tour de France winning the race riding on Reynolds steel tubing (531c,653 and 753). Not bad a record for steel tubing
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Old 11-12-22, 03:59 PM
  #98  
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Can you repair a carbon bike frame if crashed ? Not as far as I know.

Of course, you can repair carbon if you crash it.

I've ridden and raced on all your listed material chooses and enjoyed them all.

At present the bikes left in my stable are made from the following materials.

4 road bikes = all carbon
4 trail bikes = all aluminum
1 bike in progress of being built = steel
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Old 11-12-22, 04:07 PM
  #99  
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Originally Posted by ZIPP2001 View Post
Can you repair a carbon bike frame if crashed ? Not as far as I know.

Of course, you can repair carbon if you crash it.
Calfee repairs carbon frames. It's possible.
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Old 11-12-22, 04:16 PM
  #100  
Koyote
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Originally Posted by ZIPP2001 View Post
Can you repair a carbon bike frame if crashed ? Not as far as I know.

Of course, you can repair carbon if you crash it.
I'm not sure why you wrote two mutually contradictory statements, but cf frames can definitely be repaired.
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