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Frame Materials

Old 01-03-07, 11:50 PM
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oberon
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Frame Materials

Been very curious about the pros and cons of different frame materials. Specifically how different materials 'feel' while riding. Being new to biking I can only speculate, having only been a determined biker for almost a year now.

Interested in hearing your pros and cons (excluding cost, with focus on the ride) of steel, different aluminum alloys, carbon fiber, and titanium frames.
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Old 01-04-07, 12:12 AM
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Check out: http://www.matweb.com for materials properties. And ... refer to these threads:

Pros riding Steel
Bike Materials of the Future
ti vs al
Carbon Fiber fragility
Steel vs everything else
Aluminum: wear out?
If you ride a carbon bike.
When weight doesn't matter, is carbon still better than steel?
What happened to Titanium?
A story about carbon forks
Alloy vs Carbon
Steel frame weights
Steel Bike Choices
Wondering why I can't find titanium handlebars for my road bike.
Custom ti bikes: round tubes or fancy-pants shaped tubes?
Are aluminum bikes THAT uncomfortable?
Steel (ChroMo) vs. Aluminum
WOW!! Reynolds 953 stainless steel
Titanium vs. Aluminum Frames
materials
What's so real about steel?
Is carbon really stronger than steel?
Best frame material /configuration for climbing?
Can't stop carbon revolution.
What material do you think is best?
So What is the state of carbon and where is it going?
Rivendell makes a good arguement for steel!
looking for new bike advice
Steel vs. aluminum
Titanium vs. Carbon Fiber
Titanium
Why no titanium forks?
how bad are all aluminum bikes?
Aluminum frames
Steel or Titanium? Help me decide...
steel is real
Titanium vs Carbon
Carbon fiber education needed
What's STIFFER, Carbon or AL.....?
Does anybody like aluminum?
Frame Material
frame material via rider weight?
steel vs carbon
Titaium versus Steel
Why steel?
Is carbon worth the $$ over aluminum
Handlebar Fatigue?
steel bike vs. aluminum ?
steel frame
carbon fiber bike?
What kind of materials do you prefer?
frame material
Steel vs. aluminum w/carbon fork
How much does a frame REALLY matter?
Carbon fiber vs Steel vs Aluminum vs Ti
CANNONDALE VS TREK. (the debate begins)
Good read on frame metallurgy
Aluminium, Ti, or Carbon
Aluminum + carbon frames: better ride?
Titanium Frames
Titanium, steel, aluminum, carbon?
frame materal
Full Carbon Bikes
Steel, Aluminum, Titanium, Carbon - What's the difference in the ride!
Frames made from air hardening alloy
Titanium or Steel?
materials
aluminium frame failures-- myth or fact?
biased against steel?
tell me about the different frame materials, please.
has anyone seen ti crack?
Why would Alum feel better than Steel?
If steel is real, then what is carbon fiber?
Carbon Conspiracy....
Is Aluminum stronger than Steel?
Ti vs Al vs Steel need help thanks
Steel, Carbon, Aluminium or Titanium Frame??
How does Titanium ride?
Steel Bikes
Aluminum or Carbon - Which is stiffer?
Steel Frame Life
What's stronger, a 3lb steel frame, or a 3lb aluminum?
steelframes-lugged vs. butted?
carbon vs aluminum
6061 aluminum vs. 7005 aluminum
How durable is carbon fiber?
Carbon Bikes
Flexible Frame?
Steel bikes - Light As You Wanna Be
Anyone ride aluminum..and like it?
Anyone ride aluminum..and like it?
Ti vs. Carbon
beryllium bikes?
Why are forks often made of different materials from frames?
Ever Broken Carbon Fiber?
Ti or Carbon for light rider?
Frame Material
Aluminum as frame material - Reached its peak?
Titanium.......Bastard Step Child?
Half Carbon/Half Steel frame?
Steel vs. Aluminum
steel is real, but...
TI, Carbon or AL - which is STIFFER ?
Just a tally of frame failures...
Carbon v. Ti
Cannondales too stiff?

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 01-11-07 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 01-04-07, 12:20 AM
  #3  
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I group them into four basic categories-

Gaspipe, tin, expensionium, and unobtanium.
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Old 01-04-07, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
Gaspipe, tin, expensionium, and unobtanium.
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Old 01-05-07, 04:55 PM
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Yes, there a hundreds of threads on these topics. But, in the "real" world, most customers don't have a lot of choices. Today, the $200 to $900 bike market (which are the majority of bikes sold, not counting the pretend bikes sold by the Wal-Mart type of stores) is almost 100% aluminum frames.

If you are looking at road bikes, in the $700 and up market (which is 90% of the market) all of the bikes are sold with carbon forks. Again, no choice for consumers.

To have real choices of equally high quality frames and forks made from steel, titanium, carbon, and aluminum, a customer generally needs to speed $2,000, $3,000, or more. Those lucky folks spending $2,000 to $10,000 on bikes have choices, but "Joe Average" does not.

No "expert" does a better job of advocating for steel frames and steel forks than Grant Peterson, of Rivendell bikes. He can give a dozen good reasons that steel is the best material for a bike frame and a bike fork. BUT, Grant does not claim that a rider will "feel" those advantages out on the road.

Grant thinks that the "feel" of a bike is the product of its geometry, the length of the chainstays, the length of the wheelbase, the size and width of the tires, the PSI of the tires, the bars, the bar wrap, the saddle....a dozen other factors have more impact on the "feel" of a bike than does the material used for the frame and fork.

My own experience is that my steel frame and steel fork road bikes do a much better job of soaking up road shock that does my carbon frame and fork bike, or the aluminum frame and fork bikes I've owned. But, if Grant is correct, that "superior" ride is not the result of the steel...
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Old 01-06-07, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
No "expert" does a better job of advocating for steel frames and steel forks than Grant Peterson, of Rivendell bikes. He can give a dozen good reasons that steel is the best material for a bike frame and a bike fork. BUT, Grant does not claim that a rider will "feel" those advantages out on the road.

Grant thinks that the "feel" of a bike is the product of its geometry, the length of the chainstays, the length of the wheelbase, the size and width of the tires, the PSI of the tires, the bars, the bar wrap, the saddle....a dozen other factors have more impact on the "feel" of a bike than does the material used for the frame and fork.

My own experience is that my steel frame and steel fork road bikes do a much better job of soaking up road shock that does my carbon frame and fork bike, or the aluminum frame and fork bikes I've owned. But, if Grant is correct, that "superior" ride is not the result of the steel...
+1

Geometry is the all important factor in frame design. I believe that the materials used are secondary.

Tim
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Old 01-06-07, 04:16 AM
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Yeah, I've had whippy wet-noodle alloy frames like Vitus and the recalled Peugeot Comete. I can flex their bottom-brackets 6" from side to side in a sprint. On the other hand, I've also had the original fat-tube Cannondales (pre 3.0) that were so stiff, my vision would start to get blurry form the pounding ride. Zero flex of any sort. However, on a local 2-mile downhill, I'd be faster on the softer frames which would absorb the bumps as if they had suspension and kept the tyres in contact with the road. On the Cannondale, the super-stiff frame would launch me off the tops of bumps and the tyres would skip like crazy around the corners and threatening to throw me off the cliff.

You can probably create the exact same extremes in "road feel" with any of the other materials as well..

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Old 01-06-07, 11:41 PM
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YIKES; I saw that list and almost decided to avoid the issue all together because I was too loss to find my way back to common sense.

But the only thing I will say is that the Reynolds 953 is the best there is now, in fact way better then anything else; but that's subjective.
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