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Aluminum Is More Elastic Than Steel

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Aluminum Is More Elastic Than Steel

Old 11-18-18, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
The fundamental disconnect here …


.
Very sensible although I don't think it's really much more than a Chevy advertisement why staying with a steel bed pickup is the better choice (even though they'll also have an aluminum bed before long).
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Old 11-18-18, 03:09 PM
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Unusual failure... it was on a tour down the western coast and you'd oftentimes end up in hiker/biker campgrounds with other riders and got to know a bit about them. I remember two of them were Canadians who were phys-ed majors, both of whom were in pretty good shape. The bigger of the two actually snapped a pedal off his bike early in the day in Northern Cali and had to hitch a ride to the next town which was pretty small. When we caught up to him he was surrounded by kids on bikes who'd apparently taken the right pedal off every bike in town, hoping to sell one to the Canadian. It impressed me that anyone could actually snap a pedal off. I think about it every time I stand with all my weight on a single pedal. Fear is stupid, right?
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Old 11-18-18, 03:13 PM
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I know a guy that has snapped not one, but two crank spindles-- and not from impact landings. Just with... legs.
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Old 11-18-18, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I know a guy that has snapped not one, but two crank spindles-- and not from impact landings. Just with... legs.
You better take the bus.
I know a guy who can do one arm pull ups and brake dance.
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Old 11-18-18, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by McBTC View Post
Very sensible although I don't think it's really much more than a Chevy advertisement why staying with a steel bed pickup is the better choice (even though they'll also have an aluminum bed before long).
Yeah but, when Chevy goes Al in its bed like Ford, and you have that gold bar heist and you have carried too much cargo before, the bars will, nobody can predict when, but mark my words, the gold bars will fall through the bed and likely into the hands of the wealthy who don't need the money. Then you will be stuck taking the bus with Dr. I and if unlucky enough to sit next to him have to listen to more chicken little drivel.
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Old 11-18-18, 03:55 PM
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I'm going to assume that you mean breakdance, and that whole post was supposed to be... irony? Pseudo-clever? Grading generously, C-.
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Old 11-18-18, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I think that's more a rationalization for buying a new bike than an actual physical change in the frame itself.
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Old 11-18-18, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
But if the concept is "preposterous" then Im sure Mr Brandt can explain us why some steel frames crack without being crashed? (That even happens so Ti frames) That should be impossible if the unspoken presumption that the frame is never subjected to stresses beyond the fatigue limit, is true. Sorry, but clearly Mr Brandt failed to account for reality.
I had a steel frame crack at the joint between chainstay and dropout. In providing me a warranty replacement, Jamis and my local Jamismdealer blamed the welder.
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Old 11-18-18, 05:19 PM
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My aluminum '93 Trek 8000 MTB was in close to probably 15 races and countless rides and many wrecks, with a rigid fork for the first year I had it. That thing was bulletproof. The thought of breaking an alu road frame never entered my mind. I don't think many here are riding the cobblestones of France.
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Old 11-18-18, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Modern bikes are not made out of aluminum.
Yup alloys used are not Exclusively Al. (atomic number 13)

what may be flexible, in the material, is used in forming complex shapes
thru the high forces of hydroforming.

then its plastic fluid flexible.. and probably quite hot.





...
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Old 11-18-18, 05:58 PM
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Fatigue strength of aluminium has nothing to do with the OP.
Normal for the forum I guess!
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Old 11-18-18, 06:06 PM
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If aluminum is as resilient and flexible and long-lasting as you think it is, why aren't automotive leaf-springs made from aluminum? That'd be one helluva lot of weight-savings.
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Old 11-18-18, 06:11 PM
  #63  
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My 'Screwed and Glued' Alan Developed some cracks in the Head tube "Lugs"

when I had one, in the 80's..
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Old 11-18-18, 07:19 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by McBTC View Post
Comparing the modulus of elasticity, alloy is springier than steel. With the advent of downward sloping top tubes, we see a lot of road bike frames that significantly depart for the lines of vintage steel road bikes. My guess is, a modern road bike with a lot of exposed aluminum setback seat post probably provides as much road compliance as the traditional steel road bike with a short alloy or even CF seat post.
Yes, aluminum frames can be well engineered both in terms of ride quality and longevity, though as with any other material those two qualities are to some degree exclusive of one another. An aluminum brick with wheels will last ten billion miles but nobody will want to ride an aluminum brick with wheels even a mile. The same goes for steel and other materials. If well engineered, an acceptable (and even wonderful) balance can be achieved.

Sailboat masts are mostly aluminum or carbon fiber nowadays, though aluminum is more common. They deal with tremendous loads, and weight and appropriate levels of flexibility are nearly as critical as in cycling. I have one sailboat with a 20 year old mast, and at one time had one with a 40 year old mast. Keep the rigging in good shape and they will last almost indefinitely. Most mast failures have nothing to do with aluminum fatigue, and everything to do with the turnbuckles, through-deck chainplates, and stainless steel cables failing.

Anyway, if either my Synapse frame or my Quick frame fails at 32,000 miles I'll be ready for a new one with newer features by then anyway.
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Old 11-18-18, 08:03 PM
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All frame materials will fail eventually.

The properties of most metals are well understood, and I suspect for most riders (under 90KG) most frames will outlast the rider.

I'm also fairly sure almost every bicycle still uses metal fasteners made out of aluminum, steel or titanium. (it usually doesn't end well when fasteners fail)

Non metallic materials are still relatively new technology, long term durability is debatable.
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Old 11-18-18, 09:00 PM
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Unexpected take on attributes... Bicycling says, steel doesn't last as long CF, Alloy or Ti...


If, for example, you’re a cash-strapped aspiring road racer, an aluminum frame likely makes the most sense, as they are relatively light, stiff, and affordable. Carbon fiber ticks those same performance boxes (and often does a better job of absorbing road buzz), but it’s more expensive. Conversely if you’re looking for the ideal long-distance touring bike and money is no object, a titanium frame is arguably your best option due to its silky smooth ride quality and resistance to the elements. Steel is less expensive and delivers a smooth ride, but it’s generally heavier than the other three materials and doesn’t last as long.
https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear...als-explained/
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Old 11-18-18, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by McBTC View Post
Unexpected take on attributes... Bicycling says, steel doesn't last as long CF, Alloy or Ti...



https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear...als-explained/
its bicycling mag...why is that being referenced?

anyways, it also says this about steel...
Indeed, it remains a popular material for custom builders, who revere it for its ride smoothing characteristics (especially for touring bikes). The reason for this is that steel is easier and less expensive to work with than carbon fiber, and it's also denser and stronger than aluminum. That means you can use thinner walled tubes, and thus design vertical flex into a bike.

Steel is also very durable, highly resistant to fatigue, and unlike carbon fiber and aluminum, can easily be repaired repair.



very durable.
highly resistant to fatigue.

take all of it for what it's worth.
...which isn't much as its from bicycling mag.
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Old 11-18-18, 09:16 PM
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Only tangentially on topic, but my grandfather rode the same frameset his entire life. Handbuilt by Oscar Wastyn in Chicago, Illinois. I doubt I need to point it out, but you know, steel.

These two photographs were taken nearly 60 years apart.

The bike on the right, and that's Oscar Wastyn on the left




Took some time off for WWII, but put at least 300,000 miles on it. To my knowledge, the only bicycle he ever owned. The purest N=1 that I know of.
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Old 11-18-18, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
I dont know what the mechanism is, but I do know (some) old steel frames become soft. Both I and a few friends have discarded frames for that reason.
State your source.

The only "soft" steel frames I have ever seen are very low quality high tensile steel from a bygone era of "gas pipe bikes" which had a very dead feel from the day they were made.

I've ridden plenty of vintage butted chrome-moly bikes and still own two that are 25+ years old with a lot of miles and wear and tear on them. They still ride like the day they came off the factory line. My mutt bike has a 1993 Trek 730 frameset. I've ridden several contemporary counterparts like the Surly LHT and the Velo Orange Campeur, and the 730 frameset can hold its own against any of them in terms of comfort and ride quality.
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Old 11-18-18, 09:51 PM
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My first three years riding as an adult I broke 3 aluminum frames. One at 12,000 miles, one at 4700 miles and one at 3400 miles. I weighed between 155 and 175 pounds.

I managed to put 10,000 miles on my next aluminum frame with no issues. I had significantly more aluminum frames come into my shop than other materials but that may be because aluminum is the vast majority bikes on the road, still feels like for any number of frames over a given time period more aluminum are going to break through normal use than steel.

Aluminum can be made to ride as well as steel but there is no current production frame that actually is designed and manufactured this way. Companies don't want to sell them and factories don't want to make them. It's difficult and expensive to make an aluminum frame that will pass ETRO and ride like steel while having a good tested fatigue life at a price point that does not interfere with mid-level carbon offerings. I'm talking something good, 28.6/31/8 8.5.8 with good butting and well designed rear triangle. Aluminum from a factory isn't going to touch it, don't even get me started on something in standard diameter tubing with butting like they used to do in the 80s.
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Old 11-18-18, 09:54 PM
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To be fair, steel is the most mature frame material. (that is why the oldest bikes were made of steel)

That said, it won't be improved much. (lightweight steel frames are not very strong or stiff)

Klein and Cannondale transformed what was/is possible with aluminum.

Summary of Results





Carbon promises to improve beyond metal, long term durability is still a major concern IMO.
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Old 11-18-18, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by SHBR View Post
To be fair, steel is the most mature frame material. (that is why the oldest bikes were made of steel)

That said, it won't be improved much. (lightweight steel frames are not very strong or stiff)

Klein and Cannondale transformed what was/is possible with aluminum.

Summary of Results
Klein and Cannondale transformed aluminum into almost as good as steel for a significant price increase and lower durability.

This is a big part of why current metal bikes often ride so poorly compared to the frames from the 1990s and earlier. Designing bikes to pass a machine fatigue test has led to oversize tubing and a move away from what made bicycles so great that was learned through decades of trial and error. Now we have a ton of bikes that suck to ride but hey they'll last forever or at least pass 100,000 cycles on this here testing jig

I see this as nothing less than anti-steel propaganda to increase market share for new non-steel frame material. It would not surprise me in the least if this was another example of "Studies show sugar is a super important part of the human diet" (Paid for by a grant from Sugar Industry LLC).
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Old 11-18-18, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Klein and Cannondale transformed aluminum into almost as good as steel for a significant price increase and lower durability.

This is a big part of why current metal bikes often ride so poorly compared to the frames from the 1990s and earlier. Designing bikes to pass a machine fatigue test has led to oversize tubing and a move away from what made bicycles so great that was learned through decades of trial and error. Now we have a ton of bikes that suck to ride but hey they'll last forever or at least pass 100,000 cycles on this here testing jig

I see this as nothing less than anti-steel propaganda to increase market share for new non-steel frame material. It would not surprise me in the least if this was another example of "Studies show sugar is a super important part of the human diet" (Paid for by a grant from Sugar Industry LLC).
This post is entirely subjective.

Ride quality is as well.

I have a steel folder that rides a bit too softly. (its a great video rig though)

Some riders prefer a stiff bike, some prefer a softer bike, its all personal preference.

Steel has its place, but its clearly reached its limit.

Last edited by SHBR; 11-18-18 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 11-18-18, 11:04 PM
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Preference for ride quality follows a normal distribution and could be measured. A sampling of riders would have the greatest number that prefer a ride quality between this much stiffness and this much compliance, I am saying the vast majority of frames produced today are outside of that distribution by 1 standard deviation. Just a little to stiff for some, much too stiff for some and merely too stiff for the majority.

Due to how frames are designed with a focus on the machine based ETRO standards.
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Old 11-19-18, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Does Cannondale make "modern" bikes?
Sure. They make the Super Six.

When the CAAD12 was released, the captive bike media rewrites of their talking points said, it’s “lighter than some carbon frames at this price.” It comes with a “boutique” carbon fork, and has for twenty years just like nearly every road bike. It’s modern in the sense they still make it, sure.
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