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Best frame? Trek chromoly vs. Aluminium 7005T6 frame

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Best frame? Trek chromoly vs. Aluminium 7005T6 frame

Old 08-04-12, 01:33 PM
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scifi11
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Best frame? Trek chromoly vs. Aluminium 7005T6 frame

I'm currently looking for a new touring bike and from what I've read in different reviews the Trek 520 is one of the best touring bike out there. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I have another option since I know a store that have been building customs bike for 40 years. They designed and build their own frame, but their touring frames are in Aluminium 7005T6 (so heat treated). Even though lot of review says that chromoly steel is better than aluminium, I'm unsure which would be best since 7005 aluminium is the highest quality. If I look at the factors, such as price, the custom bike would be cheaper with the same specification than the Trek 520. What do you guys think?

For information of frame material: http://www.brightspoke.com/c/underst...materials.html.

Scifi
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Old 08-04-12, 02:06 PM
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MassiveD
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That link has it right on Chromoly and Al, from a quick look, but wrong on carbon, but I assume you aren't buying carbon, so it doesn't really mater. Aluminum can be stiffer, but it does not seem to translate into a worse riding frame. I had an early Cannondale MTB that was one of the nicest frames I have ever had stolen. I think tires, geometry, saddles, gloves and padded pants or shorts, are the key to comfort and materials play a very small part.

I don't think material matters that much, particularly for the average tourer. I would not let aluminum deter you from a good bike. What is custom about this aluminum frame. It is pretty rare to get a true custom at near stock bike prices. I would need to know more about that.
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Old 08-04-12, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by scifi11 View Post
I'm currently looking for a new touring bike and from what I've read in different reviews the Trek 520 is one of the best touring bike out there. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I have another option since I know a store that have been building customs bike for 40 years. They designed and build their own frame, but their touring frames are in Aluminium 7005T6 (so heat treated). Even though lot of review says that chromoly steel is better than aluminium, I'm unsure which would be best since 7005 aluminium is the highest quality. If I look at the factors, such as price, the custom bike would be cheaper with the same specification than the Trek 520. What do you guys think?

For information of frame material: http://www.brightspoke.com/c/underst...materials.html.

Scifi
I just like to say that the best touring frame is the one that fits you well. If they can build you a comfortable bike based on your body dimensions and weight and pick out the right tubes to reflect them, than I say pick that option. If by custom only means that they just use stock AL frames made in Taiwan (most of them come from anyhow), then the value may not be there and perhaps pick out a Trek 520 on closeouts as sometimes exceptional deals can happen.

Keep in mind that hydroformed aluminum frames, which is a relatively new process, can make and shape aluminum frames to provide lateral stiffness with good vertical compliance. Some well made ones can make you feel like you're riding an old style titanium frame on a blind fold test.
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Old 08-04-12, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
I just like to say that the best touring frame is the one that fits you well.
+1 And I'll go one further: And it should suit your needs. For example: there's no sense in touring on a 35# bike that can carry 80# of gear when you only plan on carrying amounts that a 25# rig can accommodate. And vice versus.
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Old 08-04-12, 07:52 PM
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My touring bike has an aluminum frame. Used with a high-volume (700x32+) touring tire it's as comfortable as anything I've ridden. Doesn't hurt that it's a bit lighter and a bit stiffer than most of the steel frames I've tried.
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Old 08-04-12, 10:15 PM
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Scifi, It used to be that 7XXX series aluminum wasn't the best to use on a bike frame because of it's brittleness compared to 6061T6, but that changed over the last 25 years or so. I think it was Reynolds who engineered the first really good 7XXX tubeset, IIRC.

I have an aluminum touring bike and I don't give it's material a second thought. Enjoy whichever you choose.

Brad
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