carbon vs TI vs Al vs steel . . . ?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by John Kelly, Jun 24, 2003.

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  1. John Kelly

    John Kelly Guest

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    I'm looking for a new bike, mostly for touring, and I'm wondering what the consensus is on frame
    materials. What are the virtues/vices of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, cro-moly steel? If you
    were going to specify the Perfect Touring Bike, built for either sagged or self-supporting trips,
    what would it be made of?

    TIA

    --John

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  2. Bfd

    Bfd Guest

    "John Kelly" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > *** post for FREE via your newsreader at post.newsfeed.com ***
    >
    > I'm looking for a new bike, mostly for touring, and I'm wondering what the consensus is on frame
    > materials. What are the virtues/vices of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, cro-moly steel? If you
    > were going to specify the Perfect Touring Bike, built for either sagged or self-supporting trips,
    > what would it be made of? If you're looking for the *perfect* touring bike, forget the flashy
    carbon/ti/al frames, get steel. Why, if you break down in the middle of nowhere, its easier to find
    someone to weld steel. Arguably, the *Best* touring bike is probably a Rivendell. *Best for the
    money* touring bike, probably a Romulus (dumb name). Another alternative would be a Bruce Gordon.
    For more see here:

    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com http://www.bgcycles.com
     
  3. John-<< I'm looking for a new bike, mostly for touring, and I'm wondering what the consensus is on
    frame materials >><BR><BR>

    For touring, I would recommend steel. Best combo of what you are looking for plus eyelets and
    such for racks and fenders. Titanium tourers are available but can be pricey...No carbon tourers
    exist AFAIK.

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  4. Kbh

    Kbh Guest

    Steel is real. Almost all real touring bikes are steel, altough a few are Aluminum.

    "John Kelly" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > *** post for FREE via your newsreader at post.newsfeed.com ***
    >
    > I'm looking for a new bike, mostly for touring, and I'm wondering what the consensus is on frame
    > materials. What are the virtues/vices of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, cro-moly steel? If you
    > were going to specify the Perfect Touring Bike, built for either sagged or self-supporting trips,
    > what would it be made of?
    >
    > TIA
    >
    > --John
    >
    >
    >
    > -----= Posted via Newsfeed.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
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  5. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    "KBH" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Steel is real. Almost all real touring bikes are steel, altough a few are Aluminum.
    >

    I wish to God I could stick a rule in outlook to delete messages unread in rec.bike.* when they
    contain the phrase "steel is real".

    Could be time to switch to a proper newsreader: Maybe Forte or Gravity can filter this kind of junk?

    Tim.

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  6. Kbh

    Kbh Guest

    > > Steel is real. Almost all real touring bikes are steel, altough a few
    are
    > > Aluminum.
    > >
    >
    > I wish to God I could stick a rule in outlook to delete messages unread in rec.bike.* when they
    > contain the phrase "steel is real".
    >
    > Could be time to switch to a proper newsreader: Maybe Forte or Gravity can filter this kind
    > of junk?
    >
    > Tim.

    And what's wrong with a little slogan you hubristic punk? Its a common saying that succinctly
    reflects the opinion that steel is the best material for bike frames. Did your post have anything to
    do with the OP? I commented that most touring bikes are steel. Its a fact. It added something,
    albiet small, to the thread. So come down off your soapbox and contribute, or shut up.
     
  7. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    "KBH" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:%[email protected]...
    >
    > > > Steel is real. Almost all real touring bikes are steel, altough a few
    > are
    > > > Aluminum.
    > > >
    > >
    > > I wish to God I could stick a rule in outlook to delete messages unread in rec.bike.* when they
    > > contain the phrase "steel is real".
    > >
    > > Could be time to switch to a proper newsreader: Maybe Forte or Gravity can filter this kind
    > > of junk?
    > >
    > > Tim.
    >
    > And what's wrong with a little slogan you hubristic punk? Its a common saying that succinctly
    > reflects the opinion that steel is the best
    material
    > for bike frames. Did your post have anything to do with the OP? I
    commented
    > that most touring bikes are steel. Its a fact. It added something,
    albiet
    > small, to the thread. So come down off your soapbox and contribute, or
    shut
    > up.
    >

    "Steel is real", is meaningless.

    I understand that a lot of people are attached to steel frames, and are of the opinion that cf, al,
    Ti etc are a vile heresies. It's an individual's perogative to ride a bike they like, and if it
    comes with fancy lugs, even better.

    However, if people parrot this banal slogan in a public forum, I'd like to hear the justification
    for this proselytisiation about the superiority of steel frames.

    In what way are steel frames better?

    Don't bother. The steel vs. unobtanium thing has been done to death more times than any reasonable
    man would care to sift through. Google will turn up a depressingly long and pointless list of
    discussions, going back into the mists of time.

    Your typical Steel vs. unobtanium knife-fight will start off via discussions of imponderables like
    "ride", "responsiveness", "feel". If we're lucky, this will deteriorate into name calling, and then
    the thread will wither and die. If we're unlucky, a phsycist will step into the breach and beat
    their own path, using words like "phonons" along the way. Ugly, very ugly.

    But, I see the name calling has started good and early.

    FWIW, I think you're right about the OP's (realistic) options: He's likely to end up with a choice
    of steel or steel for his touring bike by default.

    Tim.

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  8. Kbh

    Kbh Guest

    Well, the OP didn't mention unobtanium. Unobtanium is clearly far superior to steel.

    "Tim Cain" <[email protected]_know_what_to_cut_timcain.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "KBH" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:%[email protected]...
    > >
    > > > > Steel is real. Almost all real touring bikes are steel, altough a
    few
    > > are
    > > > > Aluminum.
    > > > >
    > > >
    > > > I wish to God I could stick a rule in outlook to delete messages unread in rec.bike.* when
    > > > they contain the phrase "steel is real".
    > > >
    > > > Could be time to switch to a proper newsreader: Maybe Forte or Gravity can filter this kind of
    > > > junk?
    > > >
    > > > Tim.
    > >
    > > And what's wrong with a little slogan you hubristic punk? Its a common saying that succinctly
    > > reflects the opinion that steel is the best
    > material
    > > for bike frames. Did your post have anything to do with the OP? I
    > commented
    > > that most touring bikes are steel. Its a fact. It added something,
    > albiet
    > > small, to the thread. So come down off your soapbox and contribute, or
    > shut
    > > up.
    > >
    >
    > "Steel is real", is meaningless.
    >
    > I understand that a lot of people are attached to steel frames, and are of the opinion that cf,
    > al, Ti etc are a vile heresies. It's an individual's perogative to ride a bike they like, and if
    > it comes with fancy lugs, even better.
    >
    > However, if people parrot this banal slogan in a public forum, I'd like to hear the justification
    > for this proselytisiation about the superiority of steel frames.
    >
    > In what way are steel frames better?
    >
    > Don't bother. The steel vs. unobtanium thing has been done to death more times than any reasonable
    > man would care to sift through. Google will turn up a depressingly long and pointless list of
    > discussions, going back into the mists of time.
    >
    > Your typical Steel vs. unobtanium knife-fight will start off via discussions of imponderables like
    > "ride", "responsiveness", "feel". If we're lucky, this will deteriorate into name calling, and
    > then the thread will wither and die. If we're unlucky, a phsycist will step into the breach and
    > beat their own path, using words like "phonons" along the way. Ugly, very ugly.
    >
    > But, I see the name calling has started good and early.
    >
    > FWIW, I think you're right about the OP's (realistic) options: He's likely to end up with a choice
    > of steel or steel for his touring bike by default.
    >
    > Tim.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > ---
    > Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
    > Version: 6.0.493 / Virus Database: 292 - Release Date: 25/06/03
     
  9. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    John Kelly <[email protected]> wrote:

    >*** post for FREE via your newsreader at post.newsfeed.com ***
    >
    >I'm looking for a new bike, mostly for touring, and I'm wondering what the consensus is on frame
    >materials. What are the virtues/vices of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, cro-moly steel? If you
    >were going to specify the Perfect Touring Bike, built for either sagged or self-supporting trips,
    >what would it be made of?

    I kinda prefer overbuilt brushed ti - no reliability worries, and more importantly, no paint.
    When your bikes get tossed in the back of the sag a few times, that matters. Touring can be
    hard on paint.

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  10. Chalo

    Chalo Guest

    John Kelly <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I'm looking for a new bike, mostly for touring, and I'm wondering what the consensus is on frame
    > materials. What are the virtues/vices of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, cro-moly steel? If you
    > were going to specify the Perfect Touring Bike, built for either sagged or self-supporting trips,
    > what would it be made of?

    All those materials have their advantages when used appropriately, but steel is still the best value
    in a bike with touring virtues: stiffness, dent resistance, tire/fender/saddlebag/heel clearance,
    reliability, repairability, lots of brazeons. All these qualities can be had pretty cheaply in a
    steel frame (though most steel frames do not have all these qualities, and many are not cheap).

    If you are willing to spend Any Amount Of Money, then you can probably find someone who'll make you
    a Perfect Touring Bike out of any material that tickles your fancy.

    Chalo Colina
     
  11. Chalo

    Chalo Guest

    "KBH" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > And what's wrong with a little slogan you hubristic punk?

    It's brainless and belongs in the bin with those other "clever" bike related rhymes:

    "Gears are for queers" and

    "Derailleurs are for failures"

    Steel can make a excellent bike frame, and it's not clear that there is a better all-round material
    for the job. However, it's plain to see that wretched, ill-conceived, poorly made, pig heavy, weak,
    crooked steel bikes outnumber good ones by about a zillion to one. It helps nobody to understand the
    distinctions when some bozon proclaims steel to be "real".

    Chalo Colina
     
  12. [email protected] (Qui si parla Campagnolo) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > John-<< I'm looking for a new bike, mostly for touring, and I'm wondering what the consensus is on
    > frame materials >><BR><BR>
    >
    > For touring, I would recommend steel. Best combo of what you are looking for plus eyelets and
    > such for racks and fenders. Titanium tourers are available but can be pricey...No carbon tourers
    > exist AFAIK.
    >

    Agreed - steel is probably best given the range of braze-ons a good steel touring frame will come
    with. It does have the advantage of being more easily repaired than Ti (needs welding under argon)
    or many aluminium alloys (which often need heat-treatment etc. after welding). There is the odd Ti
    tourer around, which are usually advertised as doubling up as cyclo-cross frames; the two that
    spring to mind are the Litespeed Appalachian and the Airborne Carpe Diem. The Airborne, having seen
    it 'in the flesh', comes with a pretty good range of fittings for racks, etc., and I've no doubt
    that the Litespeed does too. However, the Airborne wins on price - here in the UK it retails for
    about £840 Sterling (less forks - add in, say, another £95 for decent Reynolds 531 touring forks),
    and often even less than that figure (have seen one being sold locally for £640 as it was last
    year's model [1]), so certainly worth considering; the Carpe Diem looks to be a well-made job, too -
    neat welding, and well-crafted rear dropouts. Only drawback I know of for the Litespeed is the use
    of a 135mm rear end - not sure if Ti frames can be 'squeezed' as necessary for 130mm users.

    David E. Belcher

    Dept. of Chemistry, University of York

    [1] So, all I need now is the £640 :-(
     
  13. Mark Hickey <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    >
    > I kinda prefer overbuilt brushed ti - no reliability worries, and more importantly, no paint.

    It's only a minor thing compared to some aspects of a frame, but the 'no paint' issue is definitely
    a good selling point in favour of Ti!

    David E. Belcher

    Dept. of Chemistry, University of York
     
  14. On Wed, 25 Jun 2003 23:31:17 GMT, "KBH" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Well, the OP didn't mention unobtanium. Unobtanium is clearly far superior to steel.

    Isn't unobtanium generally considered to have even greater mass than, say, neutronium, though? That
    would make it more suitable to construction of ringworlds than bikes.

    Jasper
     
  15. Kbh

    Kbh Guest

    > > And what's wrong with a little slogan you hubristic punk?
    >
    > It's brainless and belongs in the bin with those other "clever" bike related rhymes:
    >
    > "Gears are for queers" and
    >
    > "Derailleurs are for failures"
    >
    > Steel can make a excellent bike frame, and it's not clear that there is a better all-round
    > material for the job. However, it's plain to see that wretched, ill-conceived, poorly made, pig
    > heavy, weak, crooked steel bikes outnumber good ones by about a zillion to one. It helps nobody to
    > understand the distinctions when some bozon proclaims steel to be "real".

    You guys are all way too preoccupied with asserting your self-annointed status as enforcers of
    r.b.t. lexicon. Calm down and "get a life".
     
  16. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    Steel! As Peter pointed out, lots you can do with steel. A couple of advantages not mentioned are
    repairs and failure mode. Steel, and esp. lugged steel, can be repaired even in relatively remote
    areas. More important, what happens in an accident. Carbon is very strong (my current carbon bike
    has been in two accidents) but failures when they happen are catastrophic. Al has a tendency to
    break and cracks spread relatively rapidly. Steel tends to bend/deform more than break, and cracks
    if they occur spread slowly.

    But ignore all that if you want. I think steel just feels better, esp. when you load it up. An
    intangible, but if you are hesitant try before you buy. Get bikes of all materials you want to
    consider, rack it up front and rear, load up 60-70 pounds of gear, and take them out for 50-60
    miles. Then see which ones you prefer after that.

    Ignoring materials, if this will be a tourer I would recommend:

    Get the head tube high, so you can get bars even with/above the saddle Get a strong fork Fork
    needs eyelets for fenders/racks and mid-fork braze-ons for rack Low bottom bracket - more
    stable with load Long chainstays and wheelbase dual eyelets on rear dropout, braze-ons on seat
    stays for rack Drain hole in BB shell so water does not collect in seat tube Lots of clearance
    in the frame and brakes for wide tires

    Enjoy -

    - rick warner
     
  17. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    "KBH" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > > And what's wrong with a little slogan you hubristic punk?
    > >
    > > It's brainless and belongs in the bin with those other "clever" bike related rhymes:
    > >
    > > "Gears are for queers" and
    > >
    > > "Derailleurs are for failures"
    > >
    > > Steel can make a excellent bike frame, and it's not clear that there is a better all-round
    > > material for the job. However, it's plain to see that wretched, ill-conceived, poorly made, pig
    > > heavy, weak, crooked steel bikes outnumber good ones by about a zillion to one. It helps nobody
    > > to understand the distinctions when some bozon proclaims steel to be "real".
    >
    > You guys are all way too preoccupied with asserting your self-annointed status as enforcers of
    > r.b.t. lexicon. Calm down and "get a life".
    >

    The reaction to "steel is real" is nothing to do with the r.b.t lexicon or the language that
    is involved.

    As you said in an earlier post:

    "[steel is real is] a common saying that succinctly reflects the opinion that steel is the best
    material for bike frames."

    This is an unsupported assertion, that many here find rather controversial.

    Seeing as this is the "rec.bicycles.tech" newsgroup, not "rec.bicycles.unsupported-assertion", it's
    a bit ingenuous of you to express surprise and annoyance when people take you to task for making
    such claims with no hard data or credible analysis to back them up.

    FYI, I can't find a word that rhymes with aluminium, (or aluminum) but carbon rhymes with a couple,
    as does titanium.

    Best,

    Tim.

    ---
    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
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  18. Kbh

    Kbh Guest

    > The reaction to "steel is real" is nothing to do with the r.b.t lexicon or the language that is
    > involved.
    >
    > As you said in an earlier post:
    >
    > "[steel is real is] a common saying that succinctly reflects the opinion that steel is the best
    > material for bike frames."
    >
    > This is an unsupported assertion, that many here find rather controversial.
    >
    > Seeing as this is the "rec.bicycles.tech" newsgroup, not "rec.bicycles.unsupported-assertion",
    > it's a bit ingenuous of you to express surprise and annoyance when people take you to task for
    > making such claims with no hard data or credible analysis to back them up.
    >
    > FYI, I can't find a word that rhymes with aluminium, (or aluminum) but carbon rhymes with a
    > couple, as does titanium.

    ..and I don't care, because in my opinion those materials are inferior to steel in the constrcution
    of bike frames and therefore don't deserve a slick rhyming moniker.

    ...and an assertion and an opinion are two different things ... do you write for the New York Times?
     
  19. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    "KBH" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > The reaction to "steel is real" is nothing to do with the r.b.t lexicon or the language that is
    > > involved.
    > >
    > > As you said in an earlier post:
    > >
    > > "[steel is real is] a common saying that succinctly reflects the opinion that steel is the best
    > > material for bike frames."
    > >
    > > This is an unsupported assertion, that many here find rather controversial.
    > >
    > > Seeing as this is the "rec.bicycles.tech" newsgroup, not "rec.bicycles.unsupported-assertion",
    > > it's a bit ingenuous of you to express surprise and annoyance when people take you to task for
    > > making such claims with no hard data or credible analysis to back them up.
    > >
    > > FYI, I can't find a word that rhymes with aluminium, (or aluminum) but carbon rhymes with a
    > > couple, as does titanium.
    >

    Opinions are fine things. If you were to say that in my opinion, steel is the best all round
    material for bike frame construction, that's fine by me.

    But you didn't.

    "Steel is real", not "IMHO, steel is real".

    > ..and I don't care, because in my opinion those materials are inferior to steel in the
    > constrcution of bike frames and therefore don't deserve a
    slick
    > rhyming moniker.

    If you can't prove it via data or analysis, your opinions are baseless prejudice, and as such,
    worthless.

    Are you sure you should be *reading* a .tech newsgroup, let alone *posting* in one?

    >
    > ...and an assertion and an opinion are two different things

    In your earlier posting you asserted that steel is the supreme material for bike frame construction.
    Now you're expressing the opinion that this is so. This is progress, at least.

    >... do you write for the New York Times?

    No. I have a few moral scruples.

    Best,

    Tim.

    ---
    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
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  20. > ...and an assertion and an opinion are two different things ... do you
    write
    > for the New York Times?

    An unsupported opinion is worth about the same as an unsupported assertion. That is, nada.
     
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