Frame materials - Which is best?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by jeff_ca, Nov 20, 2003.

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  1. jeff_ca

    jeff_ca New Member

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    I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?

    I'd like to hear from the experienced riders that put on lots of miles. Things to consider are.

    1. Comfort
    2. Weight
    3. Flexibility
    4. Durability
    5. Cost
    6Upgradability

    Thanks to all that respond.

    Jeff
     
    Tags:


  2. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    On 21 Nov 2003 01:33:15 +1050, jeff_ca <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the
    >Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give
    >me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?

    That's a load of dingo's kidneys. Ride it. If it's harsh, don't buy it.

    Besides, if frame material does make a difference, then a heavier rider will have a smoother ride
    than a light rider on the same frame.

    I'm afraid I can't compare to high-end materials, but I have an aluminum road bike and a steel
    road bike, and they both ride very nicely. FWIW, the aluminum bike has carbon fork legs and a
    carbon seatpost.

    >Jeff
    --
    Rick Onanian
     
  3. Harris

    Harris Guest

    jeff_ca <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the
    > Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give
    > me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?

    > I'd like to hear from the experienced riders that put on lots of miles. Things to consider are.

    > 1. Comfort
    > 2. Weight
    > 3. Flexibility
    > 4. Durability
    > 5. Cost 6Upgradability

    Comfort is primarily a function of fit and tires, not frame material.

    Weight: At 215 lbs, a light frame shouldn't be a high priority. In general, carbon frames will be
    the lightest, followed by aluminum, Ti, and steel.

    Flexibility: Frame flex is dependent on many variables such as tubing diameter and wall thickness,
    in addition to frame material. For a given tube diameter and wall thickness, steel will be the least
    flexible, aluminum and carbon the most flexible.

    Durability: Depends mainly on good design and construction. When pushing the envelope on light
    weight, durability usually suffers.

    Cost/Upgradability: Depends. In general, Ti and carbon are more expensive. The cheapest frames are
    usually aluminum, but there are exceptions. Not sure what you mean by "upgradability," but if you
    mean re-spacing the rear dropouts, that is only practical with steel.

    What do you expect a new bike to do that your current bike won't? Most of the improvements in the
    last 20 years (smoother/easier shifting, clipless pedals, etc.), don't involve the frame. Ti and
    carbon frames are lighter that comparable steel frames, but not by that much. "Ride quality" is not
    directly related to frame material.

    I would choose a frame primarily based on fit, durability, an suitability for your intended use.

    Art Harris
     
  4. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "jeff_ca" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the
    > Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give
    > me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?
    >
    > I'd like to hear from the experienced riders that put on lots of miles. Things to consider are.
    >
    > 1. Comfort
    > 2. Weight
    > 3. Flexibility
    > 4. Durability
    > 5. Cost 6Upgradability
    >
    > Thanks to all that respond.
    >
    > Jeff

    There's as many answers to this question as there are people you ask for their opinions. If you talk
    to one guy, he'll tell you that AL is going to be stiff/harsh/etc. Talk to another, he'll tell you
    that AL is noodly. Depends on which AL frame you're talking about. In the first instance the guy's
    probably thinking about an old Cannondale, in the second he's probably thinking about a Vitus/Alan.

    At 215, I'd stay away from the super-light stuff.

    Bikes that I'd recommend that you look at: Cannondale Specialized Giant LeMond Trek (both the AL and
    carbon bikes) Felt Scattante (Supergo's house brand) etc.

    or go with a local custom builder to get his opinion on what tubeset he thinks you need. Tom
    Teesdale Russ Denny Strong Landshark Soulcraft Holland Hollands (DC area) etc.

    There's a lot of debate (some of it quite acrimonious) regarding "comfort," "ride," and other
    nebulous terms regarding how a bike feels. Your "butt accelerometer" may be set differently than
    mine, so what I say is comfortable may be uncomfortable for you. If you ride 10mph all the time,
    NOTHING is going to feel good... If you do 30+mph sprints, then most everything is going to flex
    under your weight/power.

    Try out a bunch of buddies' bikes (if they're close enough to fitting) and test ride a bunch of
    different stock bikes then pick the one that YOU like. There was a website with a guide to test
    riding a bike, but I don't remember the site's address right now. Anyone?

    I'm not going to touch some of the answers given already...

    Mike
     
  5. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    jeff_ca <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the
    > Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give
    > me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?
    >
    > I'd like to hear from the experienced riders that put on lots of miles. Things to consider are.
    >
    > 1. Comfort
    > 2. Weight
    > 3. Flexibility
    > 4. Durability
    > 5. Cost 6Upgradability
    >
    > Thanks to all that respond.
    >
    > Jeff

    Forget all that advice: get a frame made out of beryllium. Anything else is substandard.

    This is a FAQ; search the archives. No need to hash this out again as there is far too much emotion
    and far too little info in these threads.

    - rick
     
  6. Frame material makes no difference at all to comfort. Full stop.
     
  7. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Frame material makes no difference at all to comfort. Full stop.
    >
    We gonna start this again?

    I'm trying hard to avoid it, and here comes some dipstick spouting off in absolutes again...

    Mike
     
  8. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 21 Nov 2003 01:33:15 +1050, jeff_ca <[email protected]> may have said:

    >I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the
    >Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give
    >me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?

    Consider these things:

    How a frame "feels" under a given rider is more of a factor of frame design than frame material.
    And, since designs generally do not survive the change from one material to another entirely intact
    (dimensional changes to account for the difference in material characterisitics will almost always
    be needed, for one thing), there really is no apples-to-apples comparison between frame materials.
    It should also be noted that most of the noises made about vibration damping capabilities of frame
    materials are dealing with a supposed characteristic that is puny and insignificant by comparison to
    the vibration damping capabilities of the *tires*, so it's probably best to regard any claims in
    that area as mere marketing fluff.

    All of that said, then, the thing to do is test ride the bikes you would consider buying, and see
    how they feel *to you*. At 215 lbs, aluminum should not be crossed off the list, although *any* bike
    in the "stupid light" category should probably be avoided since those are generally recognized as
    having durability problems to begin with. I weigh just a bit less than you do, and I have found that
    the only appropriately-sized bike I've really disliked to date was one with a distressingly whippy
    carbon fork; I could see it flex when hitting small bumps. (Fortunately for me, the bike belonged to
    someone else, and *he* found that characteristic fascinating. To each his own.)

    I would also recommend not crossing steel off the list. It is really hard to beat the combination of
    durability and value which that material has to offer.

    Good luck, happy hunting, and don't believe everything that the salespeople tell you.

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail. Yes, I have a killfile. If I
    don't respond to something, it's also possible that I'm busy. Words processed in a facility that
    contains nuts.
     
  9. Go for it!!!

    Get the aluminum one.

    I love my Cannondale, in addition to my 'bents.

    --
    Lewis.

    http://tinyurl.com/r3r6 .........................

    *******************************

    "jeff_ca" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the
    > Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give
    > me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?
    >
    > I'd like to hear from the experienced riders that put on lots of miles. Things to consider are.
    >
    > 1. Comfort
    > 2. Weight
    > 3. Flexibility
    > 4. Durability
    > 5. Cost 6Upgradability
    >
    > Thanks to all that respond.
    >
    > Jeff
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > >--------------------------<
    > Posted via cyclingforums.com http://www.cyclingforums.com
     
  10. Kevin C.

    Kevin C. Guest

    jeff_ca wrote:
    > I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the
    > Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give
    > me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?
    >
    > I'd like to hear from the experienced riders that put on lots of miles. Things to consider are.
    >
    > 1. Comfort
    > 2. Weight
    > 3. Flexibility
    > 4. Durability
    > 5. Cost 6Upgradability
    >
    > Thanks to all that respond.

    There is no best material, even when you've got a list of criteria. Every material's qualities
    depend upon what the manufacturer does with
    it. While the frame is the heart of a bike, it's only the heart. The fork, wheelset, saddle, bars,
    stem, post, cranks... each impact all of your criteria. Even if they didn't, the frame geometry
    and details have as much or more to do with comfort, weight, etc as the material.

    My aluminum cyclocross bike rides much more smoothly than my Tange steel road bike... with the same
    wheels & tires. That's what finally convinced me that it ain't just the frame material.

    --Kevin
     
  11. Ed Chait

    Ed Chait Guest

    "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Frame material makes no difference at all to comfort. Full stop.
    >

    It makes a great deal of difference in regards to transmission of high frequency vibration to
    the rider.

    If you're talking about absorbing hits from potholes, I agree, but as far as road buzz goes, steel
    and carbon fiber transmit a lot less of it than aluminum.

    Full stop.

    Ed Chait
     
  12. Ed Chait

    Ed Chait Guest

    "Mike S." <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Frame material makes no difference at all to comfort. Full stop.
    > >
    > We gonna start this again?
    >
    > I'm trying hard to avoid it, and here comes some dipstick spouting off in absolutes again...
    >
    > Mike
    >

    Yeah, he likes absolutes. Ask him if there should ever be any difficulty in mounting *any* tire
    combination.

    lol,

    Ed Chait
     
  13. Jose Rizal

    Jose Rizal Guest

    Ed Chait:

    >
    > "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Frame material makes no difference at all to comfort. Full stop.
    > >
    >
    > It makes a great deal of difference in regards to transmission of high frequency vibration to
    > the rider.

    What frequency range are you on about?

    > If you're talking about absorbing hits from potholes, I agree, but as far as road buzz goes, steel
    > and carbon fiber transmit a lot less of it than aluminum.

    BS. First define what you mean by road buzz, then quantify the frequency you're talking about, then
    show analytically how steel and carbon transmit "a lot less" of this "road buzz".

    If you don't have any of your own analysis, just point to a reference for your pronouncements.

    > Full stop.

    Not there yet, not by a long shot.
     
  14. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    > > > Frame material makes no difference at all to comfort. Full stop.
    > > >
    > >
    > > It makes a great deal of difference in regards to transmission of high frequency vibration to
    > > the rider.
    >
    > What frequency range are you on about?
    >
    > > If you're talking about absorbing hits from potholes, I agree, but as
    far as
    > > road buzz goes, steel and carbon fiber transmit a lot less of it than aluminum.
    >
    > BS. First define what you mean by road buzz, then quantify the frequency you're talking about,
    > then show analytically how steel and carbon transmit "a lot less" of this "road buzz".
    >
    > If you don't have any of your own analysis, just point to a reference for your pronouncements.
    >
    > > Full stop.
    >
    > Not there yet, not by a long shot.

    We ARE starting again! Its not me this time dammit!

    Mike
     
  15. Tbgibb

    Tbgibb Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, jeff_ca <[email protected]> writes:

    >upgrade. My pocketbook likes the Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215
    >lbs, that aluminum may not give me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is
    >you take on this

    You need to ride the things to choose.

    I suspect the Al "harsh ride" is, at best, urban legend propagated by certain bicycling journalists.
    I, at a 180 lbs, cannot get my Cannondale frame to wobble in the least and have no complaints about
    the ride (it is an MTB). I also have a nice Bob Jackson (731 OS) that I can get a little wobble out
    of. My third bike is a steel Bilenky touring bike and that will not wobble.

    Tom Gibb <[email protected]
     
  16. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "TBGibb" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > In article <[email protected]>, jeff_ca <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > >upgrade. My pocketbook likes the Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6'
    > >215 lbs, that aluminum may not give me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium.
    > >What is you take on this
    >
    > You need to ride the things to choose.
    >
    > I suspect the Al "harsh ride" is, at best, urban legend propagated by
    certain
    > bicycling journalists. I, at a 180 lbs, cannot get my Cannondale frame to wobble in the least and
    > have no complaints about the ride (it is an MTB).

    I wonder why? Might it have something to do with 2.1" low pressure knobbies?

    I also have a nice Bob Jackson (731 OS) that I can get a little wobble out of.
    > My third bike is a steel Bilenky touring bike and that will not wobble.
    >
    > Tom Gibb <[email protected]
     
  17. Rik O'Shea

    Rik O'Shea Guest

    jeff_ca <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. My pocketbook likes the
    > Aluminum bike but I've been told that since I'm a big guy, 6' 215 lbs, that aluminum may not give
    > me a good ride. I have been told to get carbon or titanium. What is you take on this?
    >
    > I'd like to hear from the experienced riders that put on lots of miles. Things to consider are.
    >
    > 1. Comfort
    > 2. Weight
    > 3. Flexibility
    > 4. Durability
    > 5. Cost 6Upgradability
    >
    > Thanks to all that respond.
    >
    > Jeff

    A new bicycle tubing has just been developed that is made out of a material that was developed by
    NASA as part of the Space Shuttle program. This super alloy is called "Unobtainium".

    It has an anti-corrosive property and has a high fatigure life and is not subject to any sudden
    failure. It's lightweigth but strong and durable. It's stiff but provides a comfortable yet
    responsive ride.

    Remember the name "Unobtainium" - ask for it at your LBS today.
     
  18. Ed Chait

    Ed Chait Guest

    "Jose Rizal" <[email protected]_._> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Ed Chait:
    >
    > >
    > > "Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]...
    > > > Frame material makes no difference at all to comfort. Full stop.
    > > >
    > >
    > > It makes a great deal of difference in regards to transmission of high frequency vibration to
    > > the rider.
    >
    > What frequency range are you on about?
    >
    > > If you're talking about absorbing hits from potholes, I agree, but as
    far as
    > > road buzz goes, steel and carbon fiber transmit a lot less of it than aluminum.
    >
    > BS. First define what you mean by road buzz, then quantify the frequency you're talking about,
    > then show analytically how steel and carbon transmit "a lot less" of this "road buzz".
    >
    > If you don't have any of your own analysis, just point to a reference for your pronouncements.
    >
    > > Full stop.
    >
    > Not there yet, not by a long shot.

    I've done extensive subjective observation riding on the same loop, over the same surfaces with
    several different frames. I've switched the same wheels, saddles and bars between these frames, and
    have done all this being acutely aware of the insidious nature of placebo effect.

    I don't care much about convincing you, you're not the one who chooses what bikes I ride.

    Ed Chait
     
  19. B

    B Guest

    >"Unobtainium".

    Is that similar to" Notobtainable"? B

    (remove clothes to reply)
     
  20. jeff-<< I have an old CroMo that has served me well but now it's time to upgrade. >><BR><BR>

    Altho this is a no answer question, i gotta respond..Is the old CroMo working for ya, fit ya? What
    do ya think a new frameset will do that the old one won't? What question will it answer other than i
    need to spend some $$

    Put four people in a room and ask about frameset materuial, get five opinions...

    All have pluses and minuses...

    I like steel, BTW...

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