Magnesium frames

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Appkiller, Jan 22, 2003.

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  1. Appkiller

    Appkiller Guest

    These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about them
    besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?

    Not that I am interested in purchasing one, just curious.

    App
     
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  2. lisated

    lisated Guest

    [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote:

    > These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about them
    > besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?
    >
    > Not that I am interested in purchasing one, just curious.

    Magnesium is the lightest of the structural metals; a quarter the weight of steel and a third
    lighter than aluminium. It's usually alloyed with aluminum and manganese. It would be welded by the
    GTAW process (Tig).

    The main advantage of magnesium is its light weight, something important to cyclists and thus to the
    marketers of bikes. Price will be higher than Al mainly because of lower availability; a lot of
    production is going to the automotive industry. It is a common element but because of its high
    reactivity it takes a lot of energy to reduce it to the element.

    As for its fatigue and modulus, there are others here who are more knowledgeable than I am.

    Many of us are aware from high school tomfoolery that Magnesium burns rather spectacularly in air
    and burns quite easily when finely divided. I wonder if application of a simple propane torch would
    set a magnesium frame on fire.

    Ted Bennett
     
  3. Tom D

    Tom D Guest

    [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about them
    > besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?
    >
    > Not that I am interested in purchasing one, just curious.

    I don't know much, but they're not *that* new. I have a 1988 edition of Eugene Sloane's _Complete
    Book of Bicycling_ that has an extended quote from Douglas Hayduk's _Bicycle Metallurgy for the
    Cyclist_ (no date, but no later than 1988):

    >>Mg bike frames have very recently entered the market and are now
    being mass-produced in England by Kirk Precision, Ltd. The chief advantage of this frame is low
    cost. The frames can be die-cast in minutes...At this writing the frames are so new that there has
    been little opportunity to ride or lifecycle-test them...The Mg used in the Kirk frames is an alloy
    of Mg, Al and Zn...One [drawback of Mg] is its poor corrosion resistance, lower than that of
    steel...<<

    Certainly the Kirk Precision frames didn't become popular. I'm too lazy to do further research
    (Google, etc).
     
  4. Kwantani

    Kwantani Guest

    I've a Merida 909 Magnesium road frame for few months now, have not caught fire yet :) The ride is
    stiff like a typical biffy alum. bike, weight is about 3.2# for a 54cm size. Merida has been selling
    the magnesium frame thru out the worlds for few yrs now, just not in U.S. Here's their website:
    http://www.merida-bikes.com/

    Also, I've submited a review of the merida 909 on roadbikereview, check it out:
    http://www.roadbikereview.com/PRD_112121_1610crx.aspx

    Also, I've taken a few pic of the frame: http://www.geocities.com/kwantani/ click on merida pics at
    the end of 1st column.

    I bought it from Cyclelink @AUS for US$650, frame+hs only.

    Kwan

    "Appkiller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about them
    > besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?
    >
    > Not that I am interested in purchasing one, just curious.
    >
    >
    > App
     
  5. "Appkiller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about them
    > besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?
    >
    > Not that I am interested in purchasing one, just curious.

    I had an email exchange with a fellow named Josh Deetz (owner of Eastern Cape Magnesium -
    www.magnesium.org) shortly after I wrote an article for bike.com during the opening day of Interbike
    last year - it is the article dated 10/06/2002 at:

    http://tinyurl.com/3x36

    He made some good points about the material and the examples I used, but the empirical data I have
    collected with stems still supports the statement I made in the article:

    "This is not to say that a good part couldn't be made from magnesium, it simply means that some
    aspect of the design must be significantly altered in order to achieve similar performance as the
    same part made out of aluminum."

    Which is a _purposely_ broad statement that CMA.

    --
    ==================
    Kraig Willett www.biketechreview.com
    ==================
     
  6. Hippy

    Hippy Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Magnesium is the lightest of the structural metals; a quarter the weight of steel and a third
    > lighter than aluminium. It's usually alloyed with aluminum and manganese. It would be welded by
    > the GTAW process (Tig).

    I thought Beryllium was the lightest metal? I don't know what you mean by 'structural' but I
    remember seeing a Beryllium frame for about $30,000 USD!!! What happened to these frames?

    hippy (who knows nothing about materials...)
     
  7. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    I had a friend that had one, but don't remember what he said about it. Interesting "girder" design
    rather than round tubes.

    Mike "Tom D" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about them
    > > besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?
    > >
    > > Not that I am interested in purchasing one, just curious.
    >
    > I don't know much, but they're not *that* new. I have a 1988 edition of Eugene Sloane's _Complete
    > Book of Bicycling_ that has an extended quote from Douglas Hayduk's _Bicycle Metallurgy for the
    > Cyclist_ (no date, but no later than 1988):
    >
    > >>Mg bike frames have very recently entered the market and are now
    > being mass-produced in England by Kirk Precision, Ltd. The chief advantage of this frame is low
    > cost. The frames can be die-cast in minutes...At this writing the frames are so new that there has
    > been little opportunity to ride or lifecycle-test them...The Mg used in the Kirk frames is an
    > alloy of Mg, Al and Zn...One [drawback of Mg] is its poor corrosion resistance, lower than that of
    > steel...<<
    >
    > Certainly the Kirk Precision frames didn't become popular. I'm too lazy to do further research
    > (Google, etc).
     
  8. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    > [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about them
    > > besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?
    > >
    > > Not that I am interested in purchasing one, just curious.

    "Tom D" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I don't know much, but they're not *that* new. I have a 1988 edition of Eugene Sloane's _Complete
    > Book of Bicycling_ that has an extended quote from Douglas Hayduk's _Bicycle Metallurgy for the
    > Cyclist_ (no date, but no later than 1988):
    >
    > >>Mg bike frames have very recently entered the market and are now
    > being mass-produced in England by Kirk Precision, Ltd. The chief advantage of this frame is low
    > cost. The frames can be die-cast in minutes...At this writing the frames are so new that there has
    > been little opportunity to ride or lifecycle-test them...The Mg used in the Kirk frames is an
    > alloy of Mg, Al and Zn...One [drawback of Mg] is its poor corrosion resistance, lower than that of
    > steel...<<
    >
    > Certainly the Kirk Precision frames didn't become popular. I'm too lazy to do further research
    > (Google, etc).

    I ordered some, corresponded for a year or two, and never received 'em. Were they _ever_ delivered
    to stores?

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  9. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    [email protected] (Tom D) wrote:

    >>>Mg bike frames have very recently entered the market and are now
    >being mass-produced in England by Kirk Precision, Ltd. The chief advantage of this frame is low
    >cost. The frames can be die-cast in minutes...At this writing the frames are so new that there has
    >been little opportunity to ride or lifecycle-test them...The Mg used in the Kirk frames is an alloy
    >of Mg, Al and Zn...One [drawback of Mg] is its poor corrosion resistance, lower than that of
    >steel...<<
    >
    >Certainly the Kirk Precision frames didn't become popular. I'm too lazy to do further research
    >(Google, etc).

    As I recall, their ad campaign showed the frame/bike being run over by a largish pickup truck to
    show how tough it was. I also seem to recall they did break at a fairly high rate though.

    It was a very cool idea, and perhaps someone can refine it. The biggest problem is "where do I put
    the decals"?

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

    Ben Pfaff Guest

    "Kwantani" <[email protected]> writes:

    > I've a Merida 909 Magnesium road frame for few months now, have not caught fire yet :)

    It is actually quite difficult to get properly engineered magnesium parts to catch on fire. There's
    a very amusing description of the procedure that was necessary to torch a magnesium computer:
    http://www.simson.net/photos/hacks/cubefire.html
    --
    Peter Seebach on managing engineers: "It's like herding cats, only most of the engineers are already
    sick of laser pointers."
     
  11. On Wed, 22 Jan 2003 17:10:06 -0500, hippy wrote:

    > <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >> Magnesium is the lightest of the structural metals; a quarter the weight of steel and a third
    >> lighter than aluminium. It's usually alloyed with aluminum and manganese. It would be welded by
    >> the GTAW process (Tig).
    >
    > I thought Beryllium was the lightest metal? I don't know what you mean by 'structural' but I
    > remember seeing a Beryllium frame for about $30,000 USD!!! What happened to these frames?

    Lithium is the lightest metal. But all of these very light metals are hghly reactive -- and very
    soft. The combination probably renders them useless for bicycle frames, except, like scandium, as a
    2% aluminum additive aimed more at marketing than engineering.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a _`\(,_ | conclusion. --
    George Bernard Shaw (_)/ (_) |
     
  12. On Wed, 22 Jan 2003 20:52:44 -0500, A Muzi wrote:

    >> Certainly the Kirk Precision frames didn't become popular. I'm too lazy to do further research
    >> (Google, etc).
    >
    > I ordered some, corresponded for a year or two, and never received 'em. Were they _ever_ delivered
    > to stores?

    Donno about that, but I have seen one at a swap meet.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | When you are up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember _`\(,_ | that your initial
    objective was to drain the swamp. -- LBJ (_)/ (_) |
     
  13. > I ordered some, corresponded for a year or two, and never received 'em.

    Consider yourself lucky.

    > Were they _ever_ delivered to stores?

    A few escaped into the wild in the UK. They were eavier than a similarly-peiced steel frame, only
    one size was available and after a few hundred miles of riding the internal bracing that stiffened
    the bottom bracket area broke, rendering them noodle-like.

    Thing is, the Kirk Precision wasn't a bicycle, it was a marketing exercise for Norsk Hydro to
    demonstrate the capability of making large magnesium castings so that Mercedes etc would then buy,
    say, gearbox casings from it.

    I have no reliable knowledge of the current crop of magnesium frames, but given the technology is
    fairly conventional (welded, round tubes) I'd expect reliability to be similar to early welded
    aluminium frames.

    Magnesium is a pretty good conductor of heat, so getting an area of a magnesium frame hot enough to
    burn would likely be tricky.

    --
    John Stevenson [email protected]
     
  14. Ian S

    Ian S Guest

    "hippy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Magnesium is the lightest of the structural metals; a quarter the weight of steel and a third
    > > lighter than aluminium. It's usually alloyed with aluminum and manganese. It would be welded by
    > > the GTAW process (Tig).
    >
    > I thought Beryllium was the lightest metal? I don't know what you mean by 'structural' but I
    > remember seeing a Beryllium frame for about $30,000 USD!!! What happened to these frames?
    >

    Beryllium is about the same density as magnesium. But of all the metals, it has by far the highest
    stiffness (Young's Modulus) to density ratio. That would probably make it the ideal material for
    bicycles if it wasn't so difficult not to mention dangerous to work with. Its dust is toxic, it has
    limited ductility and it's difficult to weld.
     
  15. Bfd

    Bfd Guest

    "Mike S." <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<%[email protected]>...
    > I had a friend that had one, but don't remember what he said about it. Interesting "girder" design
    > rather than round tubes.
    >
    > Mike "Tom D" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    > > > These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about
    > > > them besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?
    > > >
    > > > Not that I am interested in purchasing one, just curious.
    > >
    > > I don't know much, but they're not *that* new. I have a 1988 edition of Eugene Sloane's
    > > _Complete Book of Bicycling_ that has an extended quote from Douglas Hayduk's _Bicycle
    > > Metallurgy for the Cyclist_ (no date, but no later than 1988):
    > >
    > > >>Mg bike frames have very recently entered the market and are now
    > > being mass-produced in England by Kirk Precision, Ltd. The chief advantage of this frame is low
    > > cost. The frames can be die-cast in minutes...At this writing the frames are so new that there
    > > has been little opportunity to ride or lifecycle-test them...The Mg used in the Kirk frames is
    > > an alloy of Mg, Al and Zn...One [drawback of Mg] is its poor corrosion resistance, lower than
    > > that of steel...<<
    > >
    > > Certainly the Kirk Precision frames didn't become popular. I'm too lazy to do further research
    > > (Google, etc).

    Ah, Kirk Precision frames! BE CAREFUL - almost all of them have been known to break - very brittle,
    here a pic: http://www.firstflightbikes.com/KirkPrecision.html
     
  16. Terry Rudd

    Terry Rudd Guest

    Ian S wrote:
    > "hippy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    >><[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >>
    >>>Magnesium is the lightest of the structural metals; a quarter the weight of steel and a third
    >>>lighter than aluminium. It's usually alloyed with aluminum and manganese. It would be welded by
    >>>the GTAW process (Tig).
    >>
    >>I thought Beryllium was the lightest metal? I don't know what you mean by 'structural' but I
    >>remember seeing a Beryllium frame for about $30,000 USD!!! What happened to these frames?
    >>
    >
    >
    > Beryllium is about the same density as magnesium. But of all the metals, it has by far the highest
    > stiffness (Young's Modulus) to density ratio. That would probably make it the ideal material for
    > bicycles if it wasn't so difficult not to mention dangerous to work with. Its dust is toxic, it
    > has limited ductility and it's difficult to weld.

    Anyone remember BeYond? I think their frames were around $15K but very light. They were bonded
    and not welded. The Beryllium Aluminum metal matrix was very hard to machine and brittle, if
    memory serves.

    I don't know how these frames rode but suspect that the company failed because those highly
    intelligent engineers were solving an interesting engineering problem and not a customer oriented
    gap in the bicycle marketplace.

    Terry
     
  17. Ben Pfaff wrote:

    >
    > It is actually quite difficult to get properly engineered magnesium parts to catch on fire.
    > There's a very amusing description of the procedure that was necessary to torch a magnesium
    > computer: http://www.simson.net/photos/hacks/cubefire.html
    > --

    A machinist who had worked at BRM told me only the swarf would catch fire (remove that wooden
    lattice in front of the lathe before you start) and the lathe might go up in flames with it. When
    the fire was extinquished (rush to the neighbour/builder for sacks of cement) the actual workpiece
    would still be there.
    --
    Marten
     
  18. A Muzi wrote: er than that of steel...<<
    > >
    > > Certainly the Kirk Precision frames didn't become popular. I'm too lazy to do further research
    > > (Google, etc).
    >
    > I ordered some, corresponded for a year or two, and never received 'em. Were they _ever_ delivered
    > to stores?
    >

    yes, and sold, and ridden, and broken and returned....
    --
    Marten
     
  19. pete-<< These are starting to appear - Pinarello has one, among others. Anyone know anything about
    them besides marketing lies? Alloyed? Durability? How are they welded?

    Good question since magnesium burns quite well...think it's a lot like 'scamdium' frames-essentially
    something else with a spot of magnesium...

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

    John Everett Guest

    On Thu, 23 Jan 2003 10:06:33 +0100, M-Gineering import & framebouw <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Ben Pfaff wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> It is actually quite difficult to get properly engineered magnesium parts to catch on fire.
    >> There's a very amusing description of the procedure that was necessary to torch a magnesium
    >> computer: http://www.simson.net/photos/hacks/cubefire.html
    >> --
    >
    >A machinist who had worked at BRM told me only the swarf would catch fire (remove that wooden
    >lattice in front of the lathe before you start) and the lathe might go up in flames with it. When
    >the fire was extinquished (rush to the neighbour/builder for sacks of cement) the actual workpiece
    >would still be there.

    Many years ago I used to instruct at SCCA driver's schools. At one particular school (at Thompson,
    Connecticut) we concurrently held a corner worker's course. One of the "lessons" was in how to deal
    with a magnesium fire. A hunk of magnesium was set ablaze with the help of a road flare. Students
    were instructed to put it out using their fire extinguishers. Of course that didn't work at all, so
    the instructors dug a hole and buried it.

    After a number of other lessons/demonstrations, like dealing with a five gallon gasoline fire
    (REALLY impressive); they dug up the magnesium. It was still burning. They reburied it and we
    returned to the business of the day. I have no idea how long they needed to wait before being
    assured it was out.

    As I've been typing this I seem to recall that Piers Courage died in a magnesium fire when the
    magnesium bodied De Tomaso Formula 1 car he was driving crashed and caught fire at the Dutch GP some
    years ago. The corner workers were unable to extinguish it and just had to let it burn itself out.

    jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
     
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