Steel or alloy frame?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Michael Macclan, Jan 26, 2003.

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  1. I've looked for the FAQs etc on this group but can't find any. Sorry if this question irritates
    anyone but I would welcome advice on whether I should buy an aluminium frame or steel frame. I'm
    interested in a road bike to use in triathlon so I'm willing to part with a reasonable sum. I've
    noticed that cheaper bikes tend to be aluminium and the better ones steel. I've heard that
    durability can be an issue with aluminium. Is this still a major drawback? And is the ride quality
    on a steel frame really that much better?

    Thanks,

    Michael MacClancy
     
    Tags:


  2. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I've looked for the FAQs etc on this group but can't find any. Sorry if this question irritates
    > anyone but I would welcome advice on whether I should buy an aluminium frame or steel frame. I'm
    > interested in a road
    bike
    > to use in triathlon so I'm willing to part with a reasonable sum. I've noticed that cheaper bikes
    > tend to be aluminium and the better ones steel. I've heard that durability can be an issue with
    > aluminium. Is this still
    a
    > major drawback? And is the ride quality on a steel frame really that much better?

    I think expensive ones are very often aluminium as well. Regarding ride quality other factors other
    than material come into play, you really need to ride them to see what suits you. Last summer I
    replaced a Columbus SLX (steel) bike with a Cannondale aluminium one. C'dales are legendary for a
    harsh ride and it certainly rattles more over cattle grids than the old steel one which was super
    smooth but overall on a longish ride it's great.

    To put the debate into context last year Cycling Weekly and Cycling Plus both independantly tested
    the same, very expensive, Cannondale model. The CW tester said it was so uncomfortable he couldn't
    wait to get off it while the C+ tester commented on the great ride quality and said he could ride
    it all day!

    Pete
     
  3. Graham

    Graham Guest

    "Peter B" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > I've looked for the FAQs etc on this group but can't find any. Sorry if this question irritates
    > > anyone but I would welcome advice on whether I should buy an aluminium frame or steel frame. I'm
    > > interested in a road
    > bike
    > > to use in triathlon so I'm willing to part with a reasonable sum. I've noticed that cheaper
    > > bikes tend to be aluminium and the better ones
    steel.
    > > I've heard that durability can be an issue with aluminium. Is this
    still
    > a
    > > major drawback? And is the ride quality on a steel frame really that
    much
    > > better?
    >
    > I think expensive ones are very often aluminium as well. Regarding ride quality other factors
    > other than material come into play,
    you
    > really need to ride them to see what suits you. Last summer I replaced a Columbus SLX (steel) bike
    > with a Cannondale aluminium one. C'dales are legendary for a harsh ride and it certainly rattles
    > more over cattle grids than the old steel one which was super smooth but overall on a longish ride
    > it's great.
    >
    > To put the debate into context last year Cycling Weekly and Cycling Plus both independantly tested
    > the same, very expensive, Cannondale model. The CW tester said it was so uncomfortable he couldn't
    > wait to get off it
    while
    > the C+ tester commented on the great ride quality and said he could ride
    it
    > all day!
    >
    > Pete
    >
    >
    >
    Could this be as epic a thread as "Helmets" ?

    Graham
     
  4. > To put the debate into context last year Cycling Weekly and Cycling Plus both independantly tested
    > the same, very expensive, Cannondale model. The CW tester said it was so uncomfortable he couldn't
    > wait to get off it
    while
    > the C+ tester commented on the great ride quality and said he could ride
    it
    > all day!

    They were both talking through their asses. NOBODY can tell, blindfold, what he's riding as regards
    materials. It's been tried. It's all (and little else is) in their heads.
     
  5. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

  6. Dan Gregory

    Dan Gregory Guest

    "Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > They were both talking through their asses. NOBODY can tell, blindfold, what he's riding as
    > regards materials. It's been tried.
    Hope they were on a straight flat test strip..must have been a very short test Slainte Dan Gregory
     
  7. Richt

    Richt Guest

    "Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message > NOBODY can tell,
    blindfold, what he's riding as regards materials.
    > It's been tried.

    Eh? I'd like to have seen that. How long did they manage before they ran into the hedge?
     
  8. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Michael MacClancy <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Mike, your point about the broken Bianchi frame underlines one of my concerns. Do alloy frames
    > break more easily and can they be fixed?
    >
    >
    > "Mike" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >
    Sorry I've been busy and not paying attention. First I have never ever owned a frame that it has
    been worth while repairing. It has always been a better option to buy a new bike complete with shiny
    new group set. Usually the need to replace comes upon me because the paint gets tatty and the frame
    rusts - average age to require to refinish a steel frame has been 5-6 years at which time the group
    set is usually knackered as well. OK the Bianchi didn't make it but one sample isn't likely to be
    representative of all alloy frames or makes. Guess the answer is - don't know. I've now got a shiny
    new alloy frame, am still using my 653 racer of 9 years old and have a £99 tange frame for audax 5
    years old and beginning to look its age - basically buy more bikes that's the way to happiness.(god
    how sad is that I retract).

    Oh and someone on the thread doubted the bar room stories of cracked alloy frames - well it's in the
    garage now want a photo? Mike
     
  9. "Peter B" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Graham" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]et.com...
    > > Could this be as epic a thread as "Helmets" ?
    >
    > It's got the makings!
    >
    > Pete
    >
    >

    Yeah, but "steel is real!" To put a little bit of an aside, I commute/do very occasional audax, and
    wouldn't swap my steel frame Dawes for aluminium, and notice that most tourers/audax frames are
    steel. I'd guess that would be for the extra flexiness/comfort on less then perfect roads. In
    shorter distances/race circumstances, aluminium seems to be the way to build a stiff frame.

    Of course, somebody is just going to throw a spanner in the works by mentioning carbon or
    titanium. Whoops!

    T.T.F.N.

    SPENNY
     
  10. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Thu, 9 Jan 2003 19:32:09 -0000, "Mike" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Oh and someone on the thread doubted the bar room stories of cracked alloy frames - well it's in
    >the garage now want a photo?

    Absolutely :)

    And I have had a steel frame repaired: it was about half the price of a new frame; repair and new
    forks was just under half the price of a new bike. Dawes Super Galaxy, mid 1980s.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  11. Sky Fly

    Sky Fly Guest

    "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...

    <snip>

    > What does worry me though, is the *way* some frames, forks and components can fail. Steel _tends_
    > to give you some warning first or will just bend or partially break, instead of intantly and
    > completely snapping or de-bonding as I understand carbon or aluminium stuff can do. If I hadn't
    > have been hospitalised in the aforementioned accident, I could have actually gingerly ridden my
    > bike home (after trueing the wheels) despite the major damage. (This really could help you get
    > home after an accident if you managed to escape serious injury yourself. I even once rode on a
    > broken fork blade because the other steel one was holding up. Hardly advisable, but this shows
    > what's possible). But in races I've watched, I've seen al and carbon forks and frames instantly
    > shatter or come apart in non-major crashes, slamming the rider face first to the ground.

    Pete, for me this is the stuff of nightmares - I might be riding along on a very busy road, and the
    next minute I'm flat on the tarmac with an artic lorry approaching. Is there anything one can do to
    spot the warning signs of such fatigue - perhaps there is some gizmo that does an x-ray of the tubes
    to spot any visible change? Or should I just be fatalistic and accept that there's a vehicle with my
    name on its number plates?

    --
    Akin

    aknak at aksoto dot idps dot co dot uk
     
  12. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Fri, 10 Jan 2003 20:35:27 -0000, "Sky Fly" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >should I just be fatalistic and accept that there's a vehicle with my name on its number plates?

    To paraphrase: it's not the one with your name oin it you need to worry about, it's the thousands
    with "to whom it may concern"

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  13. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Tony W" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Paul" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > So should I be wearing a steel or aluminium helmet then?
    >
    >
    > No, but a aluminium foil skull cap under your normal helmet stops the Martians abducting you
    > during a club run

    Slightly off-topic but I think Extra Terrestials are just inter-galactic sex tourists. This is
    because whenever you read reports of alien abduction the abductees aways state that the aliens
    messed about with their reproductive organs.

    OTOH they might just be naturalists, after all no tv nature programme on Earth is complete without
    some time devoted to screening the subjects mating, so we have something in common with aliens then,
    a fascination with the lower specis' method of pro-creation
    :)

    Pete
     
  14. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 8 Jan 2003 10:37:47 GMT, Simon Ward <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I've had an alloy frame (a Cannondale) break underneath me. Put me off alloy frames for a good
    > few years. By the time I built up my Marin (approx. 2 years ago) the state of the art had
    > improved considerably.

    There's probably a deal of truth in that - I wonder how many of the stories passed round date back
    tyo the days before framebuilders knew what they were doing with aluminium?

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  15. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:avm288$8oe$1
    > Have you ever noticed that the sort of people who get abducted by aliens
    are
    > also the sort of people whose reproductive organs are unlikely ever to be used by anything other
    > than an extra-terrestrial?

    LOL :) Just as well I'd actually swallowed my mouthful of coffee before reading this or I'd have a
    mop up job to do.

    Pete
     
  16. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Is corrosion an issue on aluminium? More rumours abound. I never wash
    down
    > my steel bike during the winter, but I wonder if I should be rinsing the salt off my
    > aluminium bent.

    Wash it Guy. A decade and more ago aluminium masts were the performance choice for windsurfing, my
    own one lasted all of 3 years before breaking due to corrosion <1> which was easy to see around the
    fracture. This despite little sea use (used fibreglass for that) and regular rinsing in fresh water.
    OTOH my 11 year old bonded alu Trek mtb is sound after having all sorts of crap thrown at it due in
    part to thorough cleaning I think.
    <1> Barring accidents fibreglass and more modern carbon reinforced masts last indefinately.

    Pete
     
  17. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    James Annan wrote:

    > > Is corrosion an issue on aluminium?

    > It's certainly noticeable in a few places, eg around the down tube cable stops. Someome from
    > Cannondale once told us that it was basically cosmetic damage only and I've not lost too much
    > sleep over it since. It's been there a long time now and I'm not sure that it's really progressing
    > very much.

    I thought this might be the case - aluminium tends to suffer surface corrosion relatively quickly,
    but I've not seen it eat in like tinworm does. My car has an aluminium tailgate, and you
    occasionally see them with the paint blistering where it's been scratched and salty water has got
    in, but I've never heard of it holing.

    On the other hand, the tubes on bikes aren't *that* thick and al. oxide is definitely not a
    strong material.

    Jury still out, perhaps?

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
     
  18. Aren't Landrovers largely made out of aluminium?

    Michael
     
  19. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    Michael MacClancy wrote:
    > Aren't Landrovers largely made out of aluminium?

    Apart from the chassis, which rusts with monotonous regularity :)

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
     
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