What are light-weight frames made of?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by urbantrained, May 8, 2004.

  1. rv

    rv New Member

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    less filling...tastes great...
     


  2. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Golly geeze, people. There are two levels of education here, and I can't understand why they need to be mutually exclusive (because they aren't). They go nicely hand in hand, actually.

    The First Level: As boudreaux and Ted clearly agree, an excellent bicycle frame can be made out of nearly any material in the world, provided the design, construction, and grade of material is sufficiently advanced. Craig Calfee apparently makes world-class bikes out of bamboo, but that hardly means that the bamboo bikes commonly made in rual South Asia are exactly Ironman-ready.

    Clearly, there is more to a great bike, or even a lightweight one, than what it's made of. Yes, there are heavy aluminum bikes, crappy carbon bikes, flexy titanium bikes, and rickety, sluggish steel bikes. And yes, there are lightweight steel bikes, vibration-eating carbon bikes, stiff ti bikes, and durable, feathery aluminum ones. No, carbon stays don't always eat up road chatter. Aluminum isn't always chattery. Magnesium just might work, in the right hands. And on, and on, and on.

    That said, the...

    Second Level is equally valid. Good samples of these materials do have different physical properties in terms of relative weight, density, strength, corrosion-resistance, vibration dampening, fatigue resistance, and so on. Assuming you know a thing or two about bikes and buying bikes, there's nothing wrong with using a basic knowledge of these properties to help you shop.

    Looking for the plushest ride possible in a true road bike? Whether wonderfully plush aluminum frames exist isn't the point -- you're not writing a handbook, you're buying a bicycle. I'd start by paying more attention to steel, carbon, and ti frames. I wouldn't exclude aluminum, because who knows... I might end up loving that Cannondale at my LBS... but there's nothing wrong with walking into that shop armed with the knowledge that an aluminum and steel frame of comparable quality and value will likely sport different ride qualities. By all means, ride both and find out.

    By the same token, if a guy is looking to buy a bike on the lightweight-end of today's market, you probably wouldn't direct him towards steel frames, either. He's waded through this forum, so he already knows that lighter steel frames exist -- and he'll try them if he wants to.

    Always weigh as many options as you can, and always test ride as many examples as possible. Always be aware that in the end, you're going to decide your final purchase by comparing bike A to bike B, not the materials they're made of. That said, learn what you can. It's fascinating, it's fun, and it can save you time in your hunt.

    Good luck!
     
  3. little_chicken

    little_chicken New Member

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    Having spent a lot of time in LBS and reading posts about weight, material etc .. I am amazed how much people put SO MUCH importance on the weight of a frame. Materials and construction technics (ie: tubes, geometry, size, quality of assembly, precision, surface prep, combination of material) are all variable that will have a huge and equaly imprortant impact on the end result such as : dampening quality, stifness of the BB area, road handling, etc ... That being said do all of you know that constant speed (ie: pack riding on a flat surface) weight has NO impact on speed and energy, it only matters if you accelerate or if you climb .. Now I understand why companies are actually producing seat tubes where a carbon wrapping is placed arround a Al core just to trick your eyes and eventually buy it ..and I am refering to high end products.. anyway just my thougts ..
     
  4. fushman

    fushman New Member

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    ya
     
  5. crystal_tears_

    crystal_tears_ New Member

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    Aluminium tubing which has been double or even triple butted to achieve a light frame without compromising it's integrity. Just like steel there are different grades of aluminium. I wouldn't fancy riding a bike made out of gas piping but Reynolds 853 would be another matter.
     
  6. crystal_tears_

    crystal_tears_ New Member

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    Well i don't think it's very logical of you to compare like with like. Carbon frames are much more labour intensive to produce which reflects in their cost to the buyer so in my opinion you would have to spend considerably more on a "good" carbon frame than a "good" aluminium one.

    Well fair enough i have my experience of carbon and aluminium and you have yours. But we do agree on one thing at least, not all aluminium and carbon frames are the same.
     
  7. crystal_tears_

    crystal_tears_ New Member

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    Mmm err well you may just have a point there..but then again ! haha
     
  8. crystal_tears_

    crystal_tears_ New Member

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    Alright clever arse i have to agree academically titanium has a higher modulus than aluminium in it's raw, untreated state. But in the real world bike frames made of oversized aluminium tubes are stiffer than titanium ones.
     
  9. mjw_byrne

    mjw_byrne New Member

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    And you were attacking others for coming out with dodgy-sounding pseudo-physics? :rolleyes:
     
  10. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    But it's true. So what's your real beef?
     
  11. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    And how about if the Ti tubes are equally large diameter wich they often are? It's a playoff between diameter, wall thickness and final weight. Play the durability card too if you want to.
     
  12. crystal_tears_

    crystal_tears_ New Member

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    Well i've yet to see a titanium frame with a downtube diameter as large as a Cannondale's for example.
     
  13. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    No fair! Now you are getting specific rather than generalizing.
     
  14. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    You guys are making me sad... I feel like driving. Stop. :(
     
  15. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    I was sad when I first saw this thread,knowing it would soon be cesspool material.
     
  16. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    everybody stink.

    ain't nobody clean.

    oh, lordy.
     
  17. crystal_tears_

    crystal_tears_ New Member

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    I stand corrected :/ I saw a Litespeed bike yesterday on E Bay, sorry, can't recall the model with a bloody enormous looking downtube. But i still don't think it'd be as stiff as aluminium haha :p
     
  18. crystal_tears_

    crystal_tears_ New Member

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    You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself dear boy. Go and wash your mouth out with soap ! Mentioning the D word in polite company..haha :)
     
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