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Bored of Carbon and Titanium...(7 posts)

Bored of Carbon and Titanium...Eager Beagle
Dec 16, 2002 9:37 AM
so, following a conversation I had with a MTBer this weekend (where things are getting beefier and heavier e.g.DH XTR)- what are you nominations for the next exotic, unnecessary, ludicrously expensive material in the unobtainium category that will be foisted onto the market?

Best guesser wins a wheelset make of stiffened enharmonic light particles, with depleted cesium skewers...
re: Bored of Carbon and Titanium...DougSloan
Dec 16, 2002 10:05 AM
Carbon is still in its infancy; there are lots of ways to go, so I'd not get bored with it quite yet. I think carbon combined with some type of metal matrix might be possible.

There are plenty of metal alloys yet to be discovered or applied. Berylium is good choice, if you are rich; I read you could make a 1 pound frame from it.

The (2 pound) frame now is only about 13% of the weight (15 pounds) of a light bike. Even if you eliminated the frame entirely, you're only down to 13 pounds. So, I'd look for weight improvement to come elsewhere, particularly wheels and some of the heavier components, like the cranks.

To get really light, I think we'll have to give up adjustability and repairability, like with one piece stem/handlebars, except more of the whole structure. How about a 1 piece frame that includes the seatpost, saddle, water bottle cages (even the bottles, too), one piece wheels, etc. Joints and adjustabilty add weight and a place for something to break. Now, this won't be cheap.

As for downhill mtb's, those 50 pound behemoths are unlikely to benefit from new materials; they want them to be heavier, don't they? All I see is longer travel and better reliability there. I am barely able to even recognize them as "bicycles." They look more like 125cc motocross bikes.

Doug
Mileage means more than materialTrek Racer X
Dec 16, 2002 10:55 AM
With less stationary and rotational weight to move, the rider does not expell as much energy, as oppossed to a heavier bike. Although the rider weight is 90% or more of the bike weight. The rider's fitness is more important than saving 100 grams here or there. (It's the same as urinating, or going to the bathroom for a #2, to save a quarter pound or more of stationary weight.)

All of the weight saving stuff is becoming ridiculous. Stock DA parts, with a quality frame should work fine. Products such as Selle Italia's SLR C-64 saddle, a $200+ saddle that weighs 64 grams.

Let there be light, but not stupid light.

-Andrew
Mileage means more than materialMRS
Dec 16, 2002 3:00 PM
If you don't want it, don't buy it. If other people want it - let them buy it. Lightweight bikes are not about improving performance. If you build a lightweight bike you build it to have an outstanding bike. Other people have retro bikes, or steel bikes or Italian bikes or whatever. Why do you need DA? Is it really worth the money over, let's say, 105? Maybe not, still it is just nice to have it.
Mileage means more than material....Trek Racer X
Dec 16, 2002 8:14 PM
Yes, I agree with you, that as long as there is a market for the product, production of superlight parts will not cease. In some aspects, it does appear hypocritical that I'd meantion DA parts. I suppose that it comes down to if the rider can afford it or not.
My main point I was trying to make, was function is more important than lightweight, and that lighter weight does not improve performance. You said it yourself that: "Lightweight bikes are not about improving performance."
What I do believe the problem to be, is a marketing ploy for companies to push products using less material, and selling at higher prices to the consumer.
But as MRS said, "If other people want it - let them buy it."
From working at two bike shops, I seem to find it funny that a 35 year old couch potato rider, believes that by buying a $4,500.00 Litespeed will make him faster in Cat-5 races. I'll sell the bike, but in the back of my mind, I'm thinking that he could save alot of money, buying instead a few training books, and riding more base miles, and focusing on periodization training.
But I can't say that, and instead to keep my job, I tell the guy how light, precise, quick, etc, etc... the bike is, and make my managers happy.

The down and dirty: we rip people off at my bike shops, and I'm sure that almost all bike shops sticker price items at full MSRP, and won't discourage a person to buy a new Selle Italia SLR C-64 carbon. I just see people buying parts they don't need, in hopes that it'll make them a faster cyclist. They have bought into the hype of the bike companies.

Just my two cents.

-Andrew
Mileage means more than material....MRS
Dec 17, 2002 12:09 AM
Yes, I agree that a lot of companies try to sell stuff to people that these people don't really need (and they seem to be quite good at that...). And it is sad that customers are encouraged to believe that a $4,500 bike will make them go faster than a $1,200 bike. And yes, a lot of people should maybe start saving weight by loosing some pounds themselves instead of buying the latest brand X carbon fiber seat post. But on the other hand: maybe a lot of people know all this and still choose to buy the expensive parts just because they like to have them (now one could discuss WHY they like to have them...). But if they know what they are doing - hey, it's their money. It is the same everywhere: what do you need a Porsche for in a country where there are speed limits or you are stuck in traffic a lot of your time?
I agree.Trek Racer X
Dec 17, 2002 11:20 AM
It's the "cool factor." It's economics, psychological, and a class issue. If riders can afford it, they will indulge in a Colnago C-40 with all the bells and whistles. On my bike, I didn't really need to buy DA parts, speedplay X-1 pedals, Ti components, and a nice carbon fork, and could have went with 105 with a cromo fork, and so fourth. Although I believe that better parts won't make me a stronger rider.

As for the Porsche, I wouldn't mind owning a red 911 Twin Turbo, despite having to obey the speed limit. It's classism, but I think that's an entirely new discussion all together.

Just my two cents,

-Andrew