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Why would anyone buy a $2000 AL frame?(15 posts)

Why would anyone buy a $2000 AL frame?Spectre
Aug 26, 2001 3:14 PM
I've been seeing these $2000 frames from Pinarello, Colnago, Coppi, etc. At that price, it seems like a titanium or a custom steel frame is a much better deal. To me, an aluminum frame is good for a racing frame that you might throw away in several years. Why would anyone put so much money into a disposable frame?
re: Why would anyone buy a $2000 AL frame?DINOSAUR
Aug 26, 2001 3:31 PM
Klein's Quantum Pro frameset is $1899.00. Warranted for life for the original owner. Would I buy one? I'd be tempted if is was a killer closeout on last years model. But at that price, I have to think about it a lot. I think at that price I'd go custom. 2K is a lot of money for a off the peg frame. The '02 Klein QP will have carbon fiber seat stays, I'd hate to think about the price, Klein is pricing these a tad to high in my book....
$2K Al Colnago ???JohnG
Aug 26, 2001 4:26 PM
The Colnago Dream+ has a US MSRP of around $1700 but even pro shop retail is $1550 tops. You can get this frame (from multiple sources over the net) for under $1200. That's a far-cry from $2K. IMHO, it's a very good 'value' at $1200.

Colnago is not the only bike manufacturer in the worldCliff Oates
Aug 26, 2001 4:52 PM
Nor are they necessarily the best choice for everyone. They do have a heckuva marketing department though. It's better than their warranty department, which I hear is pretty slow. Then throw in an overseas purchase...

The Pinarello Prince is usually listed at $2300, Coppi's are in the $2k neighborhood, as are other unusual Italian AL frames (Somec comes immediately to my mind, but I like places that do custom frames as a matter of course).

To answer the original question, frame material is less important than the design of the frame, and the skill of the builder. A stupid light AL frame being ridden by a heavy rider is definitely an expensive proposition, but if you approach this realistically, I would think you'd be OK.
I raised the same issue before and I agreeSlothike
Aug 26, 2001 6:55 PM
with you that high end aluminum is way overpriced. Not only does it have the worst fatigue life, it also is the cheapest frame material. So I cannot see why people say titanium is expensive when these high end aluminum frames are the same price. There are some beautiful bikes, but for those of us who must be cautious how we spend 3-4 grand, I want a ti frame that will outlast all other materials. Just my opinion, but I think ti is more practical and the better value.
Cheapest materialspeedchump
Aug 27, 2001 8:43 AM
Ok, I'll finally bite on the frame material war....

Aluminum as a MATERIAL exhibits poorer fatigue properties compared to titanium, BUT I can easily design you a titanium beam that will exhibit fatigue failure before an aluminum beam under identical loading conditions.

Talking about the fatigue life of a MATERIAL is ridiculous, because we're not riding around on metalurgical test specimens, but on rigorously engineered mechanical structures. The fatigue life of a frame is a function of design, NOT material.

As far as "cheapest material" is concerned, what percentage of the price of a ti frame is material? In other words, how much does 3 pounds of ti cost? The price of a bike frame is in the engineering and manufacturing NOT the material itself.

All that being said, my point is... the quality, strength, comfort, stiffness, weight, lifespan, etc of a bicycle frame is dependent on design. Material is a minor factor. If somebody came out with a nice bike that was literally made out of s***, I'd ride it, just to hack off everybody who insists that steel/ti/aluminum/carbon/scandium/beryllium is the "best"

All said in good humour, thanks for listening.

Zachary Broussard
Mechanical Engineer
Bravo! nmMel Erickson
Aug 27, 2001 11:06 AM
Cheapest materialSlothike
Aug 27, 2001 11:41 AM
Basic fact is that aluminum is a cheaper material than titanium. Design is always the most important thing in a frame, but you can find aluminum frames for the lowest price. The cheapest aluminum frames can be found for a $100 bucks sometimes at supergo or elsewhere. The cheapest ti frames I have seen were at least $600-799. You will never see titanium that cheap. Ti is harder to work with and costs more to manufacture due to the need for a precise welding environment. Therefore, even high end aluminum frames with phenomenal design shouldn't cost the same or more than comparable titanium frames. Not on the low end or the high end. And according to every magazine and article on frame fatigue that I have ever read, aluminum will not last as long as a ti frame. Especially if it is a super low weight design and is ridden hard during races. The point was that for the money, titanium is more economical if you are looking at durability and longevity. There are many aluminum frames I lust for, but for $4000 I am not gonna buy one.
Cheapest materialyeah right
Aug 27, 2001 1:46 PM
I'm not a materials expert, but I believe that the expense associated with titanium is more to do with the difficulty of shaping and tooling the metal rather than the raw costs. Furthermore, I believe it is a mistake to lump all aluminum as the same material. My reynolds 853 bike is a lot nicer than a department store steel job.
Watch out Zack....shmoo
Aug 27, 2001 9:12 PM're dancing precariously close to the voice of reason. We can't start buying into the concept that it's the design, development, fit, and construction that define the quality and performance (read "worth") of a frame, and not the material itself, without considering the unthinkable - that aluminum may not be the "inferior", "throw-away" material we all know it to be. Are you suggesting that a 1x1x1 block of wood or granite rides just as nicely as a 1x1x1 block of steel, titanium, carbon, or aluminum? Wait a minute....Hmmmm...
Colnago is not the only bike manufacturer in the worldJohnG
Aug 26, 2001 7:00 PM
Just pointing out that there is no such thing as a $2K Al Colnago. A little over half that is more like it.... and at that price level it's a good value.

Colnago is not the only bike manufacturer in the worldCliff Oates
Aug 27, 2001 2:20 AM
Full retail on a Dream Plus from World Cycling Productions in Saint Paul, MN is $1600, and the frame is currently on sale for $1440. So yes, there is no such thing as a $2k AL Colnago. Also, I believe there are too many risks involved in buying a frame overseas to justify a $200 price savings.
Would $500 make a difference?DCW
Aug 27, 2001 4:46 PM
Sdeals, with whom I've dealt very successfully, offers the Dream Plus for $960, I think. One or two others, with whom I have not, are even less. By the way, the World Cycling discount price appears to be a closeout on the pre-Airplane tubing frames.
Ditto on the pricingJohnG
Aug 27, 2001 8:22 PM
Maestro is another good overseas dealer. I just ordered my CT1 from Mike. :)

It never ceases to amaze me that people are dead set against overseas vendors.

ride on
Ditto on the pricingCliff Oates
Aug 27, 2001 11:25 PM
If everything goes smoothly, then you're golden. If you ever need warranty service, or if there's a problem in shipment, or a problem with the vendor, then you're hosed. It never ceases to amaze me that proponents of overseas vendors are willing to overlook that.

There are risks and tradeoffs associated with buying stuff this way. Would $500 make a difference? I don't know. I seem to be developing a preference for American made bike frames, so it's kind of a moot point with me.