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Need info on Frame Materials(16 posts)

Need info on Frame Materialsdude
Sep 5, 2001 7:17 PM
I'm getting a new bike and I want to know what the difference between Aluminum, Ti, Steel and whatever else there is out there will be as far as ride feel goes. I rode an Aluminum bike for about a year, but I have nothing to compare it to as it was my first and only bike.
How will Ti compare?
My take...:-)nestorl
Sep 5, 2001 7:31 PM
This is a general guideline with a bicycling mag take:

Aluminum: Stiff, fast, hard on your body, great for sprinting, light. Buy it if: you want light, fast, responsive bike. Forget it if: You enjoy comfort and you ride Michigan roads where they do not believe on pavement.

Steel:. heavy, responsive, flexible thus comfortable. Buy it if: You like having Italian names on your bike frame. Forget it if: anything above 15 pounds will not do.

Carbon Fiber: Expensive, responsive, very light, very comfortable. Buy it if: you have the money and want to feel as if riding with full suspension on the road. Forget it if: you are still paying those student loans

Titanium: ULTRA expensive. Ultra light. Ultra stiff. Ultra comfortable. The BMW of bikes. Buy it if: you have the money and do not care being seen as the snob who bought a 4,000 bike and can keep up with the C group. Forget it if: you are not in the 35% tax bracket.

Hope this helps.
You are not even close dudeFullofit
Sep 6, 2001 7:10 AM
ANY material can be built to have different qualities. And saying TI is ultra stiff? What bikes did you ride. Steel flexible? You don't have a clue dude.
perfect exampleJack S
Sep 6, 2001 7:15 AM
of the myths that persist... it's the build that counts
Dude? what are you 12?nestorl
Sep 6, 2001 7:26 AM
My post was supposed to be a humorous joke based on the general stereotype of the materials. I my wording was probably wrong,,, by flexible I meant comfortable and by stiff responsive. But why in the heck am I explaining myself to you.... What times are we now.... we can't even joke without getting bashed!!!
re: Need info on Frame Materialsmr. cheap
Sep 5, 2001 7:34 PM
Engineering........Len J
Sep 6, 2001 3:30 AM
has made the performance of different frame materials come closer & closer together. You will read in some posts how stiff Aluminum is or how noodly titanium is or how steel is heavy but a sweet ride. All of these were more true in the past than now. Designers have learned how to manipulate the materials to make steel lighter without sacrificing ride quality, make Al more compliant, make titanium stiffer where it needs to be without sacrificing ride. I would recommend that you read some of the links on material properties and then test ride. If you ride multiple bikes on the same course (include hills) you will be able to tell differences. One caution though, don't judge a material by one ride on one bike. Different designers and manufacturers can make the same material feel completely different.

Good luck
I think so too.nee Spoke Wrench
Sep 6, 2001 6:01 AM
I think that it's overly simplistic to use frame material as a litmus test for how the bike will feel.

I've owned steel framed bikes in a variety of ages and price ranges and the newer, higher tech steel frames feel much better to me. I've had fat tube aluminum bikes in basic and higher tech frames and the high tech frame definitely feels better to me.

I don't have any personal experience with carbon or ti bikes, but I can't imagine a double butted ti frame not riding better than a low end straight gauge one.

Here's an interesting experiment. Look up magazine reviews etc. for Klein Quantum Race - they're everywhere. Some reviewers say it's harsh riding, others say this same Klein has tamed the aluminum buzz. In these subjective areas, it looks to me like riders subjectively tend to find in a frame whatever their pre-concieved notions anticipated.

If I were buying a new bike for myself today, I'd do whatever it took to be sure I got the fit right and worry about frame material later. I think that lots of riders accommodate themselves to ill-fitting bikes because it had the frame material or component group they wanted. Fit will affect your performance, comfort and enjoyment every single minute that you are riding the bike. Nothing else comes close in importance.
This guy speaks the truth...SS_Billy
Sep 6, 2001 6:06 AM
Although, personally, I prefer the ride of a well built steel bike. However, I would like to have Ti, but cannot swing the cash, yet...
Also check out Reynold's site for a very in depth description of frame materials:
New aluminum...Wannabe
Sep 6, 2001 7:41 AM
I have been riding a 9 year old steel bianchi which just got replaced with a 2001 aluminum. The new aluminum is waaaayyyy smoother than the steel. Just an example of why you can't abide by the old material stereotypes.

Andy - Wannabe
won't matter a whole lot...Dog
Sep 6, 2001 6:14 AM
The American Guru of Cycling, Sheldon Brown, speaks.

this advice from a guyfullofit
Sep 6, 2001 7:13 AM
Who rides a C-40!?
but also...Dog
Sep 6, 2001 8:57 AM
I also ride a Bianchi EV2 and a 1980 Columbus steel Bianchi. Sure, there are some perceptible differences in the frames, but I'd say there is drastically more difference in the tires, forks, handlebars, brake hoods, pedals, saddles... In other words, the points of contact and tires matter much more than the frame material.

I bought the C40 for the paint job.

won't matter a whole lot...cycleguy
Sep 6, 2001 8:00 PM
"Any frame will flex around the bottom bracket a bit in response to pedaling loads. This flex can be felt, and many riders assume that it is consuming (wasting) pedaling effort. Actually, that's not the case, because the metals used in bicycle frames are very efficient springs, and the energy gets returned at the end of the power stroke, so little or nothing is actually lost."

I like to check Sheldon for many things, but sometimes I wonder if he is still living in the past, perhaps I should of said, riding in the past. All metals do not return the energy spent with the same result or with little or nothing lost. Now I don't know s### about metalugry etc. Can't even spell it. But I look at other sports and the increasing technology. Golf shafts, bats in baseball, tennis racquets, etc. Even hammers. They all feel different. They all produce different results.

IMHO or perhaps IMIO
Buy a frame based on fitMB1
Sep 6, 2001 6:38 AM
and looks if that is important to you.

Buy the wheels for performance.

Buy the tires for comfort.

Most frame designs & concepts can be duplicated in various materials. Hence there are steel, aluminum and titanium touring frames. There are steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon and combinations of materials used in racing and mountain frames.

Test ride frames that you find appealing, materials are not as important as workmanship, quality control and design.

One mans opinion.

BTW I own and ride steel, ti and aluminum frames. Never found a carbon frame that appealed to me, if I ever do I'll probably get it.
re: Need info on Frame MaterialsMe Dot Org
Sep 6, 2001 9:38 AM
Here is a good primer on bicycle materials:

You will hear a lot of different opinions on frame materials, but only one thing counts: How does the frame feel to YOU?

I personally feel a brushed titanium frame is a thing of beauty, but that's a subjective opinion. Currently I'm waiting for delivery of a Steel/Carbon mix, but I don't fault anyone for riding aluminum.

Just remember, any discussion on frame materials should begin with the caveat "All things being equal".

...and all things are rarely equal.