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Metallurgy for cyclists(5 posts)

Metallurgy for cyclistsDog
Jan 16, 2002 1:46 PM
Some good articles I came across (many may have seen them before). This should be on a FAQ list for this forum:


Metallurgy for Cyclists The Basics
By Scot Nicol

What is the best material to use in building a bicycle frame - steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber? What about something even more exotic? While this certainly isn't as important a topic as who will replace Shannon on "Beverly Hills: 90210," it is fodder for lengthy debates among bike junkies (like myself).

The six-part series we're about to start will examine metallurgy as it applies to bicycles. If we do our job right, you will be educated about all the popular materials currently used in bicycle-frame construction, and we'll take a look at what you can expect for the future.

What I also hope to do is give you a "BS" filter for the clever and often misleading ads that our industry uses to prey on the underinformed. It really doesn't matter that boralyn was used for tank armor, or that rocket scientists designed your bike. You don't even have to wear a white lab coat to design a good bike. Sound engineering and an intimate knowledge of the biomechanical interface between bike and rider are the only prerequisites.

To begin, you have to understand that the traditional bicycle frame is a highly evolved mechanical structure - highly evolved as in 100 years of tinkering. Attempts are constantly made to improve on its design, but most do little improving. Just designing a better frame may look like a simple problem, but it's not. Small improvements are made with materials and engineering advances, but improving by leaps and bounds doesn't happen - unless you believe the ads. ...

Engineers, can we accept this as authoritative?

Jan 16, 2002 2:31 PM

Your post and a couple of others have brought up the "Frequently Asked Questions" section.

Does such a thing exist?
Can you point at it?

Overall pretty good, with some very minor flawsWheels
Jan 16, 2002 3:24 PM
Overall the article is accurate. Ther are a few sections/statements that I would have worded differently to reflect a more accurate definition.

I read this article before and sent my comments of what to change to the author. I recieved no response.

Materials Engineering, PhD
Overall pretty good, with some very minor flawsgtx
Jan 16, 2002 3:28 PM
Scot Nicol probably didn't respond because he was too busy trying to figure out how to save Ibis or out test riding their new softail designs. He probably has some more time on his hands now that he sold Ibis (about six months ago).
Jan 17, 2002 8:37 AM
For it's intended purpose I consider the article to be very good. Low in propaganda, lucid, and approachable by the layperson.

John Fox
Metallurgical Engineer