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Frame Material(11 posts)

Frame MaterialAC55
May 24, 2002 7:14 PM
Hellow people, this is my first post and I was hoping to get a little info. I ride mountain bikes but I'm looking to get my first road bike and I was wondering what frame material should I be looking for. I recently joind a cycling club that does both road and offroad rides. So I would like to ride some relaxed road rides and work my way up to a few century rides. Thanks for any info and sorry for the lack of spelling.
re: Frame MaterialCarbon fiber fanatik
May 24, 2002 7:30 PM
wow..thats a general question that will get you about a billion responses. Personally? Ride everything you can get your hands on, then buy what you feel "fits" you best. I being a carbon fantatik ride only carbon frames, both road and mountain. It's about personal preference more than one material being better than the other. Experiment, but most importantly and I'm sure all who read this will agree. Bike "fit" is the most important aspect of any frame. Good luck on your hunt..!
re: Frame Materialweiwentg
May 24, 2002 7:57 PM
what's your height and weight? masher or spinner? road racing, or just cross-training for the trails? what's the budget?
offhand, I would say steel or titanium. carbon is less durable - of course this won't matter if you're going to get a new road bike every two years. steel, ti and CF all have vibration daming properties.
re: Frame Material? Steel.guido
May 24, 2002 8:01 PM
If you want relaxed road rides and eventually all day centuries, steel will give you the most value.

Although carbon frames are as comfortable and responsive as steel, they are more expensive, as are carbon-aluminum combos. Steel is still relatively cheap, and long ago set the standard that carbon and aluminum tries to match.

The cheaper aluminum frames aren't as comfortable or durable as the steel frames in the same price range. In other words, the cheaper the frame, the more steel will come out on top. At the top end, they all ride great.

Have fun lusting after all the great stuff out there!
much ado about nothingJohnG
May 24, 2002 8:14 PM
The more I ride the more I realize "it's not about the bike".

Since you are new to this road deal I'd suggest that you focus on getting a good value bike and NOT worrying about the materials. If you stick around long enough you'll likely go through a phase where you think you KNOW exactly what's the "best" bike/frame for you..... then if you stick around a little longer, you'll realize that the bike doesn't really matter.

Oh, I've got em all, carbon, ti, Al....... none of them are very fast by themselves.

re: Frame Materialgtx
May 24, 2002 8:54 PM
Totally unscientific, and probably biased...woodes
May 25, 2002 2:18 AM
I've ridden/owned just about every frame material (except scandium, which I believe is like aluminum), and here are my personal experiences:

pros: forgiving ride, excellent damping, can be lively and responsive
cons: heavier than other materials, prone to rust (although I've never had a rust problem with 15 year-old frames)


pros: lightweight, stiff and therefore responsive, less expensive than carbon/ti
cons: ride can be "harsh" for lighter riders; reportedly not the most durable of the materials


pros: very lightweight, responsive to the point of "springy" absorbs road shock well
cons: expensive, some evidence of catostrophic failure


pros: can offer the stiffness of aluminum, the comfort of steel, springy like carbon, won't rust, VERY durable
cons: expensive, some don't like the nude ti look, proper welding by manufacturer is essential to avoid failure

In short, I love my Litespeed, by my favorite ride is my classic Italian Somec. It's not the lightest bike, but I'm not racing anymore, and steel is so comfortable and forgiving. I've owned 3 aluminum bikes, 2 had to be trashed because of run-ins with cars (you can't bend the tubes back like steel) and one was way too harsh for me. Talk to others in the club, everyone will have an opinion, but since you're looking for "relaxed" rides, I would focus on steel, carbon or titanium. Good luck!
Totally unscientific, and probably biased...AC55
May 25, 2002 8:22 AM
Thanks all of you for the great information it's very helpful I think I'll be leaning to steel when I go out and test ride a few bikes.
A pretty good summaryloop
May 25, 2002 8:52 AM
I think you ran through a lot of good points. Still, fit and tires will have the greatest single impact. Beyond that, just about any material can be made to come very close indeed to desired ride characteristics, GIVEN ENOUGH MONEY INVESTED.

For most of us, it's hard to swallow the price of a Ottrott, Odonata, Carbonissimo, etc.

That said, I recently returned to steel after many years on aluminum and carbon. I've found the "weight disadvantage" to be negligible. Unless you are looking for a sub-17 pound climbing rocket, any of the newer steels can easily be built into durable, comfortable 17-19 pound bikes.

Still, it's always a personal preference. I started out dubious about the "feel of steel," but I was sold.

Best of luck.
re: Frame MaterialVelocipedio
May 25, 2002 4:43 PM
I prefer steel, to be sure. My experience with aluminum bikes has been that they ARE pretty stiff and can beat you up pretty bad on a long ride. One of my ride bussies has an old steel Concorde and a 2001 Trek 2300 and rues the day he bought the Trek...

On the other hand, the feel of an aluminum has a lot to do with the alloy and tubing used and the geometry. My buddy's Trek is a hard, stiff bike, but my GF's GT ZR 3.0 [6061-T6 aluminum] is a very sweet ride, and my cyclocross bike [Easton Ultralite taperwall 7005 aluminum] is VERY comfortable, even when I put on 23c tires and ride it like a roadie.

So... I think it's a six-of-one kind of thing. Aluminum IS stiff and can be brutal on frames with steep angles like the Trek, but you can also build a frame with geometry that mitigates aluminum's worst characteristics.

Having said that, steel is the standard by which all other frame materials are measured -- "it's as smooth as steel..."

What it all boils down to is that you have to try a whole lot of bikes.. take them for some decent spins, and decide for yourself.
re: Frame Materialbic
May 25, 2002 10:32 PM
One that can hold you upright between two or maybe just one wheel.