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Not trying to start a flame war but...(25 posts)

Not trying to start a flame war but...The Human G-Nome
Jan 21, 2003 4:47 PM
who among us would prefer the ride of aluminum to steel if...

1) same weight
2) same stiffness
3) same price
4) same geometry

all things being EQUAL, are there riders who still prefer the feel of aluminum to comparable steel especially considering the storied history of each?
re: Not trying to start a flame war but...Brad S
Jan 21, 2003 6:03 PM
Well, what is the ride of aluminum exactly? It can be very flexy (early Alan) or very stiff (early Klein). So it really depends on how it is built. I love my Pegoretti GGM because it is oversized steel and rides very similar to my last aluminum frame. So I guess I love steel when it rides like good quality aluminum!
re: Not trying to start a flame war but...PhatMatt
Jan 21, 2003 6:04 PM
I am probably in the minority here especially but I have never ridden a Steel frame. I am new to the sport and love my AL w/carbon fork.

No flames here..DINOSAUR
Jan 21, 2003 6:07 PM
My two rides are a Colnago Master X-Light and a Klein Quantum Race. I bought the MXL back in May as I felt that the Klein was too big for me and I lusted for the ride of steel. The MXL fits me well and it's an all day riding bike, very comfortable and stable. The Klein hung on the wall just about all summer and I started to ride it again as the MXL needed new tires and the Klein had good rubber on it. I've sort of fallen in love with the Klein again. I can feel the difference in weight when I accelerate. It sort of takes off on it's own as with the MXL it feels like it's connected to me. The Colnago is more refined and has a better component group. The Klein has it's shares of battles scars and wear and tear. Side by side if I had a choice of both bikes with the same groupo and wheelset it would be hard to say. I might veer toward the Klein as I never have to worry about rust. But the Colnago is by far the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. The Klein has a very smooth ride, that's all I can think of to describe it.

I call my Klein "The Beast" and the Colnago "Sweetness". The Klein is more of a crotch-rocket road bike, the Colnago is almost a retro bike due to the weight and steel lugs. But by next bike will probably be titanium or CF, as that will round out my stable. It's just nice to have two completely different bikes to chose from, given your mood for the type of ride you want on a given day.

But if all things are created equal (looking back on your post) as to weight, stifness, price and geometry...I'd probably opt for an al bike (hope Sweetness" doesn't read this)...when you get a steel bike down to the weight of al, you are looking at some very light weight tubing and I don't think it would hold up long with the types of roads I ride nor my body weight.....was it the lightest steel frame available? I have no idea....
a nice bike is a nice bikelaffeaux
Jan 21, 2003 6:24 PM
The harshest riding bike I've ever owned was made of steel. The smoothest riding bike I've ever had was also made of steel. I'm confused as to where the material makes that much of a difference. People who argue that one material rides better than another seem to be a little nuts. A good manufacturer can build a good bike with the traits that a rider desires out of any material he/she chooses.
Right on, right on, right on! (nm)Kerry Irons
Jan 21, 2003 7:22 PM
just curioustarwheel
Jan 22, 2003 11:03 AM
You hear people claim over and over again that it's the design and geometry that makes a bike comfortable/stiff/whatever, and not the material. If this is so, then give me some examples of "comfortable" aluminum frames. I'm not disputing this argument because I haven't ridden enough frames to know better. All I know is that I have owned one aluminum frame, a mid-range Bianchi Alloro w/ carbon fork, and it was not comfortable to me -- lots of road buzz. On the other hand, every steel frame I have owned (4) has been much more comfortable with no comparable "buzz" even with steel forks. So what exactly are the makes and models of aluminum frames that are supposed to be so comfortable? It seems like most of the aluminum frames are marketed as being stiff and light, but I've never seen one promoted for its comfort.
not a good answerlaffeaux
Jan 22, 2003 1:43 PM
I've ridden and owned many more MTB frame than road frames, so I'm not the best person to give specifics on road frames. I have however owned a Scott road bike (made of steel) that transfered every bump to the rider.

For MTB frames, I own a '98 Yeti ARC (Easton AL) that rides every bit as comfortable as my Bontrager Race Lite (True Temper OX-III). Other than a differing "ping" noise when rocks hit the down tube, I'd have no idea that the two bikes were made of different materials. The bikes handle differently, but both climb well and both are comfortable hardtail MTBs.
According to the "experts" here,Fez
Jan 21, 2003 7:26 PM
steel frames can be found in today's market to have very similar stiffness, price, and geometry as aluminum frames.

the only thing that is probably not possible today is for the steel to be the same weight. when you try to stay within a comparable price range and ride characteristic, i would generalize and say the steel frame will have a 0.5 to 1.5 lb penalty over the alum.
For some, ultralight = short lifeMR_GRUMPY
Jan 21, 2003 8:11 PM
Silly light aluminum frames start at 2.25 Lbs. Silly light steel frames start at 3 Lbs. If you are 150-160 Lbs, either of these will be just fine. The trouble starts when 190 Lbs guys jump on these. If you are gravity challenged, like I am, stick with a 3 Lb aluminum or a 3.5 steel frame. Either of these will last years.
For some, ultralight = short lifeweiwentg
Jan 21, 2003 8:24 PM
actually, I have seen alum frames adversited at about 950 grams (or maybe even less). usually Italian frames made of U2 or V107 tubing. and I have seen steel frames advertised at <3 lbs, made of True Temper S3 (duh) or ultrafoco/carbon. Dean advertised their ultrafoco/carbon frame at 2.6 lbs, which is crazy light for most people.
Strictly by your parameters, my preference would be Aluminum.wasabekid
Jan 21, 2003 8:47 PM
In your scenario since everything is the SAME, the Alum will have one small advantage... corrosion resistant!!!

However, the parameters are contradictory and impossible to achieve. IE:

-IF geometry is equal (tube shape, size and dimensions) the more UNequal the weight becomes.
-To attain equal stiffness, the geometry of the steel will have to be altered.
-And to obtain equal weight, the more UNequal the stiffness would be (the steel will be less stiff per unit pound).

But since you want us to consider that "all things being EQUAL",... and following the same train of thought, the Aluminum SHOULD ride like steel (supple yet responsive) BUT also corrosion resistant.

I hope you enjoyed this response as I enjoyed this exercise of providing an "analogy to a circular logic".


Strictly by your parameters, my preference would be Aluminum.The Human G-Nome
Jan 21, 2003 9:45 PM
thanks for the analogy, but that wasn't my point. some people "sort of" got it. the guy that said "you can make any material ride like anything" (paraphrasing of course) was the closest. the question is impossible in the real world (of course) as you point out. the reason for the post was that most people give interesting and most often, inaccurate reasons for why they prefer a certain material. people say "steel is real". "aluminum is stiff". "aluminum is harsh." "steel is compliant". etc, ad nauseum. there shouldn't have been an unbias choice made. of course, if you factor in rust, you have a point.
What's the point?bugleboy
Jan 22, 2003 12:17 PM
If all things were equal, would you even be asking this question? Think about it.
What's the point?The Human G-Nome
Jan 22, 2003 1:02 PM
well, you almost got the point.
Jan 22, 2003 12:24 PM
you cannot get steel and Al frame with same weight, stiffness and price. If you compare bikes to get down to the same weight steel steed would have to have better components.

With respect to longevity unlike steel or Ti Al has very low fatigue threshold. Warranty on Al is shorter; frame has to be made stiffer to resist bending.

Corrosion? Al doesn't like salt either and Frame Saver isn't that expensive really. Besides frame more likely to break then rust through.
impossibleThe Human G-Nome
Jan 22, 2003 1:05 PM
again, it was hypothetical. the point was that people choose their materials for the wrong reasons.
wrong reasons?cyclopathic
Jan 22, 2003 1:58 PM
not me. One double century was enough for me to sort out priorities.
wrong reasons?The Human G-Nome
Jan 22, 2003 4:04 PM
ie, "i prefer aluminum because it's light." or "i prefer steel because it's compliant." or "i prefer aluminum because it's stiff." the point is that these qualities are not exclusive to a particular material.
not exclusive?cyclopathic
Jan 22, 2003 7:08 PM
in a way they are. you can't make compliant Al frame durable /low fatigue resistance/ and you can't oversize steel as much as Al and keep weight low /tubes will buckle up/. Stiff steel frame with oversized ovalized tubes will weight twice of Al.

Yes frame qualities are the properties of design but make no mistake design is predefined by material used

here's some reading on Bicycling metallurgy 101 take a look
not exclusive?The Human G-Nome
Jan 22, 2003 7:23 PM
i swear, i give up. no one is going to give a freakin' inch on this topic. i don't need to learn more about metallurgy. the post was meant for people who choose their frames based more on material then on the manufacturer and the qulality of the build. i'm not debating the merits of steel and aluminum, per se, nor do i ever wish to (it's been done TO DEATH). i'm simply saying that people put too much stock in the standard cliches which are associated with each material.
if it walks like duck and it smells like duckcyclopathic
Jan 23, 2003 7:43 AM
it is probably a duck. If there's a cliche there is a reason. Amen
if it walks like duck and it smells like duckThe Human G-Nome
Jan 23, 2003 8:21 AM
no message, just giving you a chance for another "last word". i know you need it.
Wrong reasonsbugleboy
Jan 22, 2003 4:08 PM
What are the properties for which you choose a frame? If mine are so wrong I want to know what is right. THe question originally posted had no point. if all things were equal we wouldn't have to make a choice. There would only be one choice. So how do you make the wrong choice?
Wrong reasonsThe Human G-Nome
Jan 22, 2003 5:02 PM
if all things were equal we wouldn't have to make a choice. There would only be one choice. So how do you make the wrong choice?>>>

yes, that WAS the point. people have bias' toward certain materials that are sometimes unwarranted. ie, "i like aluminum because it's stiff", etc. who said your choices were "so wrong"??? there was nothing personal or condemning about a post that was just suppose to make people think.