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Why do Aluminum frames cost so much?(10 posts)

Why do Aluminum frames cost so much?Spectre
Jan 26, 2004 10:51 PM
Back when frames were lugged or fillet brazed, it made sense why a nice frame would cost so much. A nice steel frame would last for quite a while. Now with throwaway aluminum frames that last for a season or two, it seems ridiculous to pay over $1K for an aluminum frame. At that price, I'd rather get a reasonably priced Cannondale, Trek or Klein than what seems to be overpriced Italian frames for double or triple the price.

Can anyone give me a good reason why aluminum frames should cost so much?
... it's all relative...Akirasho
Jan 26, 2004 11:40 PM
... like a post late last week attempting to compare the value of two distinct frames... it's all relative...

Worth is a remarkable and relative variable within an economic setting.

Be the bike.
... it's all relative...micha
Jan 27, 2004 3:30 AM
The price of aluminum frames is in direct relation to the number and reputation of pros known to be riding them in major cycling events. It's called marketing.
they don't...C-40
Jan 27, 2004 5:23 AM
If you want a realtively heavy straight gage tubing frame, with a cheap paint job, you can get one as cheap as $150.

What you're paying for is the very latest in ultra-thin butted tubes to reduce weight, smoothly dressed welds and a fancy and more durable paint job, plus the perceived name value of the manufacturer.
They're the "In" thingSquint
Jan 27, 2004 6:46 AM
That is, overpriced European aluminum frames with or without carbon stays. They don't seem to survive crashes too well, either. The profit margin on these frames must be tremendous.
re: Why do Aluminum frames cost so much?benInMA
Jan 27, 2004 9:03 AM
Are you just trolling?

Where is this nonsense coming from that Aluminum frames only last a couple of years? A cutting edge frame is going to cost more because it cost more to develop it and has a hell of a lot more engineering expertise thrown at it's design.

There is nothing but anectdotal evidence to suggest the new frames are less reliable than old ones. Perhaps less economical to repair, but that is it. The idea that they don't last is just great marketing and lots of people who want a new bike every year justifying their purchase.
Not just trolling: Decline in hand-built qualitySpectre
Jan 27, 2004 11:55 AM
I can see the value in a $1500 Steelman, Rivendell or Independent Fabrications frame. However, the high priced Italian frames seem to have lost the personality and hand-built quality image they used to have. I see DeRosas, Pinarellos, etc. as being mass-produced. I don't see the hand-crafted attention that I see in a Steelman, for example. I see Cannondales, Kleins, and Treks as being pretty high-tech. With the financial might of these companies, I don't see how smaller Italian frame builders can actually develop more advanced technology. I feel that they are just assembling the technologically advanced tubesets that are supplied to them by Columbus, Dedacciai, Reynolds.
What's changed?Dave Hickey
Jan 27, 2004 1:04 PM
Back in the steel days manufacturers were still at the mercy of Columbus and Reynolds. 531 used to be the tubing of choice until Reynolds came out with 753.
how things have changed , , ,micha
Jan 28, 2004 3:42 AM
In the steel days, aluminum was light but noodley. In a pack of racers, a couple of riders would be on a Vitus or Alan aluminum frame. You knew two things for sure: they had a lighter bike than you did, and they were fearless descenders - knees tight on the top tube, waiting for the "aluminum shimmy" to come on. In spite of all that, Sean Kelley sprinted and descended really, really well on his Vitus . . .
how things have changed , , ,add-onmicha
Jan 28, 2004 4:09 AM
To get back on the topic, those light and noodley Vituses often were the ticket for cash-strapped young amateur racers to get into the the sport. There wasn't a whole lot of money to go around in those days. A cheaper Vitus or Alan with some mid-grade components hung on it could be as light as some pro's Record Colnago. For that I have a warm spot in my heart for those old aluminum noodles.

Does anyone know if Vitus or Alan is still in the business of making frames?