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  1. #1
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    The A,B,Cs About Alloy Bikes


  2. #2
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    WTF is "Al-You-Minee-Um"

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    It's called 'english'. Pronounce any way you want cause there ain't no correct way.
    BANNED

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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    It's called 'english'. Pronounce any way you want cause there ain't no correct way.
    Dah !, Ees good now, I unter stand.

    In all seriousness, it was a good video and made me miss the 2 Klein Quantums I owned in the '90's. The first suffered sweat corrosion on the top of the top tube brake cable stops. I loved the rides of those bikes.

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    ABCs of Aluminum Bikes = Always Buy Carbon

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    Shouldn't "The A,B,Cs About Alloy Bikes" be: Steel is an alloy, Aluminium is an alloy and Titanium is an alloy...
    All the gear and no idea

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDFbound View Post
    ABCs of Aluminum Bikes = Always Buy Carbon
    LOL! All jokes aside, they can be great rides as long as you go with a solid manufacturer and know what you are getting into IMO. They can actually be ideal for certain riders in fact, but we need to stop suggesting that they are ever going to have the ride quality of a nice carbon bike. Overall weight and stiffness in key areas seems to be getting better though and you can even get some aero versions these days. Lots to like if that's your thing.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDFbound View Post
    ABCs of Aluminum Bikes = Always Buy Carbon
    This piece below by the immortal Sheldon Brown bears repeating:

    https://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html

    "Did you know that:

    • Aluminum frames have a harsh ride?
    • Titanium frames are soft and whippy?
    • Steel frames go soft with age, but they have a nicer ride quality?
    • England's Queen Elizabeth is a kingpin of the international drug trade?

    All of the above statements are equally false. There is an amazing amount of folkloric "conventional wisdom" about bicycle frames and materials that is widely disseminated, but has no basis in fact.

    The reality is that you can make a good bike frame out of any of these metals, with any desired riding qualities, by selecting appropriate tubing diameters, wall thicknesses and frame geometry."
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    This piece below by the immortal Sheldon Brown bears repeating:

    https://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html

    "Did you know that:

    • Aluminum frames have a harsh ride?
    • Titanium frames are soft and whippy?
    • Steel frames go soft with age, but they have a nicer ride quality?
    • England's Queen Elizabeth is a kingpin of the international drug trade?

    All of the above statements are equally false. There is an amazing amount of folkloric "conventional wisdom" about bicycle frames and materials that is widely disseminated, but has no basis in fact.

    The reality is that you can make a good bike frame out of any of these metals, with any desired riding qualities, by selecting appropriate tubing diameters, wall thicknesses and frame geometry."
    This one gets shared a lot and there is definitely some truth to it, but the simple fact of the matter is that unless you have your own shop, you are dependent on the bikes the industry sells and, to a large extent, the bike industry has produced bikes that fall into those stereotypes over the years. So Sheldon is right, you can make a bike ride like whatever you want it to regardless of the material used if you know what you are doing, but he is ignoring the fact that the "ideal" in every frame material isn't what the bike manufacturers have been selling for the most part.

    For instance, for years, bike companies just haven't invested much in making great aluminum/alloy bikes. They reserved that material for their cheaper/entry-level bikes and so they rode harshly and weighed a ton, hence the stereotype. I think we are entering/returning to an era where bike manufacturers are more open minded/creative and are seeing different material types as just a foundation for making a great bike, having recognized that different cyclists crave and can afford different things when it comes to bike shopping, but most them want a relatively comfortable, but stiff and responsive, ride. Accordingly, we are seeing nicer aluminum bikes like the Caad 10, Caad 12, Allez Smartweld, Trek Emonda ALR, Giant Contend, and Allez Smartweld Sprint and more affordable steel and titanium options (Litespeed has a number of them) that address the interests of different kinds of riders (endurance road, gravel racing, crit racing, etc.). So I get the point you are making, but I disagree that it's that simple.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    This one gets shared a lot and there is definitely some truth to it, but the simple fact of the matter is that unless you have your own shop, you are dependent on the bikes the industry sells and, to a large extent, the bike industry has produced bikes that fall into those stereotypes over the years. So Sheldon is right, you can make a bike ride like whatever you want it to regardless of the material used if you know what you are doing, but he is ignoring the fact that the "ideal" in every frame material isn't what the bike manufacturers have been selling for the most part.

    For instance, for years, bike companies just haven't invested much in making great aluminum/alloy bikes. They reserved that material for their cheaper/entry-level bikes and so they rode harshly and weighed a ton, hence the stereotype. I think we are entering/returning to an era where bike manufacturers are more open minded/creative and are seeing different material types as just a foundation for making a great bike, having recognized that different cyclists crave and can afford different things when it comes to bike shopping, but most them want a relatively comfortable, but stiff and responsive, ride. Accordingly, we are seeing nicer aluminum bikes like the Caad 10, Caad 12, Allez Smartweld, Trek Emonda ALR, Giant Contend, and Allez Smartweld Sprint and more affordable steel and titanium options (Litespeed has a number of them) that address the interests of different kinds of riders (endurance road, gravel racing, crit racing, etc.). So I get the point you are making, but I disagree that it's that simple.
    Your point is taken that budget bikes most often are aluminum and carbon is currently the "material de jour" for "serious road cyclists". So naturally, bike makers are going to invest most of their technology in carbon framing for higher end bikes.

    However, as you say, there are a few great aluminum bikes out there. And let's not forget steel which isn't "your father's Oldsmobile" so-to-say. There are some great steel bikes out there now which are surprisingly lighter weight that you would expect. As one of GCN's videos points out, weight wise, steel is heaviest, aluminum is next and carbon is lightest. But how significant? The steel frame is 1400g, aluminum 1100g, carbon 700g. So the steel frame is only 1.5lbs. heavier than the carbon frame. And the aluminum frame is less than a pound heavier than the carbon frame. So the stigma of aluminum and steel being so much heavier than carbon is because bike makers fit carbon bikes with lighter higher end components and wheels than aluminum or steel. And if you check out Jamis' top of the line 631 Reynolds road bike, the Quest Elite, at 20lbs., it rivals most standard mod carbon bikes which run around 18lbs. or so.

    GCN has quite a few good videos out there. Here are two good ones to go with the one the OP linked - one about carbon bikes, the other about steel bikes. Both worth watching:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-hzgI4JK2k

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhX8nIuczXE
    Last edited by Lombard; 09-22-2017 at 07:25 AM.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    Shouldn't "The A,B,Cs About Alloy Bikes" be: Steel is an alloy, Aluminium is an alloy and Titanium is an alloy...
    You're absolutely correct. I should've said Aluminum (or the proper pronunciation, Aluminium) Alloy.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    This one gets shared a lot and there is definitely some truth to it, but the simple fact of the matter is that unless you have your own shop, you are dependent on the bikes the industry sells and, to a large extent, the bike industry has produced bikes that fall into those stereotypes over the years. So Sheldon is right, you can make a bike ride like whatever you want it to regardless of the material used if you know what you are doing, but he is ignoring the fact that the "ideal" in every frame material isn't what the bike manufacturers have been selling for the most part.

    For instance, for years, bike companies just haven't invested much in making great aluminum/alloy bikes. They reserved that material for their cheaper/entry-level bikes and so they rode harshly and weighed a ton, hence the stereotype. I think we are entering/returning to an era where bike manufacturers are more open minded/creative and are seeing different material types as just a foundation for making a great bike, having recognized that different cyclists crave and can afford different things when it comes to bike shopping, but most them want a relatively comfortable, but stiff and responsive, ride. Accordingly, we are seeing nicer aluminum bikes like the Caad 10, Caad 12, Allez Smartweld, Trek Emonda ALR, Giant Contend, and Allez Smartweld Sprint and more affordable steel and titanium options (Litespeed has a number of them) that address the interests of different kinds of riders (endurance road, gravel racing, crit racing, etc.). So I get the point you are making, but I disagree that it's that simple.
    I have to disagree. It depends on how the frame is built or the intentions of the builder. I used to have a 2009 Felt F1 Sprint that had a very jarring ride and it was full carbon (frame stem, bars, seatpost, wheels).

    The industry has dictated to us which has a better ride quality buy delegating the higher component groups to carbon frames. Perception is everything. Noone was complaining about the aluminum TCRs and S Works when the pros were racing them. I remember in the early to mid 2000's Fuji used to sell an aluminum Team Super Lite that weighed that was in the 15 lb range, back when the Trek 5200 and 5500 bikes were in the 17-18 lb range. Carbon has been in selling okay since the 90's but aluminum was still the material of choice, even for pro teams.

    Pros are given the most expensive stuff, so roadies want what the pros have. An aluminum bike is rarely sold with anything more than 105, unless you buy a higher end one. Most are entry level, with bottom end wheels tires and tubes, not to mention low end cockpit.Those aren't going to ride as nicely. However, the frames are usually good quality. The CAAD9 and Allez were victims of this, but racers knew better. Buy the Sora model, build it with Ultegra or Dura Ace, and win races.

    I have the 2015 Evo HiMod and a 2015 CAAD10, both built to identical specs. I can tell a little difference in them on really long rides but the CAAD is generally my go to bike. Right now, I am selling the Hi Mod to buy a new CAAD12 Black Inc, so I will have two bikes I feel safe racing crits on.

    As for money, if you can afford an aluminum race bike with Ultegra/Force or Dura Ace/Red, you can afford a good carbon bike. Have you seen what a CAAD12 Black Inc retails for?
    Last edited by terbennett; 09-25-2017 at 11:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by terbennett View Post
    I have to disagree. It depends on how the frame is built or the intentions of the builder. I used to have a 2009 Felt F1 Sprint that had a very jarring ride and it was full carbon (frame stem, bars, seatpost, wheels).

    The industry has dictated to us which has a better ride quality buy delegating the higher component groups to carbon frames. Perception is everything. Noone was complaining about the aluminum TCRs and S Works when the pros were racing them. I remember in the early to mid 2000's Fuji used to sell an aluminum Team Super Lite that weighed that was in the 15 lb range, back when the Trek 5200 and 5500 bikes were in the 17-18 lb range. Carbon has been in selling okay since the 90's but aluminum was still the material of choice, even for pro teams.

    Pros are given the most expensive stuff, so roadies want what the pros have. An aluminum bike is rarely sold with anything more than 105, unless you buy a higher end one. Most are entry level, with bottom end wheels tires and tubes, not to mention low end cockpit.Those aren't going to ride as nicely. However, the frames are usually good quality. The CAAD9 and Allez were victims of this, but racers knew better. Buy the Sora model, build it with Ultegra or Dura Ace, and win races.

    I have the 2015 Evo HiMod and a 2015 CAAD10, both built to identical specs. I can tell a little difference in them on really long rides but the CAAD is generally my go to bike. Right now, I am selling the Hi Mod to buy a new CAAD12 Black Inc, so I will have two bikes I feel safe racing crits on.

    As for money, if you can afford an aluminum race bike with Ultegra/Force or Dura Ace/Red, you can afford a good carbon bike. Have you seen what a CAAD12 Black Inc retails for?
    You are referencing one of the few examples to the rule, those older carbon Felt F Series bikes are still some of the stiffest things I have ever ridden regardless of material. Most carbon bikes don't ride that stiff, a few did back in the 90s, etc. but very few do today (the original Scott Foil was another super stiff one). The industry has learned some things about vertical compliance and stiffness I guess. There were also some fairly heavy carbon bikes back then too, now we are dealing with sub 700g frames. The real point is that for most of the last twenty years, carbon bikes have been lighter and more comfortable to ride for long days in the saddle than aluminum bikes have been for the most part. The gap is closing/changing as manufacturers invest more in their aluminum platforms as the video explained. I think that is a good thing.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Your point is taken that budget bikes most often are aluminum and carbon is currently the "material de jour" for "serious road cyclists". So naturally, bike makers are going to invest most of their technology in carbon framing for higher end bikes.

    However, as you say, there are a few great aluminum bikes out there. And let's not forget steel which isn't "your father's Oldsmobile" so-to-say. There are some great steel bikes out there now which are surprisingly lighter weight that you would expect. As one of GCN's videos points out, weight wise, steel is heaviest, aluminum is next and carbon is lightest. But how significant? The steel frame is 1400g, aluminum 1100g, carbon 700g. So the steel frame is only 1.5lbs. heavier than the carbon frame. And the aluminum frame is less than a pound heavier than the carbon frame. So the stigma of aluminum and steel being so much heavier than carbon is because bike makers fit carbon bikes with lighter higher end components and wheels than aluminum or steel. And if you check out Jamis' top of the line 631 Reynolds road bike, the Quest Elite, at 20lbs., it rivals most standard mod carbon bikes which run around 18lbs. or so.

    GCN has quite a few good videos out there. Here are two good ones to go with the one the OP linked - one about carbon bikes, the other about steel bikes. Both worth watching:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-hzgI4JK2k

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhX8nIuczXE
    To add support, here's a steel bike at 16 lbs (15. 94 lbs to be exact). He still has room to make it lighter too...

    The A,B,Cs About Alloy Bikes-part_1506368871331_20160305_151022.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by terbennett View Post
    To add support, here's a steel bike at 16 lbs (15. 94 lbs to be exact). He still has room to make it lighter too...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PART_1506368871331_20160305_151022.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	132.9 KB 
ID:	320648

    Case in point.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



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    To suggest that these newer lighter, hydroformed, and smartwelded aluminum bikes are the same as a 80s or 90s aluminum bike just seems misguided to me. Same thing goes for saying that aluminum bikes and carbon bikes have always had the same weight and ride quality and that components are the only difference, but everyone is free to believe whatever works for them.

    Like I said before, things are getting closer all of the time, but that's a fairly recent development. If you look over the last 20 or so years, there weren't many/any sub-16lb steel bikes lying around. You could get there on a great aluminum bike like a Caad10, but not on most aluminum bikes either. That has changed and now cyclists have lots of great options made from a number of great materials. I have seen tons of guys riding around on sub 16lb Allez Smartwelds and Allez Sprints that they only paid $1300-$1900 dollars for all of the time these days. It was not like that even seven years ago when I got serious about the sport. At the end of the day, I can't help but feel as though the truth is that all of these frame materials aren't the same and that every frame material has strengths and weaknesses. You can absolutely make great bikes out of any of them if you have the skills and resources, but for the average consumer, we are often left prioritizing some characteristics over others due to riding interests and budget. That being said, I think you have to do less sacrificing today than you did ten years ago as there are more great options at every price point.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    Rashadabd, I often felt the standard carbon F-Series never felt super stiff to me. I thought that Scotts and Specialized felt stiffer. I'm sure they had to be for a 200 plus lb pro rider like Magnus Backstedt to have ridden with Slipstream/Chipotle back when Felt sponsored a ProTour team. Then again, the F1 Sprint was created with his help. If I'm not mistaken, didn't you used to own a CAAD10? If so, you know what a great machine it is. Anyway, I agree about the advancements in technology of each material and I'm going to give credit where credit is due. It's technology applied to carbon fiber that is being used to improve these other materials. The only thing is, that as long as the UCI keeps the weight limit at 14.99 lbs, other materials may have a chance of being on a pro-level playing field with carbon bikes, even though they have to add weights to carbon bikes. That would be quite interesting to see at CAT1/2 levels.
    Last edited by terbennett; 09-26-2017 at 12:00 PM.

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