Carbon vs Aluminum vs Steel
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  1. #1
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    Carbon vs Aluminum vs Steel

    So a friend recently was in a bike crash, he rear-ended a car - his fault. Unfortunately it trashed his fairly new frame, not a surprise really but what was a surprise was the fork and wheel don't have any visible damage (the wheel is still perfectly true). The frame is steel, fork carbon, and the wheel aluminum. I would have expected the wheel to taco first before the frame but not this time, the downtube buckled which caused the top tube to bend also. Guess he had to hit is just right for that to happen.

    ritchey 2.jpg

    ritchey 1.jpg
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  2. #2
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    Carbon Aluminum Steel

    Just like Rock Paper Scissors, it's the combo that determines the outcome.

  3. #3
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    Regardless of material, the weakest part will fail when impact occurs to a bikes as a whole when carrying a rider.
    In this case, thin-walled frame tube buckled u see the force of the impact.

  4. #4
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    Must have been super thin, super light tubes. Lightweight steel bikes exist just like lightweight Al bikes and lightweight carbon bikes. Too many variables on each type of frame material to say one is vastly superior to another. It's time to post this once again:

    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.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Must have been super thin, super light tubes. Lightweight steel bikes exist just like lightweight Al bikes and lightweight carbon bikes.
    Ritchey Swiss Cross - 1971 gram frame without fork so over 4lbs. It doesn't seem like a light steel frame to me but that's not my area of expertise either.
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    "The Spirit of the Party "serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Ritchey Swiss Cross - 1971 gram frame without fork so over 4lbs. It doesn't seem like a light steel frame to me but that's not my area of expertise either.
    It isn't the weight of the frame but the strength of the tubing. I have a Lemond Zurich steel road bike with Oversize Reynolds 853 tubing that weights the same as my Colnago CLX3.0. Reynolds is known to crack under normal riding conditions but this stuff doesn't seem in the least likely to do that.

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