Anyone still prefer / ride aluminium?
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  1. #1
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    Anyone still prefer / ride aluminium?

    Curious if there are still any people who prefer aluminium frames vs carbon.

    Iím torn between selling my aluminium bike and getting something carbon.

    Thereís things I like and donít like about aluminium, the biggest dislike for me is that it degrades and Iím a heavier rider (195lb). But I like how it feels and the fact that if it fails on me it wonít be as big of a fail.

    Amongst other things


    What does everyone else think?




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  2. #2
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amonini View Post
    Curious if there are still any people who prefer aluminium frames vs carbon.
    Sure. There are some really impressive aluminum offerings. The CAAD13 is an amazing bike for the price. I know people who've bought it as a 'disposable' crit race bike.

    But I like how it feels and the fact that if it fails on me it wonít be as big of a fail.
    Carbon doesn't just 'fail'. This is a myth.
    And remember, carbon frames are almost 100% repairable. There's almost nothing on a carbon frame that can't be readily repaired. There are many companies doing carbon repair and it's relatively cheap.
    Aluminum on the other hand is almost 100% UN-repairable. You bend, dent, crack an aluminum frame and it's scrap.

    That's a trashed aluminum frame. And a $200-$300 easy carbon repair.
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  3. #3
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    If you're worried about failure, or any aspect of a frame really.......just picking "carbon" (or any frame material) is kind of a useless criteria.

    Of course it has to fit and handle like you want but with regard to holding your weight and not breaking......there is no universal attributed to 'carbon" in that regard. Some just suck so will probably crack eventually because they are not made well. Some are designed with light weight being the top priority and designed for super light riders so not designed to carry 195. Others are as strong as heck and still a decent weight. Same is true for all materials.

    Pick a frame with all the attributes you want. The material is incidental.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Pick a frame with all the attributes you want. The material is incidental.
    ^^^This.^^^

    If you are happy with your aluminum frame bike, there is no reason to "upgrade" to carbon unless you are just getting the new bike bug.

    You will hear people talk about carbon having better vibration damping than aluminum when in fact, the biggest factor in ride comfort is YOUR TIRES. Wider tires need less pressure and therefore will reduce vibrations to a much greater extent than bike frame choice.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    That's a trashed aluminum frame. And a $200-$300 easy carbon repair.
    How is this trashed? That's a dent. I knew a guy who rode an aluminum frame with a dent like this for thousands of miles. To my knowledge, he hasn't died a fiery death yet.
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  6. #6
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    How is this trashed? That's a dent. I knew a guy who rode an aluminum frame with a dent like this for thousands of miles. To my knowledge, he hasn't died a fiery death yet.
    Good for him. I wouldn't ride a compromised frame.

    But you're missing the point. A damaged aluminum frame is virtually un-repairable.

    This better? You're not riding this for thousands of miles. You're not going to fix it.
    But, a fairly simple carbon repair.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Good for him. I wouldn't ride a compromised frame.

    But you're missing the point. A damaged aluminum frame is virtually un-repairable.

    This better? You're not riding this for thousands of miles. You're not going to fix it.
    But, a fairly simple carbon repair.
    Well yeah, this frame is toast. Apples to oranges. Dents are not cracks.
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  8. #8
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Well yeah, this frame is toast. Apples to oranges. Dents are not cracks.
    Semantics. A dented tube is a compromised tube. You have created creases which are now stress risers. You've significantly reduced the stress capacity.

    And again... irrelevant to the point. A damaged aluminum frame is un-repairable.
    Feel free to argue 'what' a damaged frame is. But what is indisputable is, you're not repairing an aluminum frame.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    How is this trashed? That's a dent. I knew a guy who rode an aluminum frame with a dent like this for thousands of miles. To my knowledge, he hasn't died a fiery death yet.
    Nevermind the fact that you can not tell from that picture if it's just a dent or it the tube is also bent throwing off alignment and/or strength is severely compromised.......you totally missed the point (which isn't about an individual dent) and knowing someone who rode a different bike with a a different dent is irrelevant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Semantics. A dented tube is a compromised tube. You have created creases which are now stress risers. You've significantly reduced the stress capacity.

    And again... irrelevant to the point. A damaged aluminum frame is un-repairable.
    Feel free to argue 'what' a damaged frame is. But what is indisputable is, you're not repairing an aluminum frame.
    Granted what you said about a damaged carbon frame being repairable while a damaged aluminum frame isn't repairable isn't - very true. However, that doesn't seem like a big factor in frame choice. Not to mention that while carbon is repairable, repair isn't exactly cheap.

    Most people don't crash their frames anyway. And I've seen carbon frame downtubes cracked by pebbles and snapped derailleurs. Never heard of that happening with aluminum.
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  11. #11
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    However, that doesn't seem like a big factor in frame choice.
    Agreed, I wouldn't necessarily make that a determining factor. However the OP seemed to have concern about frame damage.


    Not to mention that while carbon is repairable, repair isn't exactly cheap.
    I guess that depends on your definition of 'cheap'. Almost any carbon repair can be performed for $200-$400. Sure beats buying a new frame.

    Most people don't crash their frames anyway.
    Meh. Most everyone I know has at least once. Two of my friends in the last week at 25+mph.
    Thankfully they didn't hit any pebbles. lol Their bikes were completely unharmed.
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  12. #12
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    I enjoyed the heck out of my Mapei-colored Colnago Dream but, yeah, it did ride stiffly. As a matter of fact, one day Ernesto Colnago was doing a personal appearance at a nearby bike shop, and patrons were invited to bring their Colnagos and have Ernesto check them. Ernesto declared the frame too rigid and, indeed, told me to keep the tire pressures low. My wife, meantime, still rides her alu Colnago Dream all the time. As for me, yes, I did move on to carbon frames. A single, one-last-flirtation with steel-is-real steel didn't last very long.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    I guess that depends on your definition of 'cheap'. Almost any carbon repair can be performed for $200-$400. Sure beats buying a new frame.
    Is that before or after the cost of shipping the bike to and from the repair facility? And yes, of course it beats buying a new frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Meh. Most everyone I know has at least once. Two of my friends in the last week at 25+mph.
    Hmmm, your bike friends are definitely a different type of rider than mine. I would say less than 5% of the people I ride or have ridden with have crashed. Do you ride with racers?
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  14. #14
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    I rode Alu for 8 years, went to carbon, but what I really wanted was steel. Each material has their strengths and weaknesses. Find something you like and ride

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post


    Hmmm, your bike friends are definitely a different type of rider than mine. I would say less than 5% of the people I ride or have ridden with have crashed. Do you ride with racers?
    I've never come close to racing but that doesn't mean I never crashed. At the very least I've lost two bicycles due to crashes. Possibly three, but I've been riding a long time and my bicycling memories don't tend in a grisly direction.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    I've never come close to racing but that doesn't mean I never crashed. At the very least I've lost two bicycles due to crashes. Possibly three, but I've been riding a long time and my bicycling memories don't tend in a grisly direction.
    I have only been riding since 2002 and probably have less than 40,000 miles under me. I guess I've either been lucky so far or just cautious.
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  17. #17
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    Nothing wrong with a nice aluminum frame. I'm not going to say I prefer aluminum over carbon though, I have both and prefer my carbon bikes because they are lighter and smoother riding than my aluminum bikes.

    Sure with bigger tires you can make an aluminum bike ride smoother than it would with skinny tires, but generally speaking carbon bikes ride smoother / dampen the buzz. You can find exceptions I'm sure comparing different bike models / brands, but the same bike in carbon vs Aluminum on the same size road tires the carbon rides better.
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  18. #18
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    Quality Carbon! Give it a try and see for yourself.
    Both my Carbon Frames resonate under power.
    You can hear it and feel it.
    My Alum. don't do that.

  19. #19
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    I would recommend anyone racing Cat 3 to Cat 5 criteriums to race on aluminum.

  20. #20
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Hmmm, your bike friends are definitely a different type of rider than mine. I would say less than 5% of the people I ride or have ridden with have crashed. Do you ride with racers?
    Yea a few. But that really isn't the issue with crashes.
    Wet roads. Gravel. Pot holes. Manholes. All sorts of things beside 'racing' cause crashes.
    I have a friend who was riding and a small animal (opossum or cat) ran out right into her. Knocked her over and broke her pelvis and collarbone.
    But her carbon bike was perfectly fine
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Yea a few. But that really isn't the issue with crashes.
    Wet roads. Gravel. Pot holes. Manholes. All sorts of things beside 'racing' cause crashes.
    I have a friend who was riding and a small animal (opossum or cat) ran out right into her. Knocked her over and broke her pelvis and collarbone.
    But her carbon bike was perfectly fine
    Well yeah, there are no guarantees. I had a squirrel run out and bounce off my crank once. To think if he/she had run into the wheel and been caught between spokes, that ride would have ended early to be sure.

    I have been on rides where deer weren't too far off the road. If one of those darted out in front of me, well, to say the least, it would hurt.

    As I said, I've probably been lucky. I've hit the occasional unavoidable pot hole, but it wasn't enough to throw me off the bike or even throw a wheel out of true. I generally don't bomb downhills unless I know the road surface very, very well. I try to avoid riding in rain or wet roads, though it's unavoidable when you get one of those 0% chance of rain storms that meteorologists are so good at predicting.
    Last edited by Lombard; 3 Weeks Ago at 05:31 AM.
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  22. #22
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    Last aluminum frame bike I owned was a Cannonndale 3.0 frame in the early 1990's. That bike was just brutal. I hear they'v come a long way in 30 years, but the memory of that thing keeps me away. I eventually broke it where the chain stay met the bottom bracket. That was a good day. I didn't even bother trying to warranty it for a new frame.

  23. #23
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Well yeah, there are no guarantees. I had a squirrel run out and bounce off my crank once. To think if he/she had run into the wheel and been caught between spokes, that ride would have ended early to be sure.
    I've had/seen way too many squirrel incidents to count. I've clipped a few. Had them run right between my wheels. Seen many a friend clip/run them over.
    I can't recall anyone ever crashing from one though....surprisingly.
    Google image search squirrel bicycle spoke. Some horrific pictures of them getting stuck in the front wheel and snapping the forks.

    I have been on rides where deer weren't too far off the road. If one of those darted out in front of me, well, to say the least, it would hurt.
    You must have smart deer!
    I've had dozens over the years dart out. A few almost close enough to touch. I know of a few people who've hit them.
    We once had one take a nose dive, slide across the road, right between a gap in a paceline doing 30mph. Luck to be alive after that one.
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  24. #24
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    oh gosh, people are worried that their aluminum frames degrade as they use them? Oh dear, what about all the other aluminm parts, like aluminum handlebars, stems, cranks, derailleur hangers, and wheels? My 1995 Mavic aluminum wheelset is still being used today, after litterally tens of thousand of miles, with many miles on the mountain. Yeah I have to true it a couple times, but fail they haven't.

    but speaking of wheels, i had a set of aluminum wheels that had a dent, I kept on riding that thing until I got sick of looking at the dent and gave it away, but it didn't fail. My Bontrager carbon got a "dent" (carbon frayed) from a castrophic flat and the wheelset is toast (repairing the carbon brake track is too expensive).

    stop with the nonsense worries. There are many structures made of aluminum in this world than there are of carbon fiber.

    and just so we're clear, carbon fiber does undergo fatigue too. Yes, micro tears within the carbon fiber matrix will eventually become bigger void and at some point will fail too.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Sure. There are some really impressive aluminum offerings. The CAAD13 is an amazing bike for the price. I know people who've bought it as a 'disposable' crit race bike.

    Carbon doesn't just 'fail'. This is a myth.
    And remember, carbon frames are almost 100% repairable. There's almost nothing on a carbon frame that can't be readily repaired. There are many companies doing carbon repair and it's relatively cheap.
    Aluminum on the other hand is almost 100% UN-repairable. You bend, dent, crack an aluminum frame and it's scrap.

    That's a trashed aluminum frame. And a $200-$300 easy carbon repair.

    most frame repair will start at at least $300, and reputable ones like Parlee will want more, and that's for one simple crack with a basic paint to match (solid white, solid black, matte); fancier paint jobs will cost more. When all said and done, the realistic cost is closer to $500. Now for a highend frame, $500 may be worth the financial to having it repaired. For mid- to lowend carbon frames, this cost is questionable when you consider that online sellers (before Covid) can sell a complete lowend carbon bikes for $1000 or less. So yes, carbon is repairable but I'd argue it's only worth it for highend frames.

    Aluminum frames aren't repairable but they're never highend frames. If you damage your aluminum frame, then you can get a new one for $300-$400.

    So the case of "buy carbon because it's is repairable" is not cut and dry.

    And carbon wheels aren't worth repairing. Yes, I've damaged my highend Bontrager wheels and after asking 2 repair shops here, both tell me carbon wheels ain't worth repairing because the cost of repair would be in the $300-$500 range (it's hard to repair the brake track). Their recommendation was to buy a new carbon rim (which is a ridiculous $900 from Bontrager). I know a wheel is not a frame, but a highend wheelset can cost as much as many average carbon frames too, and it sucks that damage to carbon wheels aren't nearly as repairable.

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