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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at buying a new frameset (to replace my old steel 853 bike) from a local builder who uses Columbus tubing, and I've narrowed my choices down to either Airplane or Starship (all aluminum - no carbon rear).

I'm a decent sprinter and climber, and not very big (5'6", 134lbs). Airplane costs quite a bit less, which would allow me to spend more on new wheels and stuff.

Thoughts?
 

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eminence grease
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aeroplano

I've just put the first 60 or so miles on an Airplane frame (Colnago Dream +) and I'll say it is a pretty stiff ride. In fact, I was finding that I liked it less than the Starship, V107 and SC6110 frames I also ride until traded out the wheels from Velomax Ascents to a pair of customs. The ride has improved, and now I think it pretty much feels like any upscale aluminum bike. In my mind the differences between the strains of Al are probably due more to construction and components than anything else. It will ultimately be up to your builder who can more than likely make either of them feel the same.

You may very well notice a difference compared to your 853 frame, but only you'll be able to say if you like it or not. Me? I like bikes that are well done in just about any frame material. I suggest you go and take a ride on one somewhere (if possible) to see if you can detect enough of a difference between what you're riding now and what you're thinking about building.
 

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My impression

I have a custom Cyfac made of the Airplane tubing and the Carve carbon seat stays. The frame is very light but I do notice bottom bracket deflection when I go hard in a big gear. If I was to do it all over again I think I would go with the Altec 2 for the whole frame and save $$$ along with getting a stiffer less flexy BB. The Starship is a more fragile tube set that I would stay away from unless your building a climbing bike that you wouldn't be training on. With all the bikes I have had, it's hard to beat a Cannondale for lightweight and performance. The Airplane will be a little more comfortable but the trade off is flex.
 

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Tommasini
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Design/Construction vs material is a factor

I've riden a variety of steel before reluctantly trying my first aluminum - Which was a 90's Cannondale proivded by my team - it was just ok - a bit too much buckboard of a ride (but I hear from many it has improved). So after a few more years I took the plunge after an unbelievelabe test ride on Altec2Plus....since then I've gotten another Alu with Airplane and now XLR8R w/ carbon rear. On all 3 in a blind fold test I don't think I could tell the difference - even between my prior steel rides - with the exception that the alu's were lighter and felt much better under acceleration. All were Tommasini's as my nickname implies but like I''ve heard from others - it's also how the builder designs the frame - just not materials (FYI I'm 155lbs). The Tommasini's with alu rear ends had specially spec'd rear seat and chain stays ala Cannondale (or vise versa). Everyone who offers an opinion is probably "right" based upon their own experiances.......So if you have a chance can you test ride first?
 

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classiquesklassieker
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3,106 Posts
Slowtwitch article

There's a nice article in slowtwitch.com comparing the Easton Ultralite and
the Easton Scandium tubing on a nearly-identical pair of bikes:

http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/techctr/scandium.html

Not exactly a comparison between Columbus Airplane and Starship, but
it could be used as a starting point for comparison.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
"The Starship is a more fragile tube set that I would stay away from unless your building a climbing bike that you wouldn't be training on."

FWIW, I was told that the Starship is a much stronger frame. It has a longer warranty and is repairable, whereas an Airplane frame is not. The Airplane frame is about 150-200g heavier.

I will be training and racing on the same bike, although I have an older bike for winter. I also understand that aluminum bikes don't last forever, but I don't want it to crack in a years time either. I want something stiff for criteriums, light for climbing, and somewhat affordable.
 
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