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What's Your Favorite Frame Material?

  • Steel. It's real.

    Votes: 160 30.0%
  • Aluminum. It's light, whaddya want?

    Votes: 57 10.7%
  • Titanium. Da 'wonder metal'.

    Votes: 103 19.3%
  • Carbon. Fiber is good for you.

    Votes: 179 33.6%
  • Combo. (metal frame/carbon stays, LeMond 'spline design', etc)

    Votes: 28 5.3%
  • Other. (What, you've never heard of beryllium, magnesium, bamboo, etc?)

    Votes: 6 1.1%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's your favorite bike/frame material? And why?

Just seeing what the State of Things Are™ in 2008. :smilewinkgrin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Whoa... steel is out to quite an early lead.
 

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My classic bike and fixed are both steel. Steel is real, brother. However, I just got a carbon fiber RS2 and I love it - it is sneaking up on 'em real fast!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I like steel too. But I am "ti-curious". :lol:

Hmm... perhaps that should be my quote?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Creakyknees said:
Damn. I guess riding with sunglasses is mandatory with that bad boy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
And look out, steel! Move over, carbon fiber! Here comes bamboo!!! :eek:







Don't just save the rainforest! Ride it! :lol:
 

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Bamboo is so yesterday, hardwoods are the way to go!!!

 

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Steel makes a statement
Steel says: It's the legs, baby.
Steel also says: I'm not some sort of metrosexual sissy who shaves up to his neck.
 

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I've only ridden steel and aluminum and of those two prefer steel. I'd love to try a carbon and titanium bike to see how they compare.
 

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This post will show my prejudices, and since I say that up front I hope I don't get flamed too badly.

I remain unconvinced that the weight advantage of CF overcomes what I perceive to be its disadvantages. Based on the manufacturers' own cautions about the failure modes of CF, and having witnessed instantaneous catastrophic failure of CF frames and forks resulting in serious injury, I'm just not ready to trust it as a frame material for me. I'm chicken.

I've gotten really beat up by aluminum frames on fifty mile rides, and I just don't like the fact that aluminum has no fatigue limit.

I like titanium. I like the corrosion resistance and ride comfort of titanium, but I also like the aesthetics of lugs. As far as I know, there aren't any lugged Ti frames except maybe bonded ones.

I really like steel, particularly lugged steel. Failures of steel frames typically give the rider some warning before failing catastrophically and causing serious injury. I can ride a good steel frame all day without the kind of fatigue I feel after riding an aluminum frame for a few miles, and the new steel tube sets don't have a significant weight penalty over Al or Ti. Finally, while steel does rust, minimal maintenance and the use of Framesaver will prevent rust from damaging a steel frame for a lifetime, and if that's too much effort we now have CXr and 953 stainless tube sets with corrosion resistance.

I know knowledgable people assert that frames using any of the popular materials can be designed to give any kind of ride, and that in blind tests experienced riders couldn't tell the difference between carbon, steel, titanium, and aluminum frames. I won't argue with these assertions, but I know the difference between the way my fanny feels after hours on an aluminum frame compared to hours on a steel frame.

<asbestos suit on>
 

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MR_GRUMPY said:
Steel makes a statement
Steel says: It's the legs, baby.
Steel also says: I'm not some sort of metrosexual sissy who shaves up to his neck.
LMAO. Ouch. Ive ridding nothing but steel and aluminium. But I just bought a carbon bike but have yet to ride it and I am deffinately not a metro type :D Ill say this. The carbon bike feel possitively fragile compared to the other bikes Ive ridden. Its deffinatley strong but there is a dainty feel to it Im not used to. YET:D For now metal[steel, Aluminium]l is my favorite
 

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Scooper said:
Based on the manufacturers' own cautions about the failure modes of CF, and having witnessed instantaneous catastrophic failure of CF frames and forks resulting in serious injury....
I've never seen a manufacturer "caution about the failure modes of CF"
Can you post a link or direct me to one of these cautions?

What happened with the "instantaneous catastrophic failure" that you witnessed? What kind of frame was it? Where did it fail? What was the injury?
 

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Scooper said:
This post will show my prejudices, and since I say that up front I hope I don't get flamed too badly.

I remain unconvinced that the weight advantage of CF overcomes what I perceive to be its disadvantages. Based on the manufacturers' own cautions about the failure modes of CF, and having witnessed instantaneous catastrophic failure of CF frames and forks resulting in serious injury, I'm just not ready to trust it as a frame material for me. I'm chicken.

I've gotten really beat up by aluminum frames on fifty mile rides, and I just don't like the fact that aluminum has no fatigue limit.

I like titanium. I like the corrosion resistance and ride comfort of titanium, but I also like the aesthetics of lugs. As far as I know, there aren't any lugged Ti frames except maybe bonded ones.

I really like steel, particularly lugged steel. Failures of steel frames typically give the rider some warning before failing catastrophically and causing serious injury. I can ride a good steel frame all day without the kind of fatigue I feel after riding an aluminum frame for a few miles, and the new steel tube sets don't have a significant weight penalty over Al or Ti. Finally, while steel does rust, minimal maintenance and the use of Framesaver will prevent rust from damaging a steel frame for a lifetime, and if that's too much effort we now have CXr and 953 stainless tube sets with corrosion resistance.

I know knowledgable people assert that frames using any of the popular materials can be designed to give any kind of ride, and that in blind tests experienced riders couldn't tell the difference between carbon, steel, titanium, and aluminum frames. I won't argue with these assertions, but I know the difference between the way my fanny feels after hours on an aluminum frame compared to hours on a steel frame.

<asbestos suit on>
Gosh, you're right carbon is crap. That is why they use it at great lengths in F1 race cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
 

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Scooper said:
This post will show my prejudices, and since I say that up front I hope I don't get flamed too badly.

I remain unconvinced that the weight advantage of CF overcomes what I perceive to be its disadvantages. Based on the manufacturers' own cautions about the failure modes of CF, and having witnessed instantaneous catastrophic failure of CF frames and forks resulting in serious injury, I'm just not ready to trust it as a frame material for me. I'm chicken.

I've gotten really beat up by aluminum frames on fifty mile rides, and I just don't like the fact that aluminum has no fatigue limit.

I like titanium. I like the corrosion resistance and ride comfort of titanium, but I also like the aesthetics of lugs. As far as I know, there aren't any lugged Ti frames except maybe bonded ones.

I really like steel, particularly lugged steel. Failures of steel frames typically give the rider some warning before failing catastrophically and causing serious injury. I can ride a good steel frame all day without the kind of fatigue I feel after riding an aluminum frame for a few miles, and the new steel tube sets don't have a significant weight penalty over Al or Ti. Finally, while steel does rust, minimal maintenance and the use of Framesaver will prevent rust from damaging a steel frame for a lifetime, and if that's too much effort we now have CXr and 953 stainless tube sets with corrosion resistance.

I know knowledgable people assert that frames using any of the popular materials can be designed to give any kind of ride, and that in blind tests experienced riders couldn't tell the difference between carbon, steel, titanium, and aluminum frames. I won't argue with these assertions, but I know the difference between the way my fanny feels after hours on an aluminum frame compared to hours on a steel frame.

<ASBESTOS on suit>
No flames, but some points:

Fair to be 'afraid' of C, but recognize it's a fear. Let's face it, if it were as unpredictably lethal as interweb gossip makes it out to be, no manufacturer's lawyer would allow it's production. It is true that damage isn't as obvious as with a malleable material, but if you bust on anything hard enough to matter, it's gonna be busted, no matter the material. And 'inobvious' shouldn't be confused with 'unknowable.' There are ways to tell, from careful inspection to the 'tap test.'

Composites make the widest array of bikes, from stiffness that will make you lust for Aluminum to floppiness that will make steel seem like Aluminum. I don't buy the 'any material, any ride' stuff entirely, but it's as true as can be with carbon. Anyone who says that 'carbon rides like xxxxx' is just. plain. wrong.

Modern Aluminum bikes will be stiff. Making them more compliant makes that fatigue limit you worry about a real problem. As stiffly overbuilt as they are, they see relatively few actual load cycles, no matter how much they are ridden. As a practical matter, their lives are no less than a steel bike (on average,) though for entirely different reasons. (It is a shame that most of the folks that go on about fatigue limits of Al have no idea what qualifies as a load cycle, and thus no real grasp of the issue.)

Steel is traditional, lugged steel is gorgeous, modern steel is impressive... All steel is heavier than needs be. Aesthetics aside, Ti does all the things steel does, only better, and lighter at the same time. Of course like any material, there is well-done Ti, and crappy Ti. You are right, Ti is not lugged. Save for tradition and artistry, that's a good thing. There is no engineering benefit to lugged construction.

I own and ride examples of all four materials. Horses for courses. Ti is probably my favorite, though another answer is respected here.
 

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Not so far

rkb said:
Carbon fiber, light, strong, when done right will last forever.
Last forever seems like a pretty bold statement!:rolleyes:

Nothing last forever, and I don't see very many (if any) 10 year old OCLV Treks on any of the organized rides I do.

What I do see is 10, 20, 30 year old steel bikes regularly. I see plenty older Ti frames and amazingly enough even 10-15 year old aluminum.

I think there needs to be more evidence that CF lasts forever before anyone can say it will
 
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