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Old 01-31-2013, 07:08 AM   #27061
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Originally Posted by overlandr View Post
Some time in the past, I the world seemed to switch from mass produced steel alloy frames to aluminum alloy for the now ubiquitous "mountain bicycle". What was the main reason for this? Are aluminum alloy bikes much lighter and/or stronger than steel, was it to do with lower manufacturing costs or other factors?? Been away from bikes for decades so am playing catch up. Interested in all your thoughts, thanks.

(Srry if 205)
AL is cheaper/easier to work with than steel for one. Its also seen as more 'modern' for another. ...but most of the 'good' mtn bikes are migrating to carbon fiber (aka plastic) these days.

That's vastly oversimplifying things, but you get the point

M
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:28 AM   #27062
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlandr View Post
Some time in the past, the world seemed to switch from mass produced steel alloy frames to aluminum alloy for the now ubiquitous "mountain bicycle". What was the main reason for this? Are aluminum alloy bikes much lighter and/or stronger than steel, was it to do with lower manufacturing costs or other factors?? Been away from bikes for decades so am playing catch up. Interested in all your thoughts, thanks.
The raw material in aluminum is easier/cheaper to source, for Asian manufacturers. Aluminum is much stiffer, pound for pound. However, there are still a lot of steel hardtails available, because steel is so compliant. In addition, to what "Gummee!" said.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:48 AM   #27063
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Originally Posted by ducnut View Post
The raw material in aluminum is easier/cheaper to source, for Asian manufacturers. Aluminum is much stiffer, pound for pound. However, there are still a lot of steel hardtails available, because steel is so compliant. In addition, to what "Gummee!" said.
Not really interested in production costs per se. So one would assume that aluminum frames would be lighter then steel for the same ultimate strength? Do people know of many fractured Al or Fe frames??
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:53 AM   #27064
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Originally Posted by ducnut View Post
The raw material in aluminum is easier/cheaper to source, for Asian manufacturers. Aluminum is much stiffer, pound for pound. However, there are still a lot of steel hardtails available, because steel is so compliant. In addition, to what "Gummee!" said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
AL is cheaper/easier to work with than steel for one. Its also seen as more 'modern' for another. ...but most of the 'good' mtn bikes are migrating to carbon fiber (aka plastic) these days.

That's vastly oversimplifying things, but you get the point

M
Thanks. Compliant? Like durable - able to take hits? Not interested in CF as its way out there on my material spectrum! More interested in two mtb bikes, both 26" wheels 18speed, and

i Al butted ~ 2005 and
ii Fe ~ late 1980s lugged frames (both same geometry)

Is the choice primarily dictated by fashion or something more meaningful like weight, UTS, durability etc??
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:56 AM   #27065
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Originally Posted by overlandr View Post
Thanks. Not interested in CF as its way out there on my material spectrum! More interested in two mtb bikes, both 26" wheels 18speed, and

i Al butted ~ 2005 and
ii Fe ~ late 1980s lugged frames (both same geometry)

Is the choice primarily dictated by fashion or something more meaningful like weight, UTS, durability etc??
Of those two, I'd take the late-model one, every time. Componentry has come a long way, since the 80's.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:01 AM   #27066
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Originally Posted by overlandr View Post
Normal broadcasting will be resumed asap....

Some time in the past, the world seemed to switch from mass produced steel alloy frames to aluminum alloy for the now ubiquitous "mountain bicycle". What was the main reason for this? Are aluminum alloy bikes much lighter and/or stronger than steel, was it to do with lower manufacturing costs or other factors?? Been away from bikes for decades so am playing catch up. Interested in all your thoughts, thanks.

(Srry if 205)
I once asked this very question of a mechanical engineer who had considerable experience in both design and manufacturing. His response was that while it's possible to manufacture steel tubing every bit as light as aluminum, the steel would have to be made so thin that it would be virtually impossible to weld without destroying it. The second reason he gave is that while aluminum tubing can be just as strong as steel tubing of equal weight, aluminum is by nature less prone to bend under stress than steel. Since frame flex is an undesirable trait for a bicycle, the combined virtues of lightness and stiffness of aluminum makes it a better choice than steel.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:31 AM   #27067
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Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
I once asked this very question of a mechanical engineer who had considerable experience in both design and manufacturing. His response was that while it's possible to manufacture steel tubing every bit as light as aluminum, the steel would have to be made so thin that it would be virtually impossible to weld without destroying it. The second reason he gave is that while aluminum tubing can be just as strong as steel tubing of equal weight, aluminum is by nature less prone to bend under stress than steel. Since frame flex is an undesirable trait for a bicycle, the combined virtues of lightness and stiffness of aluminum makes it a better choice than steel.
Aluminum is less able to withstand long term cyclic loading than steel, which is why the failure rate in aluminum frames is greater. That said my daily ride is aluminum, but I wouldn't say that aluminum is a better frame choice than steel. If you factor in cost and performance than I would agree, but based only on the virtues of lightness & stiffness I'd say no.

KVA, Columbus, Reynolds, Dedaccai all make amazing steel tube sets that can be brazed, tig'd, or fillet brazed. Lower end Columbus Zona has a top tube drawn to .5mm, it is also affordable. One of my steel rides is sub 16lbs, quite stiff, and very comfortable. Aluminum can be a compromise in the comfort department depending on the frame & tubeset. I like all bikes, and all frame materials, although bamboo does nothing for me.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:06 AM   #27068
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Since frame flex is an undesirable trait for a bicycle, the combined virtues of lightness and stiffness of aluminum makes it a better choice than steel.
For sure, in a full-suspension MTB. But for an everyday road bike or hardtail MTB, I'll take the compliant ride of steel.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:56 PM   #27069
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
I once asked this very question of a mechanical engineer who had considerable experience in both design and manufacturing. His response was that while it's possible to manufacture steel tubing every bit as light as aluminum, the steel would have to be made so thin that it would be virtually impossible to weld without destroying it. The second reason he gave is that while aluminum tubing can be just as strong as steel tubing of equal weight, aluminum is by nature less prone to bend under stress than steel. Since frame flex is an undesirable trait for a bicycle, the combined virtues of lightness and stiffness of aluminum makes it a better choice than steel.

Aluminum is not nearly as stiff as steel, actually.


Stiffness is quantified by whats called the modulus of elasticity.
The modulus of elasticity of aluminum is 10 million psi (+/-)
The modulus of elasticity for steel is 30 million psi (+/-)

The stiffness of chro-mo steel might go up a little bit. Not really enough to matter.
The stiffness of aluminum doesn't really matter vs. its alloy.
Aluminum's tensile strength is lower than steel, it's yield (bendind) is far less, and it's ability to deform before failing is remarkably less.

But because its density is so low, it's easy to make thicker and larger diametre tubes which weigh less than steel.

Stiffness is desirable in bicycle frames only in certain directions, while undesirable in other. A frame that is too stiff will make for a miserable ride and fatigue the rider unnecessarily. A frame that sways back and forth under load will waste the rider's power on flexing the frame rather than propelling the rider forward.

I don't particularly care for the rider of aluminum, but I have a Columbus Airplane frame. And an Eddy Merckx metal matrix/carbon frame.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:25 PM   #27070
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Originally Posted by BobbySands View Post
I don't particularly care for the rider of aluminum, but I have a Columbus Airplane frame. And an Eddy Merckx metal matrix/carbon frame.
Last Airplane frame I had rode very nicely thankyouverymuch.

Ask a Euro about AL frames and they think Alan/Vitus = noodle. Ask an American about AL frames and we think of Cannondale = stiff with a capital S.

You can make both steel and AL ride like a noodle (Vitus, ALan, SL 531l) or like a board (Cannondale, Columbus Max, TSX) depending on what you do with the material.

You can do the same thing with CF too. My Full Tilt Boogie is a much softer ride than the TCR I just got. Different layups within the same material affect the ride a significant amount.

AFA bikes go: the geometry hasn't changed a whole lot since about the mid-90s if you're talking about 26" wheels. It has changed a bit in the 29ers since they were introduced, but it seems that they've figured out the geometry in the last little bit and things aren't changing as fast any more.

HTH

M
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:58 PM   #27071
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Gimme the fat!

Hey all, I'm looking for a new tires for my mtn bike. Criteria? They need to have lots of volume so I'm thinking 2.4 - 2.5. Unfortunately most tires in that range are dh tires and are either too heavy, have knobs that are too agressive making them roll like doodoo, or both.

Ideally I'd like something like a Kenda Small block but the biggest they come in is a 2.35 which isn't big enough. FWIW, they're going on a fully rigid bike that I'm building for super techy xc riding (think very trialslike). Suggestions?
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:54 PM   #27072
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Originally Posted by ducnut View Post
Of those two, I'd take the late-model one, every time. Componentry has come a long way, since the 80's.
Actually cycle components are not part of my problem since they can be swapped easily. Ok I'll declare my steel bias. Guess I was more after weight vs strength etc views on the frame only. The frame I'm looking at is a late 80s tange Cr-Mo d/butted hardtail made here [ie yep I know, nothing special] so I wonder what the weight penalty for a 61cm/24" CTT would be over an equivalent ~ 2005 welded aluminum hardtail frame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
I once asked this very question of a mechanical engineer who had considerable experience in both design and manufacturing. His response was that while it's possible to manufacture steel tubing every bit as light as aluminum, the steel would have to be made so thin that it would be virtually impossible to weld without destroying it.
Thanks - but welding? Isn't that why lugs (however unfashionable they are presently) have been around for so long - to provide a means of mechanically attaching very thin walled tubes to other such tubes?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:02 PM   #27073
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Originally Posted by championsound View Post
Ideally I'd like something like a Kenda Small block but the biggest they come in is a 2.35 which isn't big enough. FWIW, they're going on a fully rigid bike that I'm building for super techy xc riding (think very trialslike). Suggestions?
Two tires spring to mind:

Schwalbe Racing Ralph comes in a "2.4", but they're bigger than that labeling suggests. I use a pair of the 2.4s on my rigid Karate Monkey.

WTB WeirWolf LT comes in a nominal "2.55". I'm not sure it's actually that big, but it is a really fat tire; I've got one on the rear of my FS rig. (Don't confuse this with the non-LT WeirWolf; That's got a knobbier tread that doesn't sound like what you want.)

Both have relatively shallow, fast-rolling treads that I think would behave similarly to the small block.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:41 AM   #27074
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I see the engineering geeks are well represented here.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:21 AM   #27075
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cyclocross world championships

Anybody know if this is being televised this weekend ? The world is coming to kentucky , wish I could be there with cowbell in hand.


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