/ Frame material weight and rideability

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The Potato - on 05 Aug 2017
Just been thinking about the different bikes I've had and what made them good/bad I wonder how much difference the material makes Vs the geometry and design.
Currently got a carbon road bike, Alu full suspension and steel hardtail. Aside from the weight differences of each material I can't really say one feels any better than the other, but I've more faith in the robustness of the steel frame.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 05 Aug 2017
In reply to The Potato:

Alu frames have gotten better and better but a good steel hardtail still feels nicer than a good alu hardtail to my mind. My 22 year old Marin Pine Mountain is still my favourite bike to ride but it probably wouldn't survive long on anything more than easy modern mtb trails.

Carbon can be pretty much built up to ride however the builder wants.
nniff - on 05 Aug 2017
In reply to The Potato:

I've got four road bikes - one aluminium, one carbon, one stainless steel and one steel. All bar the latter have carbon forks.


The aluminium one is an 'adventure'/commuter bike and is solid. Nice to ride but unremarkable.
The steel one is a fixie and has a nice feel, with a definite spring to it. Quite heavy
The carbon one is as stiff as they come - you feel every jolt. Light at just over 7kg.
The stainless one is also really stiff but absorbs a great deal of the vibration etc that the carbon one does not. Also light at 8kg

The stainless one is the nicest to ride - which is just as well given its price tag.


The Potato - on 05 Aug 2017
In reply to nniff:

Interesting, what's the difference between steel and stainless steel, never heard for a bike in ss.
The Potato - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to The Potato:

having had time to read up on it its a higher grade of steel and can be made thinner so lighter for the same strength but apparently its no different in terms of ride, probably down to the build and geometry again then.
nniff - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to The Potato:
> Interesting, what's the difference between steel and stainless steel, never heard for a bike in ss.

Stainless is stiffer. Mine's a Jaegher - their steel bikes come in two versions, standard and super-stiff. The latter has additional metal around the head tube. The stainless one doesn't need it and so is available in just the one configuration. Coumbus XCR is the tube set. It rides like a carbon bike but considerably more comfortable.


It's also very pretty..... http://www.jaegher.com/shop/#/frame=5
Post edited at 13:52
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to The Potato:

In road bikes I think that frame flex might have some impact on ride quality. More so for forks which are obviously have no triangulation. More expensive steel is stronger but no stiffer. So if you use less steel then the bike is less stiff

Aluminium isn't stiff as a material but as its light enough to make large tubes the frame can be made stiff. But it doesn't have to be. The first Vitus Al road bikes were notoriously flexy

Off road I think it less clear cut. I think flexy steel can create effect handling. I can't really believe that once you have 55mm tyres that frame flex is much odds as a shock absorber, add in suspension and then I think you just want it all as stiff as possible

I'm certain the early Stiff Al MTB myth came from the jump in seat post diameter
abr1966 - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

I have a carbon, an aluminium and steel road bikes.....for what I do now (fast 2-3 hour rides) the aluminium is the best! Stiff, good racetrack geometry and a very quick bike....I love riding it but more than 2-3 hours it would be harsh!
wbo - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to The Potato: I'm a gnome (5' 7") and I have never owned an Al bike I've liked/kept. Maybe my imagination but too stuff at the rear. I've a carbon hardtail now, don't ride my steel bike much now


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