I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

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Manc33
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I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Manc33 » 23 Nov 2019, 4:43am

I worked out if I swap to this aluminium frame I have been looking at, it's only going to add about 600g of weight to my bike. Since that's the weight of a bottle of water I don't care about adding that. What do I care about the most, is whether the aluminium frame is going to give me a harsher ride over bumps in the road. The aluminium frame is practically the same frame from the same manufacturer with the same decals, it's just their aluminium offering of the frame, instead of carbon. There's another small reason to swap - I am sick of not being able to fit a chain catcher on the stupid tapering fat tubes of the carbon frame! I like the look of the aluminium one with its thinner tubing.

I remember years back people said steel 531 bikes are OK for absorbing bumps, but the truth it I tried a Triban 3 aluminium and compared that to an old (1960's) steel 531 frame and the newer aluminium frame definitely gave a less bumpy ride, hands down. They say aluminium has come a long way and modern frames are better than ever - but is a like-for-like aluminium frame going to feel about the same in terms of how bumpy it feels compared to a carbon one?

My last carbon frame (a 2010 model frame) was more harsh than my current (newer) one is and I supposed along with aluminium frames getting better, carbon has too. I have no idea what the ride quality difference would be, if any, on the 2 newest ones.
When two cyclists get married, they should throw anodized cable crimps instead of confetti.

mattsccm
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby mattsccm » 23 Nov 2019, 6:24am

I suspect that the only way you will really know is to ride both frames as each one is different. As you say alloy has changed since the days of it being regarded as a harsh ride.
Something like a Cannondale will probably fine or so the reviews tell us. Something like a Planet X may or may not be due to their manufacture and marketing model. I would be surprised if the frames were the same in both materials as the build requirements are different.

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SimonCelsa
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby SimonCelsa » 23 Nov 2019, 6:27am

I ride a 531 road bike, aluminium tandem & utility bike, and a Tange steel 'audax'/long distance bike.

Cannot appreciate any real difference in 'feel' between any of them - apart from the tandem is a bit heavier!!!

'Princess and the Pea' syndrome does exist! Marketing bull perhaps. Then again I am in no way a professional cyclist, perhaps they would notice the nuances of different frame materials.

dim
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby dim » 23 Nov 2019, 6:49am

it's the forks, saddle, tyre width and tyre pressure that affects the smoothness of the ride

I used to own a cheap commute bike (an aluminium Carrera), that was aluminium with aluminium forks and that was very harsh with 25mm gator skin tyres

I've owned an Aluminium Specialized S-Works (E5 Aluminium frame) with carbon forks and 25mm GP4000 tyres and that was a very smooth ride (Fizik saddle)

I now use a Miyata 1000 touring bike as my commuter and have Continental GP5000 tubeless tyres in 32mm wide and have a Brooks C17 Carved saddle .... forks are steel .... this bike is an absolute pleasure to ride

DNC123

Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby DNC123 » 23 Nov 2019, 7:06am

I'm going the other way, so if you fancy a 58cm alu frame in good condition drop me a PM.

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Cugel
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Cugel » 23 Nov 2019, 9:49am

Manc33 wrote:I worked out if I swap to this aluminium frame I have been looking at, it's only going to add about 600g of weight to my bike. Since that's the weight of a bottle of water I don't care about adding that. What do I care about the most, is whether the aluminium frame is going to give me a harsher ride over bumps in the road. The aluminium frame is practically the same frame from the same manufacturer with the same decals, it's just their aluminium offering of the frame, instead of carbon. There's another small reason to swap - I am sick of not being able to fit a chain catcher on the stupid tapering fat tubes of the carbon frame! I like the look of the aluminium one with its thinner tubing.

I remember years back people said steel 531 bikes are OK for absorbing bumps, but the truth it I tried a Triban 3 aluminium and compared that to an old (1960's) steel 531 frame and the newer aluminium frame definitely gave a less bumpy ride, hands down. They say aluminium has come a long way and modern frames are better than ever - but is a like-for-like aluminium frame going to feel about the same in terms of how bumpy it feels compared to a carbon one?

My last carbon frame (a 2010 model frame) was more harsh than my current (newer) one is and I supposed along with aluminium frames getting better, carbon has too. I have no idea what the ride quality difference would be, if any, on the 2 newest ones.


Chain catchers that attach to the front mech attachment bolt can be got. These don't care about the shape or fatness of the seat tube. They'll fit on if you can fit a front mech on. There are varieties for different diameter rings. Example:

https://www.superstarcomponents.com/en/ ... in+catcher

The "compliance" of a frame can be designed-in with various methods, including the material of the frame. It's not so much the material itself that provides this compliance but what can be done with the material to make the elements of the frame flex or absorb vibrations in the required way. Some materials, notably carbon fibre in a resin, can be made into more extreme shapes and can be made more or less flexy or otherwise compliant than can be metals for a given overall strength and/or weight.

Some metals, notably aluminium, are far more prone to fatigue damage from flex than is a well-designed section of carbon fibre in resin. (Of course, badly made or designed CF stuff can delaminate, crack or otherwise be inadequate, as can any badly made or designed component in other materials). Some materials fail kindly (e.g. steel) whilst others fail in a catastrophic manner (e.g. CF).

As others have said, compliance of the bike often comes from elements besides the frame and its design/material. Fat subtle tyres are an obviously important differentiator of harsh and not-harsh rides, as are wheels of various builds and profiles. Contact points such as saddle (and seatpost) as well as bars (and stem) and pedals (and shoes) can make a big difference. I find a thin very flexible saddle body on flexy CF rails on a flexy carbon seatpost, along with double-wrapped flat-profile bars in a Redshift "suspension" stem make a huge difference to ride comfort.

Some frame designs rely on some form of mechanical gubbins to add compliance whilst keeping things stiff in the transfer of power. I have a CF Trek Domane (two, in fact) that are very comfortable even without very fat tyres. The design allowing the whole seat tube to flex makes a distinct improvement to the ride, as well as keeping the bike better-attached to a rough road.

***
So, there's no simple yes/no answer to , "Is an aluminium frame as good as a CF or steel (or titanium or bamboo) frame in supplying comfort"? There are so many elements of a bike's design that can be permed to provide a comfortable ride.

And don't let the pursuit of comfort undermine the efficiency of the bike at turning pedal-thrust into forward motion. You could get a fully-suspended MTB which would be nice and squishy but not too fast on the road.

Cugel

reohn2
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby reohn2 » 23 Nov 2019, 11:08am

What framesets are we talking about here?
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horizon
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby horizon » 23 Nov 2019, 1:10pm

According to Chris Hoy the more you pay, the better than aluminium is the carbon, but the less you pay, then aluminium is better. Which is another way of saying don't buy a cheap carbon bike, buy an aluminium one.
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

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Spinners
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Spinners » 23 Nov 2019, 1:36pm

Personal view this but I'm liking aluminium more and more recently as most aluminium frames do not require press fit BB's.
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Marcus Aurelius
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 23 Nov 2019, 1:49pm

I prefer my Aluminium alloy framed bikes, to my Carbon framed bike. I like the way that a Carbon frame’s performance characteristics are far more easily ‘tailored’ by varying the material, and lay up of the mats, but to be fair, That’s just an engineering curiosity, and not that important to me really. The weight thing, is so marginal ( unless going very high end) that really is of little consequence to me either. I like the Carbon forks, they do have a marked effect, but Aluminium Is my preferred frame material. Add to that, that CF deals with / dissipates shock, by forming new surfaces, and Carbon frames ‘scar’ over time, which makes their handling properties change, without ultrasound scans, you’re unlikely to see a problem developing until it’s too late. If an aluminium frame develops a serious fault, it’s usually far more apparent, before it becomes a serious problem.

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Cugel
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Cugel » 23 Nov 2019, 8:16pm

Marcus Aurelius wrote:.......CF deals with / dissipates shock, by forming new surfaces, and Carbon frames ‘scar’ over time, which makes their handling properties change, without ultrasound scans, you’re unlikely to see a problem developing until it’s too late. ........


Wot is this? Elaboration of this allegation about the CF frames "scarring" is required. Your post is the first I've heard of it. Is there an article or two or some other explanation in the form of an url?

Cugel

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 23 Nov 2019, 8:34pm

Cugel wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:.......CF deals with / dissipates shock, by forming new surfaces, and Carbon frames ‘scar’ over time, which makes their handling properties change, without ultrasound scans, you’re unlikely to see a problem developing until it’s too late. ........


Wot is this? Elaboration of this allegation about the CF frames "scarring" is required. Your post is the first I've heard of it. Is there an article or two or some other explanation in the form of an url?

Cugel

Unfortunately, it’s something that’s well known about, regarding CF, in many other applications ( aerospace, aeronautics, motorsport) but with cycling, the pro side don’t care, the bikes are used up and sold on, way before any issues become an issue, there is no willing / funds available to do the science. Unfortunately, Joe Schmo sucker public, pay big bucks for the same frame materials, but do care about the durability. Some of the high end / off the shelf, CF built bikes are getting on for 13K now, the CF tech / materials, still suffer the same issues. It’s not as big an issue if you build up from a frameset, but there will be issues if you rely upon ‘off the shelf’ fully built bikes.

Racingt
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Racingt » 23 Nov 2019, 9:09pm

Worth noting that hand comfort will be derived from the fork/steerer material and head angle, also the comfort through the seat depends on flex in the seatpost, narrower ones being more flexed than larger diameters.
Tyre width counts for a huge amount of comfort.
I’ve got alu, titanium, steel and cf bikes. Cf is my most uncomfortable bike, but it is 20+years old. Alu & tit are both very comfortable, but the comfort at the handlebars doesn’t differ between them - both carbon forks and the same bars.
I firmly believe comfort depends on design & build rather than material.
Don’t know if this helps or not...

Smudgerii
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Smudgerii » 24 Nov 2019, 9:13pm

Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Cugel wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:.......CF deals with / dissipates shock, by forming new surfaces, and Carbon frames ‘scar’ over time, which makes their handling properties change, without ultrasound scans, you’re unlikely to see a problem developing until it’s too late. ........


Wot is this? Elaboration of this allegation about the CF frames "scarring" is required. Your post is the first I've heard of it. Is there an article or two or some other explanation in the form of an url?

Cugel

Unfortunately, it’s something that’s well known about, regarding CF, in many other applications ( aerospace, aeronautics, motorsport) but with cycling, the pro side don’t care, the bikes are used up and sold on, way before any issues become an issue, there is no willing / funds available to do the science. Unfortunately, Joe Schmo sucker public, pay big bucks for the same frame materials, but do care about the durability. Some of the high end / off the shelf, CF built bikes are getting on for 13K now, the CF tech / materials, still suffer the same issues. It’s not as big an issue if you build up from a frameset, but there will be issues if you rely upon ‘off the shelf’ fully built bikes.


Surely if it’s that well known there will be links you can post? Maybe the links will help educate the rest of us

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Cugel
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Re: I might go back to an aluminium frame (from carbon)

Postby Cugel » 24 Nov 2019, 9:57pm

Smudgerii wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Cugel wrote:
Wot is this? Elaboration of this allegation about the CF frames "scarring" is required. Your post is the first I've heard of it. Is there an article or two or some other explanation in the form of an url?

Cugel

Unfortunately, it’s something that’s well known about, regarding CF, in many other applications ( aerospace, aeronautics, motorsport) but with cycling, the pro side don’t care, the bikes are used up and sold on, way before any issues become an issue, there is no willing / funds available to do the science. Unfortunately, Joe Schmo sucker public, pay big bucks for the same frame materials, but do care about the durability. Some of the high end / off the shelf, CF built bikes are getting on for 13K now, the CF tech / materials, still suffer the same issues. It’s not as big an issue if you build up from a frameset, but there will be issues if you rely upon ‘off the shelf’ fully built bikes.


Surely if it’s that well known there will be links you can post? Maybe the links will help educate the rest of us


My embolden .... This does seem like scuttebut doesn't it. A summary would be, "There are rumours of problems but no evidence so I'm guessing really".

Cugel