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Why was Chromoly phased out?

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Why was Chromoly phased out?

Old 06-29-20, 06:41 PM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
You're right that it's a guess.. but I think it helps explain why you can often find extreme pricing swings/sales on CF frames such as linked.
You won't typically ever be able to find a steel/cromo frame that can suffer a $2k price discount

R5 DISC FRAMESET
The original price is so absurdly high that the discounted price places the frame in a reasonable range.
I could link bikes direct steel frame bikes that show similar g discounts,, but it doesn't mean the bike was worth that original cost to begin with.

I get supply, demand, and perceived value, so no need to go into all that. The Cervelo frameset's original price is simply absurd.
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Old 06-29-20, 06:42 PM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by ParamountScapin View Post
Nothing rides as good as lugged steel. Your butt will tell you after a 100mi day. Followed by tig'd steel. It is not used as much in these days of bling & marketing crap as folks need the latest BS that they can pay more for rather than the classiest & best.
You can tell the difference between otherwise identical bikes where the only difference is one is welded and the other is lugged?
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Old 06-29-20, 06:43 PM
  #128  
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Chromo is still around. I just bought a new bike with a chromo frame. There are definitely fewer, for sure.
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Old 06-29-20, 06:47 PM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
The original price is so absurdly high that the discounted price places the frame in a reasonable range.
I could link bikes direct steel frame bikes that show similar g discounts,, but it doesn't mean the bike was worth that original cost to begin with.

I get supply, demand, and perceived value, so no need to go into all that. The Cervelo frameset's original price is simply absurd.
Of course it is.. however, just about every major bike manufacturer has a frameset that lists at around the $4k+ pricepoints. That's my point. CF can suffer much higher markups and the sellers can get away with it and be more profitable.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:00 PM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You can tell the difference between otherwise identical bikes where the only difference is one is welded and the other is lugged?
Do not know. Never owned two identical except for lugged vs TIG'd. If were to guess the lugged would be slightly more forgiving due to the localized hardening of the metal at the welds that the lower heat of sil-brazing would not have.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:13 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by ParamountScapin View Post
Do not know. Never owned two identical except for lugged vs TIG'd. If were to guess the lugged would be slightly more forgiving due to the localized hardening of the metal at the welds that the lower heat of sil-brazing would not have.
Materials with higher hardness do tend to also have higher stiffness, especially when looking at non-metals, but hardening a piece of metal does not significantly affect its stiffness.
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Old 06-29-20, 09:00 PM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
The mythical bicycle tourists. I've yet to meet him/her but I'll give them my regards when I meet them.
Hi, nice to meet you.
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Old 06-29-20, 10:16 PM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by ParamountScapin View Post
Do not know. Never owned two identical except for lugged vs TIG'd. If were to guess the lugged would be slightly more forgiving due to the localized hardening of the metal at the welds that the lower heat of sil-brazing would not have.
I must have misread your earlier statement then. I thought you were declaring a lugged steel bike is the most comfortable and a tig welded frame is less comfortable.
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Old 06-30-20, 05:40 AM
  #134  
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Not much mention of wheels and their impact on the ride. However, in my experience, wheels & spokes, along with tires, have as much impact on ride quality as does the frame. Had an early set of the TOTL Ksyrium with 25s on a Ti frameset that was almost unrideable for anything but a criterium length ride. Felt every bump and crack and pebble on that horrible combination. Was better on lugged steel but they were soon gone to someone who was a sprinter. For me, the combo of lugged steel & Campy Sirocco wheels with 28s or 32s have proven most comfortable over the years (I'm 72 & counting). Speed is no longer an issue. I'll eventually get there......................
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Old 06-30-20, 05:55 AM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by ParamountScapin View Post
Not much mention of wheels and their impact on the ride. However, in my experience, wheels & spokes, along with tires, have as much impact on ride quality as does the frame. Had an early set of the TOTL Ksyrium with 25s on a Ti frameset that was almost unrideable for anything but a criterium length ride. Felt every bump and crack and pebble on that horrible combination. Was better on lugged steel but they were soon gone to someone who was a sprinter. For me, the combo of lugged steel & Campy Sirocco wheels with 28s or 32s have proven most comfortable over the years (I'm 72 & counting). Speed is no longer an issue. I'll eventually get there......................
Wheels and tires play a huge role as do the stem, handlebar and seat post. I think I read some studies that showed that your seat post made a bigger difference than the actual frame material!

But back to the OP original question, I do believe that cost and demand are the main drivers. As most bikes are made in Asia, the lighter the bike, the cheaper the bike is to ship. Customers judge a bike by weight. A more expensive bike should weigh less.

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Old 06-30-20, 06:52 PM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by Snow Dog View Post
I'm not very educated on the subject but I've noticed that I rarely, if ever, see Chromoly frames offered on new bikes these days. Is there a specific reason that it isn't used anymore?

I'm asking because I have a 1999 Specialized Crossroads with a Chromoly frame and I'm curious why the material isn't used much anymore.
I'm late to this conversation. High strength steel like 4130, et al, in order to be weight-efficient, needs to be drawn to a thin wall, and thicker near the tube ends (double and triple butted). This is expensive to do. The thinner wall a tube is, the more quality intensive it must be. It's also a lot more difficult to weld without burning through, and few makers use lugs and brazing these days, and those that do are expensive.

A notable exception is Dahon's 4130 steel folding frames, however the tubes are not butted so they are heavier than the equivalent Dahon aluminum frame.
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Old 06-30-20, 07:56 PM
  #137  
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Salsa does a lot of steel...
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Old 07-01-20, 05:18 AM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You mean mythical like this guy



Any welder who hangs a shingle is likely able to weld steel or aluminum, usually with the same welder. To his credit, he does say



Or maybe this mythical person



At least this person acknowledges that it doesnít really matter




Or what about this guy



He seems to have missed the bit about a broken frame being compromised and needing to be replaced.
You really went all out trying to find all those references didn't you? A few blog posts and suddenly you have a cross cut of the whole touring community. That's really something.


Chicken meet egg. Egg meet chicken. Steel bikes are available because people are afraid of the (supposed) delicate nature of aluminum so they donít buy aluminum touring bikes. No demand means that aluminum touring bikes donít get made.
That's a lot of people afraid of aluminum. The same people who might have other aluminum bikes still buy steel touring bikes because of fear or whatever. And that then drives the market?

As for strength, yes, steel is three times stronger than aluminum. Itís also 3 times heavier. However, aluminum frames donít use 3 times as much material to make up for that strength difference. Manufacturers use larger tube diameters which allows the frames to be made with less material overall and still be as strong.
I decided to do some digging and while I did find that for example 6061 T6 does beat annealed 4130 in ultimate specific tensile strength (strength to weight) the coin flips hard in fatigue life. It seems that the oft uttered sentence "aluminum has no fatigue limit" is pretty accurate. On the other hand it doesn't much matter because in low level stress aluminum can withstand quite a few repetitions before failing. Then again steel can withstand stress repetitions indefinitely within its fatigue limit. But what I did find concerning was how steep the fatigue curve profile in 6061 T6 was. It's a bit tedious to put into writing since I'm not an engineer, but to summarize, an aluminum frame made of 6061 T6 that wants to handle touring as well as a 4130 likely needs to be overbuilt over 3 times thicker in key areas to have acceptable fatigue life in the hundreds of millions repetitions rather than just tens of millions. Seems like a big number, but every pedal stroke and bump in the road is a stress repetition especially with a loaded touring bike.

Luckily the area that experiences most stress is the downtube near the bottom bracket and that area is typically sufficiently overbuilt in mountain bikes. However the hybrids I've used and now use again have all been underbuilt in the BB area and are honestly pretty noodly. I'd expect a frame failure with extensive touring.

[QUOTE]As for challenging conditions, no touring bike undergoes anything remotely as challenging as what a mountain bike is put through. If new steel road bikes are rare, new steel mountain are almost nonexistent. They probably exist but you wonít find them at your local trailhead.

Well yes but actually no. The most stress a bicycle experiences is from pedaling out of the saddle. I was surprised when I read that but there you have it. Also there's the issue of dynamic vs static load. A fully loaded touring bike is stacked with static weight that does not try to bend at the knees when hitting a speed bump. On the other hand an adept mountain biker can and will ride dynamically mostly to improve traction, reduce bounce but also to protect to bike to some extent. Also mountain bikes use large volume supple tires which take up a lot of the stress. And that's with hardtails. Full squishes are a different discussion entirely.

Also I've ridden singletrack with a fully loaded touring bike. That's why you want some reserve in the frame durability section.

New steel mountain bikes are a thing and not an uncommon at that. One one has offered steel framed mountain bikes for years and years and I ride a Surly Ice Cream Truck which is also made of steel. I won't do a search of all the steel mountain bike manufacturers out there but they are not really at all rare. I mean Kona has steel mountain bikes for crying out loud.

Not in my experience. See above if you need details. A field repaired frame...under the spreading limbs of a chestnut tree at the village smithyís...is only a temporary measure and the frame is likely a dead frame no matter what the material.
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​​​​​​​Where on earth do you get this idea of the village smithy? You crack a frame you take it to a welder. I haven't ever even seen a village smithy because I don't live in the 17th century.

Again, egg meet chicken. Chicken meet egg. People donít want aluminum touring bikes because they are afraid of the material...i.e. ignorant of what the material is, how it performs, how it can be repaired, etc. If there are no aluminum touring bikes, people canít buy them and the myths of steel and aluminum continue to be spread.
Holy stereotype batman!
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See above for an explanation of where the myths come from.
You do realize that one of the largest voices in the touring world rides an aluminum bike? Alee from cyclingabout is also probably one of the most experienced tourers out there because its his job. And he rides a Koga. So I'd wager the myth is just something you've thought up and decided to believe. The rest of us buy what's available.
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N o. The part about ďnot being real bicycle touristsĒ comes from you. You said



Sure sounds like someone saying that they arenít ďrealĒ bicycle tourist. A Koga Worldtraveller would seem to fit your aluminum ďtrekking bikeĒ category. And, yes, people take tours on bikes with suspension. They even do rides like you describe with support. But not everyone does that kind of touring and lots of people have done what you (and I, to be fair) would consider ďrealĒ touring on aluminum bikes.
It still seems to me that it is you who thinks that touring short distances or with support or whatever is somehow lesser. It's you who's constantly saying it. I haven't mentioned support once but that happens too. There are even organizers who take you up the hills on a bus so you can ride the downhills.
You're doing a lot of creative interpreting of what I wrote. Have you ever toured Europe? Do you know what it is like here? Cycling is something people just do. For most it is not a hobby.

The world traveller btw isn't affordable. It's pretty darn expensive and definitely in the world crossing category. This https://www.cube.eu/en/2019/bikes/tr...19-easy-entry/ not so much.
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Iíve got loads of scars on my legs and arms from ďslipping along in a bit of a grind fashionĒ on both pavement and rocks. I crash with regularity and have never damaged a frame because I fell over to the side. It highly unlikely you could break a frame that way in any case, since the impact is oblique and thus of lower energy. Iíve also seen a lot of scraped up bikes from fall over crashes and none of them were damaged to the point of disposal.
you're not everyone you know.


​​​​​​User error. And I doubt the damage was enough to make the frame unusable.
One ride was enought to grind a sizeable dent on the chainstay. That was with several millimeters of space available but mud'll do that to something that can be worked with woodworking tools.


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All of the things you list can occur on steel bikes and are mechanical issues that should be addressed. They arenít inherent to the frame material.
Sure they can. But they don't seem to happen with steel bikes with near the regularity they do with aluminum bikes. My late Rockhopper needed several regreasings of the seat collar and seat post per year to stay creak free. On my ICT it's set and forget.
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The number of hardtails in use is about equal to the number of full suspension bikes. Neither class experiences large numbers of frame failures, even when put though far more strenuous conditions than touring bikes are.
I don't think it's really fair that you get to use the all encompassing "bicycle tourist" -stereotype with which you can just state that the world works in such and such a way but when someone uses the same fallacy on you you start pulling imaginary numbers from somewhere. It's like you're not arguing in good faith or something.

And your analogy has nothing to do with the idea that steel is easily fixed.


Cranks do break. A broken crank is likely to cause more injury than a broken frame does.
That's not exactly something that speaks well for aluminum.

I have no idea what you do to pedals but I seldom break pedals. I have broken them and, like a crank, the likelihood of injury is very high. The broken part, by the way, has been the steel spindle.
Well I ride trails with a mountain bike. Pedal strikes do happen when you ride something technical. It's either that or ditch and well, ditching is boring.


Neither of these ideas is very viable. Hub flange failures are rare. Rim failures are fairly rare as well. But the big problem would be mating the two metals. Steel and aluminum canít be welded together and any physical attachment would have to be robust...which means more weight.
With rims perhaps it's not a great idea but with hubs it'd need the robustness of a disc rotor attachment, which isn't that much. A splined fit with 3 to 4 M4 screws for the hub flanges and the typical slip fit for the bearings.


Thereís more to it than just metal thickness. Bicycle manufacturers have done a lot of engineering to take advantage of aluminum since the early days. Little engineering is being done on steel because demand is actually quite low. The steel touring bikes of today are essentially the same as they were 40 years ago. Aluminum bikes arenít. Applying the lessons learned in mountain bike design, we could have strong, light touring bikes but people are stuck in the mid80s mindset that aluminum is just too risky...as you have amply demonstrated.
Again yes but actually no. Aluminum has gotten fancy shapes with hydroforming which lessens the need for gusseting but essentially what has happened is larger diameter tubes. But if you compare steel frames of the past and of today you'll notice that larger diameter tubes has also happened to steel touring bikes. Pretty much all steel touring bikes today are made of OS tubing or even ultra OS tubing and some even use the ZS44 headset standard which makes the front end ridiculously solid. The ZS44 works wonderfully for aluminum but with steel its just pure and simple overkill and thus excellent for touring use. The Salsa Marrakesh for example uses that. Add to it 31,8mm seatpost and you'll have a pretty rigid rear end as well.

In terms of steel mountain bikes it's not just larger tube diameters as steel bikes have started getting fancy tube shapes as well. Not as fancy looking as hydroformed tubing but my Surly ICT has this new cool thing called trumpet tubing which means exactly what it sounds like. The tube is shaped like a trumpet so the highest load area has a larger tube diameter.

Frame failure of any kind of material is rare. Yes, it happens but it doesnít happen nearly as much as people think. I have more miles on aluminum than I do on steel. Iím not afraid that any of my aluminum frames of any kind will fail. If they do fail, they wonít do it catastrophically. If they do fail in the field, Iím sure that I can find someone to repair it to get me to the next town or the end of the tour. If I had steel, thatís all Iíd expect as well.
True. There's not much difference. But you seem intent on downplaying every argument anyone might have for steel and putting down the people who choose to ride it so I'll just put this out here. You can't repair aluminum. It's not properly viable as 6061 T6 will go back to T0 when welded. This means the weld affected area loses over 50 % of its strength. It can be heat treated but it needs to be done to the whole frame. Not even the professional aluminum welder in a large city will have those facilities as even frame factories outsource heat treating.
So in the end even though the welder you do find can put the frame "together" it'll be a botch job.

4130 on the other hand does not lose strength from a repair. The annealed state is the baseline after welding/heating and that's the value the frame is typically designed around. It's also much easier to botch repair steel so if that weird 17th century village smithy has a stick welder and some spare steel rods you can even use those. But if you happen to find an actual frame builder or even a seasoned welder who has experience with say, furniture, you can actually restore the broken frame.

I decided not to go into the whole 7000-series aluminum because I feel that if we discuss that it's only fair to bring in the better alloys of steel as well like Reynolds 853.

Also I think this jousting has gone on long enough.
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Old 07-01-20, 10:10 AM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
You really went all out trying to find all those references didn't you? A few blog posts and suddenly you have a cross cut of the whole touring community. That's really something.
​Those few blog posts (and your own words) are not the only references Iíve seen to ďsteel is easily repaired while aluminum isnít so I will never trust aluminumĒ statements. Iím not going to survey the entire touring community but Iíve heard this (incorrect) argument all the time. Have you tried to have a frame repaired at a local welder? I have. The welder was surprised by the thinness of the metal and how easy it would be to burn through. A welder who isnít experienced with steel bicycle frames...and most of them arenít...has no idea going into the repair how thin the metal is. They have no way of measuring the thickness to tell them how delicate a touch the welding takes. Do you have any idea of how thin the metal is? I do. Itís about the thickness of a soup can. Welders are used to welding thick materials. 1mm would be thin for most welders. Bicycle tubing is 0.3mm thick.


That's a lot of people afraid of aluminum. The same people who might have other aluminum bikes still buy steel touring bikes because of fear or whatever. And that then drives the market?
Yes. Exactly. People who may have aluminum mountain bikes that they beat on rocks daily will probably tell you that they wouldnít ride an aluminum touring bike because it canít be repaired in the field. Never mind that they donít notice that they donít have to repair their aluminum mountain bikes all the time.

I decided to do some digging and while I did find that for example 6061 T6 does beat annealed 4130 in ultimate specific tensile strength (strength to weight) the coin flips hard in fatigue life. It seems that the oft uttered sentence "aluminum has no fatigue limit" is pretty accurate. On the other hand it doesn't much matter because in low level stress aluminum can withstand quite a few repetitions before failing. Then again steel can withstand stress repetitions indefinitely within its fatigue limit. But what I did find concerning was how steep the fatigue curve profile in 6061 T6 was. It's a bit tedious to put into writing since I'm not an engineer, but to summarize, an aluminum frame made of 6061 T6 that wants to handle touring as well as a 4130 likely needs to be overbuilt over 3 times thicker in key areas to have acceptable fatigue life in the hundreds of millions repetitions rather than just tens of millions. Seems like a big number, but every pedal stroke and bump in the road is a stress repetition especially with a loaded touring bike.

Luckily the area that experiences most stress is the downtube near the bottom bracket and that area is typically sufficiently overbuilt in mountain bikes. However the hybrids I've used and now use again have all been underbuilt in the BB area and are honestly pretty noodly. I'd expect a frame failure with extensive touring.
All bicycles...well bicycles of any quality...are overbuilt in areas of stress. Bicycle tubes arenít just cylinders with the same wall thickness from one end to the other. Aluminum touring bikes like those made by Cannondale have (slightly) heavier frames than their road bikes because they are buttressed in stress areas. Steel touring bikes do the same thing for the same reasons. This is all stuff that any frame builder or designer should know.

An aluminum frame of any kind is built to withstand the stresses they are designed for. You canít just put a load on any bike...steel or aluminum...and expect it to perform like a well designed and build touring bike will. Lots of people (and youíll probably have issue with me saying that) say that ďyou can tour on anythingĒ. While true, they say that there are some bikes that do it better. A race bike that has been built to be as light as possible will be noodly and wonít carry the load as well. It is likely to develop a death wobble because the frame tubes are light to withstand the side to side movement of the extra load. Same with hybrids. They arenít necessarily designed for touring loads.


Well yes but actually no.
Perhaps you should have added ďbut maybeĒ to cover all the bases

The most stress a bicycle experiences is from pedaling out of the saddle. I was surprised when I read that but there you have it. Also there's the issue of dynamic vs static load. A fully loaded touring bike is stacked with static weight that does not try to bend at the knees when hitting a speed bump. On the other hand an adept mountain biker can and will ride dynamically mostly to improve traction, reduce bounce but also to protect to bike to some extent. Also mountain bikes use large volume supple tires which take up a lot of the stress. And that's with hardtails. Full squishes are a different discussion entirely.
I agree with your statement for road bikes (and road touring bikes). But even the most adept mountain biker is going to put his frame through more stress than any road bike ever experiences. Mountain bike frames are heavier for a reason. Suspension has been added to mountain bikes to take the stress off the frame. But the frame still goes through more punishment than a road bike will.

As for out of saddle riding, thatís one of the first things I noticed when I switched from a steel touring bike to an aluminum one. The steel bike (a 1984 Miyata 610) was never stiff enough ride out of the saddle with a touring load. If I did get out of the saddle, I had to pedal straight up and down with zero body movement side-to-side or the bike would wander all over the road. The Cannondale has no problem with normal out of the saddle riding.

New steel mountain bikes are a thing and not an uncommon at that. One one has offered steel framed mountain bikes for years and years and I ride a Surly Ice Cream Truck which is also made of steel. I won't do a search of all the steel mountain bike manufacturers out there but they are not really at all rare. I mean Kona has steel mountain bikes for crying out loud.
New steel mountain bikes are a small part of the market, just as steel road bikes are only a very small part of the market.


Where on earth do you get this idea of the village smithy? You crack a frame you take it to a welder. I haven't ever even seen a village smithy because I don't live in the 17th century.
ďThat's a joke, I say, that's a joke, son.Ē And the village smithy didnít go out of business in the 17th century. They didnít go out of business in the 18th. There were still some around in the 20th century. The ďlocal welderĒ is just the village smithy with electricity.

But I use that image because that is the image that most people have about steel and steel repair. ďItís simple and can be done with simple toolsĒ is what a lot of people say about steel but they donít have any experience with trying to get a steel frame fixed. Most people donít have any experience with frame repair.


Holy stereotype batman!
Not a stereotype. Try telling someone that you are going to buy an aluminum touring bike and watch the horror rise in their eyes. You have pretty much said the same thing. You wouldnít ride an aluminum touring bike because (place unreasonable reason here).
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You do realize that one of the largest voices in the touring world rides an aluminum bike? Alee from cyclingabout is also probably one of the most experienced tourers out there because its his job. And he rides a Koga. So I'd wager the myth is just something you've thought up and decided to believe. The rest of us buy what's available.
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No, I donít realize that ďone of the largest voices in the touring world rides an aluminum bikeĒ...mostly because I didnít realize that there is a ďlarge voiceĒ in bicycle touring. I have no idea who Alee is nor am I really all that interested in what he does. Good on him for riding an aluminum touring bike but I doubt that will make a difference to getting companies to marketing aluminum touring bikes nor to people buying them.

As to whatís available, again, itís a chicken and egg thing. People donít buy aluminum touring bikes because there arenít aluminum touring bikes available. Aluminum touring bikes arenít readily available because people wonít buy aluminum touring bikes. Iíve had numerous discussions with people who are thinking about touring. Nearly the first thing out of their mouths is ďI want a steel bike.Ē When I ask why, ďthe ease of repairĒ is the first thing they say. These arenít people who have ever toured or even have had a frame break on them much less tried to get one fixed.

It still seems to me that it is you who thinks that touring short distances or with support or whatever is somehow lesser. It's you who's constantly saying it. I haven't mentioned support once but that happens too. There are even organizers who take you up the hills on a bus so you can ride the downhills.
You're doing a lot of creative interpreting of what I wrote. Have you ever toured Europe? Do you know what it is like here? Cycling is something people just do. For most it is not a hobby.
So you didnít say what I quoted you as saying? I used your words exactly as you wrote them. They seemed kind of dismissive. You said that the aluminum bikes used for touring in Europe are only suitable for riding on relatively flat routes and arenít ďworld crossing calibre.Ē.

The world traveller btw isn't affordable. It's pretty darn expensive and definitely in the world crossing category. This https://www.cube.eu/en/2019/bikes/tr...19-easy-entry/ not so much.
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No one said anything about cost. As for the Cube, well, no. Just, no. Thatís not a touring bike of any caliber. That bike might struggle as a picnic bike.

you're not everyone you know.
Not saying that I am. But I have seen a lot of bikes in my life. I have had 38 of my own that have (almost) all be crashed at some point. Very, very few of them have be crashed head one...one to be precise...and only one of them has experienced frame damage in a crash. Running a bike into the side of a car will do that.

But outside or my own bikes, Iíve also put hands on from 12,000 to 15,000 bikes at my local co-op over 10 years of volunteering. I donít see every bike that comes into the shop but I do see a lot of them. Iíve seen bikes that have experienced just about every possible kind of frame damage that can occur in a crash and not one of them has been damaged because the bike crashed and slide. Iím not saying that it canít happen but it would be extremely rare. Physics isnít in your favor. The rider is going to take the brunt of any impact before any part of the frame can hit the ground. We are big water balloons that absorb a lot of the energy.


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Sure they can. But they don't seem to happen with steel bikes with near the regularity they do with aluminum bikes. My late Rockhopper needed several regreasings of the seat collar and seat post per year to stay creak free. On my ICT it's set and forget.
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Of the things you listed, any can occur on a steel frame and arenít related to the frame material.

I don't think it's really fair that you get to use the all encompassing "bicycle tourist" -stereotype with which you can just state that the world works in such and such a way but when someone uses the same fallacy on you you start pulling imaginary numbers from somewhere. It's like you're not arguing in good faith or something.

And your analogy has nothing to do with the idea that steel is easily fixed.
I was just responding to what you wrote. Your comment was something of a non sequitur with regards to steel repair as well.


That's not exactly something that speaks well for aluminum.
I suspect you ride aluminum cranks knowing that they can break and canít be repaired. You have missed my point, which is that if you are so worried about the failings of aluminum, why do you use it in critical areas where failure can result in injury?

Well I ride trails with a mountain bike. Pedal strikes do happen when you ride something technical. It's either that or ditch and well, ditching is boring.
I ride trails as well. I donít strike pedals because pedal strikes slow me down.


With rims perhaps it's not a great idea but with hubs it'd need the robustness of a disc rotor attachment, which isn't that much. A splined fit with 3 to 4 M4 screws for the hub flanges and the typical slip fit for the bearings.
You are trying to fix a problem that doesnít exist. Iíve never seen a hub failure involving the disc rotor attachment. Iíve seen very few flange failures. I know that both might happen but thereís no need to solve a problem that is very, very rare.


Again yes but actually no. Aluminum has gotten fancy shapes with hydroforming which lessens the need for gusseting but essentially what has happened is larger diameter tubes. But if you compare steel frames of the past and of today you'll notice that larger diameter tubes has also happened to steel touring bikes. Pretty much all steel touring bikes today are made of OS tubing or even ultra OS tubing and some even use the ZS44 headset standard which makes the front end ridiculously solid. The ZS44 works wonderfully for aluminum but with steel its just pure and simple overkill and thus excellent for touring use. The Salsa Marrakesh for example uses that. Add to it 31,8mm seatpost and you'll have a pretty rigid rear end as well.

In terms of steel mountain bikes it's not just larger tube diameters as steel bikes have started getting fancy tube shapes as well. Not as fancy looking as hydroformed tubing but my Surly ICT has this new cool thing called trumpet tubing which means exactly what it sounds like. The tube is shaped like a trumpet so the highest load area has a larger tube diameter.
Making the tubing slightly over the size of what was done 40 years ago isnít that much of an advancement. Steel bikes are still (mostly) straight tubes of steel. There just isnít any reason to change the shape. Thatís partly because of the strength of the material but itís also due to the lack of use of the material. It also has a lot to do with the difference in how the material can be worked. Steel is much more difficult to form. Aluminum is much more ductile and does so at much lower temperatures.

True. There's not much difference. But you seem intent on downplaying every argument anyone might have for steel and putting down the people who choose to ride it so I'll just put this out here. You can't repair aluminum. It's not properly viable as 6061 T6 will go back to T0 when welded. This means the weld affected area loses over 50 % of its strength. It can be heat treated but it needs to be done to the whole frame. Not even the professional aluminum welder in a large city will have those facilities as even frame factories outsource heat treating.
So in the end even though the welder you do find can put the frame "together" it'll be a botch job.
Iím not putting down people who ride steel. Iím putting down their arguments that aluminum is inferior. The amount of strength an aluminum alloy loses depends on several factors that would make an estimate of strength loss difficult. If you are talking about replacing a frame tube, yes, it will likely lose a large percentage of strength. But the less heat that is used and the less duration of heat, the less strength it loses. Field repairs arenít going to be tube replacement. Field repairs are going to be crack repair which means short duration and less heat applied. Even if the frame lost 50% strength at the part of the frame affected by the break, it is likely enough to get you to someplace for a more permanent solutions...like a frame replacement.

4130 on the other hand does not lose strength from a repair. The annealed state is the baseline after welding/heating and that's the value the frame is typically designed around. It's also much easier to botch repair steel so if that weird 17th century village smithy has a stick welder and some spare steel rods you can even use those. But if you happen to find an actual frame builder or even a seasoned welder who has experience with say, furniture, you can actually restore the broken frame.
As part of my looking for quotes above (post 113), I ran Information that said steel repair isnít going to have the same strength as the original tubing. It has an effect. As for field repairs of steel, how many frame builders do you think there are in the world? In small towns where frames tend to break? I had a frame repaired by a ďseasonedĒ welder. The guy builds pressure vessels which require a level of skill that some yahoo with a stick welder wonít have. He was the one who was surprised at the thinness of the metal and told me that it would be easy to burn through the metal. All welding experience in the world will mean nothing if you arenít familiar with the material. Again, most of these guys would have problems with welding 1mm steel. If they are trying to weld something that is a 1/3 thinner without knowing that fact makes them...well...a yahoo with a stick welder.
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Old 07-01-20, 10:36 AM
  #140  
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I always associated aluminum frames with balloon cartoon bicycles.
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Old 07-01-20, 02:02 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
​Those few blog posts (and your own words) are not the only references Iíve seen to ďsteel is easily repaired while aluminum isnít so I will never trust aluminumĒ statements. Iím not going to survey the entire touring community but Iíve heard this (incorrect) argument all the time. Have you tried to have a frame repaired at a local welder? I have. The welder was surprised by the thinness of the metal and how easy it would be to burn through. A welder who isnít experienced with steel bicycle frames...and most of them arenít...has no idea going into the repair how thin the metal is. They have no way of measuring the thickness to tell them how delicate a touch the welding takes. Do you have any idea of how thin the metal is? I do. Itís about the thickness of a soup can. Welders are used to welding thick materials. 1mm would be thin for most welders. Bicycle tubing is 0.3mm thick.
that's a lot of false statements in a short piece of writing. Never trust aluminum? Pretty hyperbolic don't you think?

I've lived on a farm so I know which welders can handle which repairs. Professional welders are the people you want to look for. If the farm thing confuses you, farmers do all their own repairs or know the people who can do it for them if it's too difficult.

I actually know pretty well how thin the metal is. Typical wall thicknesses for bicycle chromoly tubing are 1/0,8/1 or 0,9/0,7/0,9 millimeters. Not many spots on a touring steel frame with a wall thickness of 0,3mm but nice try.

Yes. Exactly. People who may have aluminum mountain bikes that they beat on rocks daily will probably tell you that they wouldnít ride an aluminum touring bike because it canít be repaired in the field. Never mind that they donít notice that they donít have to repair their aluminum mountain bikes all the time.
At this stage this is getting pointless. You ha e a pretty strong belief that you know what people want or think. From reading the internet I presume..


All bicycles...well bicycles of any quality...are overbuilt in areas of stress. Bicycle tubes arenít just cylinders with the same wall thickness from one end to the other. Aluminum touring bikes like those made by Cannondale have (slightly) heavier frames than their road bikes because they are buttressed in stress areas. Steel touring bikes do the same thing for the same reasons. This is all stuff that any frame builder or designer should know.
no true scotsman and all that. Big brands make bad bad es which will not withstand touring. Trek for example made a frame which had a fantastic ride unladen but suucked when loaded. It was the reason I bought the LHT. Anyways that's also kinda the merit and detriment of aluminum. Enough fatigue life means a stiff harsh frame whereas a nice compliant ride means that the frame is ultimately pretty flexy / weak.


An aluminum frame of any kind is built to withstand the stresses they are designed for. You canít just put a load on any bike...steel or aluminum...and expect it to perform like a well designed and build touring bike will. Lots of people (and youíll probably have issue with me saying that) say that ďyou can tour on anythingĒ. While true, they say that there are some bikes that do it better. A race bike that has been built to be as light as possible will be noodly and wonít carry the load as well. It is likely to develop a death wobble because the frame tubes are light to withstand the side to side movement of the extra load. Same with hybrids. They arenít necessarily designed for touring loads.
Finally something we agree on


I agree with your statement for road bikes (and road touring bikes). But even the most adept mountain biker is going to put his frame through more stress than any road bike ever experiences. Mountain bike frames are heavier for a reason. Suspension has been added to mountain bikes to take the stress off the frame. But the frame still goes through more punishment than a road bike will.
You seem to go by the assumption that touring is road biking. While it mainly can be I'll be willing to bet that some of the stuff my tourer has had to ride through on tour exceeds my average rough mtb ride. And those are typically rougher than your average DH-ride.

Some european bicycle touring routes could easily be classified as mtb routes

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for out of saddle riding, thatís one of the first things I noticed when I switched from a steel touring bike to an aluminum one. The steel bike (a 1984 Miyata 610) was never stiff enough ride out of the saddle with a touring load. If I did get out of the saddle, I had to pedal straight up and down with zero body movement side-to-side or the bike would wander all over the road. The Cannondale has no problem with normal out of the saddle riding.
And what were the tube diameters in that miyata?

New steel mountain bikes are a small part of the market, just as steel road bikes are only a very small part of the market.
But not nearly nonexistent and not even rare.



ďThat's a joke, I say, that's a joke, son.Ē And the village smithy didnít go out of business in the 17th century. They didnít go out of business in the 18th. There were still some around in the 20th century. The ďlocal welderĒ is just the village smithy with electricity.

But I use that image because that is the image that most people have about steel and steel repair. ďItís simple and can be done with simple toolsĒ is what a lot of people say about steel but they donít have any experience with trying to get a steel frame fixed. Most people donít have any experience with frame repair.
Who? Who says that with a straight face?

Not a stereotype. Try telling someone that you are going to buy an aluminum touring bike and watch the horror rise in their eyes. You have pretty much said the same thing. You wouldnít ride an aluminum touring bike because (place unreasonable reason here).
The people I know would not care. So the reality is actually that if you told people that you're getting an aluminum frame touring bike their response would be "...and?"

I don't like aluminum for a multitude of reasons. For me it's always been creaky. The threads are weak. It has poor wear and denting resistance and that matters because I don't live in a perfect world where my bike won't get dinged or rubbed against things. Transporting bikes on a train can be a nightmare in that regard.
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No, I donít realize that ďone of the largest voices in the touring world rides an aluminum bikeĒ...mostly because I didnít realize that there is a ďlarge voiceĒ in bicycle touring. I have no idea who Alee is nor am I really all that interested in what he does. Good on him for riding an aluminum touring bike but I doubt that will make a difference to getting companies to marketing aluminum touring bikes nor to people buying them.
Maybe before stating you know what people or bike tourists think you should acquaint yourself with the works of people who have some actual pull in the touring community. Like Alee.

As to whatís available, again, itís a chicken and egg thing. People donít buy aluminum touring bikes because there arenít aluminum touring bikes available. Aluminum touring bikes arenít readily available because people wonít buy aluminum touring bikes. Iíve had numerous discussions with people who are thinking about touring. Nearly the first thing out of their mouths is ďI want a steel bike.Ē When I ask why, ďthe ease of repairĒ is the first thing they say. These arenít people who have ever toured or even have had a frame break on them much less tried to get one fixed.
That's what the multitude of people think about when you talk with them about touring? That they want a steel bike? Riight.


So you didnít say what I quoted you as saying? I used your words exactly as you wrote them. They seemed kind of dismissive. You said that the aluminum bikes used for touring in Europe are only suitable for riding on relatively flat routes and arenít ďworld crossing calibre.Ē
.

Yes well the relevant part is bolded. Read the words, not what you want to believe.

​​​​​​ Also the rest of this paragraph is super confusing. There's some serious twisting of words going on by you but most pressingly: bikes are not people. If the bikes aren't world crossing calibre what does that matter? It does not reflect on the people riding them in any way. At the risk of repetition: it does not matter what people ride.
I
spell this out for you. People ride a lot of river routes in europe. The bikes they use are typically european trekking bikes. These bikes are typically aluminum framed. These bikes are usually not suitable for circumnavigating the globe.

Where did I specifically mention flat?

No one said anything about cost. As for the Cube, well, no. Just, no. Thatís not a touring bike of any caliber. That bike might struggle as a picnic bike.
And yet that bike is the kind you used a lot by europena bicycle tourists. It even has touring in the name.

Have you ridden the europena river routes? You should. They're quite nice.



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Of the things you listed, any can occur on a steel frame and arenít related to the frame material.
Yet in my experience they only tend to occur in aluminum framed bikes.

I suspect you ride aluminum cranks knowing that they can break and canít be repaired. You have missed my point, which is that if you are so worried about the failings of aluminum, why do you use it in critical areas where failure can result in injury?
Why do you use steel spokes? Aluminum spokes are available.

I ride trails as well. I donít strike pedals because pedal strikes slow me down.
Correction, you ride easy trails if pedal strikes aren't an issue for you. Even the best riders get pedal strikes, that's one of the big facts of mountain biking.


Making the tubing slightly over the size of what was done 40 years ago isnít that much of an advancement. Steel bikes are still (mostly) straight tubes of steel. There just isnít any reason to change the shape. Thatís partly because of the strength of the material but itís also due to the lack of use of the material. It also has a lot to do with the difference in how the material can be worked. Steel is much more difficult to form. Aluminum is much more ductile and does so at much lower temperatures.
You're dodging the point. Advancements are still made in steel and even in chromoly. Better alloys exist. As to aluminum advancements, all the same stuff is done with steel but in less flashy fashion. Bent oversized shaped tubing can be found in steel bikes as well. They're typically just not as pronounced.

There's also new things in the horizon, like 3d printing which can be done with steel and titanium. Probably with aluminum too but haven't seen a single article about 3d printed aluminum. I think there were already prototypes of both 3d printed steel and titanium frames.

It's neat stuff and can potentially bring metals back in the game against carbon fiber.

Iím not putting down people who ride steel. Iím putting down their arguments that aluminum is inferior. The amount of strength an aluminum alloy loses depends on several factors that would make an estimate of strength loss difficult. If you are talking about replacing a frame tube, yes, it will likely lose a large percentage of strength. But the less heat that is used and the less duration of heat, the less strength it loses. Field repairs arenít going to be tube replacement. Field repairs are going to be crack repair which means short duration and less heat applied. Even if the frame lost 50% strength at the part of the frame affected by the break, it is likely enough to get you to someplace for a more permanent solutions...like a frame replacement.
Aluminum is inferior in some ways. It's also superior in others. But you label people pointing out the inferior properties as ignorant or hysterical or whatever. If those properties do not matter to you, fine. They can matter to others. You claiming universally that a certain material property does not matter and should not matter to anyone is the the epitome of arrogance.

​​​​​​​Why do you even ride aluminum? You should ride carbon. If you don't you're ignorant and all of your reasons for not riding carbon are wrong.

As part of my looking for quotes above (post 113), I ran Information that said steel repair isnít going to have the same strength as the original tubing. It has an effect. As for field repairs of steel, how many frame builders do you think there are in the world? In small towns where frames tend to break? I had a frame repaired by a ďseasonedĒ welder. The guy builds pressure vessels which require a level of skill that some yahoo with a stick welder wonít have. He was the one who was surprised at the thinness of the metal and told me that it would be easy to burn through the metal. All welding experience in the world will mean nothing if you arenít familiar with the material. Again, most of these guys would have problems with welding 1mm steel. If they are trying to weld something that is a 1/3 thinner without knowing that fact makes them...well...a yahoo with a stick welder.
You ran aground by not understanding the bike. Bicycle frames are like furniture as the tubes are of similar wall thickness. You should have sought out a professional welder who knew how to weld furniture tubing. It ss weird that a professional welder would be surprised by thin material. But you didn't say professional. You said seasoned. To me that kinda sounds like a hack.
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Old 07-01-20, 09:00 PM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
But if you ask bicycle tourist why they pick steel, high on the list is the (supposed) repairability of steel over aluminum.


So why pick heavy steel over light aluminum? I agree that people probably wonít have a frame fixed on tour so picking steel because it is ďrepairableĒ is more of a romantic notion than a reality.
The reason for the few aluminum touring bikes being offered is because of that romantic village smithy repair scenario. Bicycle tourists donít want to buy aluminum because they think the material is inferior so aluminum touring bikes donít get made. Because they donít get made, people donít buy them and steel bikes keep getting made. Gravel biking and adventure bikes are changing that but touring bicyclists are a curmudgeonly bunch.

Finally, if aluminum is as weak as you seem to think it is, do you tour on steel rimmed wheels with steel hubs? Do you tour with steel handlebars, steel cranks, all steel pedals, and steel brakes? If you fear the weakness of aluminum, why not? Iíve broken aluminum versions of almost all of them but I donít fear that they will break on me to the point where I would trade them for steel versions.
Yes, I don't really get the concept of picking steel for repairability on tour. If it was an expensive custom frame & repaired by a lesser-skilled tech, wouldn't one want to have the damaged part repaired again after the tour by a skilled tech? That's going to take time & money.. If a production frame gets damaged on tour the simplest & safest thing might be to have a new frame shipped.
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Old 07-01-20, 11:16 PM
  #143  
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Chromium Molybdenum

[Whatever the reasoning why they aren't mass produced anymore, they remain a far superior ride quality to alloys & carbon fiber. Take for example a guy in his late 20's, who rides a late model carbon bike in tri-athlon's: he recently bought a 1980 Nishiki Sport from me that I had 'Retro Resto-Mod'ed - & he was so surprised at the ride quality of the Chro-Mo frame that he commutes to work on it.
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Old 07-02-20, 07:16 PM
  #144  
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There are pros and cons. Carbon fiber frames, in principle, can be formulated to mimic the properties people like in steel, but it is hard to find ones that say that explicitly.
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Old 07-03-20, 02:25 PM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by Snow Dog View Post
I'm not very educated on the subject but I've noticed that I rarely, if ever, see Chromoly frames offered on new bikes these days. Is there a specific reason that it isn't used anymore?
I won't buy anything but a steel bike with a steel fork. My #1 is 2019 steel gravel bike. Plenty of steel offerings out there from bigger companies like Kona, to tons of smaller builders. Steel IS real. If you only go by what the big mainstream shops stock from the "big 3" (Specialized, Trek, Giant) then you're missing out on a HUGE part of the bike industry.
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Old 07-03-20, 07:38 PM
  #146  
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This like most frame material threads this has gotten ridiculous. Each of the popular frame materials can be tailored to suit the purpose of the bike from super stiff track bike to comfort oriented endurance machine. It’s clear that carbon frames don’t catastrophically explode under the rider at some random moment and this can be determined by a couple of facts, the lawsuits would bankrupt the manufacturers, no one has actually seen it happen to a current unmolested frame lastly they build hard core mountain bikes from carbon and they survive just fine.

Chrome moly has some disadvantages in mass production. Material availability is limited. Where each segment of a carbon frame can be custom laid up to suit the characteristics desired, metal tubing must be ordered from a manufacturer who may not have the ideal thickness, diameter and butting required for the bikes intent and size. Carbon frames have greater economy’s of scale the more you make the cheaper they get. So for a lesser cost you get a better product. Also strength to weight wise carbon is on a completely different league from chrome moly.

So the ride quality is no better if not worse. They are heavier. Costly to produce. Durability is similar. What are the advantages of chrome moly other than some Luddite fantasy.

The one advantage in my eyes is they look great which is enough for me!

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Old 07-04-20, 02:51 AM
  #147  
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Originally Posted by velopig View Post
So the ride quality is no better if not worse. They are heavier. Costly to produce. Durability is similar. What are the advantages of chrome moly other than some Luddite fantasy.
Price and availability but mainly availability. Wanted to buy the Salsa Beargrease Carbon but because Salsa has some weird policies they didn't send any XL sizes to my LBS. Had to buy a Surly Ice Cream Truck instead.

Also very few to no touring bikes in carbon so that's a bit of a bummer
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Old 07-05-20, 09:55 AM
  #148  
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"How can we make bicycles that have a limited durability factor?" "Aluminum." "Take the squishy material used for beverage-packaging and turn it into bicycle frames/forks." "Brilliant!" Relegate bicycles to recreation. Save the steel for the cars, which bicycle riders will still need to buy for tasks that would've otherwise been possible on a bicycle, had the frames/forks been able to accommodate cargo racks/baskets. Don't include a chainwheel guard, gotta have people wearing tights, to reinforce the notion that riding a bicycle has limited usefulness. "Sounds great!"


Chromoly wasn't completely phased out, you just have to seek out companies willing to buck the established business model. My most recent new bicycle purchase was the 2020 Kona Sutra. Aluminum has always looked to me like an experiment performed on the bicycle customer base. I started with chromoly bicycles. There was no reason for me to embrace frames/forks made out of a softer metal.

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Old 07-05-20, 03:06 PM
  #149  
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The marketing department wnted to bring in TI. bk
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Old 07-05-20, 04:13 PM
  #150  
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The village smithy charges $95 per hour, minimum of 1 hour. You've also got to make an appointment.
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