Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby beckirk » Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:27 am

One thing that is very important that nobody has mentioned is what you may intend to use the bike for after CO. If you are thinking about loaded touring, you will definitely want to think about a touring specific frame (more upright riding position and braze ons for fender and rack mounts as well as mounts for cantilever or V-brakes). I also think that ride comfort is more important than ride performance if you are new to the sport. You will find that most if not all of the touring specific frames will be steel, which I think is fine since I am in the boat that bike weight doesn't matter unless you are in a race!
I have ridden a 35lb Xtracycle on 2 different COs and will be on it again this year with no complaints.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby mytrot » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:46 am

beckirk
Glad to hear you will have the beer hauler again this year!

Ed T
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby homedespot » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:06 pm

Thanks to all who responded to my inquiry. I have visited 5 bike shops in two cities this week, spent four hours having a high-tech bike fitting which produced a several page report with photos and graphs. The bottom line: "You are normal," said the technician, "any manufacturer makes a bike that will work for your body." "You do not need a custom bike."

One shop strongly recommended I choose a Specialized "Ruby," (all carbon). I have tested the Ruby twice.

At another shop, I tried a floor model made by Seven, all titanium, and very very pricey. $3500 for the frame alone?!!!!!! The Seven was slightly too large for me, but it was the only non-carbon or aluminum bike I found to test ride. I wanted to compare it to the carbon Ruby, but was unable to draw a conclusion from the relatively short test rides.

Regarding the significance of bike weight, my husband is quite a bit bigger and stronger than I am. I'm fit but want to use technical advantage so that I can comfortably keep up with him. I am worried that the Gunnar is too heavy to allow me to do this. My husband is an enthusiastic biker who has done several Centuries. My goal is to get a bike (through whatever means, used, ebay, internet or new) that will allow me to take many long rides with him without struggling unduly.

Regarding loving one's bike which I hope to do, I find the steel and titanium bikes appealing because of their classic lines, but want to make a rational choice that I will not regret a few hours into CO or years from now.

Based on your comments, I now realize that there are a few more bikes out there I should look for and test ride. Thanks so much.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby Force 5 Robert » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:16 pm

I will echo to ride many flavors of bikes - the right one will speak to you after you ride it.
http://rosecityrecumbentcycles.com/
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby DWM » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:41 pm

One other of many considerations that you might make...The Seven titanium frame is expensive, but it will be the last frameset you'll have to buy..period. Ti frames last forever, you can't say that about aluminum, steel or carbon.

Good luck and see you on the Road!

DWM
Langley BC
Canada (eh!)
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby cheneyt119 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:04 am

I still ride a bianchi I purchased second hand in 1994 for $400. I've put more than 30,000 miles on that frame, I have no idea the total miles or even the model or year. Do you really want to question steel's longevity? Steel can be repaired and you certainly can't say that about titanium.

A person new to cycling spending over $3500 for frame only? Spec that bike well with new components (only ultegra), good wheels, and you're looking at $5k. You only have a vague idea how much you'll be riding or even if you enjoy riding at all. You'd just be setting yourself up as one of those people I take advantage of with the dust collector in the garage. Besides that's a lot more pressure that I'd want on me. With advice like that I just have one question. What bike shop do you work at?
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby johnncarol » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:02 pm

I sold my Trek 5200 (carbon) with Ultegra last August that I bought in 1994. Sold it for $250 to a friend who is still riding it 3 days a week. I had put about 45,000 miles on it. The shift levers were getting a bit sloppy but that was it. I did put new wheels on it but not because they were bad, I just wanted better/lighter ones.

I agree that steel, and every other frame material used today lasts a very long time. I also agree that it is probably not the most wise thing for a new rider to spend $5,000, particularly on a frame made of an exotic material. I have two friends on Moots TI frames who have ridden my Trek 6.2 Madone and like it just as well as the Moots and a 6.2 costs considerably less than a Moots TI.

Before anyone comments on the cost of the 6.2 and in the spirit of full disclosure, I have family working at Trek.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby dougnlis » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:17 pm

I love advising other people on how to spend their money! I could do it every day!

New info to help with tossing in advice:
homedespot wrote: I'm fit but want to use technical advantage so that I can comfortably keep up with [my husband]. I am worried that the Gunnar is too heavy to allow me to do this. My husband is an enthusiastic biker who has done several Centuries. My goal is to get a bike (through whatever means, used, ebay, internet or new) that will allow me to take many long rides with him without struggling unduly.


No no no! Do your own ride! Don't compete or try to ride anyone else's pace! Let your dear lug hang with the big dogs if he wants while you manage your own eating, drinking, photo snapping, chatting, and enjoying the road you are taking. And if he gets in significantly ahead of you, it just gives him more time to set up the tent and prepare a nice reception for you. Which you will have earned by sharing his sport for this week. Trying to match another rider's pace can be really frustrating, exhausting and depressing whether you are the faster or the slower rider. If this is his sport of choice, let him chase it at his own pace while you pursue it at yours. On that bike you have learned to love because it matches your riding style.

homedespot wrote:Regarding loving one's bike which I hope to do, I find the steel and titanium bikes appealing because of their classic lines, but want to make a rational choice that I will not regret a few hours into CO or years from now.
.


So here is new advice to make both you and your husband happy. You buy that nice, affordable bike that meets your needs as you pedal through the six months until the ride starts, and ride it just as often and as far as you are comfortable doing. And talk HIM into buying a tandem. It will add a new dimension to his passion for the sport and assure that the two of you ride together. He can geek out on all the technical odds and ends he wants on his new, big bike and the two of you get to bond as you become a real tandem team.

There are many online and print resources to get couples started in tandeming, as well as tandem clubs waiting to share the experience with you and to offer hands-on advice in making it work for you.

Think seriously about this if one of your goals is to ride together with somebody who has several years' head start on you in cycling.
Steel is Real
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby johnncarol » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:19 pm

That was excellent advice. My wife only rides tandem with me. I get to hammerhead all I want with the big dogs. We have done 8 tours together and have had a great time on all of them. During the week I ride a few days with guys and then we ride the tandem Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Over the past ten years, we have ridden a steel and then two Aluminums. Weight can make a big difference on Tandems. Our old Trek Al weighed in at 43 pounds. Our new Co-Motion was 27 pounds from the factory so probably 29 with pedals etc. Made a huges difference last year on the big climbs.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby cheneyt119 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:37 pm

On one of my tours down the Oregon Coast there was a tandem at one of the hiker biker camps. I think it was South Beach in Newport. It was being ridden by a father and daughter team. The daughter was like 12-13 just young enough for dad not to be too dorky yet. I thought wow what a cool memory that girl will have of a wonderful week with her father. Tandems really kick ass too. I can't tell you how many tandems have gone flying by me down hills or flats. I think it's because of their power to drag relationship, ie 2 pedaling and the drag of just one bike. But I know they are real fast, so much so they often need a 3rd brakeset.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby johnncarol » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:17 pm

No question they can be fast on flats and downhills. Two engines, one frontal area and two wheels spinning. Also no question they are slower up hill. We would not ride big hills like we usually have on CO without a drag brake system. Our current bike has a disc drag brake. Past bikes have had a drum drag brake. We use the brake on long downhills when we would get our wheels too hot with the wheel brakes. When speeds get above 35 MPH and I need to hang onto the brakes to slow us down, it is also nice to give you hands a rest.

Net net, tandems are a blast to ride and assuming you learn to ride together, can be a great way to spend some time together.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby dougnlis » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:41 am

johnncarol wrote:No question they can be fast on flats and downhills. Two engines, one frontal area and two wheels spinning. Also no question they are slower up hill.


I just went to the garage and challenged my single bike to beat the tandem in a hill climb. They both just sat there. It seems bikes don't climb hills, riders do. There is no reason a tandem team can't climb at least as well as a rider on a single, and I've been dusted often enough while climbing on COs past to believe the important variable is in the riders, not the bike. For that matter, on the two CO weekends my wife and I have done on the tandem we passed our share of singles on some pretty stiff hills, and we are nothing to brag about in terms of speed.
Steel is Real
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby dunshay04 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:44 am

homedespot wrote:I wanted to compare it to the carbon Ruby, but was unable to draw a conclusion from the relatively short test rides.


I am also testing the Ruby. If I get it, I can't decide between the compact double and the triple. My current bike is aluminum with carbon forks with a triple (30/42/52). The cassette is 12/25. The Ruby triple is 30/39/50 and 11/28. The compact double is 34/50 and 11/28.

This is my fourth CO. I used my granny gear going up Rattle Snake last year and the last day. Can't decide if I'll miss my triple if I go with the compact double. I know people have discussed this in other threads, but I couldn't find it again. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby johnncarol » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:14 am

to dunshayo4: after many years of riding a triple, last summer I got a double on my new bike. At first I loved it. Then as we started riding some steep hill this spring I found that pushing the 11/28 was too much strain on my knees. I replaced the 11/28 with an 11/32. Now when the hills get steep and I am straining, I can just drop it down a notch. Several other riders in the club have done the same. My local shop tells me that they have seen quite a bit of this change.

To dougnlis: No question, it is the engine. However I have never heard anyone agree that tandems are as fast climbing as the same engine on single bikes. Yes, we do pass some people on the uphills but many more single bikes pass us. In any case, we love our tandem rides.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby Brettha » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:30 am

Hi. Well, everyone certainly has an opinion, huh? !

So, I'll just chime in my two cents.
Your first consideration should be: DOES THIS BIKE FIT ME? Please consult a bikefitter. Specialized provides very good training to their fitters.

You are not signing up for a 20 mile ride. You need a bicycle that will be comfortable for closer to 100 miles since you will be riding day after day. You should test ride EVERY single bicycle you are considering. Not a test ride down the block either- ride for a minimu of five miles.

If you are under 5'2" getting a correctly fitting bicycle can be especially problematic (shameless plug for my resourceful website at http://www.petitebikefit.com).

I DO NOT recommend a carbon frame. Especially if this is your first bike in a while, unless you want to worry every time your bike falls down or if you crash. Currently, there is no technological way to assess the damage to your frame. Cracks can be hard to find and Carbon Frames are expensive.

Please look at Touring frames rather than race bikes. The aggressive geometry of a race bike is fine for twenty-somethings with six pack abs, but can be painful for anyone with age. Generally speaking, age makes us less flexible and you should look for a bicycle you can grow old with.

Brett

Men date their bikes; Women marry theirs.
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