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Here's what I can tell you about bicycle frame materials. In the low to mid-price categories, the question is basically steel or aluminum. Aluminum is only 1/3 as dense as steel, which means an aluminum tube will weigh only 1/3 as much as a steel tube of the same size. Since aluminum is only 1/3 as strong as steel, the tube diameters are larger than they would be for steel. The net result is that an aluminum frame winds up being lighter and stiffer than a steel one. Steel does have some advantages over aluminum, however. It has greater fatigue strength, which means it can stand repeated high-stresses without failing. Steel is also easier to repair if you ever wreck your bike. Braze-ons for attaching racks, fenders or water bottle cages can easily be added to a steel frame, but not an aluminum one. For mountain bikes, which have shocks to cushion the rider & reduce the loading on the frame, aluminum seems to be the material of choice for the vast majority of riders. In road bikes, aluminum also holds the edge, but by a much narrower margin. Though lighter, many cyclists think aluminum frames are too stiff, and prefer a steel frame which can flex a bit more. On a personal note, I have always ridden steel bikes & been very happy with them. After 25 years, my Fuji America is still good for over a thousand miles of riding each year.
Composites and titanium are only options for higher-end (above $1,000)
at this time.
Fuji's Roubaix road racing bike sells for $1099 and features their
metal-matrix composite material in the main triangle of the frame.
As manufacturing technology improves, composites may become available
for lower priced bicycles.
Titanium will probably stay at the very high end of the spectrum.
Not only is the material costly, but it is difficult to machine and weld.
If you want the light weight of a titanium frame,
Circle City Bicycles offers
Lynskey Bicycles for sale.
Because of their price, we usually only stock a few models,
but we will gladly special order any Lynskey bike.
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