What is the current king of aluminum in 2017?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Kaboom
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:53 pm

by Kaboom

topflightpro wrote:I'm going to start by noting I have an Allez Sprint, and previously rode a Caad 10, Caad 9, and Specialized S-Works E5 Aluminum, but at this point, I'm starting to wonder why bother with aluminum.

Aluminum used to be great because it was relatively light, relatively stiff, and relatively cheap - which made for a great combination for racing. It didn't excel in any of those areas, but it was a great combination of the three. And the thought was that aluminum would be a bit more durable than carbon in crashes and cheaper to replace.

But we've reached the point that carbon is now often lighter, stiffer, and cheaper than aluminum. Allez Sprints are $1200. Those Vynls are $1500 to $2k for a frameset. So, they're not so cheap any more. And carbon repair technology has reached the point that it only costs a few hundred bucks to repair a carbon frame. And many claim the repaired frames are stronger than before. So, the allure of aluminum as a quality race bike is diminishing.

I like the way my aluminum bikes ride - also have a Felt TK2 for the track - but I also like how my Gallium Pro rides.


I'm not sure it's fair to compare a high-end, candy frame made by a practically unknown company (as high as quality might be) in small numbers to a mass-produced mid-level carbon frame. I'm not sure top quality, "custom" aluminium has ever been cheaper than cheap or even mid-price carbon.

Decent quality, mass produced ALU frames are still significantly cheaper than the cheapest decent carbon offerings. A Caad12 can be gotten for 500 bucks and most people RAVE about them. They're also right around 1100 grams. You can crash a few of these before you even get close to the pricing on something like a TCR, where you'll be saving a whole 200 grams...

by Weenie


MikeyBE
Posts: 239
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:59 pm

by MikeyBE

I have a Kinesis Aithein which I'm riding a few times a week. It's a blast - reactive, light and not too harsh. For sure my SuperSix HM is superior to my alloy frame in almost every way - but we are comparing a £600 frame to a £2K one...

If I was going to go with another alloy build, I'd opt for a Bowman Palace. Seriously think that high end alloy is superior to low end carbon :)

bremerradkurier
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:18 pm

by bremerradkurier

mpulsiv wrote:
bremerradkurier wrote:
tranzformer wrote:^ That is a very valid and great point. Carbon frames have dropped significantly in price and these fancy aluminum frames have gotten closer to the price of middle range carbon frames.


From a Moneyball standpoint, a privateer racer could buy almost three Chinese carbon frames for the price of an Allez Sprint and then muster them out at the end of each season or after a frame killing wreck until race results lead to a real deal sponsorship,


How many privateer racers do you know? I see Cat 5's from time to time. As riders get better and upgrade categories, they join a racing team or form a team. Typically, every race team is sponsored by LBS. This is where they get deals on bikes and frames. To keep this sport alive, the goods are ordered through LBS. I haven't a seen a single racer on Chinese frame (e.g. open mold, knock-off or whatever you want to call it).


It's been a while-I was the manager of a starts with P, ends with E, bike shop for two years ending in 2001 (best two minimum wage jobs I ever had). ;-). We didn't do sponsorships beyond corporate comping a lot of gear to our Paralympic head mechanic, but from an economic standpoint I imagine any support would be close to bro deal pricing at 60-70% off retail, and occasionally screaming deals like the NOS '99 Lemond Zurich frameset available to Bikes USA employees for $125 that I stupidly passed up.

With 60-70% off retail bringing frames down to the $300-400 range, you probably would see sponsored riders on Allez Sprints or CAAD 12s instead of Chinese carbon.

AyBee
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:31 pm

by AyBee

topflightpro wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:08 pm
I'm going to start by noting I have an Allez Sprint, and previously rode a Caad 10, Caad 9, and Specialized S-Works E5 Aluminum, but at this point, I'm starting to wonder why bother with aluminum.

Aluminum used to be great because it was relatively light, relatively stiff, and relatively cheap - which made for a great combination for racing. It didn't excel in any of those areas, but it was a great combination of the three. And the thought was that aluminum would be a bit more durable than carbon in crashes and cheaper to replace.

But we've reached the point that carbon is now often lighter, stiffer, and cheaper than aluminum. Allez Sprints are $1200. Those Vynls are $1500 to $2k for a frameset. So, they're not so cheap any more. And carbon repair technology has reached the point that it only costs a few hundred bucks to repair a carbon frame. And many claim the repaired frames are stronger than before. So, the allure of aluminum as a quality race bike is diminishing.

I like the way my aluminum bikes ride - also have a Felt TK2 for the track - but I also like how my Gallium Pro rides.
My main draw to aluminium (own a Propel Advanced SL which is staying) is that it's cheap for a decent frame rather than cheap for a bottom-of-the-range frame. I'd also take comfort that crash damage would usually be visible which isn't always the case for carbon. Would love a TCR SLR but Giant don't sell them in the UK sadly so I'm looking at Bowman Palace or Allez Sprint.

Kaboom
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:53 pm

by Kaboom

I've just come off a well-ridden CAAD9 and onto chinese carbon (LTK118, or TAN TAN FM686, or whatever) and yeah, the carbon sure feels stiffer and it's HEAPS more comfy. It's more stable through turns too, but I miss the feeling of excitement that came with riding aluminum. I don't know exactly how to describe it but the road buzz lent a cool feeling to the whole experience.

I would definately consider building up another Alu frame, but it bothers me TO NO END that nobody seems to list frame weights. In any case I doubt any of them, no matter how technologically advanced or exotic, will be below 1100g, slightly more than that for a size 54 or 56. Compared to my chinese carbon's 860g or even 750g for top of the line carbon frames, that sure is a stiff penalty to pay for a weight weenie like me.

User avatar
IrrelevantD
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:47 pm
Location: Near DFW Airport

by IrrelevantD

AyBee wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:12 pm
My main draw to aluminium (own a Propel Advanced SL which is staying) is that it's cheap for a decent frame rather than cheap for a bottom-of-the-range frame. I'd also take comfort that crash damage would usually be visible which isn't always the case for carbon. Would love a TCR SLR but Giant don't sell them in the UK sadly so I'm looking at Bowman Palace or Allez Sprint.
I just went from a Propel Advanced (non-SL) to an Allez Sprint for pretty much the same reason. My Propel was damaged in a crash and was only a little over a year and a half old. Ended up going with the Allez Sprint due to cost and hopefully would hold up better in similar crashes/incidents. Aside from it being a little harsher ride, which has been tamed a bit with carbon bars, I like the Allez better.

User avatar
dopesick187
Posts: 141
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 1:07 pm
Location: Holmfirth

by dopesick187

Surprised no one has mentioned Low or Spooky. The Low MKI road is a beautiful frame.

Image
Bomb hills, not countries
Kill the bosses
Kill the priests
Kill the shepherds
Save the sheep
XVX

Wookski
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:51 am

by Wookski

dopesick187 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:08 am
Surprised no one has mentioned Low or Spooky. The Low MKI road is a beautiful frame.
Spooky’s are amazing

Image

Mass market factory carbon is so meh. The bike equivalently of missionary position!

C36
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:24 am

by C36

Wookski wrote:
Spooky’s are amazing

Image

Mass market factory carbon is so meh. The bike equivalently of missionary position!
Guess all the tastes are In the wild but I can't imagine an aluminium frame with such a massive welds. USA handmade Cannondale, Klein were a totally different level.



Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

User avatar
Braavos
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:52 pm

by Braavos

Great great frames I enjoyed. Happy to see so many involved in still aluminum frame technology. That's wonderful.

Wookski
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:51 am

by Wookski

C36 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:15 pm
Wookski wrote:
Spooky’s are amazing

Mass market factory carbon is so meh. The bike equivalently of missionary position!
Guess all the tastes are In the wild but I can't imagine an aluminium frame with such a massive welds. USA handmade Cannondale, Klein were a totally different level.

Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk
Alloy welds are always going to be “massive” unless finished with a filler like Bertoletti at Legend:
Image

C36
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:24 am

by C36

Wookski wrote:
C36 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:15 pm
Wookski wrote:
Spooky’s are amazing

Mass market factory carbon is so meh. The bike equivalently of missionary position!
Guess all the tastes are In the wild but I can't imagine an aluminium frame with such a massive welds. USA handmade Cannondale, Klein were a totally different level.

Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk
Alloy welds are always going to be “massive” unless finished with a filler like Bertoletti at Legend:
Image
"Filler"? Sorry but no... my Klein quantum pro and my Caad5 r4000 have smooth welds.

Image
Image
Image

Before going for my SS Evo2 hm i looked for aluminium options and got desapointed by all: either the tubes were nothing advanced enough or the finishes were not to the level.
(Pic from internet doesn't have my bikes on this phone).

The finish of the welds is really a matter of attention the frame builder put into his frames



Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

CrankAddictsRich
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:39 pm
Contact:

by CrankAddictsRich

C36 wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:41 am

"Filler"? Sorry but no... my Klein quantum pro and my Caad5 r4000 have smooth welds.

Image
Image
Image

Before going for my SS Evo2 hm i looked for aluminium options and got desapointed by all: either the tubes were nothing advanced enough or the finishes were not to the level.
(Pic from internet doesn't have my bikes on this phone).

The finish of the welds is really a matter of attention the frame builder put into his frames



Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

That Klein is awesome... I'd love to get my hands on one at some point, but I'm sorry. I have to completely disagree with you. First, the pics you're referencing don't even show bikes with small welds. Second, I think what you're trying to convey is smoothed welds and yes, it was common for bikes of that era to have smooth welds.... i.e. welds that were ground/sanded smooth, but in recent years many frame builders have chosen to leave welds as is because it is a means to show how well the welds are done.... i.e. like a roll of dimes pushed over. Both of the bikes you're taking about are great, don't get me wrong, but they don't represent any advanced aluminum technology that's been "lost". IMO, they were great for their time, but they don't hold a candle to current aluminum bikes.
2016 Pactimo Brand Ambassador
http://www.Crankaddicts.cc
http://www.skratchlabs.com
2015 Specialized S-Works Allez
2015 Specialized Venge Pro

Wookski
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:51 am

by Wookski

CrankAddictsRich wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:05 am
C36 wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:41 am

"Filler"? Sorry but no... my Klein quantum pro and my Caad5 r4000 have smooth welds.

Before going for my SS Evo2 hm i looked for aluminium options and got desapointed by all: either the tubes were nothing advanced enough or the finishes were not to the level.
(Pic from internet doesn't have my bikes on this phone).

The finish of the welds is really a matter of attention the frame builder put into his frames

Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

That Klein is awesome... I'd love to get my hands on one at some point, but I'm sorry. I have to completely disagree with you. First, the pics you're referencing don't even show bikes with small welds. Second, I think what you're trying to convey is smoothed welds and yes, it was common for bikes of that era to have smooth welds.... i.e. welds that were ground/sanded smooth, but in recent years many frame builders have chosen to leave welds as is because it is a means to show how well the welds are done.... i.e. like a roll of dimes pushed over. Both of the bikes you're taking about are great, don't get me wrong, but they don't represent any advanced aluminum technology that's been "lost". IMO, they were great for their time, but they don't hold a candle to current aluminum bikes.
Correct- Klein’s and Old CAAD’s has their welds smoothed to create a uniform look. Bertoletti uses a 3rd party company to achieve the uniform look without compromising the weld.

Klein’s and CAAD’s are cool, it’s just that things have moved on.

by Weenie


vinuneuro
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:34 pm
Location: Chicago

by vinuneuro

So many pages in this thread when there are really only two. Allez Sprint and CAAD12.
'16 Spec Diverge Expert

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post