Enda Marron wrote:
What is the ultimate aluminium frame; Principia, Cannondale, Teschner, Pegoretti, DeRosa, Pinerello, Storck?
How do we decide- metals in the alloy, weight, stiffness, longevity, finish, geometry,cost!?
Various magazines and reviewers have given their opinions and no doubt egineers have run tests, but what is the top frame?
I have it on good authority that the Storck EVO is up there, apparently the presidents of Cannondale and Principia own Storcks and they are the inspiration for their frames, and that there a re rebadged Storcks aplenty in the grand tours! Discuss
(Pegoretti builds Al too? i thought they excel in steel)
Sounds like the question for a thesis
A racing bike should be as light as possible without sacrificing stiffness or durability. If it looks nice, too, all the better
How much stiffness you need is debatable. I personally like them as stiff as possible.
I notice you forgot Klein in your list. I think the earlier Kleins (when the company was still independent) were the first frames that made the most out of Aluminium.
Examples from the early nineties (Quantum Pro and Quantum II) are still competitive in Weight and especially Stiffness/weight. Outstanding build quality and excellent paintjobs, too! I rate them as the best Al frames there are beause of their overall quality.
Cannondale, Principia and Storck as Klein copies are on the same level and may well have topped the original. Unfortunately Cannondale has taken a kneefall to fashion and uses Al/Carbon mixture now, which in my opinion toes not benefit a frame.
Partly for the same reason I don't care much for italian Al frames.
And the welds of the first Al. Bianchis, Pinarellos and de Rosas were simply awful.
I like the very pretty De Rosa Merak, but they are rumoured to break easily.
Geometry: difficult issue. I think no major brand builds frame geometries that are just plain bad. There are agile frames, and there are well balanced ones - i think it is futile to discuss which one is better. Testride some and get the one which suits you best.
I own two Principias which are bombproof on highspeed descents but have to be forced into tight turns, they feel like a truck compared to the Scott Team Issue which is almost nervous - "italian" geometry
. I prefer the Scott.
Modern Sc Frames like the Scott Team Issue '03 or other superlight frames (you mentioned Teschner) can be built lighter, but they have to prove they can last - time will tell.
If you value durability over lightness, stay away from U2 tubing. Teschner for example reduces warranty from 10 years for his Sc frames to 2 years for U2 frames. And Sc frames are possibly not built to last forever, too.
PS: And as superlite said, a "Scandium" frame contains as much Scandium as an Aluminium frame contains Copper, Titan and Silizium. So every Al frame could be called "Copper" with the same right