All About Using Alloys As Bicycle Frames

Alloys constitute much of the present biking inventory, especially when it comes to bicycle frames. The word “alloy” means aluminum mixed with other material, unless if the product outline says it includes another kind of material. Alloys are metals mixed with other materials to improve qualities like stiffness or strength. Alloy frames really are a quite recent introduction to bicycles. Aluminum bikes back in the 1890s have difficulties with mass production. In fact, joining aluminum tubing did not make their mass production possible until 1983.

Alloy frames don’t rust, however they can corrode. Most manufacturers mix the aluminum with other elements. These include:

  • Copper
  • Chromium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Plastic
  • Titanium
  • Zinc

However, these elements typically comprise below 10 % from the frame’s weight. The alloyed elements can enhance the strength, corrosion resistance or joining capacity and reduce the price of frame production.

In its raw condition, aluminum weighs in at one-third of steel with the same volume. A properly-made alloy frame may weigh less than a steel frame, but this isn’t always the situation. Actually, a mid-to-high-finish steel frame bike can weigh below 25 pounds, while a low-end alloy frame might weigh 35 pounds. The difference comes from the engineering of alloy frames. When combined with need to develop low-cost bike, yields a heavier bike than steel would.

Not all bike frames are created equal. The aim of any frame is to offer remarkable strength with minimum weight. Frame strength is dependent upon many factors. However, a lot of it has to do with the strength of the material used to make the frame. In general, aluminum is only one-third as strong as steel when it’s built with the same specs as a steel bike frame. To compensate this, manufacturers make aluminum tubes that have thicker walls and have larger diameters than tubes made of steel.

Alloy bike frames have the same level of stiffness regardless of the mixed-in material or type of alloy that is used. They are usually stiffer than a steel frame. Aluminum is NOT as stiff as steel. That is why when making bike frames, manufacturers use more aluminum. The stiffness, depending on the bike’s design, may make your bicycle ride harsher or rougher. Alloy bicycles frames, regardless of their design, are more prone to riding stresses than their steel counterparts but they can last for several years. Aside from being prone to bicycle riding stresses, alloy bike frames are harder to repair than steel bike frames. Repair facilities for alloy bike frames may not be readily available in far-flung areas.

Even though they aren’t better than steel as bike frame materials, aluminum parts like handlebars, stems and cranks are frequently used on steel bikes instead of steel parts in order to reduce weight and prevent rust from occurring.

Now that you know more about bicycle frames, shopping for the perfect bicycle is now made easy. Based from the information above, it would seem that the best bike is the one that’s made of a steel frame and aluminum parts.