View Poll Results: Which Frame Material Best Suits DH MTN Biking

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  • Carbon

    33 36.26%
  • Aluminum

    45 49.45%
  • Chromoly Steel

    8 8.79%
  • Carbon/Aluminum Combo

    5 5.49%
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  1. #1
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    Frame Material Poll

    Solely based upon your personal experience and the experiences of close friends and associates, which frame material would you say best suits DH MTN biking:

    1) Carbon

    2) Aluminum

    3) Chromoly Steel

    4) Carbon/Aluminum Combo

    Also:

    What's your confidence level concerning carbon?

    On a scale from 1 to 5, how to you feel about the suspected quirkyness of carbon.

    * Give it a 1 for the absolute quirkiest and 5 for NOT quirky at all.

    1 - It's Extremely Quirky and everbody should know that by now!

    3 - Your still on the quirky fence (you still have your doubts).....

    5 - It's not quirky at all and stop questioning its integrity, dammit!
    Last edited by MoabiSlim; 08-18-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Have spent a lot of time (riding and crashing) on both. Carbon fo sho.

    -More durable
    -Stronger
    -Stiffer
    -Lighter

    Resell value of carbon frames sucks, though - and probably rightfully so. Though carbon is more durable, it can be more difficult to tell if a frame is in fact damaged. With aluminum, oftentimes frame damage is quite apparent.

    Confidence Level:
    • 5 - If buying from reputable company (Santa Cruz/Spec/maybe Trek?)
    • 2 - If buying used
    Last edited by recitio; 08-18-2012 at 07:30 PM.

  3. #3
    DownhillBAWS
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    i think in a couple of year carbon will be by far the best

  4. #4
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    until someone starts making carbon stanchions...

  5. #5
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    Coming from a road bike background, steel is real. There are some killer new, strong light alloys out there that I would love to see being used for MTB's. I would love to feel that damping quality of steel on a DH bike. Hydro-formed tubes could be cool, too! JMHO

  6. #6
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    6.2lb road bike

    It's pretty cool to think that a Trek 9.9 with 2.7" DHFs + tubes, Deemax, Saint cranks and brakes, and double crown forks can tip the scales just over 32lb... Basically "too light," without compromising any core components for weight weenie stuff.

    If/when carbon wheels and cranks become more common / reliable, another pound or two may come off even that number - again without compromising anything. It's nuts.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by recitio View Post
    Have spent a lot of time (riding and crashing) on both. Carbon fo sho.

    -More durable
    -Stronger
    -Stiffer
    -Lighter

    Resell value of carbon frames sucks, though - and probably rightfully so. Though carbon is more durable, it can be more difficult to tell if a frame is in fact damaged. With aluminum, oftentimes frame damage is quite apparent.

    Confidence Level:
    • 5 - If buying from reputable company (Santa Cruz/Spec/maybe Trek?)
    • 2 - If buying used
    I'm almost there with you!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakester29959 View Post
    i think in a couple of year carbon will be by far the best
    I don't know how long it will take. Perhaps a year. Perhaps 10 years. I'm not sure. What I do know for certain, is that the time is most definitely coming. I feel that we're so darned close!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardyudoing View Post
    until someone starts making carbon stanchions...
    I think that the problem with CF stanchions is more related to friction than anything else.

    Metal surfaces have a lower coefficient of fricton. Now if they could come up with some kind special lubricant that could make CF even more friction resistant, then that just might work!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by motochick View Post
    Coming from a road bike background, steel is real. There are some killer new, strong light alloys out there that I would love to see being used for MTB's. I would love to feel that damping quality of steel on a DH bike. Hydro-formed tubes could be cool, too! JMHO
    I'd love to see more MTN bikes dressed in 853 or 631 chromoly! The weight would be comparable and the durability would be present, as well.
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  11. #11
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    Please vote your conscience!
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoabiSlim View Post
    I think that the problem with CF stanchions is more related to friction than anything else.

    Metal surfaces have a lower coefficient of fricton. Now if they could come up with some kind special lubricant that could make CF even more friction resistant, then that just might work!
    If the problem is simply that CF coatings are not sufficiently slick, you'd think that a simple solution would be to coat the CF in a thin layer of aluminum; let the CF provide the strength, and the aluminum the rest.

    However, aluminum and CF likely react to temperature extremes differently, so there may be an issue with the bond's durability, or even with the integrity of the entire assembly. It'd also be more expensive, of course...

  13. #13
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    Just my opinion, but feel that we havn't really even seen the whole deal of really looking to extracting stronger lighter tubing. Extracting differing thickness etc etc....

    Carbon will be the typical norm and a change will be that Alu will become like Ti... Call me nuts, but just my opinion..

    Be keen to hear from some whom know heaps about Alu as a frame material....
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  14. #14
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    A big problem I see is the use of 6061 in place of more expensive 7075-t6. 7075 is a memory metal with a higher structural rating than 6061. It's also not as ridged, and when it does bow/bend/stretch it has the memory aspect to return to it's former shape. I've built suspension links that I've watched bend 3-4 inches over a 30" span, spring back perfectly straight on it's own. It's really an amazing material. It's expensive, but it's cheaper than carbon and less fragile than the uber brittle chromolys. 8 series tubing sounds ridiculous! The shear factor would be unreal, you could literally shatter a frame like glass.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by action fab View Post
    A big problem I see is the use of 6061 in place of more expensive 7075-t6. 7075 is a memory metal with a higher structural rating than 6061. It's also not as ridged, and when it does bow/bend/stretch it has the memory aspect to return to it's former shape. I've built suspension links that I've watched bend 3-4 inches over a 30" span, spring back perfectly straight on it's own. It's really an amazing material. It's expensive, but it's cheaper than carbon and less fragile than the uber brittle chromolys. 8 series tubing sounds ridiculous! The shear factor would be unreal, you could literally shatter a frame like glass.
    Interesting, thank you for sharing this... It is not a topic I know a lot about, but you illustrate it well with words.... Carbon will be the new main stream alu, and alu will move to a high end product....
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  16. #16
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    I think carbon will become the norm. If cost can be brought under control.. Manufacturers won't be able to keep their sales numbers up with just expensive carbon frames.. If $10,000.00 DH bikes were all that was available the growth of our sport would slow significantly.

  17. #17
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    Okay, let's get some reality in here.

    The Trek Session 9.9 is $8500, not $10,000. It has an amazing build. This is by no means an over the top or even unusual price.

    The Santa Cruz V10 Carbon frame only is $3,300. That's $700 more than the aluminum Demo 8 and $300 more than the Intense M9. Again, a bit expensive, but not exactly over the top or unusual.

    Compared to the M9, the V10 has a 10% price premium.

  18. #18
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    Makes the Demo 8 DAM expensive, much like most things Speci

    Quote Originally Posted by recitio View Post
    Okay, let's get some reality in here.

    The Trek Session 9.9 is $8500, not $10,000. It has an amazing build. This is by no means an over the top or even unusual price.

    The Santa Cruz V10 Carbon frame only is $3,300. That's $700 more than the aluminum Demo 8 and $300 more than the Intense M9. Again, a bit expensive, but not exactly over the top or unusual.

    Compared to the M9, the V10 has a 10% price premium.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoabiSlim View Post
    I'd love to see more MTN bikes dressed in 853 or 631 chromoly! The weight would be comparable and the durability would be present, as well.
    Not necessarily. Steel, no matter how fancy, is still 3 times as heavy as alumnium - the only way to make a steel frame light is by making the tubes super thin walled. Which is exactly what they do on the light roadbike steel frames. The 853 tubesets go down to a wall thickness of 0.4mm (less than 0.016"). To put that in perspective, a beer can is a bit over 0.1mm.

    It may be steel, but it is still extremely easy to dent because of this. In fact, if the tube has a reasonably large diameter like a down tube, you could easily knock a dent into it with your bare knuckles.


    Carbon has by far the most potential and will take over most of the market pretty soon. A lot of the high-end models are already on carbon frames, this will trickle down to the mid-range as carbon frames become cheaper to make.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel View Post
    Not necessarily. Steel, no matter how fancy, is still 3 times as heavy as alumnium - the only way to make a steel frame light is by making the tubes super thin walled. Which is exactly what they do on the light roadbike steel frames. The 853 tubesets go down to a wall thickness of 0.4mm (less than 0.016"). To put that in perspective, a beer can is a bit over 0.1mm.

    It may be steel, but it is still extremely easy to dent because of this. In fact, if the tube has a reasonably large diameter like a down tube, you could easily knock a dent into it with your bare knuckles.


    Carbon has by far the most potential and will take over most of the market pretty soon. A lot of the high-end models are already on carbon frames, this will trickle down to the mid-range as carbon frames become cheaper to make.

    You're not going to dent 853 chromoly, you will crack it like an eggshell.

  21. #21
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    I like 4130 cro-moly and 6061 aluminum...

  22. #22
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    Sometimes the way the material is applied is just as important if not more important than the material itself...

  23. #23
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    New question here.

    Quote Originally Posted by nikos7 View Post
    I like 4130 cro-moly and 6061 aluminum...
    Both, 4340 and 7075 are far superior frame materials.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by action fab View Post
    You're not going to dent 853 chromoly, you will crack it like an eggshell.
    853 chromoy steel is quite a bit stronger than 4130 steel. Steel has a much higher yield capacity than aluminum. Aluminum therefore, will tend to crack long before any kind of steel. Steel bends before breaking, aluminum does not.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikos7 View Post
    Sometimes the way the material is applied is just as important if not more important than the material itself...

    Yes! Construction and design are always critical factors...
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