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  1. #1
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    Scandium vs Carbon

    Which bike frame material is a better ride. I'm 6'5 and 200 lbs. I'm pretty aggressive when I ride sometimes, I only have a 26er, and want to get a 29er. My real choices are between an On One Scandal and an Orbea Alma 29er.

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    I am 6"2 and 215. I ride a Niner Air9 with their rigid steel fork. It rides really nice and handles great through the trees. You may want to check it out as well. Carbon sounds great but I personally don't trust it for crashworthiness off-road. I do have a carbon road bike and it does ride sweet but I ain't tossing it around over rocks and the like.

  3. #3
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    Two word: Personal Preference.

    The one that works best for you depends entirely on what you want, how you ride, what you're used to, etc..

    I've never ridden the Alma but I had a ScandAl for a while. It was a decently built frame. One of the On One guys described it as the most steel-like aluminum frame around. I'm heavier than you at ~270 but I found it a bit too soft for my taste. I bought it because I wanted a frame that was stiffer than the steel frame I had (Raleigh XXIX+G) and found it to be as compliant or more so.

    I would absolutely recommend the ScandAl as a XC or race rig but it's a bit light-weight for a big guy for all mountain if you're really banging it around or into really techy stuff.
    Bikeys is good fun!

  4. #4
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    Brant's Scandal had people raving about it's smoothness and speed. he's been in the MTB business since almost the start and really knows his stuff.

  5. #5
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    I race and trail ride on my ScandAl - lovely frame and very hard to beat for value for money. The anodised finish is a definate bonus too. I'm 6' 2" and 200lbs, its a cracking fast singletrack bike.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasnickj1982
    Which bike frame material is a better ride. I'm 6'5 and 200 lbs. I'm pretty aggressive when I ride sometimes, I only have a 26er, and want to get a 29er. My real choices are between an On One Scandal and an Orbea Alma 29er.
    At 6'5" you may be too big for the Alma...unless they are now producing it in sizes other than medium now.

    G
    You can't depend on honest answers from dependant hands...

  7. #7
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    I think they have started to make a large this past year in the alma.

  8. #8
    Enough of the dark side..
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    Scandium

    Quote Originally Posted by rasnickj1982
    Which bike frame material is a better ride. I'm 6'5 and 200 lbs. I'm pretty aggressive when I ride sometimes, I only have a 26er, and want to get a 29er. My real choices are between an On One Scandal and an Orbea Alma 29er.
    I would have to echo the thoughts on crashworthiness. My race bike is also my trail bike so for me going for a Scandium frame made more sense. I have an AIR 9 and the ride is very forgiving for an alumimium frame, much better than the alu XC frames of the past. I also know of people who trail ride their carbon MTB's and have had issues with crashes and cracks in seat stays and the like. Never life threatening but it was enough to turn me off the thought of carbon for MTB.

    But....my SS has a carbon Pace fork which I wouldn't trade for anything

    Ah, it's all good

  9. #9
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    Definitely Scandium

    You are too big for the Alma. Also, I am 6'5" and weigh 215lbs. I chose the Niner One9 and I am a very aggressive rider; I couldn't be happier. I will say that I originally went with the rigid Niner and recently switched to a White Bros. Magic29 110mm. For my riding style and local trails (Southeast) I am much happier (and faster) w/the Squishy on the front.

    Stick w/Scandium!

    Later, PanFry

  10. #10
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    I just wanted to clarify something about Sc:

    The idea behind the tubesets is that Sc is strong enough to draw VERY thin walled tubing, making the ride smoother and saving weight.

    But it also means Sc is a little "delicate" compared to trad 7005. So while I WAY prefer Sc to Carbon, it's by NO means "crash proof"...

    So beware the thin walls. That is all.

    AC

    edit: This isn't to bag on Sc. I love the stuff. But it should be understood that it is more of a "race day" tubeset generally...

  11. #11
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    I am looking at building a Niner Air 9. For what I have speced out it will be around the same price as the GF Superfly. I am torn about what I want to do. The best thing would be to ride both and see which I prefer but that isn't and option. Both would have to be ordered with money up front.

    Opinions?

  12. #12
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    I own a Alma 29er. Amazing bike, best hardtail I've ever ride, but It's like riding on a eggshell, I mean it is pretty light and strong as long as you don't drop it or knock it. Since you said you are an aggressive rider, I would not recommend the carbon because while riding you must be more "careful" than on steel, Sc or Alu. Also the 18 inches Alma fram wouldn't fit your size.

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    I think the Scandal is around 3.5lbs. Brant doesn't make delicate frames, or forks for that matter

  14. #14
    Goin' Down ain't bad!!!
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    I have an Orbea setup. Weighs in at 23.5lbs but I had it down to 22.6 before I put Ergon GC2's and a Pop-lock on it.

    The Orbea will definitly be lighter than any 29er around. At 2.8lb frame weight you can't touch that with Ti or Al. I personally think the frame would handle your weight, it is solid as a rock, but size wise it probably wouldn't work.

    As to being delicate, I'm not sure about that cause I haven't crashed mine. I do agree the thickness of the carbon seems pretty thin, but it is T30 fibre so it's tough.

    Ride wise its somewhere between an aluminum frame and my Ti Sola. It's pretty quiet but doesn't have the softness of Ti. It is snappy though when ya get the cranks torqued up.
    Dug-da-Goat

    "Oh momma, could this really be the end? To be stuck outside of Mojo with the High Side Blues again!!!"

  15. #15
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    I ride an Orbea Lanza. I test-rode the Alma and loved the ride quality, HOWEVER, with the rocks we have around here I was concerned about it's crash-worthiness. I've seen impacts on carbon (mtb) frames that have taken out junks of material. It was still rideable, but the damage was done. I'm also on the fence with Sc, as it's pretty drawn out (thin) to get the weight savings. Maybe if I lived elsewhere...
    Another point to remember...it's not SO much about the material as it is about the design of the frame. If the seat-stays are nice and curvy staying separate all the way to the seat tube, you're more likely to have a forgiving ride than if they are the wish-bone design where they meet and come together as one at the seat tube.
    I like my butted 7005 Al frame. It can take a beating and I don't worry.

    Good luck with your search and decision.

    J

  16. #16
    mvi
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    Isn't Sc used in milatary applications? I throw the Scandal on the bike rack, ride it hard, pressure wash it at home , and the bike has not let me down ever. No dents in the tubes after crashes . The wall thickness is not thin.
    I do not feel that (too much?) stiffness is an issue for bikes on 2.35 25psi tires. Frame material is very significant on the road, on the trail not IMO.
    BTW I have a SC Kona frame waiting to be build up, that seems much lighter than the Scandal.

  17. #17
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    That's an over simplification
    The Scandal has a wishbone as do all On One's frames but what drew rave reviews was it's speed, handling and supple feel.
    I've always found it's the size of the rear stays that most affect the suppleness/harshness. Anything with big square or round tubes seems to be harsh. As to whether it's a wishbone or S bend seems secondary, especially with rear discs.

  18. #18
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    Is money an issue? An Alma 29 er frame is $1400 whereas a ScandAl is more like $500.
    As an out and out race bike I'd take the Alma, as a racey trail bike/ race bike I'd take a ScandAl and the best part of a $1000 thanks very much.

  19. #19
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    Another vote for the Scandal. I'm 6'4" & 210, and ride one with Brant's rigid carbon fork. Light and stiff - it rides like a dream, and has enough clearance in the back for a 2.5 tire. Another bike that has had my eye is the Salsa Mamasita - mix of scandium and carbon & it's priced between the On One and Orbea.

  20. #20
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    A friend of mine has an Inbred, wanted a Scandal but they'd sold out his size so he's bought an end of year Fisher and a Mamasita frame. Until lately 29ers just haven't sold here. The mags thought Fishers handling was dull so they dissed the whole concept. It's taken the small sorted firms such as On One, and lately Singular and Salsa to force a rethink: and now Niner are being sold too.
    UK mags are far far more critical when it comes to handling.

  21. #21
    Goin' Down ain't bad!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremyuk
    The mags thought Fishers handling was dull so they dissed the whole concept. UK mags are far far more critical when it comes to handling.
    In all fairness it isn't the 29er concept that's to blame, it was the early forks. I had an Airborne B29 with a White Bros fork and it handled like a truck. My Orbea Alma with the Fox F29 and now a Reba is very neutral in it's handling. Feels like a 26er pretty much. Runs wider on the apex of course, but is very "flickable". I think it just took time for the manufacturers to figure out what offsets and head angles worked best. I'd say they're pretty well sorted now.
    Dug-da-Goat

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasnickj1982
    Which bike frame material is a better ride. I'm 6'5 and 200 lbs. I'm pretty aggressive when I ride sometimes, I only have a 26er, and want to get a 29er. My real choices are between an On One Scandal and an Orbea Alma 29er.
    Hmmm interesting choice, My LBS is an Orbea dealer and have seen the incredible quality. On the other I own 26" Inbred and can atest to the quality of On*One.

    Sc vs. Carbon- I have not ridden carbon, I have ridden/owned Alu, Harsh, dead ride.

    However carbon naturally soaks up all the trail chatter.

    Al is more pliable/flex

    even though, you'd tear not dent carbon, it is going to give much more of that steel like ride quality that I would go for, for an agressive ride.
    Go BIG (in your own way), or Stay Home

  23. #23
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    That's quite possibly true; but they dissed the concept in an entirely negative/ conservative way. Since a few of them were very experienced testers rather than unemployable twits, one would have thought that someone would have had some insight into what was going on, but no......
    It's funny, we get forks having brilliant reviews one year and being rubbished the next. With the big wheel concept it was the opposite, outright opposition to grudging acceptance.
    As for handling I can't tell the difference between my UK designed small batch production hardtails. I've got one of each wheel size.. Come to think of it my 29er is designed by an ex journo. I think ex is signifidant.

  24. #24
    meh... whatever
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    The idea behind the tubesets is that Sc is strong enough to draw VERY thin walled tubing, making the ride smoother and saving weight.
    the sc/al alloy also enables the frame to flex more without cracking or stress fracturing because it becomes less brittle with application of heat (i.e. welding)

    But it also means Sc is a little "delicate" compared to trad 7005. it should be understood that it is more of a "race day" tubeset generally
    i personally would disagree with both of the above statements not only because al is made stronger by adding sc, but also from my personal experience. my stable includes three sc/al bikes (1 cross, 2mtb) and they have all held up just fine.

    the xl kona kula supreme has lead a very, VERY hard life as evidenced by the less than pristine finish and assorted dents. it has been crashed hard more times than i care to even mention by myself and others, yet has held up to me (@200lb) riding it like i stole it including jumps and drops. and rigid at that.

    both my kula and one9 have a ride that is very, very smooth and compliant and is quite noticeably different from 6k/7k series al frames. the one9 gets ridden very hard as well with not an issue one from the frame.

    the cross bike is a bianchi cross concept with sc frame with carbon stays. it too has held up to rigorous riding, and has a light springy, compliant yet pleasingly stiff ride both on and off the road. sounds like a contradiction, but youd have to ride it to understand. it rides WAY nicer on the road than my custom ritchey road logic hand crafted from high end steel. in fact, upon adding the cross concept to the fold the ritchey was disassembled and is waiting to find a new home despite the fact that it was also relatively new to the stable at the time. the sc/carbon frame is just that much better.

    So while I WAY prefer Sc to Carbon, it's by NO means "crash proof"...
    NOTHING is crash proof. this failure occurred at about 25mph and wasnt caused by a crash, but did result in a crash...

    <a href="https://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w182/monogod/?action=view&current=voodoo1sm.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w182/monogod/voodoo1sm.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="https://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w182/monogod/?action=view&current=voodoo2sm.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w182/monogod/voodoo2sm.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>



    So beware the thin walls. That is all.
    not all sc mtb frames have delicate thin walls, but there are some that do. and not all sc/al is made the same either. select a bike that is made with easton gx2 (like the niner bikes) and you should have nothing to worry about.

    @ the op - forget the orbea and consider a niner air9 or one9. very affordable, light weight, rides great, and will stand up to whatever you can throw at it.

    (i cant wait until they come out with their ti frames this summer!)
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  25. #25
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    Sorry to rain on the parade, but; 6'5 + 200 lbs. + aggressive = steel in my book.

    The difference in frame weights are, what, 16~ ounces from that of a steel frame?

    You can lose that amount of body weight on a hot ride in a couple of hours.

    Neither of the desired frame materials are known for their crash resilience, durability or crashworthiness.

    I say this because I had a Kona Scandium Cyclocross bike and after 36 months of general road riding [and 1 lame attempt at racing] cracks formed around the bottle cage mounts. [At least the replacement frame didn't cost an arm & a leg though.... .]

    Regardless, the frame should be good for a season or 2.

    How long do you want to keep the frame?

    Okay, Folks. Flame On!

  26. #26
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaffer
    Sorry to rain on the parade, but; 6'5 + 200 lbs. + aggressive = steel in my book.

    The difference in frame weights are, what, 16~ ounces from that of a steel frame?

    You can lose that amount of body weight on a hot ride in a couple of hours.

    Neither of the desired frame materials are known for their crash resilience, durability or crashworthiness.

    I say this because I had a Kona Scandium Cyclocross bike and after 36 months of general road riding [and 1 lame attempt at racing] cracks formed around the bottle cage mounts. [At least the replacement frame didn't cost an arm & a leg though.... .]

    Regardless, the frame should be good for a season or 2.

    How long do you want to keep the frame?

    Okay, Folks. Flame On!
    youre not raining on the parade by giving your opinion. everyone is entitled to their own, even if its not entirely accurate. (request for flame... granted! )

    im 6'3"/200lbs and ride very aggressively and have had problems with only one scandium frame, as you can very clearly see in my previous post. i feel the problem was overly thin tubes and/or inferior alloy. most likely inferior alloy for the most part.

    the aizan in my previous thread got that way at cleburne state park on the back side big hills. went flying down the single track and at the transition at the bottom of the hill there was a little depressed area about 8 inches wide and 2-4 inches deep. when i hit the depression @ about 25mph i heard a loud pop and all the sudden everything went wonky. i thought i had broken the fork (surly km fork) but in fact has snapped the frame in half.

    contrast that to roughly this time last year when i was involved in an accident with a car while on my bianchi cross concept sc/cf. it totalled the frame, but only rippled it at the top and down tubes and was still in one piece. it also cracked the carbon fork, but its amazing that it didnt shatter it. so imho the difference in WHO makes the sc/cf plays just as much a part as the material itself.

    thump the aizan, thump the kula primo, and thump the one9 and there is a big difference in sound and feel between the latter two and the aizan. dont get me wrong, the aizan is a great riding bike (very springy, much like deda or 853), but (just like deda or 853) i dunno that at my size i would use it for anything other than general xc duty.

    difference in weight is more than 16oz unless the steel bike is deda or 653/853, in which case the frame will be very flexy under a 200lb aggressive rider. for a soild 4130 frame figure a weight difference of over 2lbs. (the equivalent to over 32oz of water/urine/sweat)

    i have an xl kona unit deda steel frame, and it is MUCH less solid feeling than my xl kula primo sc despite being very close to each other in weight. the deda unit has much more overall flex (very similar to the aizan), which is fine for xc riding (even aggressive xc). the kula primo is only slightly less compliant feeling on the trail yet is light and lively and much more solid feeling during aggressive shenanigans.

    cf and scandium are both very durable when used in their appropriate context. would a cf or sc frame last being used as a dh, fr, or big air bike? not at the thickness of an xc or am frame. but then again, a steel or al xc/am frame wouldnt hold up to that usage either, so the point is really moot. at the appropriate thickness for the usage cf and sc would make very durable dh frames, but that would make them somewhat cost prohibitive and they would just get broken anyway JUST LIKE al and steel dh, fr, and jump bike frames.

    how long will they last? my kula primo is several years old and still going strong. havent had any issues with the one9 or bianchi either. a certain amount of frames of any material will crack/fail through no fault of the rider. sounds like you got one of them. i havent heard many reports of sc konas cracking/failing short of crash damage, that is, which would have taken out a steel or al frame anyway. just curious, why did you have to pay for a replacement frame? that should have been covered under warranty.

    sc is known for strength and resilience. it was originally used in soviet icbm's that were launched from under the polar ice cap. the nose cones were made of scandium which allowed them to pierce the ice when launched from beneath an ice cap. to make a steel nose cone with the same resilience would have been impractical because it would have been far too heavy.

    cf is used in some very critical areas which require longevity and durability as well (car pans, body panels, helmets, etc.).

    neither one is designed to be repeatedly crashed on, though. if crashing is something you do a lot of i would avoid cf but not necessarily sc. ill be happy to post pics of my kula primo in all her crashed, scraped, and dented glory... and she's still going strong.

    for aggressive xc riding a sc frame bike will work just fine for the op just as it has for the thousands of others who ride the ever loving snot out of their niner one9 and air9's.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

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