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  1. #1
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    Opinions on frame material

    New to SS and coming from full squish... I am looking for the most comfortable frame material I can find. Assume all of the prereqs of having a 27.2 ST, carbon bits and everything to soften the ride are already in place. Looking for some insight from those that have riden various materials and can give me a no BS comparison in ride quality. I understand that frame design will play a major part in this, so please gloss over that. Thanks for the input.

  2. #2
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    The answer is that the difference is not that great. Get a thudbuster.

    I appreciate your innovative line of thinking. Pretty sure this particular subject has never been approached before.

  3. #3
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    Even though I have been on a FS, I ride out of the saddle a lot so my technique doesn't lend itself to enjoying the benefits of a suspension seatpost. I guess what I'm looking for is a frame material that will minimize the teeth chatter when, say, I'm hammering over a rooty or rocky section.

  4. #4
    The need for singlespeed
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    It's all about tire pressure, yo.

    I've ridden steel and aluminum hardtails. My observations? The extra pound of steel was only noticed by my bathroom scale. And, fat aluminum tubing makes frames look badass. Those are about the only differences I could tell. They were both stiff and made my back ache above 28psi. <--hint

  5. #5
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    titanium or carbon.

    (ignore my signature, it's misleading for the purposes or something I remembered tomorrow)
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  6. #6
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    Why not go with a full suspension SS?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by scpeters View Post
    Even though I have been on a FS, I ride out of the saddle a lot so my technique doesn't lend itself to enjoying the benefits of a suspension seatpost. I guess what I'm looking for is a frame material that will minimize the teeth chatter when, say, I'm hammering over a rooty or rocky section.
    Why not try one of these and stop trying to make a rigid bike feel like a FS.

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  8. #8
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    I thought about it but that just seems fundamentally wrong. I am attracted to the simplicity of SS

  9. #9
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    There's no comfort in SS. Why bother?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by scpeters View Post
    I thought about it but that just seems fundamentally wrong.
    It may be wrong, but it feels ooooooooh so right...


  11. #11
    Life is Go0d!
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    It only matters when sitting down..I know.... helpful right? The best answer is high volume tires, and your technique. Some aluminum is harsh, especially the one I had as the chainstays were boxed and the yoke was machined. Truthfully the only difference falls between a dull thud, and sharp thud. Avoid a thudbuster..those things are hideous. You might want to consider what tensioning method is better while you are at it. EBB, or sliding drops. I prefer paragon style sliders, ymmv.
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  12. #12
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    I forgot..A nice wider wheel helps with volume, I'm a clyde over 200 lbs and run under 25lbs of air. Actually 22 frt, and 24 rear. That will make the most noticeable difference, regardless of frame material. I have a steel bike fyi.
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mo0se View Post
    I forgot..A nice wider wheel helps with volume, I'm a clyde over 200 lbs and run under 25lbs of air. Actually 22 frt, and 24 rear. That will make the most noticeable difference, regardless of frame material. I have a steel bike fyi.
    Yeah, I agree. I've ridden most frame materials before, and my tires always made the biggest difference by far. My current Conti Race King 2.2 tires make my aluminum hardtail feel downright cushy.

  14. #14
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    Carbon = Plastic
    Ti = $$$$$$
    Aluminum/Scandium = A$% Whippingly Harsh
    Steel = Real!

    Oh yeah...run tubeless and low pressure!
    "...quit hitting me with your hammer"
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  15. #15
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    I ride a Haro Mary 29er ss (steel chromoly). I love the bike. I've also owned a steel Reynolds 853 roadie, and numerous aluminum hardtails. If I purchase another hardtail or roadie for that matter it will be high quality steel. Reynolds 853 maybe!? It just feels so right...
    Mary ss shenanigans

  16. #16
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by scpeters View Post
    ...I guess what I'm looking for is a frame material that will minimize the teeth chatter when, say, I'm hammering over a rooty or rocky section.
    technique is key.

    effect of frame material will be negligible.



    almost forgot - 29" wheels will help....and ignore umarth if he disagrees with me.

    he's a bastid.

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  17. #17
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    Today, I took my road bike over trails that I usually ride on the hardtail. I was feeling frisky.

    The road bike has an aluminum frame with a carbon fork, and the mountain bike has an aluminum frame with a squishy SID fork. The road bike also has 23mm slicks at 100 PSI, while the hardtail has 1.95 rear/2.35 front knobbies at whatever pressure it is. I'd guess they're in the mid-20s. It's just a guess, but I'd have to say the geometry of the different bikes and the tires has a lot more to do with riding fast than anything else.

    If I'm feeling frisky again tomorrow, I'll take my steel fixed gear on those trails. I'll let you know how not-different the ride feels.
    Sometimes, I question the value of my content.

  18. #18
    offroader
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    My biased opinion says I never was never particularly fond of aluminum for hardtail mountain bikes. It's stiff and unforgiving and better suited as full suspension frames IMO. Carbon is a better ride but susceptible to puncturing especially on more technical terrain. Steel is real when it comes to ride quality and durability. Of course it helps to have fat tires and wide rims and running tubeless at lower pressure.

  19. #19
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    I never intended, nor think I succeeded, in asking for a HT frame that will ride like a FS. Mostly curious about the different ride characteristics of various materials from a community that would likely have the most pure insight into the matter. SS=less **** going on= more intuned to the riding experience. Have I knocked on the wrong door?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by scpeters View Post
    I never intended, nor think I succeeded, in asking for a HT frame that will ride like a FS. Mostly curious about the different ride characteristics of various materials from a community that would likely have the most pure insight into the matter. SS=less **** going on= more intuned to the riding experience. Have I knocked on the wrong door?
    Ok, here's the thing. I don't usually tell people this, but the singlespeed forum is the one that's most full of **** and ****-talking, because we have all this free time because we're not always messing around with shifty bits and only some of us are messing around with squishy bits (insert immature innuendo here).

    And you hit upon the answer in your original post. Frame design plays much more of a role in determining ride characteristics than frame material will.

    Steel and titanium are supposed to be flexier than wet noodles. Aluminum is supposed to be so stiff and harsh that you can't ride. Carbon isn't supposed to last more than a year and it's supposed to be insanely light.
    Sometimes, I question the value of my content.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by scpeters View Post
    I never intended, nor think I succeeded, in asking for a HT frame that will ride like a FS. Mostly curious about the different ride characteristics of various materials from a community that would likely have the most pure insight into the matter. SS=less **** going on= more intuned to the riding experience. Have I knocked on the wrong door?
    frame material is secondary to frame geo.

    and frame material means squat when hurling down babyheads/roots. BUT for everyday/normal riding material makes a difference.

    if you want reduction in chatter (which will help reduce fatigue) steel would be my choice (or Ti)...that and tire/wheel/bar selection.

    my .02
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  22. #22
    30-ton War Machine
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    opinions are like b-holes, everybody has one. Every material can be tweaked in such a way to produce the desired effect. You have a board-stiff TI frame and a super noodle carbon frame. Finding something that fits you, that you can fit big volume tires on would be job one. If it were me.
    Isaac

  23. #23
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    Good job!

    Here's my choice...

    26er, 650b, 29er, CX, Road, Townie, Trials, BMX, Adult Trike... LOL

    SteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteel SteelSteel
    SteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteel SteelSteel
    SteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteel SteelSteel

    Love the real...
    ... feel of steel

  24. #24
    balance_fit
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    Frame material, steel. Wide tires, low thread, low psi. Wide bar. Good gloves and grips. Great saddle. Suspend on arms and legs. Ride, enjoy.
    Simple, not easy.

  25. #25
    one chain loop
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    Quote Originally Posted by scpeters View Post
    Have I knocked on the wrong door?
    if you are looking for comfort, i guess you knocked at the wrong door. you will get different answers from different riders, we don't ride the same bikes and same setup.

    comfort for rider A will never be the same for rider B, body adapts and you have to dial that bike to conform your liking.

    usually it is psychological, a guy can claim that it is the best riding frame just because it retails $3500.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  26. #26
    Rincon Local
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    Ti.

  27. #27
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    My aluminum 29er (misfit dissent) rides noticably better than my previous steel 26" (voodoo wanga). Frame design and tire pressure are the reason I suppose. This doesn't help I don't think but it's my experience...

  28. #28
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    Steel feels more plush because it's heavier, all else being equal. More weight tends to damp vibration better than less weight, hence the perception that steel somehow has some magical quality. It doesn't. It's a placebo.

    Look, a bike frame is just a truss structure. The members support a weight (your ass) by being under either tension or compression. Downward force is on the seat tube, from saddle and/or bottom bracket. Upward force is on the head tube and drop-outs.

    So, the down tube and chain stays are under tension. Every other frame member is under compression. Furthermore (unless you ride a Blackbuck) these frame members are linear. For all practical purposes, they do not flex, regardless of material. Nor do your wheels or seatpost. So the only thing that has "plushness" is your saddle and your tires. Tire pressure and volume plays an infinitely greater role in ride quality than does frame material. Next would be your saddle.

    In fact, if it were possible to do a truly "blind" test using identical components, I am willing to bet that most of the "steel is real" crowd couldn't tell if they were riding a steel or an alu frame.

    So, if you find a steel frame that fits you best, that you ride the best, and is in your price range, then get it for those reasons, not just because it's steel, or any other material, for that matter.
    Mind your own religion.

  29. #29
    I got nothin'
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    There is a difference in feel between the materials and you cannot use the term plushness' when describing a hardtail frame. There is no plush, just varying degrees of dampening between the materials and design.

    There is a certain degree of flex in all frames based on the design and materials used. In general, Al frames will feel more harsh because they tend to be made of larger tubing. larger tubes are necessary to create less flex. More flex in Al frames = less longevity.

    Steel can be made with smaller tubing and allow more flex. Steel can cycle many more times than Al, that is why, in general, steel feels more dampened and generally less harsh. Now if you compare a cheapo steel frame with an expensive Al frame, this may not be the case. Some of the cheapo steel frames are made with heavy single butted tubing and are very rigid, overkill. Try riding a lightweight steel frame and you will notice a difference in ride, but it ain't plush.
    I ride at ludicrous speed

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