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In this article I am going to talk about what materials are used in bicycle frame production. The drawbacks and strengths of each material will also be covered. I am also going to discuss what factors are considered when making a frame.

Let us start of with what factors are considered in frame construction. There are five main areas considered in frame construction. These areas are:


1. Material Density

2. Stiffness of material

3. Yield strength

4. Elongation

5. Fatigue and Endurance limits

The first two areas deal with the how heavy the bike will be and the comfort of the ride. Numbers three and four deal with how well the frame will respond during a crash. The last one determines how much normal wear and tear of riding the frame material can handle before failure or breakage.

Steel frames have been, and to some still still, widely used in bicycles. Steel, also known as chromoly, is a dense (heavy) material. It is also not as stiff as other materials. Since steel is not as stiff it provides a smoother ride. It takes some strong forces to deform steel. This also depends on the thickness of the steel too. Steel has virtually limitless fatigue and endurance limits.

Aluminum frames are not as strong or as steel. Thus aluminum frames are much lighter and easier to deform when compared to steel. Aluminum is, however, much stiffer. Which means the ride is can be more jarring. Unlike steel, aluminum does have a fatigue and endurance limit. The time before failure is long yet it can happen.

Titanium frames are considered the most exotic and to some pinnacle of bicycle frames. Titanium is very light yet it is extremely strong. Depending on the tube size of the frame will determine the stiffness of the frame. Like steel, titanium limits are virtually none existent. So a very long riding life can be expected.

Carbon fiber frames are a more recent addition to bicycle construction. These frames are very light and can be quite stiff. These frames are not as impact resistant as other frame materials. The beauty of carbon fiber is it can be fine tuned for strength during manufacturing.

Now that you know the good and bad of different frame materials you can be a more informed buyer. Keep in mind the first two types of frames are the cheapest and the last two are the most expensive. You should also test ride different brands since not all ride the same and find the best one for you.

With this in mind enjoy that new bike and enjoy the ride!

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Source by Daniel Lilly