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Steel and Aluminum at that price point would just be a matter of having disc tabs or not. Perhaps weight. Carbon at that level would be a surprise. Check for reputable branding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
These are on the table at the moment:

Soul Cycles 7005 Alum
Performance Access 6061 Alum
On One Inbred Steel?
On One SAB Carbon
Sette 7005 Alum
Airborne Goblin 6061 Alum
Soma Juice Steel

Others?
 

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T.W.O.
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@ Mimi1885: You do like traditional steel in this price range?
Yeah. It's nice. Steel is softer and more compliance than Alu or carbon. It's closer to Ti in terms of ride quality.

We are talking scale here, during the ride is just as bumpy and harsh over the rough stuff. At the end of the long ride however it's the difference between tired and beat to just being tired.

Now a days bike companies can produce a bike from different materials to ride pretty close but you still can't have it all in one bike.

If you want stiff bb it you'd give up comfort, you want light weight then you'd give up some stiffness, ya da blah etc.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah. It's nice. Steel is softer and more compliance than Alu or carbon. It's closer to Ti in terms of ride quality.

We are talking scale here, during the ride is just as bumpy and harsh over the rough stuff. At the end of the long ride however it's the difference between tired and beat to just being tired.

Now a days bike companies can produce a bike from different materials to ride pretty close but you still can't have it all in one bike.

If you want stiff bb it you'd give up comfort, you want light weight then you'd give up some stiffness, ya da blah etc.


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Yes all good points, Thanks!
 

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Trail Ninja
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Yeah. It's nice. Steel is softer and more compliance than Alu or carbon. It's closer to Ti in terms of ride quality.

We are talking scale here, during the ride is just as bumpy and harsh over the rough stuff. At the end of the long ride however it's the difference between tired and beat to just being tired.

Now a days bike companies can produce a bike from different materials to ride pretty close but you still can't have it all in one bike.

If you want stiff bb it you'd give up comfort, you want light weight then you'd give up some stiffness, ya da blah etc.


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You know those are misconceptions, right?
 

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Trail Ninja
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All? Which one?

You are a bigger bike geek than I am. I'd like to hear what you have to say.

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All.

Sheldon Brown can tell you here: Frame Materials for the Touring Cyclist

Regarding bike companies being able to take any material and make it ride pretty close, that would only be doable if your target ride quality is what's considered to be unrefined. To tune a bike to higher standards, trying to get everything you want in the ride feel, it takes really advanced metallurgy, if you want to deal with metal. Think mastercrafted katana level, except in 3D. Aluminum alloy has gotten to the "super plastic" or "air formed" stage, which offers more manipulation control over hydroforming. Steel and Ti seem to rely on the source quality, with steel's ride quality coming from the bike specific tubesets (various lines from Tange, Reynolds, Columbus, etc.), perhaps with some tube diameter options such as 1" Ti stays for extra stiffness. In blind tests, some actually say that they prefer the ride of lower end cromoly tubesets. Custom builders would need to know your weight, among other things, to be able to deliver a ride quality that they find desirable, as someone 50 lbs heavier riding on the same frame might not like it as much or feel that they are experiencing a signature ride feel that was hyped up by others who also own them. Another material might be more sensitive to the weight difference, or the material might be subject to fatigue failure sooner, since the forces put on it are beyond its "endurance limit". Perhaps down the line with 3D printing advancements it may happen, but that's not nowadays.

Carbon has potential to pretty much can give it all, as long as a lot of thought is put into the design. Bikes from various materials feel distinctively different, even from the same brand. Right now, using sheets of commonly available prepreg carbon and laminating using molds, vacuum bagging, autoclaves, etc. is a very simple process that can be replicated on "hand-made mass production" scale, but there are ways to craft carbon fiber that are even more elaborate. Using massive carbon looms is merely a step up from prepreg laminates. There's been some thermoplastic and there's been some matrix composites, and higher tech resins. You can even tailor in other fibers that aren't carbon, such as HT-HM fibers such as M5, Spectra, Dyneema, Kevlar, Zylon, Vectra, etc. These are already being used in some sports equipment, but can't be processed like carbon, for reasons such as increased difficulty in cutting some of them. Basically, ways to address all of carbon's weaknesses, such as its cost, how labor intensive it is, how brittle it is at high modulus, etc. There's a whole lot more steel and aluminum being made today; I think a recent estimate was like 32000x more tons of steel (1.6bill) than carbon fiber (50k), but then again carbon fiber is light. It really has the potential and if it grows, it might just replace these materials in many applications.

The bike industry needs to make money and they find what sells. Aesthetics sadly play a big role in what sells. The market is hot for the latest and greatest and that's what companies target to improve their brand name. I'm guilty for liking a nice looking bike, and looking to see if it comes equipped with many of the latest trends (ex. dropper post, 1x11, enduro features, short stem, wide bars, steep SA, slack HA, short stays, low center of gravity, piggy back shock, thru axles, etc.). Ones that look "familiar", and/or remind me of something I like, tend to score higher with me and my personal tastes. Having the performance and giving me the image I sort of expect with it, or beyond, is a clincher. While all these high end bikes get the media's attention and gets all the ooohs and ahhhs and discussion from consumers, that's merely for brand image and credibility; their bread and butter is likely "mainstream" or "value" bikes in the 1000-3500 range. The bike industry makes what sells, simple as that. They haven't yet even got into Ferrari level, IMO, despite these 10k+ bikes out there. It's cool to look like a Ferrari though, hence why people go goo-goo over nice paint jobs such as the ones seen on Niner bikes. Such reactions are warranted though, considering the lengths they go (see a peek at their improved painting process).

Anyways, in regards to the topic, it's a crap shoot at this price range. Read lots of reviews and don't ignore bad reviews which have valid objective complaints about the bike and the brand's support behind it. On-One is a brand that delivers great value at their price points, mainly because they have real engineer(s) with passion behind the designs and they sell direct to consumers online. Good design and value tend to come from passionate folks, at least compared to greedy money making folk. You can trust them to deliver a relatively good deal. The rest is a matter of discovering your own tastes in what you want, as I'm sure you are overwhelmed by all the options. Generally, the simple thing to do is to get something very similar to what closest riding buddies seem to be having long term fun on.
 

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T.W.O.
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All.

Sheldon Brown can tell you here: Frame Materials for the Touring Cyclist

Regarding bike companies being able to take any material and make it ride pretty close, that would only be doable if your target ride quality is what's considered to be unrefined. To tune a bike to higher standards, trying to get everything you want in the ride feel, it takes really advanced metallurgy, if you want to deal with metal. Think mastercrafted katana level, except in 3D. Aluminum alloy has gotten to the "super plastic" or "air formed" stage, which offers more manipulation control over hydroforming. Steel and Ti seem to be rely on the source quality, with steel's ride quality coming from the bike specific tubesets (various lines from Tange, Reynolds, Columbus, etc.), perhaps with some tube diameter options such as 1" Ti stays for extra stiffness. Custom builders would need to know your weight, among other things, to be able to deliver a ride quality that they find desirable, as someone 50 lbs heavier riding on the same frame might not like it as much or feel that they are experiencing a signature ride feel that was hyped up by others who also own them. Another material might be more sensitive to the weight difference, or the material might be subject to fatigue failure sooner, since the forces put on it are beyond its "endurance limit". Perhaps down the line with 3D printing advancements it may happen, but that's not nowadays.


Anyways, in regards to the topic, it's a crap shoot at this price range. Read lots of reviews and don't ignore bad reviews which have valid objective complaints about the bike and the brand's support behind it. On-One is a brand that delivers great value at their price points, mainly because they have real engineer(s) with passion behind the designs and they sell direct to consumers online. You can trust them to deliver a relatively good deal. The rest is a matter of discovering your own tastes in what you want, as I'm sure you are overwhelmed by all the options. Generally, the simple thing to do is to get something very similar to what closest riding buddies seem to be having long term fun on.
Ok I stand corrected when we talk about entry level frame. Like you said at that price range you kinda have to take what the manufacture pre-determine the ride. Mass production frames are all predetermine how the bike would feel and ride.

My reference was to the ability to closely replicate the ride charisteristic of different materials. Custom builders been doing that with ti, carbon and steel. Big brands can make their alu feel more compliance and lively, unlike the harsh feel of oversized tubes like yesteryears. It's no longer ti is soft, steel is lively, alu is hash and carbon is disaster waiting to happen:)

I have 2 seven cycles frames one in ti and another in steel, I could have had exactly the same ride quality out of 2 different materials. You are right it's a 2 hours of measurements and Q&A to know exactly what I want. It's not a $300 frame for sure:)
 

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Trail Ninja
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Do you believe that people can predict what a bike rides like by just looking at its pic and its geo, weight, etc.?

They are out there, and some of them are right a majority of the time. There's clear patterns, and if one is familiar with enough of them they may be able to more vividly predict the ride quality. A careful look at the material type, tube size, diameter, shaping, and estimating by weight, knowing that every frame must at least pass a safety standard to be sold in certain countries... a bit of physics knowledge, knowing about inertia and such, how heavier frames/bikes tend to not deflect as much from a bump as a lighter one. They don't even need to get into material science to get a reliable prediction, but knowing the basics of the materials at least helps. These same people look at the Trek Stache and think it's hardly any different from Trek's other hardtails, looking at the geo and the pics, and they are very mistaken. This is an exception, but it's a reminder that you can't really broadly generalize without pointing out that there's quite a few exceptions out there, and part of understanding things more wholly is knowing about such exceptions and how to identify them better. Carbon fiber bikes are exceptions that pretty much throw a monkey wrench into their whole process of their prediction; choosing among >$500 carbon frames is biggest crap shoot of them all.

There are people who buy frames and dress them up with the same kind of kit they put on every frame, perhaps with slight difference. They don't get how some frames have their stiffness and strength tuned to the parts attached to them and how that affects the ride. Stiffen one part, and it resists loads that go into the bike more, and those loads go into another part that isn't as stiff in a higher proportion; a stiffer fork, wheel, and crank might lead to a feeling that the frame isn't very stiff. Looking at the bike as a complete system, and then measuring how loads are handled as a whole, seems to be a way to improve/refine bike ride characteristics better. I think the likes of Trek complete bikes cannot be matched by custom builders and other independent frame builders, in terms of overall balanced feel, due to their ability to research this kind of stuff in their test labs, and have control over more parts going onto the frame. If you are a certain weight and body build, you might just be lucky enough to feel that it suits you perfectly. There going to be faults trying to make things 1 size fits all, or trying to use 1 spec to make all frames fit you better--it might take a few wild guesses to figure out what it is that provides a good fit, and perhaps you might use "bracketing" to find your ideal frame. There's a lot of folks who have done just that and built up a quiver of bikes, each bike not for their own specific specialized tasks, but bikes that overlap in purpose to be ridden over the same type of trails.

You could break down the process of choosing a bike into its own branch of science probably, but really, that might just make someone even more indecisive, considering all the choices out there. Come to mtbr and ask which to choose between 2 or more choices, and watch multiple people offer even more choices. People are satisfied by simple logical answers, and really, a simple answer to this is to pick something like what your closest companions have. If you pick something else, something has to give. Perhaps if you go a step higher than they did, they might have to match it or go yet another step higher. If you go with something lower, they might have to tone themselves back to an unenjoyable level and you may feel guilty and try to compensate in some manner, such as training yourself up to keep up with his preferred pace. If you don't have riding buddies, and you don't ever seen anyone else on the trails, then anything probably works. There really aren't any unsafe bikes out there, as they must pass minimum safety standards, but those standards are pretty low for off-road riding (think dept store bikes). Beware lightweight bikes optimized for a specific kind of riding and especially of the knock-offs/counterfeits of those lightweight bikes, especially if you ride them outside of their intended application; it's hard to resist small harmless looking dirt jumps and drops and hard to resist going faster, a little beyond the limit of your ability (leading to a crash) sometimes. I'd have to generalize to give a bit better than a simple answer - if you want something tough, yet lightweight, with a decent ride quality, you'd have to trust a brand quite a bit, else you can't really get away from it needing to have more mass on it to be tough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I decided to go with a steel frame now. Front runner is Soma Juice 29er, 1x10 build.
Any other (steel) frames in that price range I should give a last look?
 
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