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· Who are the brain police?
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From what I hear, the way a frame is designed & executed makes a huge difference. So trying to compare these two based on the "better material" criteria isn't really possible. Apples and oranges.

In other words, depending on design, both could be made of the better material for it's intended purpose and design.

I could be wrong though. (Some people on this board take metallurgy to the nth degree, but even then they'd have to be extremely well versed in both designs to boot.

· Registered
3,976 Posts
sgt_hedgehog said:
This is random, but I was thinking about it in bed last night. What is a better frame material- The Specialized M4 aluminum or the Trek ZR9000 aluminum?
That's one of the good things about buying bikes these days. You don't have to be concerned about the exact alloy used. Like the other poster mentioned, the execution (design and fabrication) of the bike is far more important than the material.

Your choices should be the basic type of material (Al, ti, Cr-Mo, carbon). Beyond that, it's the actual bike specs that you need to focus on. You can tell very little about the bike frame strength just by knowing the material. Many manufacturers use the material to help them set basic price points. It's called Marketing. Is ZR9000 a scientific advancement? No. It's more of a Marketing Breakthrough.

Trek uses Alpha Al for their lower priced bikes, ZR 9000 for the more expensive Al bikes (also carbon). Is there a big difference between Alpha AL and ZR9000 as they apply to the bike weight and strength? NO.

I have a 2001 Trek Fuel made with Alpha Aluminum. Trek didn't have ZR9000 at that time. The bike was still very stiff, had a lifetime warranty and is working well today. I've ridden Fuels made of ZR9000. I could tell no difference. Same basic specs...virtually the same weight. It's more marketing for Trek than anything else. If Trek didn't do that, would you want to pay $4000 to get a bike with the same frame as a $1000 bike? Introducing full carbon frames with the Fuel has allowed them to raise the price into the boutique bike range.
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