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FIX IT YOURSELF
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Back when I was in high school before there was the internet, bike magazines were your direct connection to depot centers selling bike frames, components, etc.. In one of these advertisements was an American Beryllium bicycle listed at $30,000.00. Thinking this was a miss print my friend Frank called and ask if this was indeed correct. indeed it was. Years past and it was forgotten until I mention to Frank about the ridiculously priced bicycle and he answered right away" The American Beryllium". Why hasn't the industry persued this metal?? I would think demand could eventually drive price lower !?!?!? Is ther anyone out ther that has input on this sitchy??

http://www.firstflightbikes.com/new_page_3.htm
 

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Don't be a sheep
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spencer the kalmyk said:
Back when I was in high school before there was the internet, bike magazines were your direct connection to depot centers selling bike frames, components, etc.. In one of these advertisements was an American Beryllium bicycle listed at $30,000.00. Thinking this was a miss print my friend Frank called and ask if this was indeed correct. indeed it was. Years past and it was forgotten until I mention to Frank about the ridiculously priced bicycle and he answered right away" The American Beryllium". Why hasn't the industry persued this metal?? I would think demand could eventually drive price lower !?!?!? Is ther anyone out ther that has input on this sitchy??

http://www.firstflightbikes.com/new_page_3.htm
Probably the main reason is that Beryllium is nasty stuff. It's a carcinogen and if inhaled causes Berylliosis, this would make material procurement and manufacturing ridiculously expensive.
 

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Loose Nut Behind d' Wheel
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Rivet said:
Probably the main reason is that Beryllium is nasty stuff. It's a carcinogen and if inhaled causes Berylliosis, this would make material procurement and manufacturing ridiculously expensive.
That, and the market for $30,000 toxic bikes is fairly small.

Kathy :^)
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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Going to companies which work with it already would get around the manufacturing issues, but not the raw materials cost. Beryllium costs well over 100 times as much as titanium does, and you see how expensive parts and frames made out of it are. The only company to have any success with the material was Beyond Titanium, which was using recycled Be from decommissioned and scrapped soviet nuclear submarines. Even then their frames were $5000 US apiece when you could get a titanium frame for $1000.
 

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Don't be a sheep
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Karupshun said:
I already question the durability of a titanium frame, Ti is so rigid it's almost brittle. I remember a little spot in an old Maxim about the Be frame. it looked nifty, but a carcinogenic 26k frame does sound like a TON of fun...
You've got Titanium mixed up with some other material. it's Young's modulus (a measure of the stiffness of a given material) is somewhere between Steel and Aluminum, hardly brittle, in fact with it's ridiculous fatigue limit it makes a great spring, requiring almost half as many coils as steel for a given spring rate.
 

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Cleavage Of The Tetons
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Hmmm...mysterious break-ins at factories facing bankruptcy...

Strangely, just the BR frames were stolen...

Odd things were afoot @ American.

It ALMOST eclipses the Clark-Kent mystery, or the odd doings in Crested Butte...

Mystery Novel material, I tells' ya.
 

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Always Learning
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spencer the kalmyk said:
Back when I was in high school before there was the internet, bike magazines were your direct connection to depot centers selling bike frames, components, etc.. In one of these advertisements was an American Beryllium bicycle listed at $30,000.00. Thinking this was a miss print my friend Frank called and ask if this was indeed correct. indeed it was. Years past and it was forgotten until I mention to Frank about the ridiculously priced bicycle and he answered right away" The American Beryllium". Why hasn't the industry persued this metal?? I would think demand could eventually drive price lower !?!?!? Is ther anyone out ther that has input on this sitchy??

http://www.firstflightbikes.com/new_page_3.htm
Hmmmm.......good material for golf clubs (irons and putters), but I don't see the application in bikes being worth it.
 

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Just another FOC'er
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Rivet said:
Probably the main reason is that Beryllium is nasty stuff. It's a carcinogen and if inhaled causes Berylliosis, this would make material procurement and manufacturing ridiculously expensive.
It has some amazing properties that made it really attractive for some aerospace applications. As a kid I remember my dad telling me stories of people he worked with dying from very small exposure to the dust from machining. At the time they had no clue about the danger, and by the time they figured it out it was way to late for many.

If I had a bike made out of that stuff I probably start worrying everytime I scratched it. :eek:
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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Karupshun said:
I already question the durability of a titanium frame, Ti is so rigid it's almost brittle. I remember a little spot in an old Maxim about the Be frame. it looked nifty, but a carcinogenic 26k frame does sound like a TON of fun...
I wish people would stop confusing stiffness with hardness, and for that matter assuming that because a material is very hard that its also automatically very brittle. Titanium is ANYTHING but brittle, and for that matter, while the material is stiffer than aluminium the frames generally are not because it doesn't have aluminium's fatigue life problems. Aluminium frames have to be built overly stiff (or use overly thickwall and heavy construction) to have any sort of useful service life. Titanium frames do not.

As to Be being carcinogenic and toxic, so are cigarettes and in fact, tobacco is even a worse one. Be particles and fumes are only toxic to about 4% of the population of the planet, but since there's no safe "test" to see if someone is gonna react badly to the stuff (other than inhale it and watch if the person drops dead), it has to be machined and welded in complicated setups with ventilation systems that make the average wind tunnel seem cheap. It is heavily used in missile/rocket parts, satellites, military aircraft, etc. Places where the contractors are making billions and can afford to invest in the equipment to safely process the material.

It can also be alloyed with another element, like aluminium (one such material is called Albemet), and then its hazards of being worked with are severely reduced but again it comes down to raw material costs. We're talking like $7US a gram, just for the raw pure Be. Gold is about $2US a gram. Do you really wanna spend $2000 retail for a 60 gram handlebar ? As to those four famous Be frames that ABM made, that sold for between $20k and $26K (three different buyers bought a single frame for a different price each, and the fourth frame was "stolen" from the company wharehouse), those frames only had about 1 pound of actual Be in them, and that was for the three main tubes, and the seat and chainstays. The frames were bonded together using aircraft grade epoxy and 1.5 pounds of machined 7075T6 aluminium for the headtube, BB shell, seattube clamp lug, and dropouts. Even if the manufacturing and material costs of the four frames only amounted to $10k each, and the rest was profit, you can't really justify doing a series run of frames that only a handful of people will be able to afford let alone want to spend, and its even harded to justify it when the end result is a 2.5 pound frame at a time when you could get 3 pound titanium frames for 1/10th the price.
 

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Still gets used as valve seats in high performance engines (alloyed with another material like copper). There was a bit of a gold rush in materials with everyone searching for the next big thing. Chinese CP Titanium, Aermet, Thermoplastic, Metal Matrix. Just before the full suspension gold rush.
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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MMCs still would be useful for lightweight cogsets... longer wear than steel, lighter than titanium. Also depending on which MMC it was, could be much more useful for suspension fork parts than say, having to use something like the 1.5 steerer standard to get a light/stiff steerer tube for long travel singlecrown forks.
 

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Beryllium Bke

My buddy and I toured the American factory around 1992 while we were in college at St. John's Univeristy (by St. Cloud). They showed us one the frames and also had a handlebar made of the stuff. He dared my buddy (a big guy going about 220 who was always breaking parts) to try and break it by leaninig all his weight on it over the corner of the desk. It didn't flex a millimeter. Very cool stuff to see- not very cool material to work with apparently.

A year or two later the two frames were "stolen" when the company was in bankruptcy proceedings. I've done a lot of internet searches to see if they ever have shown up for sale- but no luck. Thy are probably in the bottom of a granite quarry in some field around Steans County... :(

-FOXO
 

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My uncle works at a machine shop that specializes in beryllium. I remember him bringing one of those $20,000 beryllium bikes to our house, but I wasn't into cycling then so I didn't try it. Kinda wish I did now just so I can say I've ridden a $20,000+ bike. =)
 

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I have a piece in my tool box. About 1.5" diameter and 3/8 thick. This stuff is super light and very corrosion resistant. It shines like a mirror and is probably 40 years old. They made "windows" out of this stuff for particle accelerators. I've heard that the Russians would put a dog in with the machinist and when the dog died, they would pull the machinist off of the job. I've had this piece for a couple years now. Maybe I should get a dog to keep in the shop.....
Scott.
 

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Legend
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Beryllium hasn't caught on because nobody has found a clever name for it yet. Like the million suspension designs that are all the same: totally lame until osmeone calls it something clever.

I say call it DW29er-Linkium; I am sure random people would flock across the planet for the bikes with that awesome amalgamation of random names irregardless of cost
 
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