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No demand

There is not much customer demand for custom aluminum, due to the fact that A) there are a TON of choices in mass-produced aluminum out there in almost any configuration, and B) aluminum is perceived as not as durable as steel or ti (this is true for many specific frames, but not as a general rule).

Aluminum also requires some techniques and tools (TIG welding, heat treating, etc) that many builders do not have. So that contributes as well.

-Walt

golden boy said:
Just curious here....why do most small custom framebuilders work almost exclusively with steel and titanium and eschew aluminum? Durability issues?
 

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AL bikes custom

you need to talk to Paul at rock lobster cycles. He does a bunch of Aluminum frames. I have 3 myself. he also does scandium, and steel but NO TI. I have a Scandium bike paul built for me in 2002 and it still rides just as good as the others:thumbsup:
 

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SC RockLobster said:
you need to talk to Paul at rock lobster cycles. He does a bunch of Aluminum frames. I have 3 myself. he also does scandium, and steel but NO TI. I have a Scandium bike paul built for me in 2002 and it still rides just as good as the others:thumbsup:
Also Mike Ahrens.
 

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Having done a fair bit of welding myself (not like I would attempt a frame........never said my welds were pretty) aluminum is a bear. Even with the right equipment, it's painfully easy to burn through.

That, and yeah........every Wal Mart in the world sells aluminum bikes. Some of them actually work.
 

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You misread me there. Never said it was a bad material, my frame is aluminum. Works great. Getting old, I need to replace it just for the fatigue lifespan.

What I said is it's difficult to WELD, not ride. A properly done aluminum frame is just fine. But actually building that frame is a different story. Steel and ti are much easier to work with. You have to make an effort to burn through steel........if you sneeze while welding aluminum, you just smoked a tube. The giant companies don't particularly care, they're using precision robots to do the work, and they can afford a certain amount of loss. They're buying in bulk, anyway.
 

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heff® said:
You misread me there. Never said it was a bad material, my frame is aluminum. Works great. Getting old, I need to replace it just for the fatigue lifespan.

What I said is it's difficult to WELD, not ride. A properly done aluminum frame is just fine. But actually building that frame is a different story. Steel and ti are much easier to work with. You have to make an effort to burn through steel........if you sneeze while welding aluminum, you just smoked a tube. The giant companies don't particularly care, they're using precision robots to do the work, and they can afford a certain amount of loss. They're buying in bulk, anyway.
man, my experience is quite the oppisite.........{yes, i did work in Al. fab for 4 yrs} .7mm steel burns FAST. Al. is easier on tools, cleans up quick, the tubes are thicker across the board. as per Ti being easy to work with, well..........:rolleyes: Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
 

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Probably. I learned kinda by accident. Was working in a testing shop that did welding, we didn't have any work for my specific job, so I wound up just holding parts. Guy doing the welding finally handed me the torch and said "you've been watching me like a hawk for a week, you can do this now." Wound up going through the training, testing......I'm not all that good at it. I can do a nice bead on structural steel, and I managed ok sticking mounting brackets on the cases for aircraft black boxes, but I did pretty much destroy a few. But even the guy that had been doing it for years messed those up a bit.
 

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Yeah, Frank is one of THE best. Rode several times with both him and one of his workers, some wierd dude that wore a full face motorcycle helmet. Drove a beat up old VW bus full of tools in homemade wooden toolboxes.
 
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