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Highest quality aluminum frames?

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by FrameJunky, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. mykel

    mykel Turbo Monkey

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    Knolly do some pretty nice aluminum work. At this point the entire line is alloy except for a carbon model of the Warden.
    Check out the one piece chainstay on the Podium, or the heavily shaped seat-tube on the Fugitive.
    Noel has been playing with varying tube shape and wall thickness within the shaping for a few years.

    There are still places that do amazing alloy work, but they now seem to be be smaller more boutique Taiwanese fab shops as opposed to the larger volume concerns such as Kinesis.
     

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  2. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    Hey, the shirt thread is still pretty new.

    If there are so many high end aluminum frame builders, name some. Pole? Ancilotti? Most people are switching to carbon ASAP. I'm not talkjng about low end nor hyper custom bikes, but rather the bikes that people here ride.
     
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  3. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    High end sure, carbon has taken over. But high end doesn't account for most mountain bikes sold.
     
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  4. iRider

    iRider Turbo Monkey

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    Are they still producing in NA?
     
  5. iRider

    iRider Turbo Monkey

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    I am on here, ride my bikes and I don't own a single carbon bike. Aluminum and titanium only with carbon forks on the road, CX and gravel bikes.
     
  6. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    If you were to buy a new frame, what would it be?
     
  7. johnbryanpeters

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    When I bought my Tracer four years ago I chose aluminum over carbon, still would.
     
  8. Flo33

    Flo33 Turbo Monkey

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    Let's talk about life cycle cost and recycling, shan't we.

    Oh, plastic looses all the way. Surprise, surprise...

    Also, the price difference between a well made alu mtb frame and a composite one does not reflect the difference in performance in my opinion.
    Just my 0.02 €
     
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  9. iRider

    iRider Turbo Monkey

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    If money is no object and I would be into flexy wheels:
    DH: Nicolai or Dark Owl
    Enduro: Nicolai or have Jeronimo build me one of those sweet Ti FS bikes. Or a Raaw Madonne.
    Trail: Giant Trance Ali, SC Bronson Alloy
    XC: Nicolai Saturn or Radon Skeen, Maybe Moots YBB.
    Road, CX, gravel: Falkenjagd
    TT bike: English
    DJ/pumptrack: Cachet Henry III

    GG is tempting though. That said, as long as awesome 26" bikes can be had for cheap in the used market I am all set for the time being.
     
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  10. FrameJunky

    FrameJunky Chimp

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    Definitely an aluminum frame. I don't even consider carbon and it's not because of the money. I have ridden them, and I love how they ride, but I do not want anything to do with owning them.

    DH: Operator or Aurum A7, Next years Gambler
    Enduro: Commencal Meta 29er, Scott Ransom, Giant Reign or Trek Slash
    Trail: Genius, Process 153 27.5 or Remedy
    XC: Smuggler or Trance 29er

    All Alloy
     
  11. Electric_City

    Electric_City The orangutans are loose!

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    No
     
  12. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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  13. mykel

    mykel Turbo Monkey

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    Nope.
    Taiwan now.
    They were with SAPA, but they had to scrap an entire production run because nothing could even remotely pass QC...
    And when it was the years primary run....things got a bit iffy. Not long after SAPA closed shop.
    After that mess, Noel started looking elsewhere and ended up in Taiwan.
    Being we both have a background in making big pieces of metal into little pieces; we had a long talk about production capabilities.
    Basically if you want to use the leading edge stuff in tube manipulation for bicycles you need to be in Taiwan, as NA capability in both ability and volume is almost non-existent at anything remotely cost effective. NA manufacturing seems to be hollowed out i the middle, there is low end and high-end aerospace, but the middle is, like the middle-class, fading fast,

    FWIW - The only Knolly frame I have ever broken was a SAPA made Delirium-T.
     
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  14. schwaaa31

    schwaaa31 Monkey

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    I have zero interest in carbon. I’m buying a new DH bike this year, and it’ll definitely be aluminum. If I were to get a new trail bike, same thing. I still don’t see the benefit of carbon versus price. I like what GG’s doing, but they don’t make a DH bike anymore anyway.
     
  15. chris_f

    chris_f Monkey

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    Isn't the new Gambler carbon?
     
  16. Jm_

    Jm_ Turbo Monkey

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    Yes
     
  17. FrameJunky

    FrameJunky Chimp

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    I hope not. Someone on pinkbike said that they are keeping the current gambler as a park bike for 2020 going forward, and the new Gambler is the race machine. I don't know how much I believe that, but if that's the case, maybe they intend the make the new one only carbon? I really hope not, because I won't be buying it. I do hope they keep making the current aluminum version though, so new "old" frames continue to get produced.

    The new one looks like a redesigned session.
     
    #57 -   Mar 17, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  18. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    hold up,
    you listed 13 bikes. Of those, two are steel, four are titanium, and only three are consumer grade, off the shelf aluminum products. The rest are ultra low production or fully custom. I'm pretty sure you just proved my point. Consumer grade aluminum bikes that are not fully custom or super low production are falling by the wayside in favor of carbon bikes. Yeah, low end bikes are still aluminum and specialty bikes are still aluminum, but by and large, carbon is favored for mass produced high end mountain and road bikes. Carbon is getting cheaper, and more people want a carbon frame with crappier components than those who want a heavier frame but better brakes. I really don't think that's a stretch to say, even if there are a few people that still like aluminum frames. I'm pretty sure Trek, Intense, Devinci, Transition, Kona, Pivot, Turner, etc. etc. all agree with me.

    hey @mtg - did you guys switch to carbon because of the huge demand for aluminum, thereby creating a void which you could come back and fill after a few years of producing carbon bikes that nobody wanted?
     
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  19. StiHacka

    StiHacka Compensating for something

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    Aluminum frames are nice.
    Crabon frames are nicer.
     
  20. Westy

    Westy the teste

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    Audi makes some nice aluminum frames
     
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  21. StiHacka

    StiHacka Compensating for something

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    McLaren makes some nicer crabon frames.
     
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  22. Electric_City

    Electric_City The orangutans are loose!

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    I own both and can't tell you the difference. Besides aluminum all of a sudden became less expensive and the lizards made carbon more expensive. So its obviously got to be BETTAR!
     
  23. Westy

    Westy the teste

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  24. Jm_

    Jm_ Turbo Monkey

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  25. ianjenn

    ianjenn Turbo Monkey

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    Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 8.05.36 PM.png
     
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  26. toodles

    toodles Turbo Monkey

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  27. jstuhlman

    jstuhlman We noticed.

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    are you there god? it’s me, udi.
     
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  28. HardtailHack

    HardtailHack used an iron once

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    I have no proof but I will throw Nicolai in to the mix, mine worked well and they guarantee parts availability for ten years. Each frame has a number(?) stamped on to the DS DO as there are multiple ones for each frame type, they have slightly different axle positions on each so the wheel's alignment is perfect.


     
  29. norbar

    norbar Turbo Monkey

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    Nicolai? Their frames always looked amazingly well made plus I remember one monkey interning there or visiting them for some reason and claiming welder reqs there are very high.
     
  30. iRider

    iRider Turbo Monkey

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    We are talking higher priced bikes here, so that is what I picked. If we talk affordable, nearly every brand besides Intense and GG offer lower level aluminum frames that are as high of quality as some high end frames 5 years ago. YT, Radon, Canyon, Specialized, Giant, etc. all offer pretty amazing aluminum frames. And that every fat hack thinks he rides so much faster because of 200 g saved on his crabon frame is clearly showing how good marketing works (and/or how dumb people are). On the road I can see advantages of carbon as it enables aero-shaped frames. But other than that I would not see how my riding would be more enjoyable on a carbon frame, especially if I can only ride at night.
     
  31. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    funny, i'd heard the same thing about 953
     
  32. slyfink

    slyfink Turbo Monkey

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    A few people mentionned them in passing, but Devinci's high-end aluminum frames are still made in Quebec. Right next to where they make the aluminum. (e.g. Spartan)
     
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  33. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    oh yea that's right. i think i was reading in the PB article that is a big factor in why they were able to do it so cost effectively.
     
  34. slyfink

    slyfink Turbo Monkey

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    I would imagine so. Though I also have a hard time trusting PB journalism...

    I also imagine that labour costs are probably relatively beneficial too. I think the labour force here is probably highly educated compared to the rest of world. The Quebec government has lots of jobs and skills training programs, as they are trying to keep its population and attract skilled labourers who can live and work in french. Health care benefits are also taken care of by the government, so I'd say a lot of costs that are carried by private industry in the US are government funded here, reducing labour costs to the private sector. So when you combine that with the fact that there is little transportation costs associated with getting raw materials to the factory... sure, it's probably a pretty big factor.
     
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  35. FrameJunky

    FrameJunky Chimp

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    I would definitely buy a devinci spartan
     
  36. Jm_

    Jm_ Turbo Monkey

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    They seem to have periods where they radically change the design of their bikes, I'm highly skeptical that they actually keep hundreds of "parts", rather, they probably fabricate as needed, which puts you down a rabbit hole of "oh, we'll get to that in a few weeks...months...years". Saying it is one thing, delivering is another. No evidence that they don't, but extraordinary promises become suspect to me.
     
  37. norbar

    norbar Turbo Monkey

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    From what friends told me they will fabricate shit for you. yeah if you have a bike that has been released 10+ years ago it will sometimes take some time but it's not a year. Their customer support is also great. Straight up sent me LR curves when asked about suspension. Though maybe they just did it to piss off the pole dude.
     
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  38. toodles

    toodles Turbo Monkey

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    Its cool to see companies like Santa Cruz and Transition offering the same spec levels for their carbon and aluminium bikes so that you can actually get a high end build on an aluminium frame if thats your preference. A lot of other manufacturers run the aluminium frames up to a certain price point and then go to carbon, so no cheap carbon option and no high-end aluminium version are available. Recently YT released a special edition aluminium Capra with their highest spec build kit on it (normally reserved for carbon). From memory it sold out in hours.

    If aluminium is treated as a high end option, not just a cheap alternative to carbon I think you can build it into a really nice quality bike with comparable performance on most indicators. I've only owned two carbon bikes personally, both with aluminium rear ends/chainstays which I think makes the best mix of stiffness, weight saving and durability.
     
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  39. englertracing

    englertracing Monkey

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    any real reason?
     
  40. englertracing

    englertracing Monkey

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    I have a 180 opposite opinion,
    the old gambler looks like parts of a trash truck where used to figure out how many pivots you can incorporate into a rising rate linkage, then the slackest seat tube angle ever was fitted, looks horrible.
    new one looks fantastic.