Aluminium in use

The main reasons why you find aluminium in most bikes

Bjørn Skaar

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The main reasons why you find aluminium in most bikes

Aluminium in biycles combines the virtues of light weight, formability, durability and affordability. Photo: Getty/iStock

Low weight, efficient motion at an affordable price.

A bicycle is not just a bicycle. Just ask the bike enthusiasts. There are road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, cruiser bikes, BMX bikes, cyclo cross bikes… And they are made of aluminium, steel, titanium, carbon fiber – or most often by an optimized blend depending on the bike enthusiast’s preferences. And willingness and ability to pay, of course.

The innovation in materials has revolutionized the world of bikes. Don’t be fooled by the look of it.

The bicycle may still have a two wheels on a frame, but the weight and the careful design has changed significantly over the years, and lots of finer details result in tailor-made properties nowadays. Photo: Getty/iStock

The bicycle may still have a two wheels on a frame, but the weight and the careful design has changed significantly over the years, and lots of finer details result in tailor-made properties nowadays. Photo: Getty/iStock

In the good old days bikes were made of steel. Period.

But the last time a steel bike was ridden to victory in Tour de France was when Spanish Miguel Indurain won in 1994. The year after, the very same Indurain won his fifth and last Tour on an aluminium bike, setting a new material standard for others to follow.

Soon also titanium and carbon fiber entered the light-weighting race.

In fact, light-weighting became so popular and new technology advanced so rapidly, that since 2000 the International Cycling Union (UCI) has not allowed professional race bikes to weigh less than 6.8 kg to ensure the rider’s safety.

Today there are different “schools” in bicycling, having their respective devoted fans. There are still steel bikes, of course. Carbon and titanium bikes are sought after – by those who can pay the price. Photo: Getty/iStock

Today there are different “schools” in bicycling, having their respective devoted fans. There are still steel bikes, of course. Carbon and titanium bikes are sought after – by those who can pay the price. Photo: Getty/iStock

However, you will probably find aluminium in most bicycles – also in those claiming to be “full carbon bikes” – combining the virtues of light weight, formability, durability and affordability.

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