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On average how long will an aluminum cross frame last? I'm looking into a Rock Lobster.

I was just wondering if anyone has experience with an aluminum or scandium cross frame, such as those built by rock lobster?  I was wondering how long a frame like this would last on average?  I know steel and titanium frames are supposed to last the longest.  I'm thinking of using the frame for recreational riding, but maybe i'd learn to race cyclocross some day.

 

For someone who wants a cyclocross bike as a commuter, recreational type bike, would you recommend getting a steel frame opposed to aluminum or scandium?  I really like Kish Fabrication's titanium frames, but they're about $1000=$1500 more than the Rock Lobster aluminum and Scandium frames.

 

I know Aluminum and Scandium are lighter than steel, but it seems like false economy to buy a super light frame is it's not going to last for many, many years.

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I can't answer the "what if" of if you use it to race, but if you use it recreationally, it'll easily last for years.

I have two aluminum bikes and while I'd really love the carbon, I can't complain for the way these have held up.

My aluminum MTB is five years old and has over 4,000 miles on it and zero frame related problems. I've jumped with it and gone down some brutal single track.

My aluminum CX is just over a year old and has over 1,200 miles on it, also zero frame related problems. I use the CX for recreation, not racing. Most of my miles come on rail trails, which are mostly packed limestone and include some sketchy areas and some stretches of asphalt.

If I stick with aluminum for my next bike, I'll very likely upgrade to Scandium.
can't go wrong with a rock lobster, and they're reasonable compared to a lot of other domestic hand-built options.

the biggest risk with aluminum or scandium is denting. that can happen from your bars, a crash, or your bike just falling down. if that doesn't happen, it really can last a long time. I have a cdale from '92 that still gets occasional use and it has avoided dents or cracks despite many years of hard riding - and that was for a frame that was so light (2.8 pounds), cdale added nearly a half pound to the frame the year after it was built, which isn't very common these days.
I have a number of nice bikes including a 1-year-old Rock Lobster cx made out of Easton 7005 tubing and am extremely satisfied. No concerns at all about it spontaneously combusting after a few seasons. It’s not soda-can thin, nor is it absurdly light but neither is the rider. Paul at Rock Lobster is a pro at what he does and builds to suit.

That said, if you're a bike geek, I'd recommend getting whatever you're most psyched about as long as you not getting yourself into debt or robbing your kids of a college education. Kish frames are gorgeous. I’m sure they’re a bargain. Steve Potts, Moots, Lynskey, Eriksen, IF… They are all cheaper in the long run than most good bad habits or a year of therapy. Just wouldn't leave any of them locked up outside for very long.

If you go custom, just discuss with the builder what’s best for you and go with your gut. That's way more important than tubing. Happy shopping.
Not that it's really a suitable comparison, but I used to have a scandium Bianchi road bike. I'm generally a steel guy, but that scandium frame was truly, hands down, the best frame I ever had, and probably ever will have. I literally don't have the words to describe how good that frame was. But simply put, it was light like aluminum, comfy like steel, and it just felt good. I used it for centuries, commutes and the occasional gravel rides. I used to scour ebay for scandium cx frames before I started building my own steel frames. Maybe someday I'll try my hand at scandium, but not for a while, it's a whole different beast. Doesn't VooDoo still make a scandium cx frame?

As far as durability, I wouldn't worry about it, unless you're just a real bruiser or you're doing loaded touring. In that case, I say go with steel.
Here's an opportunity for me to plug for Tsunami cycles built by Joe Wells in Phoenix- working class custom aluminum light enough and built to last by a family business, really great guys. I'll take a little more beef than scandium for racing scrum abuse, if you can't lift it hit the weight room! I've got a full race season on my crosser and it handles like a dream, and inexpensive.
http://www.tsunamibikes.com/Tsunami_Bikes/Photos.html#28

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