Monday, December 22, 2008

Fixed Gear Fever Tiemeyer Interview

What material are you using for my frame?

The Signature model track frame is built from 6061 aluminum, a weldable alloy developed by the aircraft industry. It does require a full solution heat treatment to grow the crystalline structure back, but I feel it is well worth the expense. The 7005 aluminum alloy used by most manufactures is typically just artifically aged and has given aluminum a bad reputation for fatique quality.

Do you change up the material based on size? power?

Oh sure, I will use different sized material for different applications.

With all the exotic materials out there, why do stick with aluminum?

Special shapes, like airfoils, can be fabricated more easily from aluminum than from other materials. Aluminum lends itself better to custom construction and is fairly inexpensive.

Is the seat tube the same size/shape as the downtube?

The Signature seat and down tubes have the same NACA airfoil section even though the cross sections are distinct to handle the different loadings.

Much has been made about the "feel" of various frame materials. Steel is "real", Carbon is "smooth", Aluminum is "harsh". Others contend you can''t possibly feel the difference. Care to comment?

The intrinsic stiffness of all the metals used in bicycle frame construction are within 4% of each other, so it is the cross section and profile geometry of a model that give it''s particular ride quality.

Many people are quite concerned about aerodynamics. How do your frames stack up against the latest generation of frames?

I have had the opportunity to work with the folks at the Ambient Air wind tunnel in Fort Collins, Colorado. We gathered drag data from as many bikes as possible, including Cervelo, Planet X and Teschner. Results showed the Tiemeyer Signature track and time trial bikes are as aerodynamic as the fastest bikes available up to the 20 degree yaw angle we tested. I hope to post those results on my website in the near future.

On your website, it indicates you used to be involved in building helicopter wings? How do you go from helicopters to bicycles?

Interests often overlap. I have naturally gravitated to building aero frames because of my aeronautical engineering background. But I have found that riding a bicycle comes as close to the freedom of flight as anything. .........more

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