Tyrell bicycles, conceived, designed and built in Japan are testament to fine attention to detail and uncompromising quality of materials and parts.
The result is a range of bicycles that look great, that perform to the highest standard and are strong and long lasting.
In a short series of 8 articles, describing the unique characteristics of Tyrell that make them such a special bicycle and riding experience. This is the second.
REASON #2 - Frame Material
Reason # 2 is all about the frame materials that Tyrell uses on their bikes.
Browse through a Tyrell website or catalogue and you'll discover a range of models using different materials. So let's explore the different materials that Tyrell use on their bikes. The decisive factor in material selection is the balance of weight and frame stiffness.
Aluminium is a popular choice of material for bike frames. Stiffer and lighter designs can be achieved with aluminium alloys than is feasible with steel.
Depending on alloying elements and heat treatment, aluminum grades can exhibit a wide variety of properties, from good appearance, ease of fabrication, good corrosion resistance, to high strength-to-weight ratio, good weldability and high fracture toughness.
Tyrell uses 7005 grade aluminium on their bikes. These higher strength 7000 aluminum alloys exhibit reduced resistance to stress corrosion cracking and are often heat treated and artificially aged to provide better combinations of strength, corrosion resistance, and fracture toughness.
This grade of aluminium is commonly found on aircraft and other high strength/light weight applications.
Aluminium is a great choice for stiffness, low cycle weight and durability and cost and is used for the FX and FSX models. With the greater complexity of a folding frame design, these models benefit the most as aluminum allows the designs to be made lighter and more cost effective than other materials.
One of the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust, yet titanium is also one of the most expensive metal due to its complexity in extraction and difficulty to work with. Widely used in military application, the end of the Cold War saw more widespread commercial use of titanium. Titanium's very high corrosion resistance, very high tensile strength but low density, fatigue resistance, high crack resistance make it a premium material.
3Al-2.5V titanium alloy is used in the top of the line the PK-1, PKZ and the new foldable Tyrell XF.
Titanium delivers great strength, durability as well as being super light – however, while it results in high performance bicycles, it is also the most expensive material for building a bicycle.
Steel has been a popular choice of material among custom frame builders. Steel is the perennial favourite for those looking for a responsive, pure ride. Many frame builders favour steel as they can fine tune the ride quality of the frame, from lively to stiff.
The major factors in determining the liveliness or stiffness of a frame tube are first, the tube diameter, then the tube walls, and finally the length of the thinner center section of the tube. Being able to combine the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into building a bicycle frame with the benefits of building it to meet the unique needs of the rider, can best be accomplished with steel.
Tyrell uses triple butted Reynolds 525 steel on the CX. Butting is a process whereby the internal thickness of the tubing varies along its length. Weight savings from butting provide a competitively priced, light frame set that gives the CX the best combination of price, comfort and performance. (the 22” wheels also help make the CX one of the most comfortable bikes in Tyrell’s increasing range). Ride a Tyrell steel frame and you'll discover the unique qualities that cause many to proclaim that "Steel is Real."
Carbon fiber is an integral aspect of Tyrell bikes. While they have not yet made a bike entirely from Carbon, Tyrell nonetheless have used carbon fiber in almost all their bike forks and for some models like the CSI, carbon fiber serves an important function in dampening vibration and maintaining frame stiffness.
Carbon forks help to shed unnecessary weight yet retain the stiffness to track the front wheel at speed.
Tyrell carefully considers the material to be used in the frame of their bicycles after carefully considering who trhe intended rider will be and how that rider will want to use their bicycle – for fun, for outright performance, for everyday comfort. Always with a thought to being responsive, maneuverable and above all great to look at!