Author Topic: Forged vs stamped dropouts  (Read 3680 times)

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Offline froze

Forged vs stamped dropouts
« on: January 24, 2019, 06:31:55 pm »
Almost all of my steel bikes have forged dropouts except one a cheap Giant Rincon, always thought forged was better than stamped steel, but then I ran into a problem looking for a touring bike.

I have to use this bike on a long cross country trip so I need, or would prefer, 3 bottle cage mounts on the frame and 2 on the fork so that sort of limits a lot of options, plus I want a sloping top tube which eliminates some more bikes.  I will be carrying about 50 pounds on the rear (probably closer to 40), 20 on the front, and of course myself at around 170, not sure if the weight stuff matters but maybe.

I was looking at several touring bikes the Kona Sutra, Masi Giramondo and the Salsa Marrakesh Deore, all three of them look like they don't have forged dropouts, the Salsa has a weird dropout called the Alternator but there is nothing in the description saying it's forged and I can't tell by looking at it. 

I'm leaning toward either the Masi or the Salsa, both tick all my boxes, the Kona almost ticks them all the boxes, the rest I saw ticked less boxes.

This question came up because some guy reviewing the Masi claimed he bent his rear dropouts because they were stamped and not forged, but anywhere I looked I did not see this complaint, so not sure if he was rough on the bike or what the heck happened.

Anyway any thoughts on why forged is better, or if it doesn't matter anymore would be appreciated.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Forged vs stamped dropouts
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2019, 12:36:24 pm »
Be kind because it has been 38 years since I took my material science class. 

Forging is a superior (and more expensive process).  Parts are with a hammer (it may be hydraulic and not some beef dude looking like a spaghetti western blacksmith) in order to push the molecules closer together.  Forging makes stronger parts.
Tools Dropouts were probably cast one upon a time too.  Stamping is the cheapest way to make parts.

If a frame's design previously used a forged dropout, when changing to a stamped dropout, the new dropout might have to be thicker or made from a different steel in order  to be a good replacement part.

Part of me want to say you are over thinking this but I have seen manufacturers do really stupid things.

Salsa has a really good reputation and Kona has been in business a long time.  I own a Salsa and a Kona bike and I have been happy with both.  I don't know very much about Masi.

I have only every had drop out issues on one bike, and that was a VooDoo mountain bike with a Reynolds 853 tube set and Ritchey dropouts.  In the beginning I toured on the VooDoo with a BOB trailer, and when I did off road trips the BOB trailer sometimes would slam against the rear derailleur and bend that lug.  There is a tool for bending the lug back into shape, and I was always able to save the VooDoo. 

While forging would make a stronger lug, the lug would be more brittle too, and it might shatter instead of bend, and if it did bend, you might shatter it bending it back.  I would want a lug that would not typically bend, and if it did bend, I would want to be able to bend it back.

I think what the BOB trailer did to the VooDoo rear derailleur lug was kind of unique and not representative of typical VooDoo usage.

I think if you buy a bike from a company with a good reputation and a good warranty you will do OK.  There are a host of other design/manufacturing trade offs besides lugs, and you have to trust them to do a good job.  It still does not hurt to be knowledgeable, and buy something else if you think it is a piece of crap.



Offline froze

Re: Forged vs stamped dropouts
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2019, 07:22:56 pm »
thanks for the reply, I sort of knew that about the dropouts, but for me too it's been a long time as well.  I have an email out to Salsa about their Alternator dropout to see if it's forged because I can't tell in the picts.

Offline froze

Re: Forged vs stamped dropouts
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2019, 07:36:06 pm »
I did get a reply from Salsa:

Thanks for reaching out! The Alternator 1.0 dropouts used on the Marrakesh (as well as many other Salsa bikes) are forged and incredibly strong. They are designed to withstand the abuse that is dished out by not only heavily loaded touring, but also mountain biking (via our Timberjack).

The Marrakesh frame has a 5 year frame warranty, which would include the dropout plates shoud they bend/fail due to material defect. For what it is worth, I handle our warranty cases and have never come across an Alternator dropout that has failed. Have no fears, they are strong.

Not sure if the response matters anymore since the top tube doesn't slope as much as the Kona or the Masi, but now we all know that the Salsa is a forged dropout, and that Alternator dropout is a very interesting concept that I really like.

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Forged vs stamped dropouts
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2019, 08:07:31 pm »
You might look at some used bikes as well.  It sounds like a Bruce Gordon would tick all of your boxes.  He is retired now, but a used one could be a bargain.  Similarly, Thorn, a British company, Co-motion, and others.
Good luck

Offline froze

Re: Forged vs stamped dropouts
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2019, 09:53:58 pm »
I did look at Thorn and C0-Motion but for this project those two brands are over my budget, plus the Thorn can't be found in the US and I want to be able to check out the bike in person which for some reason is more important for a touring bike then it was when I bought my road bike off the internet, on a touring bike I need to check it out for my exact purposes for touring and to be able to tweak it more to fit those purposes.  I did minor tweaking with my internet bike but the touring bike might need more and I might need more advice about the tweaks.  I'm weird about this for some reason. 

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Forged vs stamped dropouts
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2019, 08:21:06 am »
I have had many many touring bikes over the past 40 years.  I currently own a Thorn and a Co-Motion touring bike.  Both are incredibly strong, the Thorn probably more but it is heavier.
If you can pick up a used Co-Motion or Thorn (more for off-road touring) that fits your budget, don't worry about the quality by buying it sight unseen.  Sort of like buying a 6 year old Honda or Toyota; it's not new but it is still a pretty good car especially compared to its 6 year old peers.
Tailwinds, John

Offline froze

Re: Forged vs stamped dropouts
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2019, 09:37:06 pm »
I have never even seen either a Thorn or a Co-Motion new not alone used around where I live!  So finding one used will be a pain unless I go on Ebay and that's an iffy proposition as to what I'll get when I receive it.  I don't mind going to Ebay for small stuff, but more expensive stuff sort of bothers me even though I know people buy big ticket items on Ebay without any issues, but there has been issues too.  So I just not willing to risk going the Ebay route at least with a private seller, maybe if it was a store that is selling one I "might" if I can communicate to them about any changes I might want to make before I get it.

Offline froze

Re: Forged vs stamped dropouts
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2019, 09:55:31 pm »
I just got on Ebay and looked at Co-motion bikes, those darn things are selling for used what I can a new bike for!  I only found one Thorn and it was only about $400 less than a new bike but it didn't have the bottle cage mounts on the fork like I want.