>"...are not just conjured up to pull the wool over the eyes
>of hapless retail bike buyers, or even hapless engineers at bike
>companies. Metallurgical differences are real, and exist to meet
>real demands brought about by a world of potential end uses, even if
>certain of the effects of these differences may be negligible in
>certain end uses..."

i too believe, in essence, that the differences exist. i believe more
strongly, however, that the differences exist but play less a part
in the 'assembled' frame as compared with the raw material in its
'tested' form. my opinion is that the frame, in its finished state,
is a different animal; you're not buying a pipe, you're buying a bunch
of pipes formed into an incredibly strong and mature design: the
diamond bicycle frame.
as for the rest of this stuff, SORRY to appear cynical, but i do
believe most of the 'engineering' choices made relative to a bicycle's
frame materials are, in fact made to take into account the lowest
common denominator: the industrial work force. somehow, the
suits in charge have to make their choices palatable. the consumers
are buying sex. they're buying an image of what_they_can_be if they
ride the latest and greatest.
and - honestly - the last part about market and profit related choices:
i do not begrudge these suits, their choices, or someone's desire
to profit. i am just trying to say that, in my opinion, the materials
'thing' is overrated.
material boy