Steel definitely IS real

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by KellyT, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. KellyT

    KellyT New Member

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    First ride on my steel special with Campagnolo gears. My own experience is that the quality of ride really is noticeably better, and with no significant penalty caused by the weight of steel. A lovely experience that I'd totally recommend everyone should at least consider giving a try! My other bikes will be quite a bit less likely to be the ride of choice, in fact they might end up donating their components to a high end steel special.
     
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  2. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    I love steel, but don't forget that riding an alu bike in wet weather, then not having to worry about cleanig for fear of rust, is a total luxury that we didn't really have 15 years ago. :) I'm serious. It's a totaly luxury that shouldn't be taken for granted.

    In the old days I had to freak out about my steel bikes getting water in them, and the chrome job I had done on my forks and stays wasn't the best, so I always stressed about rust developing there. Man, worrying about the brake gunk causing rust around the fork crown was a drag. Despite my efforts, it still rusted.

    I was heart broken when I found rust inside the bottom bracket shell of my favourite 531 frame. :p

    I mostly ride my aluminium bikes, and I have a 2004 steel Cervelo which I don't ride if there's one drop of rain in our quadrant of the globe :D
     
  3. KellyT

    KellyT New Member

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    I agree totally. The aluminium bikes will be coming out when it's damp, their rust resistance is a genuine benefit. But, it's also pretty amazing just how much, in terms of ride quality, you give away for that benefit. I have some rust inhibitor in the steel frame, but just how much difference that will make, who knows.

    For now, it's a joy to own and ride it.
     
  4. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    yes, steel has a pleasant spring and zing quality that I've never had in alu, but as far as comfort goes, aluminium, these days, can be as comfortable as anything out there. I have an alu BMC with is probably my cushiest bike, and several times I've thought that I had a flat tyre coz it felt so cumfee.

    Aluminium still suffers a bit from the reputation it earnt in its early days
     
  5. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Do you mind if I ask whether that bike has wishbone stays or carbon stays? I want to narrow down what to look for in a properly designed aluminum frame.

    BTW I have found that riding in salty conditions will definitely cause corrosion on an unprotected Al frame, even one made of the more corrosion resistant 6061 grade.
     
  6. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    aluminium wishbones. It's just a 2006 BMC Streetfire, made with Easton Elite aluminium. Also, note the shape of the chainstays; I suspect this may increase comfort. The chainstays are 410mm, which is probably "long" by today's standards. Being 190lb probably adds to the bike's flex :p

    http://www.bmc-racing.com/streetfire0+M5d637b1e38d.html

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I wonder if that lug at the top of the seat tube has some shock absorbing quality to it. It sure looks like it takes a bit of stiffness out of the seatstays.
     
  8. JTE83

    JTE83 Member

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    I see nothing appealing about steel, but my bmx bikes are all cro moly steel. I prefer CF road bikes, and these are inert to all weather conditions. Just expensive in a crash though.

    I will never buy a steel road bike even if I won the lotto.
     
  9. xxamr_corpxx

    xxamr_corpxx New Member

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    I've been dreaming about getting a stainless steel frame with carbon fork when I win lotto.

    Can someone tell me what wishbone stays are and their advantages?
     
  10. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Just to check this out, I took out my 1979 steel Raleigh and then my 2003 aluminum Raleigh. Both bicycles are meticulously maintained and are pretty much equal. The steel frame was more springy than the aluminum frame, but I felt that I had a bit better control on the aluminum frame. If I had to make a choice, I would choose the aluminum frame.
     
  11. FreeHueco

    FreeHueco New Member

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    It's your loss...

    And I know that if I won the lotto, I'd have at least one bike of each frame material. I have a feeling that the steel and bamboo bikes would get the most action...
     
  12. SlowestCat3

    SlowestCat3 New Member

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    Perhaps someone spanked him on an old steel frame at one time. There must be some reason for all that hate. :D I will never sell my Merckx TSX frame. It's still going strong after 16 years. I certainly won't be able to say that about my Trek OCLV.
     
  13. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    That just means the stays come together into one tube at the top before they meet the seat tube. I wrote what I wrote while laboring under the impression that their more curved shape would add a bit of flexibility, but Sheldon mentions no such thing.

    However, I remain convinced that an aluminum frame could ride very well with proper design. You could make the steering tube, down tube, BB, and chain stays very stiff for good power transmission but add a bit of flex to the seatstays to prevent them from transmitting too much shock.
     
  14. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Some of the mid-'80's Bridgestones had stainless steel frame tubes insert molded into cast aluminum lugs.
     
  15. Bob Ross

    Bob Ross New Member

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    I currently ride an all carbon bike. I love it. Every time I see a new bling-bling bike and start to wonder "should I get a new bike?" I get on my carbon bike and 5 miles later I'm like "hell no! what could be better than this?"

    That being said: If I won the lotto you better freakin' believe I would have a steel road bike. And not just one; probably a half dozen, at least. Take a look at a handmade lugged steel frame by Sachs, Kirk, Vanilla, or Spectrum. Then talk to anyone who owns those bikes and rides them regularly. The way owners of those bikes talk about the ride completely transcends the cliches one reads in reviews of modern carbon or titanium or aluminum bikes; steel owners wax poetic.

    Then ride one. Until you have, all this talk is just "faith-based initiatives"
     
  16. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    no doubt! My BMC (above) is as flexy as my flexiest old 531 bike, and I've had other alu frames that a total filling-rattlers! :)

    I figure aluminium can be made to do anything.

    Since Scott brought out the first sub-900g production frame (quickly followed by Cervelo), every part-time (and full-time) weight weeny seems to think they have to have carbon, so there are gunna be heaps of cheap alu bikes out there for me! :)
     
  17. mises

    mises New Member

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    A: A custom carbon bike.
     
  18. KellyT

    KellyT New Member

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    No doubt at all, aluminium can be shaped to give ultimately similar properties to steel. But, since it is a material that behaves quite differently to repeated flexing, it will fail a lot quicker. It's a bit of a catch 22, that the 'filling rattling' very rigid aluminium frames are likely to be the one's that will suffer fatigue damage more slowly, since they are resisting any movement at all.
     
  19. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Kelly, these old cliches about al vs fe have been spouted and debated many times, but they just don't hold up. Comparing frames of equal weight, aluminum should have at least as good a fatigue life as steel. Super thinwall steel, the stuff down to 0.3mm thickness, may be close in weight to aluminum, but I've not heard anyone claim it's going to last forever.

    My old Raleigh 531 Gran Sport may have a "lifetime" lugged steel frame and fork, but who wants to ride a heavy clunker like that anymore? I get it out every now and then to keep in practice with the Simplex friction shifting and toe clips :)

    Seriously, how many frames have you seen of any material that failed due to fatigue? A randonneur type here is still riding his CAAD3 from the mid 90's, with~ 60K miles now. He takes it on the 1200 km brevets rather than his heavier steel touring bike.

    Not trying to put down steel here. I rode and loved 531 steel frames for 30 years. The steel tradition has a lot going for it, but recognize that millions of great frames are now built out of the newer materials....aluminum, Ti, and CF as well.
     
  20. FreeHueco

    FreeHueco New Member

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    Oh honestly; do you think that two pounds of weight you saved by selling your soul is worthwhile?

    I'm assuming that the basic materials- aluminum and steel- have not changed since the dawn of mankind. What has changed is the way the framebuilders manipulate the tubing. So a highly manipulated steel tube should still be stronger than a highly manipulated aluminum tube.

    The question just boils down to whether you want a stronger frame or a lighter frame. When I'm blasting down a hill at 45+ MPH, the last thing I want to be afraid of is that my frame is going to collapse under me. So yes, I will take that extra two pounds, any day of the week. I'll save weight by losing some off of my 4$$...
     
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