I'm starting to look for fat bikes for the winter (yes, its summer now but Im planning ahead), any thoughts on steel or aluminum frames? sticking with rigid front as the Bluto seem pretty weak, expecting much better in the near future
One of the other big differences i notice between the 3 different bikes i test road was the geometry... The Farley 6 has the best "feel" when it came to quickness and agility... just seem snappier... Some of that may have been due to the Farley's aluminum frame but a lot of it has to do with it's geometry.... IMHO...
It's not hard to upkeep a steel bike, even through a salty winter. Frame Saver the innards of frame when new. A good powder coat is good. Steel wool and touch up paint when needed. A steel frame will last with little maintenance. With the abuse a fat bike goes through, I'd be afraid of cracking an aluminum frame -- But that's me pushing the limits of a bike. I've cracked a full suspension aluminum Cannondale, and I've cracked a steel triple butted lugged steel road bike.
That's just my take. I like Surly so I'm stuck with steel. If they made an aluminum frame, I would consider it, if price was tolerable. Who knows. Nothing at all wrong with steel, if upkept and not left to Mother Nature with no oil or paint.
Assuming the frame dimensions are the same, I cant imagine that your ride quality would differ much considering your on 4 inch wide tires, its going to be bouncy no matter what. that much cushioning will negate any frame material characteristics.
Id say base your purchase on price, color, and personal preference, anything but frame material.
That's a wrong notion. Don't get me wrong. An aluminum alloy frame offers better strength while being much lighter. The light weight bike allows a rider to reach higher speeds. It also is as strong as a steel bike.
While an AL bike is as strong as a steel bike the AL bike will fatigue over time which depends on how much it's ridden of course, it's the fastest fatiguing bike material currently on the market. Also if you crash and bend even slightly a AL bike it will be much weaker after it's bent back, if it can be bent back at all, vs a steel bike.
If you want a bike to last a very long time go with steel, even though steel can rust when exposed to salt AL will corrode when exposed to salt, so its a good idea to wash off steel or AL when you're done riding either. And yes, applying Frame Saver to the internals of a steel bike is a good safety precaution against rust I would also apply a thin film of grease on both the seat post and seat tube to keep water out better, and use a Lizard Skin headset seal to help prevent water from going down into the fork, and you place another on the top headset to help prevent water from going down into the headtube. Also with steel if you get a scratch that exposes bare metal you need to touch it up as soon as you find it. Powder coat is a bad idea for bikes being used in your kind of environment, if the powder coat chips or gets scratched water will go INSIDE, or UNDER (depending on how one looks at it) the powder coat and sit there corroding the aluminum or rusting the bike, paint will not do that.