Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Hey, where's Perry?
Joined
·
53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me see if I understand this correctly.

Advantages
- Comfort
- $$$
- Strength

Disadvantage
- Weight

Anything else?
 

·
25.806975801127
Joined
·
9,790 Posts
aw2pp said:
Let me see if I understand this correctly.

Advantages
- Comfort
- $$$
- Strength

Disadvantage
- Weight

Anything else?
Advantages
- Doesn't explode upon impact (or in sunlight)
- Looks better with a Brooks saddle than carbon does.
- For 2011, will be what all of the cool kids ride, so there will be more choices than there have been in years.

Disadvantages
- Might make you want to buy wool cycling gear.
- Might make you want to grow a beard.
- You might decide that knickers and tall argyle socks are the height of fashion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,745 Posts
Advantage/disadvantage compared to what?

And beyond that you need to compare specific frames not just materials. Steel can be really expensive and fairly light, for example, so blanket statements are pretty much useless.
 

·
Squirrel Hunter
Joined
·
3,806 Posts
Disadvantage

...people who limit their research to glossy magazines and marketing materials fail to properly research current options available in the steel market.
 

·
Hey, where's Perry?
Joined
·
53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hank Stamper said:
Advantage/disadvantage compared to what?

And beyond that you need to compare specific frames not just materials. Steel can be really expensive and fairly light, for example, so blanket statements are pretty much useless.
Well, in the price range where I would probably be shopping ($1k give or take), aluminum, I reckon. I'm not now, nor will I ever likely be, in the market for a titanium or full carbon bike.

Reading between the lines of the other responses, I am guessing there is the impression that steel is old school? As in, this is an image question?
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
Taken as a general statement "Why would I want a steel road bike?" some answers IMO/E might be:
You like its aesthetics (lugged/ fillet brazing)
You like the ride quality (real or perceived)
Your in the market for a tourer

But in the interest of general discussion...

People don't usually purchase things because of a potential negative they don't care about. As an example, you'd be unlikely to go for steel because you didn't care that it weighed a little more, unless there was a positive (listed above) that surpassed the negative. And FWIW, I don't agree with two of your advantages, because (as was mentioned) steel can be pretty pricey, and judged solely on the STW ratio, CF trumps steel - but generally it is stronger than alu which has a finite fatigue life.

IMO (all else being equal), most any frame material has a best use (dictated in large part by design/ geo). Alu is cheap and light, making it a good choice for entry level bikes and racing. Steel has that classic appeal, ride comfort and ease of repair that makes it a good choice for riders less concerned with weight and more concerned with comfort/ durability (but they can rust). CF offers most of the advantages of alu and steel, but is relatively expensive (to purchase and repair), so the "race it if you can replace it" adage applies.
 

·
25.806975801127
Joined
·
9,790 Posts
aw2pp said:
Well, in the price range where I would probably be shopping ($1k give or take), aluminum, I reckon. I'm not now, nor will I ever likely be, in the market for a titanium or full carbon bike.

Reading between the lines of the other responses, I am guessing there is the impression that steel is old school? As in, this is an image question?
There is an image issue as far as those who think carbon is the end-all, be-all.
Me, I prefer the traditional look (and feel) of steel.
 

·
old school drop out
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
I prefer steel frames. To me the advantages are:

- Aesthetics: I prefer the slightly smaller look of steel tubes. Not all steel bikes appeal to me, and there are definitely nice looking bikes made out of other materials, overall I prefer the "look" of a steel frame.

- Durability: Steel frames can be repaired if damaged. If a crack develops somewhere, or if a drop out breaks, often it can be repaired at a reasonable cost. Other materials are not as easily fixed. This kind of applies to paint to; if you get tired of looking at your old paint job on a steel or aluminum frame, have it repainted.

- No fear of bike racks. I have bikes with carbon forks, and when they are put on bike racks (belonging to other people) I'm often afraid that the fork will rub against something and be damaged, and eventually need to be replaced. The bikes that I have with steel forks do not bother me this way. I can have fun and ride and not worry about what might be damaged.

As far as disadvantages go...

- Rust: If you leave near the beach where the air is salty and you store it outside, expect to see rust one day. However for most people this is not an issue.

- Weight: Steel frames can weight more than other materials. A good steel frame (in my size) is about 4 pounds. An equivalent aluminum or titanium frame will be about 3.5 pounds, and a carbon frame 2.5 to 3 pounds. However, all of these number can vary dramatically (higher or lower). Aluminum frames can easily be over 4 pounds, and although there are carbon frames under 2.2 pounds few frames on the road actually are that light. So the weight penalty for a steel frame is 0.5 to 1.5 pounds (or maybe less). If I were trying to win the Tour de France, that might matter. Since I'm not trying to win that race, or even enter the race, it's a non-issue.
 

·
Adventure Seeker
Joined
·
5,115 Posts
I've seen some sub-15 pound steel bikes out there. I don't understand as this being a disadvantage over others? And you can also get Reynolds 953 steel which is very light, and it's stainless. Can't remember the name of the other stainless tube sets out there, but they're very expensive.
 

·
Frog Whisperer
Joined
·
40,886 Posts
I have steel, aluminum and carbon....IMO my steel is the prettiest. My carbon feels faster but in reality, isn't. The aluminum is a track frame so it is stiff and responsive. If I could only own one...it would probably be steel.
 

·
25.806975801127
Joined
·
9,790 Posts
aw2pp said:
Why would I want a steel road bike?
To answer the title question....


Why wouldn't you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
I like steel

I ride steel. I like to point to failure modes of materials.

In short, steel bends, aluminum cracks, carbon shatters.

Yes, these are generalizations. Aluminum tubing can bend, but is less ductile than steel. Attempting to straighten aluminum will frequently result in a crack. Carbon is largely disposable and subject to special maintenance procedures.

Basically, if you can't afford to replace your frame at any given moment, you're better off buying a steel frame.
 

·
Resident Curmudgeon
Joined
·
11,979 Posts
I've got a steel bike & an all CF bike. The steel bike is 16 years old & has around 65,000 miles. My CF bike is new & I've put 2,000 miles on it. The CF bike handles better mostly, i think, because it's newer. The CF also has a stiffer bottom bracket, which I find desirable. There has been much said about how CF cuts down on road vibration, rides smoother, absorbs shocks, etc. That's not been my experience. If there was a way to ride blindfolded I don't thing I could tell one from the other in terms of ride quality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
I like my steel commuter bike enough that its my preferred bike for most of my miles even when not commuting. I can hit large potholes with it and not feel like anything is going to break, my buddy can put it on his roof rack, drive into a parking garage, knock the bike off the rack and still have it ride straight after initial impact and a 6 foot drop.

Its just damn comfy and I do understand geometry plays a role in that as well, but I haven't had any numbness/viberation issues like when i rode my aluminum bike on the same bumpy roads.

buy it, ride it, make sure its right for you.
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
tuffguy1500 said:
I like my steel commuter bike enough that its my preferred bike for most of my miles even when not commuting. I can hit large potholes with it and not feel like anything is going to break, my buddy can put it on his roof rack, drive into a parking garage, knock the bike off the rack and still have it ride straight after initial impact and a 6 foot drop.

Its just damn comfy and I do understand geometry plays a role in that as well, but I haven't had any numbness/viberation issues like when i rode my aluminum bike on the same bumpy roads.

buy it, ride it, make sure its right for you.
Given the type of bike you describe, I agree with you (and like steel as well) but it's worth noting that the higher end steels with thin walled tubing aren't so forgiving. I've set my Nivachrome bike (saddle against a door frame) when the bike slid back and the TT hit the door frame, the TT dented. Less weight = less materials and sometimes durability takes a hit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
PlatyPius said:
To answer the title question....


Why wouldn't you?
I WOULDN'T want a steel bike if it were too heavy, wrong fit, too expensive, etc. Otherwise, there's not reason not too, unless you just like the look of carbon or aluminum tubes (typically, larger diameter)

In your price range, it seems like Al is going to give you a lot more choices.

I choose steel because of ride quality, price, and relative light weight (17 lbs). Plus, I think it looks cool :) :

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
Hank Stamper said:
And what would these special maintenance procedures be?
While all frames specify torque settings, carbon is the only material where the accuracy of your torque wrench affects the longevity of your frame. Much like backing your new car into the wall, hearing the crack as you tighten a bolt is heart-wrenching.
 

·
25.806975801127
Joined
·
9,790 Posts
This is sexy:




This is not:

 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top