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Tech How real is steel?

Discussion in 'Cycling Department Forum' started by Bram Hengeveld, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld Senior Member

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    The hashtag #steelisreal is often seen on social media and it always triggers me. I have never owned a steel bike myself, just aluminium and carbon, but it steel intrigue me.

    Have you guys ridden a steel frame before and what are the up- and downsides?
     
  2. NoobOnTour

    NoobOnTour Well-Known Member

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    Edit: i Wrote something without any knowledge...:yum

    I've never owned a steel or carbon bike.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  3. arthur666

    arthur666 Senior Member

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    All 4 of my current bikes are steel. But these days, I would say there's not a really strong argument for steel. Other than price, aesthetics, and durability it doesn't have any real advantage. They're heavier and you need to be careful about rust.
    I bought my _____ because_______
    -My Surly Krampus was one of the few 29x3" wheelers available for under $2,000
    -My AllCity MMD looked *great*, had a good parts mix for the price, fit me well.
    -My Surly LHT is a touring bike, and most are steel. It's good in case you need a frame repaired and you're in the middle of nowhere. People who can weld steel are easy enough to find.
    None of these 3 bikes have a particularly nice ride quality. They just feel solid and planted, and get the job done.

    However, I love they way my Waterford Paramount feels. Got it back in the early '90s, second hand. It replaced my first racing bike, which was a Trek 1200 aluminum, and the difference was mind blowing. Going from a mass produced bike to a hand-crafted one probably had more to do with it than frame material. Can't describe it well, but it has this smooth, zingy quality to the ride. It's very light for a steel bike, at about 20lbs. Old aluminum bikes were brutally stiff, and steel bikes definitely had a comfort advantage back then.

    So in my experience, to get a "steel is real" quality frame you're going to be spending a lot of money and still getting something heavier than a comparable carbon/aluminum frame.
     
    Orione532 likes this.
  4. Orione532

    Orione532 Senior Member

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    In my humble experience you con buy a real good steel frame at a good price. Here in northern Italy we have several small workshops that build a tailored frame using columbus or deda tubes. You can also investe a lot of money for a stainless frame but this is another story. Look at this http://vetta.it/wp-content/uploads/PDF/prodotti.pdf

    They are on business from 1947 and for a road race frame without fork painted in 1 color they charge between 500 and 700€
     
    Bram Hengeveld and arthur666 like this.
  5. arthur666

    arthur666 Senior Member

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    That's about what you pay for a Taiwan mass-produced frame here. A Surly Steamroller frame retails about $500, and that's the cheapest thing you can find that's not junk.
    If I'm ever in Italy, I'm getting a custom Columbus frame and shipping it home. :kissing_heart:
     
    Orione532 likes this.
  6. Orione532

    Orione532 Senior Member

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    The nice thing is the possibility of choose products hand made but not high end like the barco bros that make ‘jewelry’ on bike frame shape http://www.ciclibarco.it/
    At least they have an english website
     
    arthur666 likes this.

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