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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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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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