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Old 09-27-07, 06:22 PM   #1
redmist
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when was the last time someone won a "big" race on a steel-framed bike?

forgive me if i'm ignorant, but i've only recently gotten back into road biking and racing lately. the last time i paid attention, steel bikes were winning everything. yes, i'm old.

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Old 09-27-07, 10:06 PM   #2
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and most were hand made . thats what i miss the most.
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Old 09-27-07, 10:23 PM   #3
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My bike was hand made too.

By the loving hands of a robot.
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Old 09-28-07, 05:59 AM   #4
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nuff said
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Old 09-28-07, 07:44 AM   #5
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forgive me if i'm ignorant, but i've only recently gotten back into road biking and racing lately. the last time i paid attention, steel bikes were winning everything. yes, i'm old.

Probably Roubaix or another spring classic...some time in the 90s.

It's not a complete bike, but Milram was running steel forks on at at least one Colnago this year at Roubaix.
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Old 09-28-07, 08:05 AM   #6
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2006 Roubaix had a 3rd place. That's the only reference point I have
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Old 09-28-07, 08:43 AM   #7
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In the US, Shaklee was racing a Marin steel bike in 1999-2000. Realize, though, that your question is somewhere between "when was a steel bike good enough to win a big race" and "when was the last time a manufacturer was selling a steel bike as its top model, and hence the one it put under its sponsored pros."
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Old 09-28-07, 09:51 AM   #8
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CSC was racing steel cervelo prodigy's during the Ronde and Roubaix up to 2003 or 2004 I think.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:18 AM   #9
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In the US, Shaklee was racing a Marin steel bike in 1999-2000. Realize, though, that your question is somewhere between "when was a steel bike good enough to win a big race" and "when was the last time a manufacturer was selling a steel bike as its top model, and hence the one it put under its sponsored pros."
Yeah, if you put half the field, randomly, on steel frames, we'd see no predictable change in the results.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:09 AM   #10
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Yeah, if you put half the field, randomly, on steel frames, we'd see no predictable change in the results.
if you put half the field, randomly, on Trek 1000s we'd see no changes either. Same is true for 9-speeds.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:55 AM   #11
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1983.

Next question.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:44 PM   #12
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if you put half the field, randomly, on Trek 1000s we'd see no changes either. Same is true for 9-speeds.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:53 PM   #13
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Yeah.... The only reason the pros are riding the bikes they are, is 'cuz that's what the manufacturer wants to sell..

*shrug*, works on me!
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Old 09-28-07, 04:56 PM   #14
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I know Wilier did some custom steel the last couple of years for Lampre, not sure if they won anything or not....
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Old 09-28-07, 06:32 PM   #15
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Dede Barry won a 2002 World Cup race on a Mariposa
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Old 09-29-07, 12:01 PM   #16
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Yeah.... The only reason the pros are riding the bikes they are, is 'cuz that's what the manufacturer wants to sell
That would be not.

So folks are saying that the majority of the pro peleton ride tubulars because that's what the manufacturers want to sell? Or that the majority of them are on alu vs. carbon bars because...or that Lance rode a downtube shifter on his Alpe D' Huez TT bike because...or that Specialized had Boonen riding an alu frame for a time because...or Ulrich on a rebadged Walser...or...

Really, the list goes on and on.

The top guys pick and choose what they want to ride. If Lance or anybody else thought steel was as good or better you'd see a lot more of it out there. This whole "manufacturers driving the market" thing is poorly considered at best (ask Scwinn). For years people had a choice of steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber (and ti and magnesium for that matter). They still do. They voted with their wallet, and continue to do so.

And what people forget is that prior to the coming of alu and CF into the pro peleton, a LOT of the steel race bikes were breaking and had a shelf life of one season or less. That's direct from the mouth of a grand tour winner. And there were a lot of guys who refused to get on CF initially (and things like clipless pedals), but saw the light when they started getting beat.

Finally if you believe there wouldn't be any change in results if half the field was riding steel, then find me a steel bike that has the same wind tunnel numbers as this:

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Old 09-29-07, 12:42 PM   #17
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That would be not.

So folks are saying that the majority of the pro peleton ride tubulars because that's what the manufacturers want to sell? Or that the majority of them are on alu vs. carbon bars because...or that Lance rode a downtube shifter on his Alpe D' Huez TT bike because...or that Specialized had Boonen riding an alu frame for a time because...or Ulrich on a rebadged Walser...or...

Really, the list goes on and on.

The top guys pick and choose what they want to ride. If Lance or anybody else thought steel was as good or better you'd see a lot more of it out there. This whole "manufacturers driving the market" thing is poorly considered at best (ask Scwinn). For years people had a choice of steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber (and ti and magnesium for that matter). They still do. They voted with their wallet, and continue to do so.

And what people forget is that prior to the coming of alu and CF into the pro peleton, a LOT of the steel race bikes were breaking and had a shelf life of one season or less. That's direct from the mouth of a grand tour winner. And there were a lot of guys who refused to get on CF initially (and things like clipless pedals), but saw the light when they started getting beat.

Finally if you believe there wouldn't be any change in results if half the field was riding steel, then find me a steel bike that has the same wind tunnel numbers as this:
So you think Cancelara would have lost his 52s advantage if he was riding a round-tubed TT bike? Is there a difference? Absolutely. Is it a big one? No.
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Old 09-29-07, 01:32 PM   #18
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So you think Cancelara would have lost his 52s advantage if he was riding a round-tubed TT bike? Is there a difference? Absolutely. Is it a big one? No.

As a matter of fact, yes, I do. Do I believe a P3 is 1 second faster per kilometer than a round tubed bike? Absolutely. How about 2 seconds? And more, according to some of the studies I've seen, depending on the speed of the rider.

So, over a 44k course he loses 88 seconds.

In which case "big difference" needs definition. Is there a big difference between winning and not? Some might answer yes.

Apply that TT time loss to the grand tours, not to mention time lost in the mountains because of a heavier frame that doesn't transmit power as well, and the steel frame riders don't win.

Folks this is pro racing we're talking about, not a Sunday club ride. The manufacturers are going to put their best riders on the equipment they think will give them the best chance to win. Wishing steel was competitive doesn't make it so, but neither does it mean steel isn't a perfectly good frame material for other cycling pursuits.

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Old 09-29-07, 03:18 PM   #19
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Yeah.... The only reason the pros are riding the bikes they are, is 'cuz that's what the manufacturer wants to sell..

*shrug*, works on me!

yeah but we are talking about steel is real bikes. whenever i've seen a racer rebadge a bike to look like team kit the frame was non-ferrous.

i'm nostalgic too but let's face it it steel is the least desireable frame material these days...which would explain its absence form the peloton.

ed rader

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Old 09-29-07, 09:49 PM   #20
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As a matter of fact, yes, I do. Do I believe a P3 is 1 second faster per kilometer than a round tubed bike? Absolutely. How about 2 seconds? And more, according to some of the studies I've seen, depending on the speed of the rider.

So, over a 44k course he loses 88 seconds.

In which case "big difference" needs definition. Is there a big difference between winning and not? Some might answer yes.

Apply that TT time loss to the grand tours, not to mention time lost in the mountains because of a heavier frame that doesn't transmit power as well, and the steel frame riders don't win.

Folks this is pro racing we're talking about, not a Sunday club ride. The manufacturers are going to put their best riders on the equipment they think will give them the best chance to win. Wishing steel was competitive doesn't make it so, but neither does it mean steel isn't a perfectly good frame material for other cycling pursuits.
I love it when Racer-X gets the math out. Steel is so nice until you do the math.
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Old 09-29-07, 11:24 PM   #21
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As a matter of fact, yes, I do. Do I believe a P3 is 1 second faster per kilometer than a round tubed bike? Absolutely. How about 2 seconds? And more, according to some of the studies I've seen, depending on the speed of the rider.
source?

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frame that doesn't transmit power as well


ahem... source?


Listen, I'm not trying to say that a lighter or more aero frame doesn't have an advantage. There are certainly instances where these advantages will make the difference between winning and losing, and those instances will be more common in pro racing, where the margins are smaller. I don't think being forced to ride a steel frame would ruin anyone's season unless you're talking about epic climbs.

I'm also not trying to say that steel is the "best" material. It's what I happen to have this go-round. I haven't ever recommended to any of my friends to buy steel. It's quirky, and it's heavy. No illusions there.

If I can come out of Cat 5 retirement after 11 years, get a sympathy reinstatement to Cat 3, do seven races, and get on the podium with a 7 year-old steel bike, 68 spokes, hairy legs, a $40 helmet, and 6-hours of training every week, how much is my frame slowing me down? It's not like I'm talented.

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Old 09-29-07, 11:51 PM   #22
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source?





ahem... source?


Listen, I'm not trying to say that a lighter or more aero frame doesn't have an advantage. There are certainly instances where these advantages will make the difference between winning and losing, and those instances will be more common in pro racing, where the margins are smaller. I don't think being forced to ride a steel frame would ruin anyone's season unless you're talking about epic climbs.

I'm also not trying to say that steel is the "best" material. It's what I happen to have this go-round. I haven't ever recommended to any of my friends to buy steel. It's quirky, and it's heavy. No illusions there.

If I can come out of Cat 5 retirement after 11 years, get a sympathy reinstatement to Cat 3, do seven races, and get on the podium with a 7 year-old steel bike, 68 spokes, hairy legs, a $40 helmet, and 6-hours of training every week, how much is my frame slowing me down? It's not like I'm talented.
your 'winning' personality?
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Old 09-30-07, 12:53 AM   #23
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source?





ahem... source?


Listen, I'm not trying to say that a lighter or more aero frame doesn't have an advantage. There are certainly instances where these advantages will make the difference between winning and losing, and those instances will be more common in pro racing, where the margins are smaller. I don't think being forced to ride a steel frame would ruin anyone's season unless you're talking about epic climbs.

I'm also not trying to say that steel is the "best" material. It's what I happen to have this go-round. I haven't ever recommended to any of my friends to buy steel. It's quirky, and it's heavy. No illusions there.

If I can come out of Cat 5 retirement after 11 years, get a sympathy reinstatement to Cat 3, do seven races, and get on the podium with a 7 year-old steel bike, 68 spokes, hairy legs, a $40 helmet, and 6-hours of training every week, how much is my frame slowing me down? It's not like I'm talented.
Not trying to pile on WR, but you did say you can sprint at 40 mph.

Are you worried that if you didn't get results with a new frame, 36 spokes, shorn legs, an Atmos helmet, and 15 hours of training every week, you'd have no ready excuses?
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Old 09-30-07, 02:26 AM   #24
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source?


ahem... source?
"Ahem"? Do you have a cold or sore throat? Allergies? Talk to your pharmacist. I'm sure he can give you something. For your head rolling around he's probably going to recommend Dramamine.

Source: For which statement? The aero advantage pretty well documented, go over to BTR and do a little searching, there's a lot of info there with cites and links for specific tests and studies.

For power transfer any mechanical engineer can explain power loss during the pedal stroke because of frame deflection. Start with the Google.

I'd be more specific but like my parents used to say: "If we do your homework for you, you'll never learn anything".

Last edited by Racer Ex; 09-30-07 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 09-30-07, 07:41 AM   #25
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Source: For which statement? The aero advantage pretty well documented, go over to BTR and do a little searching, there's a lot of info there with cites and links for specific tests and studies.

Ok, the round tubes are a bigger difference than I thought, but not quite 88 seconds. I went off Uwe Peschel's normal bike --> Cervelo numbers that slovid posted some time ago. That showed 17W difference just from changing frame and fork at 28mph. Making a lot of assumptions and using kruetzdotter, I come up with Cancellara losing to Bodrogi by 7 seconds on a road frame.

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For power transfer any mechanical engineer can explain power loss during the pedal stroke because of frame deflection.
You've read this?

Not only are mechanical engineers unable to explain it to me, Cannondale's engineers are unable to explain it. Nobody anywhere that I have found has demonstrated or measured power loss between a decent steel frame and a stiff carbon fiber frame. When my email chain with Cannondale escalated up to Engineering, their response was "...it's too complicated to measure, but is intuitive."

At some level, there has to be a minute loss to heat, because no material is a 100% efficient spring, but that doesn't necessarily tip the advantage to carbon fiber. Everyone knows carbon fiber is a dampener, which means it turns bending energy into heat. Even though a CF frame may flex less than steel, it still flexes, and it's possible that its dampening properties draw more energy out of a pedal stroke than steel's microscopic spring inefficiency.

Either way, frame flex doesn't amount to squat for any material as long as your drivetrain isn't rubbing.

Last edited by waterrockets; 09-30-07 at 07:46 AM.
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