Last edited by YokeyDokey; 08-27-11 at 08:08 PM.
The Internet: Bringing the world's bathroom wall to your computer since 1995.
The makor difference will be weight with the expensive frame significantly lighter than the cheaper one. It may be somewhat more resilaint over bumps. If the two frames have the same geometry and dimensions, you won't notice any difference in riding position and comfort.
Uh oh... you have figured out the scam. Expect the Tennesee Mafia to show up at your door and weld you a pair of titanium overshoes and dump you in the river
A couple thoughts: $3000 is an extremely expensive frame - steel or otherwise. Perhaps a custom built carbon or carbon/titanium composite frame would cost that much but not much else. For that much you should expect to get costom fitting so the bike is made to fit you rather than you having to adapt to an off-the-shelf mass produced frame. Some people with unique fit requirements will benefit greatly from this, others fit perfectly on an off the shelf frame and would be wasting their money.
But the point you are making is seems to be this: why should one pay $3000 for a bike when a $1000 bike works just fine. Well... you shouldn't. Unless there is some feature on the very expensive frame that you think is worth paying for. And it is quite likely that a very expensive frame will feel very much like a lower quality frame when riding. But is the more expensive frame much lighter? Does it fit better? Is it more stable at speed? Does it have thirteen water bottle mounts and a built in attachment for mounting an insulated pizza box (or whatever)?
Other than obvious advantages or specific requirements that one frame has and another does not, you are absolutely right - there is no reason. Perhaps at the upper eschelons of professional cycling they can tell the difference, or the 3 ounces saved by using the more expensive frame will make a difference, but to most people it does not.
However, some people really like to buy the best of everything. People buy motorcycles that can do 200 mph and never go over 70; people buy expensive cars just to drive slowly on the weekends and show off to the chicks; people buy $300 Gore-Tex jackets to walk from their house to their cars on cool fall days. And 2 lb carbon bike frames and matching lycra outfits to ride to the coffee shop. If they are paying for it, why not? Their extravagance and arguably bad judgement doesn't stop you and I from enjoying our less expensive stuff does it?
$300 for just a bike frame?!?! I can go into Target and get a whole bike for $100! You are all FOOLS!
Targets' are just BSO's.
I once bought one for $400 that had a large motor and four wheels!
Edit: I thought some more about it and I realized that was actually a car.
I did, however, buy a bike with seating for four that had no wheels for about $75.
Edit2: Oops... that one was actually a picnic table
Last edited by DCB0; 08-26-11 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Second thought; third thought
My Waterford R-33 frame weighs 2.9 lbs, and I've had it for 7 years. It was custom built for me, and would retail for $2500. I have no plans on replacing it. I have had 3 Madones, in this period, and they have all been sold. The Waterford, built with DA 7800 parts has been flawless.
Now, on a century charity ride last week, some tool on an Orbea said "that's a nice bike, but if you're gonna spend that kind of money, ya oughta get carbon..."
And that's what the industry wants you to think, because if they can't sell you (create the need in you) to replace your bike every few years, they won't make as much $$.
My customers with Waterfords and Gunnars stay contented for a decade or more.....
So, ride what you enjoy. If you can't distinguish the ride characteristics between frames, then ride a cheap one and be happy.....
Last edited by njkayaker; 08-26-11 at 11:26 AM.
But it's happening everywhere. My 27 year old BMW with 270K on the clock drives great, is easy to repair, and is long ago paid for....the dealer says I should not expect that out of a new one. "Oooh they're far too complex! Too high tech! Get rid of it at 100K!" And they call this "progress".
Same with bikes.....
I can take some guy's 20 year old, Sun Tour bar-end equipped touring bike and make it work beautifully. Let's try that in 20 years with a DI-2 bike......
Not that I'm a Luddite, I love technology when it makes things better and more durable-look at how easy smart phones have gotten to use-but some things already work great, and "improving" them has resulted in items that are not as durable or long lived.
Weight savings while maintaining stength costs money. Its not proportional either.
To save about 10 lbs, you can spend about $1000 more, 12lbs, $2000, 12lbs and 8 oz, $3000
Biking isn't a sport because anybody can do it. I can bike, you can bike. For goodness sakes, my mother can bike! You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?
You can still find $300ish steel top of the line Peugeot 531c tubed steel racing frames from the 80's that will give you rides close to what you might get with a $3K steel frames. Point is, you do not neccessarily have to go custom/$3+K to get a bike that will give you a fine ride. Unless your'e some racing pro superman, I don't think you'll even really notice the difference on the road.
YokeyDokey, there's a sliding scale of how price compares to performance. I'm sure you've heard about it.
For example let's expand your comparison. We take similar size and geometry frames from a $100 BSO (Bicycle Shaped Object), a $200'ish budget straight guage CrMo frame such as sold by the bigger bike outlets from time to time, a $500 butted tube major name frame and a $3000 top line number.
The difference between riding the water pipe frame found on the $100 BSO even when equipped with 105 gear is going to be like night and day compared to a proper CrMo $200 budget performance frame made from straight gauge tubing. Anyone with any degree of feeling will notice it right away. I've been down this road a couple of times with the bikes I've built and ridden for me and my friends and it's been really plain to feel the difference.
The jump from a budget CrMo straight guage frame to a butted tube mid range $500 to $600 frame will be more subtle despite spending an extra money. But with some extra riding you SHOULD find that it seems to be a bit more efficient. And hopefully not just due to a slight weight savings. If designed properly the metal and the shaping of the tubes will give a stiffer feel to the frame in terms of how it flexes and how it reflects the power back from the flexing. Again, I've ridden both straight guage and double and triple butted frames in my own bikes and I still regret selling one of those in particular. The old Trek 970 was truly a superb frame which made me feel like a top grade rider compared to the other nice but not AS nice frames I had and have gotten since then.
Now from this point the jump to the stratosphere is going to cost a lot for just a little gain. But then this is always the way of things. At the bottom end where it's easy to build in advantages it's less costly to do so. As the product gets better it becomes increasingly hard and time consumning or technique intensive to get gains out of the basic package. So to get those slight gains costs a lot.
So for a lot of us it comes down to the old line "Best bang for the buck". No one will dispute, or I certainly hope they don't, that paying more to get solidly into a mid to mid upper frame is money wisely spent. But once there it takes a pretty demanding individual to get a significant gain from going truly top end. Most of us just don't have the actual need for such lofty equipment. But at today's prices where does this leave us for how much to spend to get this elusive "Best bang for the buck"?
I'll go out on a limb and suggest that for a road or touring frameset at today's prices you're looking at around $500 to $800 to buy a BBFTB frame set with fork from such companies as Soma, Surly, Redline and others. For this money you get butted CrMo tubesets from those still selling steel frames or the equivalent in aluminium. These are frames that may not shout to you what they are doing but if you ride them for long and then get onto a lesser framed but equally equipped and equally well fitting bike you'll feel like something is missing. But equally it would take adding a $1000 to the frame and fork budget to get to where you'd feel the same difference stepping from your mid line bike to a top end bike with the same components and fit.
Now back to the question of why buy these top end bikes. The answer is "because". If you're a racer that is serious then the answer is easy. You NEED the tenths of a second that such a bike provides. The question is more applicable to the enthusiast. But for many of us we LIKE our riding and if we can actually afford to buy that extra couple of percent in performance then what the hell, we're worth it... .at least in our own eyes... Meanwhile for those of us with other demands on our budget there's the solid performing mid grade options. Those sort of frames and forks are within the budget and allow us (yes, I'm one of this bunch) to ride a very nice bike at a justifiable price point.
Last edited by BCRider; 08-26-11 at 01:08 PM.
Model airplanes are cool too!.....
The only rational reason to go custom is if one has fit issues with stock frames. If one doesn't, then a custom frame is a luxury.
A new "high end" steel (TIG) frame set for $1175.
Here's a high-quality lugged steel frame (with name brand tubing) set for $700.
Last edited by njkayaker; 08-26-11 at 02:53 PM.
Find a new lugged frame for $300.
Steel frames can bend in minor crashes too (where the cost of repairing it doesn't make sense).
Last edited by njkayaker; 08-26-11 at 05:35 PM.
The original post in this thread is idiotic. The guy clearly has his mind made up that $300 is THE amount to spend on a steel frame. Anything more is too much. That's great! Thanks for sharing!
I was introduced to a classmate's hsuband. He was an avid cyclist. When i told him I was riding a 26 year old steel bike complete with downtube shifters, his eyes glazed over. All he could choke out was "you have to ride a modern carbon bike. Until then, you haven't really ridden." He then moved away to chat with the potted plant. It was plastic.
There is a lot of *nonsense* written about high-end steel vs carbon. Poor aluminum is completely out of the question for roadbikes now. Someday, we will get the answer.
Put together a Varsity-framed beach cruiser. Fun bike for bopping down to the beach or local water hole. Not bad for a 47 year old gas-pipe joker.
Hmmm, that carbon fiber fork looks unscathed. How could that be?