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  1. #1
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    Cheap steel bikes? Just had a catastrophic aluminum breakage.

    Edit: Bike shop says bad welds and/or aluminum. They took pictures, sent to Jamis, they concur. Going through the warranty process.

    So, like the subject says: what are some cheap($400-1000) steel framed bike?

    Would prefer a complete bike, but a build isn't totally out of the question.

    I only have one bike, a comfort bike that I bought for myself last Christmas. And the seat tube just broke cleanly, right above where the seat stays meet it.

    It's an alarming experience, I don't recommend it.

    So if decided: no more aluminum bikes. I want the more forgiving failure quality of steel.

    I'm only aware of Jamis' steel bikes-they have a steel hybrid, and a steel road bike line. What other manufacturers make steel bikes these days?

    I know to look at touring bikes, but I'm wondering if anything else is out there.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Sullalto; 05-30-14 at 03:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullalto View Post
    So, like the subject says: what are some cheap($400-1000) steel frames?

    I only have one bike, a comfort bike that I bought for myself last Christmas. And the seat tube just broke cleanly, right above where the seat stays meet it.

    It's an alarming experience, I don't recommend it.

    So if decided: no more aluminum bikes. I want the more forgiving failure quality of steel.

    I'm only aware of Jamis' steel bikes-they have a steel hybrid, and a steel road bike line. What other manufacturers make steel bikes these days?

    I know to look at touring bikes, but I'm wondering if anything else is out there.

    Thanks!
    Might look into Cyclocross. I have a Trek Lane (2011) I use for commuting/touring/fun riding. It's a little heavier then the wife's aluminum, but I aint aiming to set any speed records.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Look around . Taiwan's welders crank out tens of thousands of them, every year.


    And the seat tube just broke cleanly, right above where the seat stays meet it.
    that happens when people use too short a seat post and pull it up to high..

  4. #4
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Surly Cross Check - really popular commuter.

    Although I suspect your issue with aluminum bikes is not with the material but a Walmart-quality product and possibly user-initiated damage before the failure.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    that happens when people use too short a seat post and pull it up to high..
    I was always sure to have the minimum insertion line a little bit below the QR clamp.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    what brand and model broke? got pictures?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Pragmatically bottom of the post has to be below the bottom weld of the top tube /seat tube Miter ..

    if the frame has the seat tube extending very far above the top tube it may be inadequate insertion ,

    NB: the seat post maker may has no way of predicting the frame that it goes in.. they're separate companies .

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    what brand and model broke? got pictures?
    I haven't gone to the LBS or worked with the manufacturer for the warranty. Not going to be specific or post pics until it's all resolved one way or the other.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Pragmatically bottom of the post has to be below the bottom weld of the top tube /seat tube Miter ..
    I'm not in front of the bike, but it was only about halfway there, I think.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    There are lots of excellent choices between $400 and $1000. Soma has a lot of different models at different price points; so does quality bikes (surly, all city, salsa). I'd check out the webpages of these brands to get an idea of what they sell. The surly cross check is a good and popular choice as already mentioned. I have a Soma double cross; also a good choice. I'd also check out the All City space horse.

    Btw, your price range almost gets you a complete bike which is less of a headache than swapping the parts out. The cross check runs $1200 or so but you can pick it up on sale right now at REI, Surly Cross Check Bike - 2013 at REI.com.

    I'd also check out what your LBS sells in a steel bike in this price range. Buying a complete bike may be a better solution.

  11. #11
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullalto View Post
    So, like the subject says: what are some cheap($400-1000) steel frames?
    So, are you looking for a frame or a complete bike?

    There are many good steel frames for this price, such as Soma Road and Cyclocross/Touring frames.
    Yeah, I've been thinking about it and I've come to the conclusion that being an adult isn't going to work for me.

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    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    what brand and model broke? got pictures?
    My guess is a Jamis Hudson.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I'm not in front of the bike, but it was only about halfway there, I think.

    You may now be educated , The seat post was not long enough , for the height you pulled it up to ..

    Not the bike companies failing , but the User.

  14. #14
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    I've got not trouble with my 4 years old aluminum bike but catastrophic failure will probably happen one day in the next 20 years or so.

    Maybe this may help





    Ultimate tensile strength - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by erig007; 05-22-14 at 12:57 PM.

  15. #15
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    Surly makes steel bikes. Raleigh makes steel bikes. Specialized makes steel bikes. Salsa makes steel bikes. Pashley makes steel bikes. SOMA makes some of the very best in steel bike frames...

    REI sells steel Novara bikes...Not too sure what GT is doing these days...I like their GT Corsa steel bikes, though...
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-22-14 at 12:47 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    So, are you looking for a frame or a complete bike?

    There are many good steel frames for this price, such as Soma Road and Cyclocross/Touring frames.
    Sorry. More looking at complete bikes, but I'm not opposed to buying a frame+fork and building up from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    You may now be educated , The seat post was not long enough , for the height you pulled it up to ..

    Not the bike companies failing , but the User.
    In hindsight, Yeah, making sure the post isn't levering the weld, or above it is a simple and sensible and safe precaution. On the other hand, I was using the seatpost that came with the bike, and I even read the manual. I think there's plenty of blame for the manufacturer when there parts don't mesh together safely, especially with nothing in the manual.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Well go back by the dealer , And see if its covered under Warrantee. .. or its another lesson you have taken..

  18. #18
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    High quality aluminum can last decades if properly taken care of. Bike manufacturers know the strengths and weaknesses of aluminum and they select the best aluminum to weld properly. An alloy bike of the appropriate strength and stiffness will have a ride as good as a steel bike. And needless to add, the weight savings are considerable which is why very few steel bikes are made these days and most of them on market now are made of hi-ten steel. You can still buy high-end heat-treated steel bikes but they come at a premium price point. Alloy bikes are here to stay.

  19. #19
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    Lots of cheap steel bikes available used, some from reputable bike shops that will have them tuned and ready to go. I prefer the feel.

  20. #20
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    The Bianchi Lupo is a pretty nice steel-framed bike that comes in at just over a grand.

  21. #21
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    If you adhere to scientific methodology, steel has a fatigue limit, below which an object may be used indefinitely. Aluminum has no such limit and will suffer certain future fatigue failure at any unsuspecting time.

    Frame Materials
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-22-14 at 06:04 PM.

  22. #22
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    The Wikipedia graphic is just plain wrong. Fatigue life for carbon fiber is nearly infinite unless it is damaged. Also, "ride quality" is a pretty subjective quantity and depends more on the construction than the material used. It looks like a promo graphic for a titanium bike frame company.

  23. #23
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Glad you are OK.

    Rode ALU cruiser for 12 years, frame is immaculate. Definitely seek compensation from manufacturer and ditch the knee-jerk reaction vs ALU. - my 2 cent on that part of the situation.

    My 2 cent on the "need a new bike" situation: Breezer Bikes - Downtown EX - ST - Bike Overview

    - Andy
    I can't wait for the next pint of good chocolate milk after a long ride.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by echale3 View Post
    The Bianchi Lupo is a pretty nice steel-framed bike that comes in at just over a grand.
    I will second this! The Lupo is a sweet ride

  25. #25
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    If you adhere to scientific methodology, steel has a fatigue limit, below which an object may be used indefinitely. Aluminum has no such limit and will suffer certain future fatigue failure at any unsuspecting time.
    Not sure why this is important since the cause here is certainly not fatigue.

    But ALL fatigue starts with a crack. Steel frames with cracks will absolutely fatigue. Aluminum's lack of a fatigue limit means that the cracks can appear without previously being damaged - it doesn't mean it'll be a certain failure at an unsuspecting time.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

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