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Thread: steel frames

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    steel frames

    Hello, I am really curious about the diffrences and aspects of steel frames compared to alu . I have seen a nice bike like the jamis coda with steel frames and I am wondering about it.

    best regards

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    the actual el guapo atomship47's Avatar
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    i haven't ridden many steel bikes...but......the steel and full cf frames i've ridden make aluminum frame road bikes feel like i'm riding on rims.
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    I prefer a good quality steel frame over an aluminum one any day. A lot of times it is personal preference, and the way it rides. I grew up on steel frames. FWIW out of my 8 or so bikes I only have one aluminum frame and that is my utility bike. Another issue is the failure, I have had an aluminum frame crack and fail with little or no warning. The steel frame I had fail, moaned and groaned for quite a while before it failed.

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    All else being equal, there is a difference in ride with different frame materials. However - all else is NEVER equal - that's the rub. Also, if you don't spend at least a few thousand miles/year in the saddle, you will most likely feel NO difference at all.

    Your choice of wheelset/tires will change the way your bike feels MUCH more than frame material. Also, the diameter of the tubes on your frame is REALLY what changes your ride. If you notice, steel and Ti frames have tubes that are much smaller in diameter than AL. That's why they generally give a more compliant ride. If you could make an AL frame with small diameter tubes, it would also ride like a Ti or a steel machine. However, that's not possible given the characteristics of AL.

    In short - DON'T GET HUNG UP WITH FRAME MATERIAL!

    ... Brad

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    Generally steel provides a better ride than aluminum. Period!
    We sell the Coda at the shop I work at. Great bike for the money!
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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maltess View Post
    Hello, I am really curious about the diffrences and aspects of steel frames compared to alu . I have seen a nice bike like the jamis coda with steel frames and I am wondering about it.

    best regards
    How much are you wondering about the Jamis Coda? Do you wonder enough to buy it? I don't own a Jamis Coda but my steel bike is a Cervelo Prodigy which has been discontinued. Its tubes are Columbus steel with specified tube shape design by Cervelo. But my aluminum is a Dedacciai aluminum tube design but with a lot of carbon. The brand is Ridley but it might as well be Dedacciai. Its all carbon in the rear triangle and of course carbon fork. Both bikes have Mavic Ksyrium wheels and Michelin ProRace 2 tires. The Cervelo has a carbon seat post and the other has a Thomson aluminum seat post.

    I ride about 4,000 miles a year. The Cervelo rides really nice. The Ridley rides nice too but is just a tad bit more stiff, even with all that Dedacciai carbon. There's a 3 lb difference with the steel being the heavier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I prefer a good quality steel frame over an aluminum one any day. A lot of times it is personal preference, and the way it rides. I grew up on steel frames. FWIW out of my 8 or so bikes I only have one aluminum frame and that is my utility bike. Another issue is the failure, I have had an aluminum frame crack and fail with little or no warning. The steel frame I had fail, moaned and groaned for quite a while before it failed.

    Aaron
    I agree 110%. In fact "I" won't own a bike that is not steel framed.
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    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

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    I just bought a Bianchi Vigorelli made from Reynolds 531 steel. It doesn't weigh like a steel frame. 21 pounds is pretty light for a steel frame. Most of my friends thought that it's got to be Al. Nope, 99% steel all around, well maybe except for the carbon fork.

    Let me tell you about this machine, this piece of iron likes to flex but I kind of have gotten used to it. Because all I have owned in aluminium frame, I was more biased toward the stiff ride on Al frame. After putting about 20 miles on my Bianchi, I felt in love with how this steel rides. It feels more dynamically and statically balanced when hitting bumps and potholes. It has the fluid smooth ride like you're riding on top of a water bed.

    Maybe this is just how a Bianchi steel frame rides or all steel frame rides like this, but overall I am pretty hapy with a steel frame.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
    I agree 110%. In fact "I" won't own a bike that is not steel framed.

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    I would love to chime in with the benefits of steel vs. aluminum or vice-versa. However, I have never been on an aluminum or CF frame. All I've ever ridden is steel, so I have no way to compare the two.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

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    My favorite bikes are steel bikes. But, the biggest fan of steel frames in the world might be Grant Peterson, the owner of Rivendell bikes. And, contrary to what most steel fans think, Grant says steel does not "feel" different than aluminum, that the difference in "feel" between bikes is based on wheelbase length, chainstay length, frame angles, tire width...everything in the world EXCEPT what the tubes are made out of.

    What Grant likes about steel is that it is durable (hard to damage) and that it is easy to fix. Aluminum and carbon are easy to damage and hard (sometimes impossible) to fix. As Grant has joked, hammers have steel heads, you won't find a hammer with an aluminum or carbon head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
    My favorite bikes are steel bikes. But, the biggest fan of steel frames in the world might be Grant Peterson, the owner of Rivendell bikes. And, contrary to what most steel fans think, Grant says steel does not "feel" different than aluminum, that the difference in "feel" between bikes is based on wheelbase length, chainstay length, frame angles, tire width...everything in the world EXCEPT what the tubes are made out of.

    What Grant likes about steel is that it is durable (hard to damage) and that it is easy to fix. Aluminum and carbon are easy to damage and hard (sometimes impossible) to fix. As Grant has joked, hammers have steel heads, you won't find a hammer with an aluminum or carbon head.
    Grant says a lot of things. Some make sense, while others reveal that he is in the process of losing his mind.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

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    I've got the coda sport. GREAT bike!
    Honestly i would choose steel over aluminum any day. Everyone above me has stated reasons why, so i will not repeat. But the durability and ride cannot be beat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I prefer a good quality steel frame over an aluminum one any day. A lot of times it is personal preference, and the way it rides. I grew up on steel frames. FWIW out of my 8 or so bikes I only have one aluminum frame and that is my utility bike. Another issue is the failure, I have had an aluminum frame crack and fail with little or no warning. The steel frame I had fail, moaned and groaned for quite a while before it failed.

    Aaron
    I've broken 4 frames. Two steel and two aluminum. Both steel ones went 'ping!' and broke. One aluminum on groaned for weeks before I noticed the cracks. The other one cracked at the seat cluster because I had too much setback on the saddle but even that one went very slowly.

    I've also broken a crank arm...creaked for a long time...and a pedal axle...went ping!...I'll leave it up to the reader to figure out which was steel and which was aluminum. I've also cracked and broken many, many wheels. All of them complained for a long time before failure.

    Most of my bikes have been aluminum. To be honest, I like the way aluminum responds to pedal input better. The oversized tubes just transmit the energy better. Most of the steel bikes I've owned have been a little noodly and rather heavy. Sure aluminum can give a harsh ride but after a while you don't really notice it.
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    I'm with bac, who said not to get hung up on the frame material. Tire size and pressure will make much more difference in feel than the frame material will, at least until you get into custom bikes where the builder might choose tubing specifically for your weight and the way you ride. Buy something that fits and has room for tires up to at least 32mm, and don't worry much what it's made of.
    Having said that, though, four of my five bikes are steel: Atlantis, Rambouillet, old Trek converted to singlespeed and an old Bridgestone mountain bike I commute on (my newer MB is a Cannondale). They've all been durable and comfortable, and a couple of them have survived pretty stout crashes. If I were looking for another bike, I'd have to be convinced not to buy steel again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bac View Post
    All else being equal, there is a difference in ride with different frame materials. However - all else is NEVER equal - that's the rub. Also, if you don't spend at least a few thousand miles/year in the saddle, you will most likely feel NO difference at all.

    Your choice of wheelset/tires will change the way your bike feels MUCH more than frame material. Also, the diameter of the tubes on your frame is REALLY what changes your ride. If you notice, steel and Ti frames have tubes that are much smaller in diameter than AL. That's why they generally give a more compliant ride. If you could make an AL frame with small diameter tubes, it would also ride like a Ti or a steel machine. However, that's not possible given the characteristics of AL.

    In short - DON'T GET HUNG UP WITH FRAME MATERIAL!

    ... Brad
    You forgot frame geometry and length of components used.
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    My aluminum bike with a carbon fork is more comfortable than eithe rof my steel bikes. In order of importance in terms of comfort:

    1) Fit
    2) Tires
    3) Frame design
    4) Saddle/ grips/ handlebar tape
    5) Frame material

    ..In my humble opinion. Some of thsoe are a little interchangable, but you get the gist of it.

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    Thanks for the answers, so the main diffrence is durability and a slighly harsh ride

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