Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 177
  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    What Ever Happened To Steel?

    I'm a mature cyclist. I watched Klein and Cannondale introduced aluminum-framed bicycles to world cyclists, many years ago. At first, I was enthusiastic about the introduction of a new light weight material used for bikes. However, back in the 80's, I soon began to hear of the frequent development of frame cracks. I also heard that frames could not be repaired as easily as steel frames. Next, I began to hear about aluminum giving cyclists rough rides.

    However, each year either Klein or Cannondale were announcing new advances in aluminum bike frame technology. Each year seemed to offer a better frame with more properties that would rival that of steel.

    Finally, Cannondale would introduce their CAAD series of bikes. They began to sell their CAAD framed bikes like hotcakes! Cannondale had a banner year in 1996. They even developed a cult of CAAD fans, soon afterwards! Next thing you know, most other bike manufacturers began to produce their own aluminum version of various bikes.

    Suddenly it began to appear as though aluminum was beginning to supplant steel in bicycle frames. Later, carbon would begin to command on a sizeable place in percent bike sales within the United States.

    So why did these changes take place within the bicycle industry? Did bicycle industrialists intend to offer the world cyclist a better ride or product? I think not!
    I think that what started out as the development of a lighter bike frame for racing, soon became a industrialist plot for profit. Of course, the venerable pioneers of the aluminum bike frame were not involved this conspiracy. I believe that they had genuine altruistic cycling goals in mind. On the other hand, the bicycle profiteering industrialists couldn't care any less about the comfort and riding efficiency of bicycles. Their primary concern was the bottomline, profit.

    IMHO the bicycle industry has played a hoax upon the world cyclist. Aluminum requires less energy to produce the final bicycle product, thanks to its recycling process. More energy is required to extract aluminum from its bauxite ore, than that of iron. However, the production of steel requires more labor intensive steps in its recycling process and is more cost prohibitive than aluminum, overall. Additionally, steel weighs more than aluminum and therefore, costs more to transport.

    The most logical and versatile material for bicycle frames for the world cyclist has always been steel. Unless you're racing and weight is of essence, a steel frame and fork will give you a much better ride and feel of the road, than aluminum. Steel will also outlast aluminum, in terms of the longevity of operational service. It therefore, becomes more of an investment than a disposable cycling machine. Aluminum should never have been able to displace steel as the primary material for bicycle frames.

    While carbon shows much promise and is most probably the future frame of cycling, it does not overshadow the virtues of a steel bicycle frame. This is primarily due to its lack of multi-directional strength factors which are clearly exhibited in steel. This weakness in carbon accounts for its quirky propensity to fail in unexpected areas. This is the reason that carbon had not been present in DH MTN racing or DJ MTN biking for decades. It has just recently made progress in DH MTN racing this past year. Santa Cruz, one of the world's foremost leaders in DH MTN racing, produced the V-10. Only the first half of its frame is made of carbon. Most racing DH MTN bikes are made of aluminum. It would appear that the problem lies in the subtlety of frame damage with carbon. It's often times, impossible to actually detect frame damage with carbon without the use of high tech instrumentation.

    Therefore with carbon, your last jump ever, just might be due to catastrophic failure!

    In this regard, even aluminum would be a better choice for jumping, than carbon.

    Subsequently, if you're not racing, steel should remain the all 'round favored material for bicycles. This fact has been proven time and time again in scientific laboratories using stress tests. The tests always conclude that aluminum has a much lower stress threshold than that of steel. The same is true for all of its alloys. Why? Because the alloys of aluminum, contain aluminum. A low threshold for stress is just one of its identifying properties.

    Could this be the reason that Cannondale has a frame exchange program?

    Whatever the case may be, when one assesses the inventory of the world's junkyards, you can plainly see why most bicycles of today are the reincarnations of their forefathers, thanks to the advent of recycling.

    What ever happened to steel?

    PS.

    This is not to say that aluminum does not deserve a place in the bicycle market for the world's cyclists. All that I ask, is for the bicycle industry to admit the truth about aluminum and sell its aluminum-framed bicycles at a much reduced price and pass some of their savings in production (profits), to the world cycling consumer. This goes exponentially for all carbon frames!

    - Slim
    Last edited by SlimRider; 09-19-11 at 05:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    38,493
    Mentioned
    30 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have a ...

    -- tandem that is steel.
    -- long distance bicycle that is titanium with steel forks
    -- touring bicycle that is steel.
    -- racing bicycle that is aluminum.

    And some others.

    I'm not sure why you think steel has disappeared.

    But you know what ... I think you should take your post and post it into the Road forum. The responses there would be .... interesting.

  3. #3
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Dallas area, Texas
    Posts
    10,538
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    What is missing from your post is a statement that says "I regularly buy steel bikes!" It may come as a shock, but manufacturers and stores sell what people will buy, and if very few people want steel bikes, there will be very few available. But they ARE available, and the last three bikes I've bought new were all steel.


    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  4. #4
    Senior Member MNBikeCommuter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Minnesota
    My Bikes
    Cannondale '92 T600 '95 H600 '01 RT1000
    Posts
    532
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I gave up on my steel frame after 14k miles and four breaks. My summer aluminum Cannondale frame has 84k miles on it. My winter aluminum Cannondale has 17k miles on it, and no rust. You'll have to work a little harder convincing me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Pearland, Texas
    My Bikes
    Cannondale, Trek, Raleigh, Santana
    Posts
    5,489
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Slim, Cannondale isn't the only manufacturer with a frame exchange program nor alone providing a lifetime frame warranty.

    If it makes you feel better steel is the number one material choice for a touring frame.

    Brad

  6. #6
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    My Bikes
    '02 Giant Boulder, '08 Felt S32
    Posts
    896
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Want a steel bike? Buy a steel bike.
    Want an aluminum bike? Buy an aluminum bike.
    Want a carbon bike? Buy a carbon bike.
    Want a titanium bike? Buy a titanium bike.

    Not sure what the alleged controversy is.
    '81 Panasonic Sport, '02 Giant Boulder SE, '08 Felt S32, '10 Diamondback Insight RS, '10 Windsor Clockwork

    Visit me at the Tundra Man Workshop

  7. #7
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    My Bikes
    2 many
    Posts
    13,695
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I have a ...

    -- tandem that is steel.
    -- long distance bicycle that is titanium with steel forks
    -- touring bicycle that is steel.
    -- racing bicycle that is aluminum.

    And some others.

    I'm not sure why you think steel has disappeared.

    But you know what ... I think you should take your post and post it into the Road forum. The responses there would be .... interesting.
    "Interesting' yeah, that's a good word for it!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca.
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Sojourn, '67 Raleigh Super Course, old Gary Fisher Mamba, and a generic Chinese folder
    Posts
    576
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MNBikeCommuter View Post
    I gave up on my steel frame after 14k miles and four breaks. My summer aluminum Cannondale frame has 84k miles on it. My winter aluminum Cannondale has 17k miles on it, and no rust. You'll have to work a little harder convincing me.
    Bad luck! I don't know what bike you had, but it (or they?) was or were a lemon. I have never had a steel frame break or bend on me. That said, I haven't ridden any aluminium bikes, as I just don't have the confidence in the material. I have no evidence to prove it, and freely admit I'm probably wrong, but the feeling is still there, and I like the ride of steel, so that's what I buy. I have ridden a couple of friends' aluminum bikes, and they just transmitted too much road vibration for me. One could probably negate that with larger tires, I suppose.
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  9. #9
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    My Bikes
    Surly CC, Trek Earl
    Posts
    616
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've had a preference for steel frames for a while now. In my experience, steel frames seemed to be woefully lacking around 5 or 6 years ago, but have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years. It just seems like there are more options available now. As the major manufacturers migrated to aluminum frames, I wonder if they noticed small upstart companies like Surly doing a brisk business selling those steel frames that "nobody wanted anymore."

  10. #10
    Senior Member catmandew52's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    S. E. Michigan
    Posts
    513
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Major manufacturers are going to produce mass products that will return the greatest profit margin. They still may procuce products with a slimmer profit margin down to a certain point. If they are unable to make x amount of profit or volume drops to where the machinery isn't running at least x number of hours per quarter, they either drop that product or repackage it as something new.
    Direct feedback from suppliers/high volume dealers and indirect feedback from small dealers also factor into product line decisions.
    Cost of materials, production machinery and labor hours all figure into factory costs.
    Distributors and shipping costs add more cost.
    Last price markups are at the dealer level.
    If dealer A sells 100 steel frame bikes, 100 alloy frame bikes but only but only 15 CF framed bikes per year, you are not going to see a lot of CF bikes sitting on the showroom floor.
    If dealer B wants to create a new customer base because his sales are flat or because he sees an untapped market for CF bikes, dealer B, may take a huge gamble and order a large quanity of CF bikes at a volume discount, undercutting dealer A's price considerably, which in turn takes secondary sales away from Dealer A.
    Secondary sales are where the real profit base is, so dealer A must counter by offering more CF bikes, and cutting down on the steel and alloy bike inventory.
    Dealer C may have a solid customer base, offers a service that A & B do not and makes enough money per year to be comfortable. That's where you will still find the steel bikes, albeit at a higher price than A or B were selling
    them.


    It can get knuckle pounding intense at first of the year sales meetings, because thats's when the decsions are made for the entire years sales.
    Take care that no one hates you justly. ~Publilius Syrus

  11. #11
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    C-Ville
    My Bikes
    are fun to ride
    Posts
    1,144
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    What ever happened to steel?
    I'll tell you what happened. I bought em all!

    And when I want a new bike, it's usually gonna be steel. Just love the stuff.
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    40,102
    Mentioned
    28 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was thinking of going back to a steel frame for winter riding.
    But they are all so expensive ? in relation to alloy
    are you comparing British made apples, to Asian Made Oranges?.

    Consider: buy 2nd hand good stuff..

  13. #13
    Senior Member MNBikeCommuter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Minnesota
    My Bikes
    Cannondale '92 T600 '95 H600 '01 RT1000
    Posts
    532
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    Bad luck! I don't know what bike you had, but it (or they?) was or were a lemon. I have never had a steel frame break or bend on me.
    Yes, exactly--lots of variables you don't know about my situation. :-) And with any bike, the frame material is just a part of the bike's actual characteristics. But it gets brought up and debated to death over and over again. I'm not exactly sure what the OP's intentions were in bringing it up yet again. Boredom? Raining and can't ride? A troll? Doesn't know how to use the search function?

    I'd personally like to try out a wood Renovo bike for my next ride, if and when my aluminum frames ever give out...

  14. #14
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Vancouver, USA
    My Bikes
    My War
    Posts
    20,091
    Mentioned
    43 Post(s)
    Tagged
    7 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    I'm a mature cyclist. I watched Klein and Cannondale introduced aluminum-framed bicycles to world cyclists, many years ago. At first, I was entusiastic about the introduction of a new light weight material used for bikes. However, back in the 80's, I soon began to hear of frequent development of frame cracks. I also heard that frames could not be repaired as easily as steel frames. Next, I began to hear about aluminum giving cyclists rough rides.
    Dem 80s Cannondales and Treks were pretty harsh alright.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    I think that what started out as the development of a lighter bike frame for racing, soon became a industrialist plot for profit. Of course, the venerable pioneers of the aluminum bike frame were not involved this conspiracy. I believe that they had genuine altruistic cycling goals in mind. On the other hand, the bicycle profiteering industrialists couldn't care any less about the comfort and riding efficiency of bicycles. Their primary concern was the bottomline, profit.
    Yep, in 1993 you could sell aluminum frames for more than steel frames (of similar quality) yet they were cheaper to manufacture. By 1999 there were plenty of cheap aluminum choices and you had to pay a premium to get a boutique steel frame, so I guess the "plot" was over by then. I dunno where you get the "hoax" bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Additionally, steel weighs more than aluminum and therefore, costs more to transport.
    This steel bike weighs 14.07 pounds. Light steel is possible but you gotta pay for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    The most logical and versatile material for bicycle frames for the world cyclist has always been steel. Unless you're racing and weight is of essence, a steel frame and fork will give you a much better ride and feel of the road, than aluminum. Steel will also outlast aluminum, in terms of the longevity of operational service. It therefore, becomes more of an investment than a disposable cycling machine. Aluminum should never have been able to displace steel as the primary material for bicycle frames.
    As much as I LOVE steel frames, that whole "most logical and versatile material for bicycle frames" is a bunch of hooey. I think there are plenty of applications where aluminum works just fine and is cheaper (in raw materials cost and framebuilding costs) than similar quality steel.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    While carbon shows much promise and is most probably the future frame of cycling, it does not overshadow the virtues of a steel bicycle frame. This is primarily due to its lack of multi-directional strength factors which are clearly exhibited in steel.
    I dunno if this multi-directional stuff is the reason I like steel, but...whatever.
    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Subsequently, if you're not racing, steel should remain the all 'round favored material for bicycles.
    I think there are a few raceable steel frames out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    All that I ask, is for the bicycle industry to admit the truth about aluminum and sell its aluminum-framed bicycles at a much reduced price and pass some of their savings in production (profits), to the world cycling consumer.
    They already did that. There are TONS of bargain aluminum choices out there. For a while you had to pay a ton to get decent steel, but over the past 5 years or so there are more and more bargain steel choices showing up, which is awesome. I'm so glad steel isn't all boutique anymore. Case in point, Specialized Allez Steel:
    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...45678&eid=4350
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  15. #15
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    5,264
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances but for me it will always be steel.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    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?

  16. #16
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ah...Specialized discontinued the Allez Double Steel model....

    -AND...They're DAMNED FOOLS for doing it!

    - Slim

  17. #17
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
    Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances but for me it will always be steel.
    I salute you, my friend!

    Slim

  18. #18
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Indiana
    My Bikes
    RANS V3, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer
    Posts
    11,551
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've had a couple of aluminum-framed bikes.
    Currently riding three 4130 RANS bikes.
    The only frame failure I have experienced was a 1979 Schwinn Super LeTour whose seat tube broke above the bottom bracket. Hi-tensile.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  19. #19
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    My Bikes
    Wilier Izoard XP (Campagnolo Record);Cinelli Xperience (SRAM Force);Specialized Allez (SRAM Rival);Bianchi Via Nirone 7 (Campagnolo Centaur)
    Posts
    7,021
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Ah...Specialized discontinued the Allez Double Steel model....

    -AND...They're DAMNED FOOLS for doing it!

    - Slim
    It may mean that it is not selling, and they would be foolish if they continue to produce something that does not sell. They do not cater to the few who cannot sustain the business...believe it or not they are out to make money.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    TOML

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Wilier Izoard XP (Campagnolo Record)
    Cinelli Xperience (SRAM Force)
    Specialized Allez (SRAM Rival)
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 (Campagnolo Centaur)

  20. #20
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
    It may mean that it is not selling, and they would be foolish if they continue to produce something that does not sell. They do not cater to the few who cannot sustain the business...believe it or not they are out to make money.
    It's highly unfortunate that the bottomline is usually, profit. If they were to educate people more on the virtues and benefits of a steel-framed bike, they'd be able to sell more and possibly even develope a cult base, just like the CAAD fans of Cannondale. They could've used the Surly LHT design, as a model.

    IMHO, they should have raised the quality of steel and components and increased the unit price by $300.

    Therefore:

    (1) Better Steel-Frame

    (2) Deore and Alivio Derailleurs

    (3) 9 Speed Shimano Brifters

    (4) Touring Eyelets

    * Give you a choice of 26" or 700 c

    Develope a touring bike like the LHT from the Allez Double Steel model!

    - Slim

  21. #21
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Vancouver, USA
    My Bikes
    My War
    Posts
    20,091
    Mentioned
    43 Post(s)
    Tagged
    7 Thread(s)
    Masi has steel for $900.



    And Redline has a tourer in the Trek 520 / LHT vein, but upping the ante with disc brakes:



    Yep, too bad cheap steel didn't work out for Specialized, but oh well.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 09-18-11 at 03:04 PM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  22. #22
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Vancouver, USA
    My Bikes
    My War
    Posts
    20,091
    Mentioned
    43 Post(s)
    Tagged
    7 Thread(s)
    I'm surprised there's not more aluminum in touring bikes. I think the fatter the tires you run the less a difference frame material makes.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  23. #23
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    I'm surprised there's not more aluminum in touring bikes. I think the fatter the tires you run the less a difference frame material makes.

    Unfortunately, the stress thresholds of these two metals are irrelated to the buffering cushion effects of tire pressure and road friction.

    It just doesn't matter, aluminum has a very low stress threshold when compared to steel...

    -Slim

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    726
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think to lighten the frame weight by using aluminum and then to add fatter tires for comfort and thus more weight is counter productive. Just my opinion.

  25. #25
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Masi has steel for $900.



    And Redline has a tourer in the Trek 520 / LHT vein, but upping the ante with disc brakes:



    Yep, too bad cheap steel didn't work out for Specialized, but oh well.
    That's just gorgeous!

    - Slim

Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •