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Old 05-04-12, 08:08 AM   #1
nolefan
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Old School ChroMo Steel Vs New Nashbar Aluminum?

Ok guys and gals, I currently have a 1992 Trek 830. I love the bike, but the paint shows its age, and is black. I am in love with white bikes for whatever reason, and the current plan is to have the old steel Trek powdercoated white and add updated stickers.

BUT after looking at Nashbar's selection of bike frames, the "Nashbar Integrated Alloy Road Frame and Nashbar Integrated Alloy/Carbon Road Frame" both already come in white.

The standard aluminum bike frame looks to be around 1600 grams, while I can't seem to find a weight on the allow/carbon frame. I have no idea what the 830 steel frame weighs.

I figure the "Alloy Road Frame" is already white and would be close to the cost of getting the 830 frame powdercoated, but I would still have to do something with the fork, I guess I could use the 830 fork and leave it black for now. The Alloy/Carbon frame is more $ but just not sure how much less it weighs.

Would any of these frames be more upgrade-able than the other in the future? Should I just stick with what I have?

If I got one of these Nashbar frames, I would be transferring everything over from my current bike. I know there are countless threads on the net debating steel vs aluminum, and I know most of it is just preference. My main concern is upgrading in the future, and want whichever frame of these 3 will allow me to do that best.

(Side note, I am currently a "Clydesdale" at 205, and ride mostly paved trails)
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Old 05-04-12, 09:31 AM   #2
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Your Trek 830 is made of chromoly steel. If properly cared for, it will continue to render excellent service to you for many future decades to come. I know, because I currently own three chromoly steel framed bikes. One of which is close to thirty years old, and it's my favorite riding bicycle. It's just as smooth, comfortable, and agile, as the first day that I bought it. I have made certain throughout the years that all of my bikes are kept dry. I also immediately cover any scratch with matching fingernail polish. Other than a slightly worn decal, my bike looks just as good today, as it did almost thirty years ago. Steel is amazingly durable!

Additionally, aluminum has its deficits in terms of a shorter fatigue life, and a comparatively low yield capacity. That means that everytime it's used, it gets closer to its fail date. Aluminum can only withstand a finite number of stress cycles. This fact does not apply to steel. Also, in the case of an accident, aluminum will tend to crack, snap, or break, as opposed to bend, due to its low yield capacity. That's why you can readily observe aluminum frames breaking up in the middle of a top or down top, instead of at the weld joints.

Chromoly steel is quite simply, much stronger and more durable than aluminum as a bicycle frame.

OTOH, if your going to be involved in road or mountain bike racing, then aluminum or carbon, just might make the difference. For the daily commute or long distance cycling, aluminum or carbon would not be my preferred frame materials. Of course, for me personally, I'd even race with an 853 chromoly steel framed bicycle.

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Old 05-04-12, 09:37 AM   #3
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Looks I will be sticking with Old School

Thanks Slim Rider. Any sources for updated graphics?
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Old 05-04-12, 10:18 AM   #4
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If it was my bike I'd rework what I had because - well - that's just what I do.

I use a local sign company that makes custom vinyl stickers for truck and window lettering. Here's a picture of my old Bridgestone.

FWIW, I think that Slim rider's comments about aluminum bike frames are waaaaay overstated. If what I had happened to be an aluminum frame, I'd rework that too.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:21 AM   #5
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You just said you are not interested in debating material characteristics, Slim comes in with a few hundred words of nonsense on just that without answering your question and you swoon...That said, I would be surprised if all the parts on a 20 year old frame would just swap over, so you may be better off sticking with old school. I can almost guarantee the fork wouldn't fit, and the new frame will not have tabs for downtube shifters. The new frames WILL upgrade much easier though.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:26 AM   #6
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I know rebel I know

Seems I may keep and powdercoat the old Trek, as I do like the bike, and I was worried about the old stuff being compatible with the new frame.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:39 AM   #7
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Beware slimrider - he has a talent for making nonsense opinions sound like fact.

Steel can have an 'infinite fatigue life' - if the stress in the steel is below a certain level. THere is no way to tell if the stress in your frame is below that level when you ride it, so it might last forever, and it might not. Aluminum, while there is no level of stress that will allow it to last 'forever,' can often be made into a stronger and lighter frame than steel, and as long lasting.

If you are not riding a badly designed or built frame from either material, and even if you are exceeding the fatige limit on steel (the amount of stress below which you may never get a fatiguie failure), the amount of stress cycles required to cause a frame to fatigue and break is in the millions, which should translate to many many years of riding.

Frame break for reasons other than fatigue - crashing, improper welding, corrosion (more of a concern with steel than with aluminum), leaving the bike on the roof rack when you drive into the garage, etc - much much more frequently than they fail due to fatigue.

FWIW, I have broken a few frames - all steel. I have never broken an aluminum frame, even though I outweight you by ~50 lbs and have tended to use my aluminum touring bikes for rough riding for which they were definitely never designed.

ALl that being said, if you have a good frame that fits you and has a working set of parts, there is no reason to replace it. If you try to change to a more modern frame you will likely have problems with compatibility of parts like wheels, brakes, front derailleurs, headsets, etc, and have to sink more money into it that you realize. It would likely be more cost effective to find a whole new bike than to try to swap everything over.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:42 AM   #8
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Seems I may keep and powdercoat the old Trek, as I do like the bike, and I was worried about the old stuff being compatible with the new frame.
Just be sure to find a powder coater who has done bicycles before. Powdercoating is thicker than paint so you definitely don't want to get it inside the seat and head tubes or BB threads.

Headset/fork, front derailleur and seatpost almost surely won't fit a new aluminum frame. Brake calipers are iffy too.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:44 AM   #9
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Just be sure to find a powder coater who has done bicycles before. Powdercoating is thicker than paint so you definitely don't want to get it inside the seat and head tubes or BB threads.

Headset/fork, front derailleur and seatpost almost surely won't fit a new aluminum frame. Brake calipers are iffy too.
Also, the 830 likely has 26" wheels and cantilever brakes. I think the OP was headed for mess of frustration if he bought one of those frames.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:44 AM   #10
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You just said you are not interested in debating material characteristics, Slim comes in with a few hundred words of nonsense on just that without answering your question and you swoon...That said, I would be surprised if all the parts on a 20 year old frame would just swap over, so you may be better off sticking with old school. I can almost guarantee the fork wouldn't fit, and the new frame will not have tabs for downtube shifters. The new frames WILL upgrade much easier though.
Granted that twenty-year old components most likely won't be compatible. I can agree with that. However, everything that I've stated can be corroborated by scientific facts. Aluminum IS more subject to fatigue stress failure than steel. Aluminum IS more vulnerable to breakage, due to failed stress points and its low yield capacity.

These facts don't render aluminum as useless in terms of bicycle frame material. However, these facts do indicate that aluminum is inferior to chromoly steel in cycling applications where greater durability, longevity of service, and absence of stress issues, are appreciated.

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Old 05-04-12, 10:45 AM   #11
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Being the oldschool vintage steel lover I am, if you can stand the extra weight that frame will have a lively feel to it that no other frame can duplicate. Trek's rock.

Having said that, I'd love to have a Cannondale Black Lightning. Having just picked up a dandy Technium with aluminum/steel mated frame I can attest to the hillclimbing finesses these frames have. They are very, very responsive to torque.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:47 AM   #12
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...with an 853 chromoly steel framed bicycle.
You are ignorant. 853 is not Chromoly. It is a seamless air hardening manganese high tensile steel.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:49 AM   #13
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Granted that twenty-year old components most likely won't be compatible. I can agree with that. However, everything that I've stated can be corroborated by scientific facts. Aluminum IS more subject to fatigue stress failure than steel. Aluminum IS more vulnerable to breakage, due to failed stress points, due to its low yield capacity.

These facts don't render aluminum as useless in terms of bicycle frame material. However, these facts do indicate that aluminum is inferior to chromoly steel in cycling applications where greater durability, longevity of service, and absence of stress issues, are appreciated.
In some circumstances steel will behave as you described, but it can not be stated as a generality as you do. You have no idea what you are talking about.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:54 AM   #14
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You are ignorant. 853 is not Chromoly. It is a seamless air hardening manganese high tensile steel.
Who's ignorant, LarDasse 74?

www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/eclipse/12_eclipse_spec.html

"Reynolds 853 heat-treated, seamless air-hardened chromoly main tubes..."

Next time, do more rigorous research before accusing someone of your own frailty.

* Every single point that I've made here, are all general scientific facts commonly learned in any high school metals shop. Metallurgy 101 would be considered advanced for this type of fundamental knowledge.

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Old 05-04-12, 11:10 AM   #15
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853 does indeed have Cr and Mo:

The chemistry includes carbon, manganese, chrome, molybdenum, silicon, copper.

A lot of that aluminium scare stuff is hogwash though. Anyone who spouts such nonsense about aluminum frames should be required to show proof that they don't run aluminum bars or stems.

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Old 05-04-12, 11:52 AM   #16
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Uh Oh, I should have known this would probably happen. Thanks for all of the input guys/gals. I will be finding a knowledgable bicycle powder coater and the old Trek will be white.

Maybe off topic, but when it is powdercoated, what about the cage bolt holes, etc. Will teh powdercoater taope these off, or will they just need to be re-threaded?

Thanks
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Old 05-04-12, 12:08 PM   #17
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Who's ignorant, LarDasse 74?

www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/eclipse/12_eclipse_spec.html

"Reynolds 853 heat-treated, seamless air-hardened chromoly main tubes..."

Next time, do more rigorous research before accusing someone of your own frailty.

* Every single point that I've made here, are all general scientific facts commonly learned in any high school metals shop. Metallurgy 101 would be considered advanced for this type of fundamental knowledge.
And I'm sure high school metal shop is the extent of your education on the subject. Funny how you still seem to misapply or misrepresent the facts.

And thanks for the link to Jamis' website, although Jamis bikes is not as good a source as Reynolds - the manufacturer of 853, and Reynolds does not call 853 crome-moly. I would presume Jamis uses the term 'chromoly' to head off criticisms from ignorant keyboard-metallurgists such as yourself that flip out any time someone suggests that a steel other than chrome-moly can be used to make a good quality bike. Almost all steels have cro and mo - Reynolds chooses to list manganese as the first alloying element. Many of Reynolds' most famout tubesets, such as 531, not chrome-moly. You calling it chrome-moly, your fear of any steel that is not called chrome-moly, and your knee-jerk reaction to the suggestion that any high quality bike may be made from a steel that is not chrome-moly are all symptoms of your ignorance.
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Old 05-04-12, 01:03 PM   #18
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Granted that twenty-year old components most likely won't be compatible. I can agree with that. However, everything that I've stated can be corroborated by scientific facts. Aluminum IS more subject to fatigue stress failure than steel. Aluminum IS more vulnerable to breakage, due to failed stress points and its low yield capacity.

These facts don't render aluminum as useless in terms of bicycle frame material. However, these facts do indicate that aluminum is inferior to chromoly steel in cycling applications where greater durability, longevity of service, and absence of stress issues, are appreciated.
I always picture you at your keyboard with your fingers in your ears screaming NANANANA I CAN'T HEAR YOU, as you prepare to type one of your wonderfully verbose, yet woefully misinformed missives.
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Old 05-04-12, 06:08 PM   #19
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Uh Oh, I should have known this would probably happen. Thanks for all of the input guys/gals. I will be finding a knowledgable bicycle powder coater and the old Trek will be white.

Maybe off topic, but when it is powdercoated, what about the cage bolt holes, etc. Will teh powdercoater taope these off, or will they just need to be re-threaded?

Thanks
All holes have to be either stuffed, or covered. Just ask the painter about his usual procedure...

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Old 05-04-12, 08:44 PM   #20
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I think you'd be better off powderocating the old frame. I recently had that done to an old Schwimm LeTour and it turned out great. As mentioned above, make sure the shop knows how to coat bike frames; make sure they take off all the old paint (powdercoat doesn't stick well to it) using either sand or media blasting, and they don't coat the inside of the BB, headtube, seat tube areas. Also, while its being coated, assemble some new drivetrain parts, and that will probably improve your ride more than a new frame. Definately replace the BB if its never been done, and a biggy improvement is to get newer wheels (spendy, but it really does make a difference if you ride a lot). Post pics when you've got it reassembled; we love 'bikeporn' here on BF!.

Steel vs. Aluminum? Its not an either/or, but what alloy of each type of metal you are comparing.
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Old 05-05-12, 03:58 AM   #21
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And I'm sure high school metal shop is the extent of your education on the subject. Funny how you still seem to misapply or misrepresent the facts.

And thanks for the link to Jamis' website, although Jamis bikes is not as good a source as Reynolds - the manufacturer of 853, and Reynolds does not call 853 crome-moly. I would presume Jamis uses the term 'chromoly' to head off criticisms from ignorant keyboard-metallurgists such as yourself that flip out any time someone suggests that a steel other than chrome-moly can be used to make a good quality bike. Almost all steels have cro and mo - Reynolds chooses to list manganese as the first alloying element. Many of Reynolds' most famout tubesets, such as 531, not chrome-moly. You calling it chrome-moly, your fear of any steel that is not called chrome-moly, and your knee-jerk reaction to the suggestion that any high quality bike may be made from a steel that is not chrome-moly are all symptoms of your ignorance.
This is quite probably my last response regarding this issue within this thread, because it would appear that too much information tends to stress you out to the point of insults and name-calling. I'm usually not reduced to name-calling unless I see some humorous point to it. There's absolutely nothing humorous about ignorance. It appears to be ubiquitous throughout all humanity and is most inevitably, the very bane of our existence.

At any rate, the term chromoly steel, or CROMO, is generally given to steel that has an SAE number designated as 4130. 4130 steel, or chromoly steel is an alloy which consists of certain % ranges in mass of specific elements, contained within the entire mass of the steel alloy, itself.

Apparently, while the chromoly steel in bicycles, is generally thought of as having the designated SAE number 4130, there are variations of 4130, where specific elements have either had their % masses reduced or increased, for the purpose of eliciting or enhancing, a particular desired characteristic within the bicycle frame. The bicycle industry, generally refers to these particular variations of 4130 metals, as chromoly steels. Of course, this is quite comprehensible due to the ever-increasing alloys of steel that have similar % compositions, but have slightly different properties, due to slight elemental variations.

However, in the specific case of 853 steel, it is directly derived from 4130 chromoly steel. The only difference is in its treatment and processing prior to producing the finished product. 853 steel is a bonafide chromoly steel to its very core, eventhough it might be considered as an exotic steel. Most other exotic, or boutique alloy steels are just variations on a theme, that are very close to being 4130, but have had minor additions, reductions, or deletions of specific elements. Either that, or they've been processed differently, as well.

The following links should assist you in your learning process concerning the term chromoly steel and its use within the industry:

First there's the REI website:
www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/bike+frame+materials.html

This website gives you a general explanation of how the various bicycle frame materials have been used, historically speaking. It also alludes to the exotic steels.

There's also the following Ibis website:
www.ibiscycles.com/support/technical_articles/metallurgy_for_cyclists/steel_is_real/

This website discusses the SAE numerical designations and just exactly what they mean. It also describes the liberal use of the term chromoly and how it is applied to other steels that are more or less related to 4130 chromoly steel.

Then finally, there's the Brightspoke website which follows, that's also listed within my signature space:
www.brightspoke.com/c/understanding/bike-frame-materials.html

This website thoroughly and succinctly describes the 853 chromoly steel derivation and explains its production from 4130 chromoly steel, specifically. Just go to Steel Alloys and look for Reynold's Steel.

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Old 05-05-12, 04:08 AM   #22
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Anyone who spouts such nonsense about aluminum frames should be required to show proof that they don't run aluminum bars or stems.
You should have included seatpost. I have steel bars on about half my bikes, I have steel stems on two of them, but not one steel seatpost left in the fleet.

But to be fair some people change their handlebars fairly often. And I'd guess most people who use a bike for more than a decade change bars more often than frames.

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Old 05-05-12, 04:42 AM   #23
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853 does indeed have Cr and Mo:

The chemistry includes carbon, manganese, chrome, molybdenum, silicon, copper.

A lot of that aluminium scare stuff is hogwash though. Anyone who spouts such nonsense about aluminum frames should be required to show proof that they don't run aluminum bars or stems.
I'm not saying that aluminum is bad. I happen to like aluminum for various applications. I even have a Trek 7.5FX, of which I'm particularly fond. It's just that when it comes to bicycle frames that will be subjected to much use, used almost daily, or used for frequent long distance cycling, steel is by far, the superior metal. Aluminum works just fine for stems, seatposts, handlebars, etc...

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You should have included seatpost. I have steel bars on about half my bikes, I have steel stems on two of them, but not one steel seatpost left in the fleet.

But to be fair some people change their handlebars fairly often. And I'd guess most people who use a bike for more than a decade change bars more often than frames.
This is an excellent point too!

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Old 05-05-12, 07:14 AM   #24
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Forget all the rubbish about steel v. aluminium. You have a bike that you know you like, and which won't involve you in any additional expense for components. There's really no need to change to something that might not suit you so well.
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Old 05-05-12, 07:58 AM   #25
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Uh Oh, I should have known this would probably happen. Thanks for all of the input guys/gals. I will be finding a knowledgable bicycle powder coater and the old Trek will be white.

Maybe off topic, but when it is powdercoated, what about the cage bolt holes, etc. Will teh powdercoater taope these off, or will they just need to be re-threaded?

Thanks
As soon as I read the thread title, I said to myself, "here we go again". It took all of one reply to prove me right.
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