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  1. #1
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    Getting Back in the Saddle After Too Many Years - Steel Frames?

    Greetings. Short time lurker and first time poster.

    I'm 51, 5'9.5" (used to be 5'10" but shrinkage already setting in and I'm not even in the ocean) 240 lbs, which is clearly way too many.

    I'm looking for a hybrid, as I am more interested in road and light trail riding so a mountain bike is not for me, and I do not like the position of a true road bike. I am more interested in a steel frame, as it seems from the threads that I have been reading that a steel frame will absorb somewhat more of the vibrations and what-not than aluminum (although I am not married to the steel frame if someone can convince me otherwise). I am familiar with the Jamis Coda series, but was wondering what else is out there with steel frames that I should be considering.

    I'd love to say that price is no object, but I'd be lying. However, I could go as high as $1200 or so, but would prefer to keep things in the $700 range. What this means I would really have to be wowed to go to the high end of my budget.

    This is a great website, and I thank you in advance for your thoughts and comments.

    David

  2. #2
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    Don't worry too much about the material. The tires do most of the shock absorption. Steel is OK too. The Jamis bicycles have a good reputation for value. You might go out and try a few models.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Ride a couple bikes of both steel and aluminum and determine how they feel different. There definitely is a difference in feel.
    My Bikes: 2009 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata Six Ten | 1970 Hercules Three-Two-Speed
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    Thanks for the quick response.

    I rode the Coda Comp earlier in the week, but it was not my size -- shop didn't have 1 17.5" in so I rode the 19.5. They'll sell the Coda Comp for $750, so that is where I am basing my lower range of my pricing.

    Have also looked into but not yet tried the Felt Speed 30 and 50 and the Scott Sportster SUB 10, both of which are aluminum (I think).

    I am a wide open canvas, ready for any suggestions.

  5. #5
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    As with any style of bike, test riding is probably the key...

    Do keep in mind that if something feels good, but not quite perfect, it could be just a matter of adjustment, or maybe swapping stems...

    But the safest bet is to buy what you like to ride. If there is a tie at the top as far as ride quality, then give some weight to what you think of the shop.
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  6. #6
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    $750 for the Coda Comp is a steal. I got my '10 model a week ago for $865.00. Steel is the way to go.

  7. #7
    Goldmember 2wheeldeal's Avatar
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    If there is a weight advantage to aluminum vs steel in the hybrid frames, I don't see it. Steel does feel different, the smaller diameter tubes allow for some flex. Since you seem to be leaning toward faster road bikes, you might look at a cyclocross bike with road tires, or one of the steel touring bikes like the Kona Sutra or Surly LHT.
    One less car, twenty-six more gears

  8. #8
    I Love My Dream
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    Steel frames seam to appeal to old guys like myself also. Aesthetically I prefer the look of a steel frame's smaller diameter tubes over the over sized tubes you'll see on an aluminum bike. Steel certainly has a ride quality that's hard to beat also. Having said that there are aluminum bikes that also ride really well.

    I'm not familier with the Coda's but they look really good. If they would get you your size for your price that would be a hard bike for me to resist. I can't think of another steel framed hybrid bike personally, do others even exist?

    No need to be convinced to get anything other than steel if the Coda suits your purposes and your price and most importantly feels good to you when you ride it. Will they bring in your size for the price you mentioned? How do you like that shop?
    It's none of my business what other people think of me.

  9. #9
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    The Giant Cypress ST is steel,very upright riding,havnt tried one but am planning to do so today actually.My back can no longer take the lean over type,which means im going to have to mod my other bikes.

  10. #10
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Just make sure you ride them both, back to back, before deciding which one is really the most comfortable

    All calculations say I should be riding a 58, but the 61 is head and shoulders above the 58, for my riding style.... just trying to say, the bigger bike may be best, if it really fits your riding style better - I just happen to like to be stretched out more when I ride...... ride it a few more times, prefferably a long ride if you can talk the dealer into it..

  11. #11
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Thats a nice bike! But there are a few things you might want to consider, or, at least keep in the back of your mind - get rid of the suspension seatpost, those things steal a lot of energy, always seem to be loose, and sometimes rattle. Can you fit larger tires in there? 32s, 35, and 37s will make for a much better ride, especially considering the weight. Also, you won't give up much rolling resistance with up to 35s, if at all. Definitely, a "Good Trade!"

    Nice bike......

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    Thanks again for all of your thoughts and comments. I'll be out bicycle hunting tomorrow and Monday. The point about trying them one right after the other is well taken... otherwise it would be like audition new speakers and trying to remember how the other pair at the other store sounded. Now if I can only find a shop that carries Jamis, Giant, Felt, Specialized, Scott, Surly and Kona and I'll be all set.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sh00k's Avatar
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    ^ LOL. i put so many miles on my car checking out used bikes, going to LBS, etc. but now that i got my bike, i want to get another one
    2009 Trek FX 7.2 (Blue) -- SOLD!
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  14. #14
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    I've always been fond of steel. But today's aluminum frames are resilient and forgiving. And light in weight is why the alloy has replaced steel even on low end bikes.

  15. #15
    Zensunni Wanderer KShep's Avatar
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    I am about the same weight as the OP (and exactly the same age) & very happy with the aluminum frame Trek hybrid.

    However....while it was in the shop I rode the Trek 970 MTB which has a lugged, doubled butted cromoly steel frame. I had not been on the steel frame in a while and had forgotten just how smooth that bike rides. Pure joy.

    Ride as many as you can in your price range....don't shy away from steel.
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  16. #16
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    Well, steel is where I originally was heading. But after trying the Trek 7.5fx, Cannondale Bad Boy, Jamis Coda Elite, a couple of Gary Fishers, Trek 7.3FX, Cannondale Quick (I forget the level), Jamis Allegro, I am leaning towards either the Trek 7.5 or the Bad Boy Disc. Had also wanted to try the Felt Speed 30, Scott Sportster or Sub series, and Rocky Mountain RC 50, but no one seems to have any of these less popular bikes just hanging around for a customer to give a test ride.

    Seems like a real chicken-and-egg thing these secondary (and I mean that in a marketing sense, not quality sense) brands have. People go into a shop, they know the names Trek and Cannondale, and lo and behold, there is a bike to try. If they want to compare to a Felt or Scott or whatever, if the shop allegedly carries the brand they carry the $300-400 line and don't have the pricier utes in stock, nor did they seem particularly thrilled about getting one on spec. So a customer can't try the bikes and goes to the default Trek or Cannondale, and the big get bigger.

  17. #17
    Senior Member AiredaleII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m-ha View Post
    Seems like a real chicken-and-egg thing these secondary (and I mean that in a marketing sense, not quality sense) brands have. People go into a shop, they know the names Trek and Cannondale, and lo and behold, there is a bike to try. If they want to compare to a Felt or Scott or whatever, if the shop allegedly carries the brand they carry the $300-400 line and don't have the pricier utes in stock, nor did they seem particularly thrilled about getting one on spec. So a customer can't try the bikes and goes to the default Trek or Cannondale, and the big get bigger.
    That is very true. You can however do a side by side comparison at Bikepedia http://www.bikepedia.com/ check it out it and it may help you to decide.

  18. #18
    Cfd
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    For what you want, a Surly Crosscheck would be worth a look. It runs about $1K or so, and is made of 4130-Chrome-Moly. The stock components are decent, and it can take up to 45mm tires.

    I regularly use it on some pretty rough rail-trails & byways, so it has wide tires, trekking bars, and a sprung leather saddle. I wouldn't have it any other way.

  19. #19
    Mrs. DataJunkie Luddite's Avatar
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    I likes me some steel, personally. All three of my bikes are steel.

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