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Old 10-02-06, 11:35 AM   #1
STW
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Need Hardtail Knowledge.

Ready to treat my body to something more supple than my Trek 8500. I have looked into a lot of small steel hardtail producers like Indy Fab, Spot, Gunnar, etc. and am not opposed to the big boys like Fisher, Rocky Mtn, or Marin.

If you have a steel hardtail could you please share your impressions of yours and insight into this type of frame. And if the regional differences are that big in say like East coast geaometry vs. the Wests' and things of the like.

And I guess the real question at hand is if the comfort level will be significantly different from that of aluminum. I like hardtails because of the simplicity, weight and my personnel feelings of greater control.

thanks so much
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Old 10-02-06, 11:40 AM   #2
CrashVector
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steel frames actually flex slightly, so they feel 'softer' to ride.

many people, myself included, prefer steel bikes over aluminum. The only real disadvantage to steel is its weight. With suspension, the ability of steel to absorb a small amount of shock by flexing is less important because that is what the bike's suspension is made for....therefore, aluminum's lighter weight and higher level of stiffness is acceptable because the suspension soaks up the shock and puts less stress directly on the frame material.

Still, for a hardtail, I far prefer chromoly frames, although finding one that I like has become much harder because most bike makers are converting over to making only aluminum bikes.

If you can find a truly good steel frame, they are a thing of beauty. The steel is stronger, so the tubes are thinner in diameter. It gives the bike a "svelt" look that I like. Most aluminum framed bikes have tubes that are much larger in diameter compared to their steel counterparts.

i know that is purely an aesthetic aspect, but if you like smaller-framed bikes, steel is the way to go for a hardtail.

Handling is pretty comparable, and the differences in feel are subtle but definately noticeable. The steel frames have more give and are less rigid. The aluminum frames are more stiff and 'flickable'.

Note that this is only my personal observation and feeling. The best way to determine what you prefer is to test ride.
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Old 10-02-06, 07:56 PM   #3
mikejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STW
Ready to treat my body to something more supple than my Trek 8500. I have looked into a lot of small steel hardtail producers like Indy Fab, Spot, Gunnar, etc. and am not opposed to the big boys like Fisher, Rocky Mtn, or Marin.

If you have a steel hardtail could you please share your impressions of yours and insight into this type of frame. And if the regional differences are that big in say like East coast geaometry vs. the Wests' and things of the like.

And I guess the real question at hand is if the comfort level will be significantly different from that of aluminum. I like hardtails because of the simplicity, weight and my personnel feelings of greater control.

thanks so much

I just bought a Kelly. He is going out of business and has a few left. I haven't built it up yet so I can't tell you yet what I think of it, other than is sure is pretty.
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Old 10-02-06, 08:44 PM   #4
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I have a Gary Fisher Mamba old steel mountain bike. I used to ride an aluminum, and I can definitely feel the added "flex" and "give" of the steel, especially on the downhills. It's like the jarring crunchiness from the baseline ride is gone, especially the really big hits that wake you up on an aluminum bike. The added weight is definitely there and you feel in on the climbs, but the downhills are pretty cool on steel - the frame itself absorbs a huge amount of impact due to its sheer mass.

For me, the best part is knowing that when you get to the top of the 3000 foot climb in 2.5 miles, that you've earned every bit of it!
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