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Old 05-02-08, 06:57 PM   #1
sp00ki
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is steel a good idea? are there still "traditional" frames? and more!

in an office if six, five of us ride. i'm the only one who doesn't also ride trails.

Let me preface:
i've never ridden mtb.
well, that's not true-- when i was in my young teens, i had a huffy mtb that i rode trails with for like a year.
since then, i've owned and extensively ridden a:
-freestyle bmx bike
-time trial bike
-track bike
I've ridden a few of my friends' mountain bikes too. The one thing i've found is that i HATE them. they feel big and clunky.
huge bars and longer cranks aside, i feel like mountain bikes aren't what i remember them to be.
are there more "traditional" mtb geometries still being made today?
also, i get the point of a sloped toptube, but i feel like i could achieve the same thing with a small frame.
is that feasible?
i'd like to avoid getting anything vintage, as i'm sure standards (esp steerer sizes) have changed, much like every other cycling subset.

my next question is, are there steel rides being made? this is purely asthetic of course.
the oversized tubing that's used for aluminum frames are sorta hard on my eyes. if so, is there a huge weight difference? are there "traditional" style bikes made from aluminum?

i realize i'm totally coming off as a noob here; i should. i only recently started looking at mountain bikes, and i can tell already that i have to learn all over again.
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Old 05-02-08, 07:18 PM   #2
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This is steal

The really new and improved Post Your Rigs.

Gunnar Rockhound. I'm sure there are plenty of other steal rides as well. Thought about Titanium?
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Old 05-02-08, 07:32 PM   #3
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surly makes some steel bikes as you know, you could also check out something like a salsa ala carte or any # of small builders still making steel frames.
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Old 05-02-08, 08:29 PM   #4
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You should spend more time considering the pros and cons of different frame materials instead of going on looks. You'll learn to love it later.

That said, steel is real.
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Old 05-02-08, 08:53 PM   #5
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I do not think the material or geometry is the issue. Compared to a track bike, TT bike or BMX bikes MTB can feel very big and clunky until you get used to them. I am a roadie that got a fairly high end light hardtail (21.5 lbs) in November. I wanted to add some off road stuff (maybe Xterra tris) and it sounded like fun.
Well, first time I road the bike down my street I was sure I just pissed away a lot of money. Big, clunky, and not fun at all.
Then winter came and it sat in my basement as I hit the trainer more. Then spring arrived. I hit an easier trail and the first run it was okay at best. I felt like I had a balloon as the front tire it looked so wide. It felt slow and clunky. Then second pass it was better. Then 3rd pass it was a little better. Now after the 4th week of riding thursday nights on the harder trail near by and some road rides on it just for the heck of it I feel 100% different. This thing feels so fast and nimble on the trails. It feels okay on the road as well.

Now it is what I had hoped . . . riding both roadie and MTB makes me like them both more. I think each makes me better at the other.

Bottom line - in a little bit of time it will not feel clunky or big. It will feel fast and very fun.
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Old 05-02-08, 08:54 PM   #6
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Here's my experience with alu, steel and ti hard tails.

I had a Trek Alu bike. Nothing special.

Then I had a Jamis Dragon CroMo steel hardtail (c. 1993/4 or so). Loved the bike. It was resiliant CroMo, some might say 'mushy', but it felt reminiscent of Ti to me.

After that in 1999 I 'upgraded' to the Reynolds 853 Jamis Dragon. Gorgeous hand built in USA frame, still have the bike, but relatively heavy compared to Ti hard tails. And too stiff for me for an MTB. I like a more mushy MTB for comfort. I liked the previous CroMo Dragon more. Still have that bike, I'm selling it. It may have been appealing to a racer or a harder core MTB dude than me, but generally I felt it beat me up too much and added too much of a weight penalty, particularly in recent years with lighter CF and butted Ti frames.

Just got the Motobecane Fly Ti. LOVE the Fly Ti. Reminds me of that earlier CroMo Jamis, only more lively ride, killer handling, floaty ride, and STILL climbs great and descends like a laser beam. What I've always wanted in an MTB. THREE POUNDS LIGHTER than the Jamis 853 Dragon, and that's with disc brakes.

So Ti kind of rules in this dept. in my experience.

Last edited by patentcad; 05-02-08 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 05-02-08, 09:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
This is steal

The really new and improved Post Your Rigs.

Gunnar Rockhound. I'm sure there are plenty of other steal rides as well. Thought about Titanium?
Nice ride...Thanks for the free plug.
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Old 05-02-08, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
Here's my experience with alu, steel and ti hard tails.
... THREE POUNDS LIGHTER than the Jamis 853 Dragon, and that's with disc brakes.

So Ti kind of rules in this dept. in my experience.
Is the 3 pounds due to components? It was not the frame... The Jamis Dragon frame is 4.5lbs...My Gunnar Rockhound frame is 4.2lbs... A Litespeed Obed Ti frame comes in at 3.3lbs... Most Aluminum frames come in at 4-5lbs too.

And as far as Disc brakes go, the Hope Mono Mini come in at 375 grams..That includes 160mm Floating rotor, caliper hose and levers...Fairly light for the performance.
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Old 05-02-08, 09:27 PM   #9
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It's got to be the frame (3.2 lbs, that's 1.3 lbs) and the newer, lighter components and fork. I weighed the bikes, that's the tale of the tape. You feel it too.

The combination of the lively Ti feel, and the lighter weight is profound. MUCH better hard tail for me.
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Old 05-02-08, 09:37 PM   #10
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It's got to be the frame (3.2 lbs, that's 1.3 lbs) and the newer, lighter components and fork. I weighed the bikes, that's the tale of the tape. You feel it too.

The combination of the lively Ti feel, and the lighter weight is profound. MUCH better hard tail for me.
You could have made up almost all the weight in a set of Industry Nine wheels... (I will on my bike, the should be here by June). I considered Ti...But I am afraid of breaking it...The True Temper OX Platinum tubing on the Gunnar is stronger than 3Al 2.5V Ti... I would have like either, but found the Gunnar for a great price!
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Old 05-02-08, 09:42 PM   #11
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My singlespeed is steel and rides really well.

Also, your friends bikes might be more "trail" or "all mountain" oriented. A light cross country bike will feel more lively.
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Old 05-02-08, 09:43 PM   #12
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Cove Handjob XC.
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Old 05-02-08, 10:49 PM   #13
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we all want a handjob.
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Old 05-02-08, 11:19 PM   #14
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marin makes a steel bike that is more traditional..
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Old 05-03-08, 04:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sp00ki View Post
in an office if six, five of us ride. i'm the only one who doesn't also ride trails.

Let me preface:
i've never ridden mtb.
well, that's not true-- when i was in my young teens, i had a huffy mtb that i rode trails with for like a year.
since then, i've owned and extensively ridden a:
-freestyle bmx bike
-time trial bike
-track bike
I've ridden a few of my friends' mountain bikes too. The one thing i've found is that i HATE them. they feel big and clunky.
huge bars and longer cranks aside, i feel like mountain bikes aren't what i remember them to be.
are there more "traditional" mtb geometries still being made today?
also, i get the point of a sloped toptube, but i feel like i could achieve the same thing with a small frame.
is that feasible?
i'd like to avoid getting anything vintage, as i'm sure standards (esp steerer sizes) have changed, much like every other cycling subset.

my next question is, are there steel rides being made? this is purely asthetic of course.
the oversized tubing that's used for aluminum frames are sorta hard on my eyes. if so, is there a huge weight difference? are there "traditional" style bikes made from aluminum?

i realize i'm totally coming off as a noob here; i should. i only recently started looking at mountain bikes, and i can tell already that i have to learn all over again.

We may make one; if people show an interest in it
A bit heavier than AL or Ti
but still under 22 lbs



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Old 05-03-08, 04:36 AM   #16
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I've always preferred Ti to steel, mainly for the feel of Ti. The Fly Ti hard tail is great - the rear triangle feels like a big spring - and that's what I want for a hard tail MTB. Plus they're lighter.

I wouldn't lose any sleep about breaking a Ti bike. Even though I've personally done it. But that was a road bike and 99%+ of you don't ride those kind of miles.
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Old 05-03-08, 11:35 AM   #17
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Warning - dissenting opinion!

I prefer aluminum for stiffness and lightness, but mostly the feeling. You jump on the pedals and it springs forward - no mushiness at all. The "light" steel bikes I've been on felt whippy and not particularly solid, at least compared to Al. Steel bikes that were stiff enough were inevitably heavy, i.e. Surly. My $0.02, YMMV, etc.
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Old 05-04-08, 09:06 AM   #18
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Dark Cycles makes a steel downhill bike.

http://www.darkcycles.com/scarab.htm
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