Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-02-07, 03:10 PM   #1
jackcoke
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What makes steel so "real"?

Curious.
jackcoke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 03:11 PM   #2
bac
Senior Member
 
bac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Pennsylvania
Bikes: Too many to list!
Posts: 7,481
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
They rhyme?

... Brad
bac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 03:40 PM   #3
Indyv8a
Senior Member
 
Indyv8a's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Reisterstown Maryland
Bikes: Austro-Daimler Olympian Trek 800, Giant OCR C3
Posts: 427
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Tradition. (Sing it like Fiddler On The Roof.)
Indyv8a is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 04:09 PM   #4
rodri9o
moar wine!!!
 
rodri9o's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NY
Bikes: Brigdestone RB-2 : Gunnar Roadie : Masi Gran Corsa : Gunnar Crosshairs : Specialized Stumpjumper (overseas)
Posts: 368
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My cyclocross bike is steel, and I love it. Its also not the lightest thing out there.
In the end, I htink it is all personal preference. Everyone has their opinions about materials vs materials, weight vs ride.
Recently I sold my aluminum Orbea Airplane road frame and got a nice steel Gunnar frame to replace it built with the same components. The steel frame is 1 lb. heavier, but I can ride it all day as opposed to getting aches after riding the aluminum frame for a few hours. I also do not ride 15-20 hours a week anymore, which at the time was riding when I got the aluminum frame and considered it comfy.

Its all a matter of personal preference...and I have to admit...I'm a stingy steel nerd.
rodri9o is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 05:21 PM   #5
TimJ
Senior Member
 
TimJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 1,955
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It has a higher... modulous or something or other some engineer could bore you about, but basically steel bikes are usually springier than aluminum bikes because that's the nature of steel. I haven't ridden very many aluminum bikes but the ones I have they were all much stiffer than my steel bikes. Mountainbike-wise I had a full rigid aluminum rockhopper and compared to my full rigid steel miyata mtb it was night and day. The rockhopper had no give and hurt my back it was so stiff, the miyata has give and doesn't hurt me.

Aluminum can flex, surely, but springs is made of steel and not AL for a reason. This is not to say I think aluminum bikes suck if someone gets all offended and wants to bore me with a list of the properties of AL.
__________________
fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
"Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."
TimJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 06:01 PM   #6
rodri9o
moar wine!!!
 
rodri9o's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NY
Bikes: Brigdestone RB-2 : Gunnar Roadie : Masi Gran Corsa : Gunnar Crosshairs : Specialized Stumpjumper (overseas)
Posts: 368
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i think it has to do with aluminum's molecular make up....FE molecules are not bonded in a patterned structure, I think, AL's molecular bonds are crystaline in shape. Steel deforms before it fails and aluminum fails catastrophically with no warning.
rodri9o is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 06:52 PM   #7
greenwithwheels
Senior Member
 
greenwithwheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Chicago Illinois
Bikes: Redline d660, '85 Schwinn Peloton full new ultegra, IRO robroy ss cross bike
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
hmh

Its kind of a goofy expression and the people that preach it are usually pretty obnoxious but there is something about the compliency of steel that people and i like so much. materials like scandium and aluminum
are quite a bit lighter and snappier but they have a way transfering all of the bumps and imperfections of the surface into your arms and legs and butt. Dont think steel is springy or flexy its just complient. Carbon has the same characteristics but it cracks... it just breaks if you mess up.
greenwithwheels is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 07:31 PM   #8
p4nh4ndle
coffeeeeee
 
p4nh4ndle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: somewhere in Pennsyl-tucky
Bikes: all that I ride
Posts: 238
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
"compliant"?
all metals used to make bikes are good springs
see: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html
p4nh4ndle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 07:36 PM   #9
ronbridal
Senior Member
 
ronbridal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Illinois
Bikes:
Posts: 524
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It really depends upon your use of the bike and what you want out of it. If you want a cyclocross bike to ride on the road and commute with, steel is definitely a good option. The ride steel provides is smooth and enjoyable. This also depends upon the steel used and the builder though. If you are looking to race the bike a little or use it as a bad weather kind of bike then I don't think steel is a good option at all. Steel is heavier and rusts easier. A good aluminum frame would be the way to go if you want an all-around type of bike . . . that is a bike you might commute on, as well as take out for the occasional cross race. If you intend to race the bike alot and that is the primary purpose of the bike, then I would say you should definitely go with aluminum. Just my opinion though. I raced a steet Waterford road bike for the last two years and really loved the ride. But I can't wait to spend the next season on my new carbon frame.
ronbridal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-07, 08:31 PM   #10
HuckMeat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Colorado
Bikes:
Posts: 55
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I thought it was a pretty nifty saying, until I got t-boned in an intersection on my serotta steel/steel fork. The replacement bike ended up being a mid level trek 5200, and I cannot believe how much better it was... Climbing, stiffness, and comfort... For me it was a huge upgrade to lose the steel, but different strokes for different folks. I sold the trek later, but kinda thank that stupid motorist for getting me out of the mid 80's...
HuckMeat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-07, 02:42 AM   #11
wompwomp
you can go backwards?!
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 390
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
no one's written out the proof yet?

lets say that steel expressed in terms of real (A) and imaginary Bi components.

since steel has no components that are roots of -1, B must be equal to zero, removing all imaginary material from steel (aluminum, carbon, titanium, moon cheese, etc.). Since the only component left is A, we can then see the sense it makes to proclaim the reality of steel.
wompwomp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-07, 03:33 AM   #12
cs1
Senior Member
 
cs1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Clev Oh
Bikes: Specialized, Schwinn
Posts: 6,682
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by p4nh4ndle View Post
"compliant"?
all metals used to make bikes are good springs
see: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html
I've read that before, it is a very good primer. Where exactly did you see that all the materials make good springs? Actually, I've never seen an aluminum spring, have you?


Tim
cs1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-07, 01:10 PM   #13
SneakyMilo
Senior Member
 
SneakyMilo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Iowa
Bikes:
Posts: 59
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by wompwomp View Post
no one's written out the proof yet?

lets say that steel expressed in terms of real (A) and imaginary Bi components.

since steel has no components that are roots of -1, B must be equal to zero, removing all imaginary material from steel (aluminum, carbon, titanium, moon cheese, etc.). Since the only component left is A, we can then see the sense it makes to proclaim the reality of steel.
I got a pretty good laugh out of that one since I just spent last hour in dynamics dealing with dampened vibrations.
SneakyMilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-07, 03:47 PM   #14
p4nh4ndle
coffeeeeee
 
p4nh4ndle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: somewhere in Pennsyl-tucky
Bikes: all that I ride
Posts: 238
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Torsional/lateral stiffness

This is mainly related to the stresses generated by the forces you create from pedaling. Any frame will flex around the bottom bracket a bit in response to pedaling loads. This flex can be felt, and many riders assume that it is consuming (wasting) pedaling effort. Actually, that's not the case, because the metals used in bicycle frames are very efficient springs, and the energy gets returned at the end of the power stroke, so little or nothing is actually lost. While there is no actual loss of efficiency from a "flexy" frame, most cyclists find the sensation unpleasant, and prefer a frame that is fairly stiff in the drive-train area. This is more of a concern for larger, heavier riders, and for those who make a habit of standing up to pedal.
I think it would be this section

he doesn't prove this statement, but it seems plausible.
for an aluminum spring (in a bicycle application no less) see castellanodesigns.com re: fango
p4nh4ndle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-07, 04:38 PM   #15
i_r_beej
Portland, OR
 
i_r_beej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Bikes: Cannondale: '94 R400; Lemond Poprad '06; Specialized Epic Marathon '06; Specialized Stumpjumper '89; Redline Proline Pro Cruiser '10
Posts: 318
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Like others have already stated-- bikes with steel frames seem to have a more "lively" (springier?) feel to them. I have several bikes-- two of which are Cannondales. I've ridden my steel 'cross bike on the road (with 23c tires and 20 spoked Bonty wheels) and off road on the same trails I've ridden the Cannondale MTB. In both situations the steel 'cross bike had a more pleasing ride. The AL bikes have a sort of "dead" feel-- especially off road. The steel bike feels more active, it's a weird to try to describe a ride.

Plus steel frames can be repaired and modified (like adding canti bosses to a steel frame). In the end, the steel frame can be recycled. Carbon composites cannot-- they remain toxic garbage. Aluminum alloys are more difficult to recycle. They can't be repaired or modified.

I'm not knocking aluminum-- I love both my Cannondales. But the steel bike is my favorite.
i_r_beej is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-07, 05:11 PM   #16
flargle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 2,119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
"If steel were a new material, recently engineered to be the ideal replacement material for bicycle frames, it would be the hottest thing to hit the industry. Comfortable, resilient, serviceable, light and delivers a ride like no other."

http://www.belgiumkneewarmers.com/20...l-is-real.html
flargle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-07, 07:33 PM   #17
lunacycle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: St Paul, MN
Bikes:
Posts: 698
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It is an annoying expression for sure, usually uttered by someone who has no better argument for riding steel (even though they should).

The wonderful thing about a steel frame is that, provided it's not crashed or corroded, it should last a lifetime under "normal" riding conditions. That is because the steel alloy has an intrinsic property known as a "fatigue limit". This means that the material can handle an (essentially) infinite number of load cycles (bumps, braking forces, pedaling forces, etc.) provided that the amount of load is below a certain threshold (the fatigue limit). Typically, steel frames are sufficiently robust to spend their lifetime below this load limit. I'm not aware of any other bike frame material that has that quality.

The other great quality of steel is that you typically have some warning before the frame fails. A crack may propagate near a welded or lugged connection, the tubes may buckle, but typically the frame will not fail catastrophically (at least not right away). The same cannot be said for carbon fiber or aluminum.

I recently test rode a Madone 5.2 (120 OCLV carbon fiber) and a Lemond Sarthe (Reynolds 853 steel). I have to tell you, I liked the ride qualities of my old beat-up 7005 aluminum cyclocross bike better than either one of them. It just goes to show that there's more to a bike's ride quality than the frame material.
lunacycle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-07, 08:13 PM   #18
dwood
Keeping A Low Profile
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Atascadero, California
Bikes: Specialized Hardrock Sport [1998], Dahon Speed P8 2007, 1994 Diamond Back Ascent and a couple of Schwinn Stingrays [one boys, one girls] from circa 1977.
Posts: 160
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi TimJ,

Luckily I'm here just in time to bore you with 'modulus something or other" facts:

The modulus of elasticity of steel is approximately 2.5 to 3 times higher than the aluminum used in bike frames. That means that steel is 2.5 to 3 times "stiffer" than aluminum.

So if your experience says that aluminum-framed bikes are stiffer than steel-framed bikes . . . it is because of the design [larger diameter aluminun tubes perhaps], not the material used.

DON
dwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-07, 04:37 AM   #19
rodri9o
moar wine!!!
 
rodri9o's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NY
Bikes: Brigdestone RB-2 : Gunnar Roadie : Masi Gran Corsa : Gunnar Crosshairs : Specialized Stumpjumper (overseas)
Posts: 368
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
...even though i dont think aluminum would show deformation on a test....

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwood View Post
Hi TimJ,
The modulus of elasticity of steel is approximately 2.5 to 3 times higher than the aluminum used in bike frames. That means that steel is 2.5 to 3 times "resistant to deformation" than aluminum.
..not correcting you but 'stiff' does not seem like the right word in that sentence. i could be wrong.
rodri9o is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-07, 11:09 AM   #20
TimJ
Senior Member
 
TimJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 1,955
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yeah, I don't think stiff is the right word just because a bike riding stiff isn't the same thing as using the term "stiff" when talking about a material. Regardless I think we're all talking generally here and generally aluminum bikes ride stiffer.
__________________
fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
"Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."
TimJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-07, 12:01 PM   #21
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Bikes:
Posts: 12,926
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Braze-ons:
Steel users will quite often update their frame with new threads, brake fittings, cable routing. This may be more common with touring cyclists than with racers.
You can get additional "weld-on" applied to ti and al frames if you know where to look but in practice hardly anyone updates their non-ferrous frame.
MichaelW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-07, 12:27 PM   #22
M_S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 3,693
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
But how many people actually do that to steel frames?

Personally I think you can get a good, solid steel frame for a very nice price. In some applications I'd take it over aluminum, in some I wouldn't. Cross is an application where I prefer aluminum because of weight.

As Sheldon says though, the material isn't even secondary. It's at least tertiary to ride quality, after tires/wheels and frame design.
M_S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-07, 12:31 PM   #23
TimJ
Senior Member
 
TimJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 1,955
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thinking about this (more so than is necessary) I think the term "steel is real" is reactionary and defensive for the most part. You can hardly find steel bikes any more. It's gotten better the last few years or so (surly, soma) but every major manufacturer mainly works in aluminum, and so do most of the mid-size players (like Kona, say), and at least in mtbs boutique brands are mostly aluminum too (Turner, Ellsworth, stuff like that). At some point in the late 90s everyone switched over to aluminum because tech-wise they could (previously aluminum bikes were somewhat rare, especially prior to the 90s) and aluminum was cheaper and produced a lighter bike. It's to the point that a lot of people who ride regularly simply think "aluminum is better" and it seems most people who don't ride regularly simply think "aluminum is better" (quotes just to connote the simplicity of the idea).

Anyway, no material is better all over than another because they all have their strengths and weaknesses so the wholesale idea of aluminum being superior to steel is galling. Hence "steel is real" as a phrase.

So there's the question of "why do people think steel is real?" and "what's the phrase steel is real all about?" I was an avid biker in the 80s and early 90s, and then it sort of went by the wayside for me. When I got back into it just a couple years ago I was just flabergasted that everything was aluminum. I hadn't bought a bike for so long it was seriously freaky to look at every company's lineup and see no steel bikes at all, or if they had one it's be a hi-ten piece of junk or 853 $2000 model.

Steel's real because it's been neglected, maybe.
__________________
fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
"Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

Last edited by TimJ; 12-04-07 at 01:18 PM.
TimJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-07, 01:54 PM   #24
PDXJeff
institutionalized
 
PDXJeff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Portland, OR
Bikes: Two old Schwinns, Kona Cinder Cone, Redline MonoCog, Custom (U.B.I.) Columbus Cyclocross/commuter.
Posts: 237
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Don't forget about shipping costs of bicycles built over seas. More aluminum frames can be shipped at the same price of shipping less steel frames.

Also, as aluminum frames fail, more will need to be build (and sold). Why produce a steel product that your customer may never need to replace?

Aluminum is good for business.
PDXJeff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-07, 05:19 PM   #25
rodri9o
moar wine!!!
 
rodri9o's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NY
Bikes: Brigdestone RB-2 : Gunnar Roadie : Masi Gran Corsa : Gunnar Crosshairs : Specialized Stumpjumper (overseas)
Posts: 368
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by M_S View Post
But how many people actually do that to steel frames?
Although I personally do not think too many people update their braze-ons, I do hate it when you see a nice aluminum bike frame, and all of the cable stops are riveted on. It really peeved me after a while on my Orbea Airplane:


...its little details like that one that can annoy me...the stop not touching the top tube except at the rivet point, which you see on some, not all, aluminum frames.

Last edited by rodri9o; 12-05-07 at 05:42 AM.
rodri9o is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:06 PM.