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  1. #1
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    Steel CX bikes...corrosion?

    Thinking about my first cross bike, mostly to ride local fireroads and mild singletrack. Ride quality makes me think steel is the way to go. But I'm wondering if steel would be more apt towards corrosion rather than aluminum (e.g. errants rocks that chip paint and the frame)? Maybe it's not an issue. I ride a Ti road bike and a Carbon fiber mountain, so it's never been a problem for me?

    Ti or Carbon fiber would be a nice compromise, but it's more spendy than I'd prefer at this point. I'm thinking Lemond Poprad (True Temper steel) vs. Bianchi Axis or Kona JTS (Easton Ultralite).

    I'm in a relatively small town in western Colorado without a whole lot of opportunity to demo, so...what do ya'll think? Supple ride of steel at expense of corrosion potential vs. more rigid ride of Aluminum at expense of ride quality???

    Thanks,
    Abe

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    Clarification...

    vs. rigid ride of aluminum with benefit of corrosion resistance.

    Abe

  3. #3
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    I have an 80s Colnago steel Cx bike that hasn't shown any problems yet. It may depend on where it lives when not in use. I have a heated & insulated garage. Don
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member Surferbruce's Avatar
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    i have an axis and have been using it as you describe and it's already picking up some scratches after barely a month of use. actually with the carbon fork it's really not that harsh of a ride. i love it but already want a compact dbl(or maybe even single) instead of the stock triple.
    if i was gonna go steel i'd look into a Soulcraft frame.
    if i could get anything it'd a moots ti...

  5. #5
    BFSSFG old timer riderx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by docbluedevil
    But I'm wondering if steel would be more apt towards corrosion rather than aluminum (e.g. errants rocks that chip paint and the frame)? Maybe it's not an issue.
    Not even an issue on the outside of the frame. Spray the inside with JP Weigle's Framesaver before you build it and don't even worry about it. Most people don't even own frames long enough to worry about this stuff.
    Single Speed Outlaw
    Riding Bikes and Drinking Beer.

  6. #6
    SAB
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    Steel is real man, steel is real. On the cheap, look at the Surly Crosscheck framset, or a Soma Fabrications Double Cross.

  7. #7
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    My 85 nashbar is rusting in places that were scraped to the frame years ago but it is purely cosmetic and that is after 20 years! If you get a scratch through the paint just touch it up with some colored nail polish and then over with nail hardner and that will prevent any corrosion. Or like others have said don't worry about it. imo steel is a better cx bike.

  8. #8
    bac
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    Me thinks that with the larger volume tires (in relation to a road bike) on a cross machine, frame material doesn't matter much in terms of ride quality.

  9. #9
    nutcase
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    Hardly, try the difference between a steel and Al mountain bike.

  10. #10
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    Today I rode my rain bike. I purchased this steel frame new 28 years ago. Rode the snot out of it thru high school and college. Retired it fourteen years ago only to build it up as a rain bike this fall. I’ve ridden It on the road, fire trails, and singletrack in the last month and still can’t get it to fail. I also own two steel mountain bikes that are 18 years old. These are still doing quite well.
    I’ll hand my Ti hardtail down to my kids.

  11. #11
    Senior Member stric's Avatar
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    Steel is great if built well. Before you go for a steel frame think aobut aluminum. Newer Al frmes, combined with nice carbon forks are really not that bad for riding CX. Frame manufacturers have already realized the potential benefits of the steel and quite a few of them have tried to develop new Al alloys that are sometimes close to the feel of the steel. OVerall Al has a huge benefit whe it comes to rust becasue it doesn't rust. It is not resistant to the salt on the roads but the steel is not either. Ti is the one that is reisitant to both water and salt but it costs a lot. Compared to Al, I think that Ti comes closer to the feel of the steel. Yet, steel is real and we'll have to wait a long time till we get a non-steel frame with steel qualities.
    In any event if you want to stick with the steel you can try Surly. Cheap frames, not the lightest but pretty decent. If you're patient look on the wb and you might find a sweet Italian steel CX frame. I found a year ago my Pinarello. Brand new, sitting in a warehouse, no buyer and it was on sale. Sweet deal for even sweeter CX frame.
    Use a spray of frame saver (one of those wax based protective coats that you spray inside the frame tubes), then build the bike and there you have it. Make sure that you indeed apply a generous coat of frame saver inside your frame. Beware that frame saver stinks and it takes about 4-5 days for it to dry so be patient.
    Hopefully you'll take your bike apart once a year to check, clean and lubircate everything and this would be also an opportunity to reapply the frame saver. The problem is that if some moisture stays inside some of the tubes it can corrode the frame and it can fail on you. I've seen ithappen but on a MTB. My friend used to ride his steel frame MTB everyehere (mud, water, snow... you name it) and eventually one of the chain stays broke due to corrosion inside the chainstay. Yet, steel used in bike frames is indeed high quality steel so it takes a much longer for it to corrode to the point of corrosion. I have a steel made MTB that I've ridden for nine years through mud, water, snow, salty roads... and it still serves me well. The frame was made of high quality tripple butted Tange Prestige tubes and I made sure I coat it with frame saver once a year.
    The problem is that if it indeed gets rusty in one of the tubes, it's hard to tell how long it'll last. In many cases you actually don't know if it's rusty till the frame fails on you.
    Overall, if you ride a steel in wet conditions make sure you wipe it off as soon as you roll into garage. Dry storage will help you with your frame and honestly it can last you many many years. Make sure you stray it with protective coat at least once a year and don't ever power wash it. Use a dry rug, perhaps a bit of soap and clean it with patientce.
    anima sana in corpore sano

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