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  1. #1
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    In the world of road bikes, many folks are convinced there is an easy way to identify the best road bike: the "lightest bike is the best bike". People who think "lighter is better" may think that there is no reason to consider buying a bike with a steel frame and steel fork.

    Check out Amy Abele's Rivendell. The bike comes in at under 19 pounds total. The frame and fork combined come in at under five pounds. And, the it has the "classic" feel, ride, and beauty of a lugged steel frame and steel fork. This bike shows that even a "weight fanatic" can enjoy the "steel" experience.

    www.Rivendellbicycles.com Look for the "link" on the right to "Our lightest Rivendell ever": Amy's Rivendell. The paint and details around the lugs are terrific. The two tone paint around the head tube lugs is especially nice. A work of art in steel.

    Grant Peterson says this particular frame was designed for a rider weighing less than 160 pounds. He "mixes and matches" the tubes on each bike around the weight and the riding style of the owner. So, a 250 pound rider might ask for a bike weighing more than 19 pounds.

    By way of comparison, a 1976 Schwinn Paramount Road Racing model weighed 23 pounds, and the touring version of the Paramount Road Racing model weighed 26 pounds. The Paramounts were among the lightest bikes made in America at that time.

    The Rivendell at 19 pounds is NOT a racing bike. It is designed as an everyday bike. The components are selected to be reliable and durable. If someone does not need "reliable and durable", they can probably shave off another couple of pounds. Steel can be as light as you wanna be.

    Waterford, and other companies, are also building superb bikes with steel frames and forks. Steel remains an attactive choice for making bikes, especially for riders whose goals center on ride quality, feel, and longevity. Some of my steel framed bikes are twenty years old. I hope my godson will be riding them someday, and perhaps his son will enjoy riding them a couple of decades after that.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 10-27-04 at 11:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Work hard, Play hard forum*rider's Avatar
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    18.5lbs is like a lead weight to the serious weight weenies.


    But for the rest of it, it's plenty light. Looks really nice too!

  3. #3
    Resident PIA Shadco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    In the world of road bikes, many folks are convinced there is an easy way to identify the best road bike: the "lightest bike is the best bike". People who think "lighter is better" may think that there is no reason to consider a bike with a steel frame and steel fork.

    Check out Amy Abele's Rivendell. Under 19 pounds total. The frame and fork combined come in at under five pounds. And, the "classic" feel, ride, and beauty of a lugged steel frame. Amy's bike shows that even a "weight weenie" can enjoy the "steel" experience.

    www.Rivendellbicycles.com Look for the "link" on the right to "Our lightest Rivendell ever": Amy's Rivendell. The paint and details around the lugs are terrific. The two tone paint around the head tube lugs is especially nice. A work of art in steel.

    Great but... It's a tiny frame built for a 120lb rider hardly a tool for everyman. I like steel and also own an 18.5 pound steel ride but am not about to embark on a campaign to convince everyone that it's right for them. Rivendell's doctrine is kinda cool but I gave up on it for me since there wasn't anyway I could get to my goal using their stuff and it carries a stiff premium to boot.

    18.5lbs
    Last edited by Shadco; 10-27-04 at 06:24 AM.
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  4. #4
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Lance's 58 cm Trek is 15 lbs and way stiffer.

  5. #5
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    alanbikehouston -

    I want to like you, but I swear, you are like a broke record.

  6. #6
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by forum*rider
    18.5lbs is like a lead weight to the serious weight weenies
    WHAAAAAAAT

    I figure anything under 19lbs is an absolute feather

  7. #7
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    03 Fuji Marseille 853 Steel 18.8 lbs.
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  8. #8
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    03 Fuji Marseille 853 Steel 18.8 lbs.
    Yep, feather. That's 8.54kg....light!

    Idurain was winning Tours on bikes that were about 9kg (19.8lbs):
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?...ures/pinarello

    Check out his stem arrangement:
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?...Giro-Pin_93_11

  9. #9
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    The Bike of the Week section of the Steelman web site (www.steelmancycles.com) has several examples of full sized (55-60cm) Dedacciai steel bikes under 18lbs and a couple under 17 lbs. Of course, you pay the premium for a Steelman frame, but these bike are both feather-light and works of art.

    I'm saving my pennies (a whole bunch of them).

  10. #10
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CycleSamms
    Of course, you pay the premium for a Steelman frame, but these bike are both feather-light and works of art.
    Works of art belong in a museum. I ride my bike and it gets all dirty and covered with road crud. Lets take one of your 'works of art' steel frames and an off-the-shelf carbon frame - you pick the brand. Then, lets put both frames through one of those testing proceedures. The carbon frame will transfer more energy to the rear wheel than the steel frame. It will also survive the maximum-cycle test longer. It also won't rust.

    In closing: carbon fiber = light, stiff, strong. Steel = light (for big bucks), flexible, weak.

  11. #11
    Senior Member brunning's Avatar
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    i believe zanotti cycles built a 16.5 lb complete bike made with reynolds S3 steel.

  12. #12
    It's not easy being green FatBomber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Works of art belong in a museum. I ride my bike and it gets all dirty and covered with road crud. Lets take one of your 'works of art' steel frames and an off-the-shelf carbon frame - you pick the brand. Then, lets put both frames through one of those testing proceedures. The carbon frame will transfer more energy to the rear wheel than the steel frame. It will also survive the maximum-cycle test longer. It also won't rust.

    In closing: carbon fiber = light, stiff, strong. Steel = light (for big bucks), flexible, weak.
    But you can repair a steel frame via welding or brazing. What can you do but cry yourself to sleep after you damage a CF frame?

    If there is a way to repair a CF frame, I am ignorant to it and need to be educated.
    Never trust a limping dog or the tears of a woman.

  13. #13
    Back in the Sooner State
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    galen, seriously, read more about steel before calling it weak. And you might be the only person on the planet incapable of keeping a steel frame from rusting, but that's not anyone's problem but your own.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatBomber

    If there is a way to repair a CF frame, I am ignorant to it and need to be educated.
    There is. Lugged and tubes construction is easier, but not necessarily cheap.

  15. #15
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImprezaDrvr
    galen, seriously, read more about steel before calling it weak. And you might be the only person on the planet incapable of keeping a steel frame from rusting, but that's not anyone's problem but your own.
    Dude,

    I was riding a (steel) bike while you were ****zing yellow.... Compared to CF steel is weak. And, unless you are going to keep your 'work of art' hermetically sealed, it will rust someplace.

    I like steel bikes. I own 3. They ride very nicely. They are just not state-of-the-art for road racing frame material. And, if you are a large man who generates larger-than-average torque, steel frames just flex too much resulting in power loss.

    Thats the way it is and no amount of reading will change the facts.

  16. #16
    Senior Member PaulBravey's Avatar
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    Woah, dejŠ vu!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by forum*rider
    18.5lbs is like a lead weight to the serious weight weenies.

    Lead weight?!?! Problem with rider, not bike!

  18. #18
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBravey
    Woah, dejŠ vu!
    Or "deju view, all over again" as some say

  19. #19
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Dude,

    And, if you are a large man who generates larger-than-average torque, steel frames just flex too much resulting in power loss.

    Thats the way it is and no amount of reading will change the facts.
    Bet you never tried a real old school pro ride like a Merckx mxl??...Dude....And so what if steel is'nt so called 'state of the art'? what does that realy mean to the average rider, not that there are not plenty of newer,lighter and plenty stiff tubesets.

  20. #20
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    Bet you never tried a real old school pro ride like a Merckx mxl??...Dude....And so what if steel is'nt so called 'state of the art'? what does that realy mean to the average rider, not that there are not plenty of newer,lighter and plenty stiff tubesets.
    I had a 1990 Bianchi Giro with SP tubing.....is that 'old school' enough? If I was 5'9" @ 170 lbs or so, rode a 56 cm frame and generate maybe 350 watts I would make do with an 'average' frame. But seeing as I am 6'4" @ 196 and generate over 500 watts, I need a way better than 'average' frame. Hence, the CF.

  21. #21
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    roadbikes do not come close to the torque created on a mtb...yet you still sometimes see steel on good mtn bikes. Given aluminum has almost taken over mountain biking...but my point is, if you have torque transfer issues on a roadbike, then that bike was either:

    a) designed to be light, in disregard to performance

    b) poorly designed

    c) meant for a significantly lighter rider (much like me being 220, riding on an ultralight made for a 140-150lb twiglet).

    either way, it's a case of the wrong tool for the job.

  22. #22
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    It seems as if whenever someone wants to discuss the merits of a bike, or its design, the subject of "racing" comes up. There might be about fifty guys in America who make a decent living "racing" bikes. Among those fifty guys or so guys, the ones who get a "free" carbon bike from their team ride carbon. Those who don't get a "free" carbon bike are riding the bike their team gave them.

    But, for the 99.99% of people who ride bikes on a regular basis, and who do NOT race, the "this is the best frame for ME, because Lance rides it" thing seems kinda silly. It is like saying "I gotta have a Indy 500 car to drive to work, because that is the car that won the Indy 500".

    And, discussions of "stiffness" and "power transfer" based on the choice of materials show a lack of understanding of how bikes are made. Some of the aluminum frame bikes made in the 1970's had small diameter tubes with thick walls. Some riders thought those frames felt as soft as noodles. Said aluminum was not stiff enough for "serious riders". Then, the trend with aluminum was to go to tubes of huge diameters and thin walls. Some riders began to say aluminum was "too stiff". In fact, it was tube diameter, not the aluminum, that added the "stiffness".

    Rivendell designs bikes to match the needs of each rider. Amy's bike was made for a "Non-Marty Nothstein" weighing around 120 pounds. Her frame is suitable for many riders under 160 pounds. But, by chosing tubes of a larger diameter, or with thicker walls, Rivendell can also produce a bike suitable for a powerful rider who weighs 220 pounds.

    Which bike makers do a similar "rider tuning" using aluminum or carbon tubes? Only in our dreams are most of us are as strong or as powerful as Lance Armstrong or Marty Nothstein. In real life, we need bikes that are designed for our weight, our power, our riding style. And steel has proven to be the best material for that sort of "custom fitting" to purpose and rider.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I had a 1990 Bianchi Giro with SP tubing.....is that 'old school' enough? If I was 5'9" @ 170 lbs or so, rode a 56 cm frame and generate maybe 350 watts I would make do with an 'average' frame. But seeing as I am 6'4" @ 196 and generate over 500 watts, I need a way better than 'average' frame. Hence, the CF.
    SP was standadrd diameter and in no way compares to stuff like Max that the Merckx and a few others were built with.It was the choice of big heavy riders when the pros were still riding steel. I suspect you bad mouth steel without really having a clue, as the current post post suggest.

  24. #24
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Cost-effectiveness is the most important point about steel for those of us for whom a bike is transportion. I have no doubt that CF frames are better for racing, but once you get out of steel frames, you have to pay a lot more for marginal improvements in quality. One reason I love the Surly Cross-Check is that it provides an incredible bang for the buck.

    Besides, most CF bikes are designed for recreation, not transportation. That's fine, if a recreational toy is what you want. A carbon road bike will help you efficiently ride a century, as long as:
    You end where you start or you arrange to have someone pick you up at the end;
    Weather conditions are good (forget it if there's snow or ice anywhere);
    The road is well maintained;
    You don't have to walk anywhere once you get where you're going;
    You don't have to carry anything except gel packs, power bars, and water bottles; and
    You have a team car following you along your route.

  25. #25
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    Which bike makers do a similar "rider tuning" using aluminum or carbon tubes? Only in our dreams are most of us are as strong or as powerful as Lance Armstrong or Marty Nothstein. In real life, we need bikes that are designed for our weight, our power, our riding style. And steel has proven to be the best material for that sort of "custom fitting" to purpose and rider.
    With all do respect, you may wish to check out Calfee carbon fiber frames. They 'custom fit' the carbon tubes.

    I do race, though not as often as in the 90's but I would say that many of my training rides are as hard or harder than a race. Everybody I ride with has a pro-quality bike.

    In real life, I want to beat my buddy to the top of the hill and down the other side. For my size, CF does the trick. And, there are many, many riders who put out as much power a Lance. They just can't sustain it as long.

    I am sure your gurl loves her frame! If she had gone CF it would have been lighter and stiffer.

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