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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-08-12, 12:44 AM   #1
gregjones 
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Why steel?

I read that most posters in the SS&FG forum prefer steel (Cromoly) over aluminum frames but can't find why.

Could someone fill me in? I'm looking at getting my first SS bike to try.

Thanks,
Greg
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Old 12-08-12, 12:46 AM   #2
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I don't think that's really true.
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Old 12-08-12, 12:50 AM   #3
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Aluminum bikes develop alzheimer's and wander away from home. Steel bikes raid your purse for weed money. Pick your poison.
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Old 12-08-12, 12:51 AM   #4
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Don't focus on the material, focus on the ride. Unless you're planning on buying from BD or some other online source, go for some test rides at the LBS.
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Old 12-08-12, 12:58 AM   #5
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Only poseurs still ride steel these days. Clearly I am a poseur.
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Old 12-08-12, 12:59 AM   #6
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i just don't like the looks of wide al tubes
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Old 12-08-12, 01:22 AM   #7
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Here OP, read up on this:

http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html

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Old 12-08-12, 01:34 AM   #8
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OK, so a typical mountain of snark. Steel is supposed to be cushier over bumps than aluminum.

I think some of the replies were to indicate, hey, i'm riding Alu and it doesn't suck... but i'm hard pressed to tell.
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Old 12-08-12, 01:39 AM   #9
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steal is reel
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Old 12-08-12, 02:40 AM   #10
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No feelz in steelz brah.

Steel or Aluminum, whatever as long as it gets me down the road and doesn't disintegrate on me. If it is your first SS bike go with whatever you like, just understand the construction of your bike and what it is intended for. I have steel and aluminum framed bikes and I have no preference for one material or the other. All I know is that I can stick magnets to one and not the other.
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Old 12-08-12, 06:28 AM   #11
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Steel is more forgiving for custom builds, you can bend it, you can weld it, and it will most likely hold, where aluminum would probably fail? For example when using a 120mm hub on 130mm steel frame, you can cold set the rear spacing to 120mm.
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Old 12-08-12, 06:31 AM   #12
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No big deal one way or the other. A steel or plastic coat hanger will hold up a cheap or expensive suit just the same.
Having a few miles on both, steel is what I prefer. People have lots of reasons why they dont like alu frames, for me its that they sound like a whole bunch of 70's Kung Fu movie or SyFy channel sound effects while in motion. Silence Glasshoppah.
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Old 12-08-12, 07:02 AM   #13
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I think you misread the forum incorrectly.

We don't prefer steel, we prefer to steal. Subtle. But impactful.
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Old 12-08-12, 07:12 AM   #14
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Some of it has to do with price. People with a 3-$400 frame budget can usually get a better quality steel frame. nice steel>cheap alu
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Old 12-08-12, 07:23 AM   #15
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Most conversion-worthy horizontal dropout frames are older steel frames. That's how many get started with riding fixed and then stick with the material they know.

Unlike just about any other category of bike out there, the cheapest off the rack FG bikes are steel instead of aluminum.

If there was sudden demand for cheap aluminum track bikes, someone would step up with a bike, but the fashion/trend among fixerati is still predominantly steel. Until and unless that changes, expect to keep seeing lots of steel FG bikes.
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Old 12-08-12, 01:03 PM   #16
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Steel and aluminum frames are both cheap to manufacture and are therefore the most common materials from which modern bikes are made.
However steel is the traditional material from which bike frames have been made for more than 100 years. For that reason, steel frames have a classier, more traditional appearance, especially if built with lugs and narrow tubes. Because aluminum is a softer weaker material, the tubes must have wider diameters to achieve sufficient strength and rigidity and therefore do not look like a traditional bike. Many aluminum frames are rather ugly and utilitarian in appearance with big welds, though not all.

Many people convince themselves that steel rides better...but the mythic ride quality of steel that people often wax poetic about is mostly self-deception. Because steel is more resitant to metal fatigue, steal frames can be built to be less rigid than aluminum frames without sacrificing durability. But most riders can't really feel the difference in frame material. (Tire pressure and frame geometry make a lot more difference). The truth is you can achieve a wide variety of ride characteristics from either material depending on how the frame is designed. The noodliest frame I have ever ridden was an aluminum road frame. The stiffest was a steel track bike.

Mostly, peoples preferences are about fashion. In other cycling subgroups other materials (carbon, ti) are more often preferred to steel.

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Old 12-08-12, 01:09 PM   #17
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Sometimes I imagine that production-line carbon can be made for about the same money as aluminum or steel when it comes to bikes.

I've yet to verify, though.
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Old 12-08-12, 01:16 PM   #18
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Sometimes I imagine that production-line carbon can be made for about the same money as aluminum or steel when it comes to bikes.

I've yet to verify, though.
Or less, I suspect.
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Old 12-08-12, 05:04 PM   #19
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steal is reel
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Old 12-08-12, 06:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Sometimes I imagine that production-line carbon can be made for about the same money as aluminum or steel when it comes to bikes.

I've yet to verify, though.
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Or less, I suspect.
I concur. Hardly any waste in terms of raw materials if you don't screw up. But if you do screw up you cant undo like you can with metal (taking things apart). So once you get production figured out its money. Chinese money, but money.
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Old 12-08-12, 06:22 PM   #21
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thin tubes=sexy tubes.
aesthetically, i prefer the look of a thin steel tube vs that of a thick aluminum tube.
also, dampening qualities of steel > aluminum.
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Old 12-08-12, 06:29 PM   #22
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thin tubes=sexy tubes.
aesthetically, i prefer the look of a thin steel tube vs that of a thick aluminum tube.
also, dampening qualities of steel > aluminum.
re-bar bike ftw?
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Old 12-08-12, 06:30 PM   #23
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It's also nice to be able to repair a steel frame. I've added cantilever posts, re-brazed a seat stay back onto a seatlug, and am currently preparing to replace a broken head tube on my Motobecane townie. Aluminum would be a lot harder to repair and would then have to be heat treated again. Not too feasible for most.
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Old 12-08-12, 06:35 PM   #24
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and...
generally when you dent a steel frame, you can still (steel?) ride it.
aluminum, it's a different story....people do, but it would gimme the heebie-jeebies.
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Old 12-08-12, 06:48 PM   #25
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re-bar bike ftw?
Yes

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