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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 08-03-14, 10:27 AM   #1
MidnightMaraud
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Your 2 cents on whether I should go steel or aluminum.

Alright folks, I am going to be pulling the trigger on a new frame for my next build. I thought I was pretty set on getting a lugged steel frame from F5 made with Columbus Zona tubing, but the more I ride my current fixed gear the more I think that I wouldn't mind testing the waters of fixed gear racing. F5 offers a pretty slick aluminum frame paired with a carbon fork for not much more than the steel frame.($575 CDN)

I've never ridden aluminum, mainly due to the fact of the somewhat harsh roads around here and my liking of the dampening qualities of steel, but having the responsiveness and lighter weight of aluminum is something I am wholly curious about. Is there really that big of a difference that I would notice it if I am really hammering on my bike?

I've read the pros and cons of steel vs aluminum, was just hoping to get some personal feedback all neatly packed into this thread.

Thanks
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Old 08-03-14, 12:21 PM   #2
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Steel.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:36 PM   #3
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Steel.
That is quite the strong argument.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:46 PM   #4
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I rode a Leader 725 with a carbon fork for about a year. It was a cool bike it accelerated really quick, but it was kind of harsh. I tend to take weird routes over grass, rocks and other random ****, ever since I got my Surly Steamroller I couldn't picture having a bike I would really like more. I think i'm always going to go with steel from now on unless I have a bunch of extra money to throw around.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:54 PM   #5
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having recently made the switch from 7005 aluminum to a mix of sl and sp columbus these are my impressions


steel.

haha jk.

both bikes had carbon Handlebars and full carbon forks.
The aluminum was lighter but the ride quality was very "buzzy" if you get my drift and I had to wear gloves or my elbows would be toast, I live in New Orleans, some of the worst roads you will encounter.
Honestly and it may be in my head I think steel is more responsive in my case and the vibrations are less pronounced, I went from 14. 5 pounds with my old aluminum to almost 16 and barely notice the difference when putting it on the wall rack.
Also as far as personal preference I like the look of lugged steel to the oversized welded aluminum tunes.

and steel.
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Old 08-03-14, 01:00 PM   #6
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Ya, I too like to go off the beaten path from time to time and certainly don't have the funds to have a race specific bike and a new everyday build. Maybe its time I sold one of my kidneys....
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Old 08-03-14, 01:03 PM   #7
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having recently made the switch from 7005 aluminum to a mix of sl and sp columbus these are my impressions


steel.

haha jk.

both bikes had carbon Handlebars and full carbon forks.
The aluminum was lighter but the ride quality was very "buzzy" if you get my drift and I had to wear gloves or my elbows would be toast, I live in New Orleans, some of the worst roads you will encounter.
Honestly and it may be in my head I think steel is more responsive in my case and the vibrations are less pronounced, I went from 14. 5 pounds with my old aluminum to almost 16 and barely notice the difference when putting it on the wall rack.
Also as far as personal preference I like the look of lugged steel to the oversized welded aluminum tunes.

and steel.
Haha yeah, both my current bikes are steel and I do like the classic look of them. The aluminum frame I am looking at, the FactoryFive F550s, has clean welds and looks pretty slick.
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Old 08-03-14, 01:05 PM   #8
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I ride steel on the road for a FGSS but wouldn't ride it on the track ever again.

On the track the steel frame noticeably soaked up the downward pressure I exerted during accelerations and I could feel the whole bike twisting during standing starts. My aluminum track frame does nothing but go forward when I push the pedals. I'm a strong 195 lbs and race in the A category locally FWIW.

On the road I'm sure you can find a nice aluminum frame meant for casual street riding that isn't super stiff or harsh if you do a little research but some nice chromoly is tried tested and true.

My suggestion would be to get whatever you want for the street and don't worry about the track. Most, if not all, velodromes have loaner/rental bikes that you can use to get your feet wet and if you decide you like racing and can afford it you'll buy a dedicated track ride.

Last edited by CharlyAlfaRomeo; 08-03-14 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 08-03-14, 01:10 PM   #9
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I ride steel on the road for a FGSS but wouldn't ride it on the track ever again.

On the steel frame the frame noticeably soaked up the downward pressure I exerted during accelerations and I could feel the whole bike twisting during standing starts. My aluminum track frame does nothing but go forward when I push the pedals. I'm a strong 195 lbs and race in the A category locally FWIW.

On the road I'm sure you can find a nice aluminum frame meant for casual street riding that isn't super stiff or harsh if you do a little research but some nice chromoly is tried tested and true.

My suggestion would be to get whatever you want for the street and don't worry about the track. Most, if not all, velodromes have loaner/rental bikes that you can use to get your feet wet and if you decide you like racing and can afford it you'll buy a dedicated track ride.
This is some sound advice. Maybe I should keep my kidney and stick with steel for now...
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Old 08-03-14, 01:11 PM   #10
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I do like the Al zing when accelerating on smooth surfaces... an Al track bike makes for a cool track-only bike, but quite a torture device of a daily rider.

Steel.
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Old 08-03-14, 01:58 PM   #11
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Which ever you decide, I'm not a big fan of factory five looking through a couple of their pages. They have mediocre geometry charts that aren't even listed on every page, and their specs for the carbon fork are "weighs barely a few hundred grams." Certainly makes them seem like a just another company to pop up and try to use a nice website to grab fixie riders attention with how cool they are.
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Old 08-03-14, 02:16 PM   #12
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If your looking at Factory 5 take a look at Colossi. From what I have read The Factory Five F5100 is the same frame as the Colossi Al Colossione both are made by Colossi. Steel lugged frames are sick, especially when the lugs are chrome! Ooooh
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Old 08-03-14, 02:39 PM   #13
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Steel lugged frames are sick, especially when the lugs are chrome! Ooooh
Oh heavens yes. Was going to do a black and chrome build. Ahhhh the choices!
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Old 08-03-14, 02:39 PM   #14
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Which ever you decide, I'm not a big fan of factory five looking through a couple of their pages. They have mediocre geometry charts that aren't even listed on every page, and their specs for the carbon fork are "weighs barely a few hundred grams." Certainly makes them seem like a just another company to pop up and try to use a nice website to grab fixie riders attention with how cool they are.
I just happen to know a couple of the cats affiliated with F5 and felt like supporting an amigo.
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Old 08-03-14, 06:06 PM   #15
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The saying "steel is real" is no joke.
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Old 08-03-14, 06:09 PM   #16
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I was just gonna say steel is real.... But I still am. Steel is real
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Old 08-03-14, 06:24 PM   #17
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I guess I've questioned steel due to the amount of aluminum cinellis and leaders that I see on this forum.
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Old 08-03-14, 09:41 PM   #18
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Steel is the way to go. It can be just as light or heavy as aluminum but will give a better ride quality regardless. I have three bikes and only one of them is aluminum and it is a much harsher ride. With aluminum I can feel the vibration and the roughness of the roads that I don't feel much on steel. The only reason I ride the aluminum bike is because I got it cheap, it is lighter (due to the fact it is a fixed gear and not a touring bike) and because it hasn't been replaced with a steel frame FGSS.

My dream bike (which I have plans to get built in the next year or so) is going to be steel, probably stainless XCR tubing from Columbus, and I wouldn't think of any other frame material. The comfort and wide wide range of different tubing and durability is a huge factor for me.
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Old 08-03-14, 09:54 PM   #19
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Tires make much more of a difference than frame material.
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Old 08-03-14, 10:04 PM   #20
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I am thinking the contention that aluminum frame is a much harsher ride than steel is kinda overblown. Years ago I went from a Motebecane Grand Record with a 531 frame to a Schwinn Aluminum frame and didnt notice the difference at all.

I am going to build a fixed gear bike as soon as i find the right frame used. If I can get a nice steel 531 frame for a decent deal I will scoop it up. If i cant find one soon, I will take a 88 through 01 Schwinn aluminum frame from a 564 or the other couple models from that time and build one. I love that quill seat post everyone else hates lol.
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Old 08-04-14, 01:27 PM   #21
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Perhaps chromoly.
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Old 08-05-14, 02:19 AM   #22
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Columbus Zona tubing,
Makes an excellent frame and fork set - it's what I've got on the Hillbrick so I'm not guessing. It's not the highest end tubeset that Columbus make but an excellent choice for the compromises needed for normal road use, load carrying (me and carriers) and frame weight.

No need to muck about with crabon forks, that's just marketing getting in the way, as is the fashion for aluminium and crabon. The design of the bike is going to be more important than anything else, just tell the builder exactly what you want ... or talk to Richard at Wabi about which of his frames to buy seeing he seems to get a pretty good wrap from anyone who buys from him.
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