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Modern Steel Wheels

Old 06-27-17, 09:06 AM
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CuttersRidge
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Modern Steel Wheels

Yes, rust, heavier, etc. are among the minuses for steel wheels; but I just purchased a new steel rear wheel; I don't know if technology has gotten better but it didn't seem to weigh that much and seems very strong.

Then compare the price, this one only set me back $25; really cheap for a 27" wheel. Often, if one buys aluminum for that additional weight savings, maybe they way 1/4 of what a steel wheel weighs, it will cost 3 times as much. But I'm not sure if that ratio applies to the modern steel wheels.

Spokes as strong as can be.

Often steel wheels are spoken about as if avoid like the plague; yet, I've still got a few '70s vintage steel wheels and they are not all filled with rust and they've been through quite a bit of weather. Also, in many cases, as we know, some foil will get rid of the rust.

I'm not even sure of the brand of this wheel; it seems rather generic. Could post a photo but as we know, a wheel is a wheel and steel is steel, you can pluck those spokes like harp strings, not that they give back some heavenly ping.

Comments?

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Old 06-27-17, 09:22 AM
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Rust and weight are in the top three of why I hate steel rims, but neither takes the top spot.
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Old 06-27-17, 09:28 AM
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Araya did manufacture rims using stainless steel, to address the rust issue. I've seen stainless steel rims on some modern, cruiser bicycles.
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Old 06-27-17, 09:29 AM
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I suppose part of the anti-steel-rim bias is situational, as steel rims are usually indicative of a low-end build with little emphasis on longevity, etcetera. I wonder if anyone still bothers to make a quality rim in, say, stainless steel?
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Old 06-27-17, 09:33 AM
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Some of us like to be able stop safely and quickly in wet or dry weather.
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Old 06-27-17, 09:46 AM
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I often wondered about the comparative strength of a steel and an alloy rim from the same era. I get that the alloy rim has the advantage of lighter weight, no rust, and better wet braking; but would the steel rim be less likely to be damaged by potholes and/or stay in true better? Thinking about wheels from the late 70s, early 80s.
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Old 06-27-17, 09:54 AM
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While wet weather braking performance is a legitimate concern, the increasing use of disc brakes brakes on road bicycles will eventually render that argument moot, except for the C&V fans.
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Old 06-27-17, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Some of us like to be able stop safely and quickly in wet or dry weather.
This...

Originally Posted by sunnyone View Post
I often wondered about the comparative strength of a steel and an alloy rim from the same era. I get that the alloy rim has the advantage of lighter weight, no rust, and better wet braking; but would the steel rim be less likely to be damaged by potholes and/or stay in true better? Thinking about wheels from the late 70s, early 80s.
In my experience most old steel rims are hard to true and bend easily. It may just be because they're old...
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Old 06-27-17, 10:04 AM
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Conventional wisdom of 30 or 40 years ago says steel rims are hard to stop in wet weather but perhaps there has been an improvement in technology as well.
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Old 06-27-17, 10:07 AM
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On my hybrid bike, I decided to go that way because I camp and often carry a lot on it. I don't know how many aluminum wheels have gotten spokes broken from too much of a load. This steel wheel feels as strong as a tank.

On the other hand, if I wanted speed for a club ride, yes, I will use aluminum.
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Old 06-27-17, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by sunnyone View Post
I often wondered about the comparative strength of a steel and an alloy rim from the same era. I get that the alloy rim has the advantage of lighter weight, no rust, and better wet braking; but would the steel rim be less likely to be damaged by potholes and/or stay in true better? Thinking about wheels from the late 70s, early 80s.
IMO, the weakness of most steel rims is their open, u-section cross-section which limits rigidity, especially transverse. Aluminum rims can be superior in this aspect by extruding them in a closed, box (or triangular) cross section. Of course, it possible to take a steel tube and form it into a similar cross section and then form it into a hoop to make a rim. However, I don't recall anybody doing this since the mid 20th century.
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Old 06-27-17, 10:19 AM
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I'm 100% skeptical that your new chrome steel rims brake any better than those from 30-40 years ago, or are any stronger than a modern aluminum rim, but you've made your choice. Keep us posted.
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Old 06-27-17, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by CuttersRidge View Post
On my hybrid bike, I decided to go that way because I camp and often carry a lot on it. I don't know how many aluminum wheels have gotten spokes broken from too much of a load. This steel wheel feels as strong as a tank.

On the other hand, if I wanted speed for a club ride, yes, I will use aluminum.
People have toured on aluminum rims for decades. They put as much or much more weight on their rims as you do.

If you bought steel rims for the "strength" you purchased incorrectly.

You basically just bought an inferior product for no reason.
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Old 06-27-17, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
People have toured on aluminum rims for decades. They put as much or much more weight on their rims as you do.

If you bought steel rims for the "strength" you purchased incorrectly.

You basically just bought an inferior product for no reason.
@corrado

Have you actually weighed the new steel wheels? Have you made the comparison? They are pretty light.

Yeah, I'll give you a reason, MONEY. The green stuff, capiche.

People have toured on aluminum rims and gotten broken spokes for decades too.

I'm glad people have lots of money to burn for extra wheels. Sure, $90 compared to $25 or wherever else, the ratio probably holds up.

Around town, it will be fine, I said camping and nothing about touring.

Too many aluminum rear wheels have broken spokes. For an emergency, I'm please with this situation.

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Old 06-27-17, 11:05 AM
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I hope this doesn't turn into more bikesnobbery trolling that happens so often when one presents a new idea.

It's not like we are always talking about riding a $2,200 classic Rene Herse.

Bike snobs, we've heard the usual; and they always ruin threads.
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Old 06-27-17, 11:09 AM
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You can often buy a full set of reasonably priced, double walled aluminum-rimmed wheels, often with stainless eyelets, and straight 14G stainless spokes for around 100-120 USD. But, good luck with your $25 rear wheel, and the false sense of the good economy it provides.

I rode on knurled steel rims from the 1970's for a while, and would never allow someone I love to do the same. Braking was abysmal, even with modern pads and well adjusted brakes. I remember that once my sister took it for a spin, to compare to her modern V-braked Specialized flat-bar road bike, and came back wondering if I had installed brake cables at all, even when it wasn't raining!
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Old 06-27-17, 11:12 AM
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I heard Aluminum rims are "obsolete" now.
Allegedly, carbon fiber wheels out perform aluminum wheels as much or more than aluminum wheels out perform steel wheels.
Of course a "good" set of carbon wheels cost as much as 20 sets (or more) of good aluminum wheels.
I'll stick with the aluminum and steel wheels.
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Old 06-27-17, 11:16 AM
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i had a p-10 with steel rims and mafac brakes.. and it would not stop... period.. so there is that... and if you buy 25 or 50 dollar wheel sets... then you get 25-50 dollar hubs... hubs are kinda important.. its where you really dont want to go cheap.. free wheel mech and bearings on a 25 buck wheel are kinda of a gamble.. if you are talking just the rim... still breaking surface is kinda important.. if you are going 20mph... and reach for a handfull of break and its just skates on the pad with that awfull sound an no slowing of down.. then even at 5 bucks the rim is just not worth the price... nope.. not a fan of carbon wheels at all but alum rims are really a sweet spot on technology.. will never go back to steel..
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Old 06-27-17, 11:55 AM
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I recently converted my 77 Takara mixte to upright "touring" bars, with new brake cables and lined cable housing. Dia compe centerpull brakes, Araya steel wheels. Took it for a test ride, the brakes seemed good. Tried a hard braking emergency-type stop and the bike stopped so fast I went flying off the seat into the stem. Ouch. I don't see where you guys get that steel rims don't stop. Granted, they were dry.
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Old 06-27-17, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by CuttersRidge View Post
I hope this doesn't turn into more bikesnobbery trolling that happens so often when one presents a new idea.

It's not like we are always talking about riding a $2,200 classic Rene Herse.

Bike snobs, we've heard the usual; and they always ruin threads.

This isn't a "New idea". It's just an incorrect one. You bought a bad wheel.
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Old 06-27-17, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sunnyone View Post
I often wondered about the comparative strength of a steel and an alloy rim from the same era. I get that the alloy rim has the advantage of lighter weight, no rust, and better wet braking; but would the steel rim be less likely to be damaged by potholes and/or stay in true better?
Aluminum rims are formed from extrusions, while steel rims are folded sheet metal. The extrusions tend to be more resistant to dents and other damage than sheet metal.
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Old 06-27-17, 12:32 PM
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Can we get a death watch on this guy breaking a spoke or going out of true with the weight he wants to carry? The rationalisation that "too many" aluminium wheels have broken spokes is incredible mental backflips. A $25 steelie isn't going to be very strong at all if it's anywhere near as light as he suggests.

Hell, I'll put it on the table right now. I've been using unbranded dual-wall aluminium wheels for about five years. Machine built, with hubs from such exciting names as "shungfeng". Never gone out of true, never broken a spoke. I use my bike to carry a lot of weight because I don't have a car, and I like to ram up curbs for shortcuts. I've tacoed single wall steelies just commuting.

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Old 06-27-17, 12:35 PM
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This is the vintage and classic, retro thread, it is not the tourist thread.

I would urge anyone to see how steel wheels have improved. Some of us have a stable of bikes. A few times, I've had to move a car battery and even a dog kennel around my bike. It is good to have some strength.
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Old 06-27-17, 12:37 PM
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You will get improved braking if you let the steel rims rust.
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Old 06-27-17, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by CuttersRidge View Post
This is the vintage and classic, retro thread, it is not the tourist thread.

I would urge anyone to see how steel wheels have improved. Some of us have a stable of bikes. A few times, I've had to move a car battery and even a dog kennel around my bike. It is good to have some strength.
They haven't, they are utter crap and seem to only be sold in countries with poor consumer goods regulations, like african dictatorships or America. They really are not strong compared to a double walled aluminium rim.
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