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steel bike vs aluminum

Old 02-04-16, 07:21 PM
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bobbyl1966
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steel bike vs aluminum

Steel bikes all say is give more comfortable ride aluminum people say give harsh ride. But in the end the aluminum bike is faster because is more lightweight? If you have one steel bike 27 pounds and one aluminum bike 23 pounds wich bike you would do your primary bike?
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Old 02-04-16, 08:09 PM
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A few pounds doesn't really matter if you're not racing. Ride bikes that you like. I have steel and aluminum and ride them all.
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Old 02-04-16, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bobbyl1966 View Post
Steel bikes all say is give more comfortable ride aluminum people say give harsh ride. But in the end the aluminum bike is faster because is more lightweight? If you have one steel bike 27 pounds and one aluminum bike 23 pounds wich bike you would do your primary bike?
For racing? The Al bike.

For other riding? The steel bike.

In general the aluminum bike would be stiffer b/c you can make larger diameter tubing with Al without the 'beer can effect' b/c the lower density of Al.

I ride steel but think that the ride quality generalizations are overblown. The overall design plays just as much into comfort as the mat'l.
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Old 02-04-16, 08:14 PM
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27 pounds is on the heavy side for a steel road bike. Most nice ones are less. Is this a hypothetical example?
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Old 02-04-16, 08:20 PM
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There are so many variables in that hypothetical, I think it's not worth considering.

If your question is really whether frame material makes a difference for general, recreational riding, the answer is No, it does not.

EDIT: in light of some of the other replies, I should add that my comment does *not* imply that I think racing is the appropriate distinction for preferring lightness. i do not agree with that notion, and think a lighter bike is almost always preferable when riding with intensity, whether on a race course or off.

Last edited by chaadster; 02-04-16 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 02-04-16, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Seizedpost View Post
27 pounds is on the heavy side for a steel road bike. Most nice ones are less. Is this a hypothetical example?
And most aluminum bikes are lighter than 23 pounds too. The average aluminum bike weighs 19 pounds and the average steel bike weighs 21 pounds, so even the difference between the two is only 2 pounds not 4 pounds. Having once owned a aluminum bike I would rather have steel, aluminum has issues like fatigue and in the case of mine, which was actually Scandium, didn't last 4500 miles before the head tube cracked; and if you have an mild accident and bend say a rear stay an aluminum bike can't be bent back but the steel can be bent back and will keep going for many many years.
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Old 02-04-16, 08:42 PM
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But the Components on a cheaper bike Boost the weight of even an Aluminum one ,

and often a Low cost bike with an aluminum frame wont be that Light ., as they use more Metal of a Lower cost alloy.

start putting out $1000 + and the technology to make things Lighter begins to become available
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Old 02-04-16, 09:12 PM
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I have one steel bike bianchi strada lx i think is 1987 one steel bike greg lemond tourmalet 2002 and one aluminum cannondale R300 the bianchi and the cannondale have downtube shifters. The lemond have tiagra groupset. because i have one groupset ultegra 6500 i want upgrade one of the bikes but i cant decide which frame is better for upgrade. I do like downtube shifters is friction but in downhill or in higher speeds i not feel comfortable to change gears.
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Old 02-04-16, 09:24 PM
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Thank you for the answers. because i have this three road bikes one TT bike and one mountain bike and i waste time to make that bikes better i deside i make just one bike to ride always.
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Old 02-04-16, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
But the Components on a cheaper bike Boost the weight of even an Aluminum one ,

and often a Low cost bike with an aluminum frame wont be that Light ., as they use more Metal of a Lower cost alloy.

start putting out $1000 + and the technology to make things Lighter begins to become available
This is true but I was speaking on the average, not the average Walmart bike but the average bike weight as a whole including Walmart stuff. But you do have to spend about $950 to get into the 20 pound range which is about the average cost of a bike too.
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Old 02-04-16, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by bobbyl1966 View Post
.... i have this three road bikes ...... i deside i make just one bike to ride always.
I am pretty sure no one actually suggested that you limit you bikes to just one. There are lots of good reasons to own different bikes... and even very similar bikes whether of different materials or not.
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Old 02-04-16, 10:44 PM
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N+1 always but I would still rather them all be steel or mostly steel and some Ti.

I would ride a touring bike that weighed that much (my old one unloaded is about 34lbs and the projected weight for my new one is about 28lbs) but my steel road bike is 22lbs I believe. I haven't weighed it in a while and certainly not since I switched seatposts and put on a new freewheel but it is probably about the same. My one aluminum bike is a fixed gear which weighs in about 17lbs but I am looking to replace it with steel and hopefully keep a similar weight. If I was on the track or a perfectly smooth road I wouldn't mind aluminum so much but with normal potholed and rough roads steel is more comfy. Plus steel will generally last longer or is safer longer than aluminum.

Basically any material can be lighter or heavier than any other material it just depends on quality. Generally the nicer quality stuff is going to be lighter in any material.
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Old 02-04-16, 11:37 PM
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I have a Kona kilauea steel from 94 and a 2012 alu hardrock. I can tell you with confidence that the Kona is lighter than the Specialized. I sold the alu and kept the steel and turned it into my commuter. As for road bikes, I don't know as I've only owned alu road bikes.
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Old 02-04-16, 11:45 PM
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An aluminum frame is probably stiffer that a good quality steel frame but I doubt much lighter. I stripped down a bike to re-build a few years go that was Reynolds 531 and I couldn't believe how light that frame was. If you're worried about weight components, wheels and tires matter more that the frame.
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Old 02-04-16, 11:51 PM
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My 1980's Koga Miyata weighs less than 9kg (19.8 pounds) .... steel frame and steel fork, and I can make it lighter by changing the seat, seatpost, wheels, pedals etc

rides smooth, and a huge difference to my old aluminium hybrid. On the hybrid, I could feel every bump in the road
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Old 02-05-16, 12:26 AM
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I have three bikes: A hardtail mountain bike that weighs 27 lbs.; a 1985 Gazelle steel frame road bike that weighs 21 lbs.; an aliminum 2015 Cannondale CAADX cyclocross bike that also weighs 21 lbs. They all ride differently, but the steel bike feels a little smoother. The CX bike and the old steel bike generally will get me someplace at the same speed, but the newer aluminum bike is a better climber (8 more gear combinations).
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Old 02-05-16, 01:47 AM
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I have not had an Alu bike since the early 90's. I've been riding a steel Bianchi Campione d italia for probably the last 18 or so years. Don't think I'll ever get rid of it, I love it and I love the ride. I imagine the new Alu bikes are better today. Not saying mine's better, it just works best for me. I can't describe that feeling even after all these years when I swing a leg over that frame.
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Old 02-05-16, 01:51 AM
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Saddle, tires, and position on the bike have far more effect on comfort than frame material. Aluminum bikes like CF just look stupid and that's reason enough not to ride them.

Last edited by Germany_chris; 02-05-16 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 02-05-16, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
Saddle, tires, and position on the bike have far more effect on comfort than frame material. Aluminum bike like CF just look stupid and that's reason enough not to ride them.
I was going to debate this ... then i read his sig.
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Old 02-05-16, 06:32 AM
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'Frame materials' threads are right up there with 'waving', 'average speed', 'I passed a roadie ... ' and similar threads. Should be fun to watch this one.
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Old 02-05-16, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I was going to debate this ... then i read his sig.
It's a good first lesson, I'll think of something else to teach you tomorrow. We'll have a series of learning moments going forward.
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Old 02-05-16, 06:49 AM
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No frame material is more durable than steel. It can ding, scratch, dent, even bend, and retain structural integrity. When well made and cared for, steel will last a lifetime.So steel bike is best.

Bhagwant Mann
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Old 02-05-16, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by navdeepghai View Post
No frame material is more durable than steel. It can ding, scratch, dent, even bend, and retain structural integrity. When well made and cared for, steel will last a lifetime.So steel bike is best.

Bhagwant Mann
I don't think anyone disagrees
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Old 02-05-16, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bobbyl1966 View Post
Steel bikes all say is give more comfortable ride aluminum people say give harsh ride. But in the end the aluminum bike is faster because is more lightweight? If you have one steel bike 27 pounds and one aluminum bike 23 pounds wich bike you would do your primary bike?
A good steel bike shouldn't weigh much more (or any more) than a aluminum bike. My steel bike is roughly the same weight as my AL bike (roughly 22 lbs). I ride both all the time, equal amounts.

There are more complexities and nuances that just lbs. Geometry will create more differences than materials. I have found I am faster on my modern AL bike than my classic steel bike; however, I think part of it is the rider and learning to be comfortable with the aggressive race geometry of the steel frame.

Edit - weights listed for my bikes are rough estimates, I'm not a weight-weenie and don't have a scale.
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Old 02-05-16, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bobbyl1966 View Post
I have one steel bike bianchi strada lx i think is 1987 one steel bike greg lemond tourmalet 2002 and one aluminum cannondale R300 the bianchi and the cannondale have downtube shifters. The lemond have tiagra groupset. because i have one groupset ultegra 6500 i want upgrade one of the bikes but i cant decide which frame is better for upgrade. I do like downtube shifters is friction but in downhill or in higher speeds i not feel comfortable to change gears.
Put your best stuff on the Tourmalet and do not look back.

That'll be 3.50.

Thanks.
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