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No mainstream love for steel?

Old 04-10-20, 10:14 AM
  #51  
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I have re-read all the comments on this thread, and I still say it all comes back to money. Think about it, except for a few insanely price CF frames, they are all laid up in China. They pay some poor Chinese woman probably 10 cents an hour to press CF and resin into a mold. They bake it, and MAGIC you have a bike frame. I cant believe it cost these Chinese mfg even $100 to lay up those frames. (I would really like to know what that cost is). Then again just like magic with the right name and the right advertising you have a $10,000 bike. And making that kind of profit, you can have a huge advertising budget, and magazines take that money and highly tout those bikes.

Yup its the money.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:18 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
But before you use the argument that planes made of CF are so wonderful, remember that the CF tails broke off of at least 3 French Airbus airplanes killing hundreds.
I think that the cause of those failures was found to be excessive pilot use of rudder to control oscillations due to wake vortices from other planes. I suspect that you could break off any control surface if you apply enough oscillatory force. So I don't think its just CF that's to blame.

CF is just another engineering material. For some things, like plane control surfaces and bicycle forks, it's terrific stuff.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:32 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
But before you use the argument that planes made of CF are so wonderful, remember that the CF tails broke off of at least 3 French Airbus airplanes killing hundreds.
I didn't mean to start a structural material based thread drift-- Doh --

Airbus had some problems, for sure - never trust the French! (LOL - just kidding )

The text in blue below is not my opinion, its just a summary I found. Pilot error has been causing accidents since the dawn of aviation but I havent really dug into Airbus' many issues that deep

On the flip side , I still shake my head in wonder that the near 70 year old B-52 is still in service



NTSB wrote:

"The Flight 587 crash [Airbus A300-605R (N14053)] on November 12, 2001, was the second deadliest aviation accident in American history. The aircraft's vertical stabilizer and rudder were found in Jamaica Bay, about a mile from the main wreckage site. The engines, which also separated from the aircraft, were found several blocks from the wreckage site. NTSB says pilot's excessive rudder pedal inputs led to the crash.

The plane's vertical stabilizer separated in flight as a result of aerodynamic loads that were created by the first officer's unnecessary and excessive rudder pedal inputs(???)

The investigation tryded to determine why those components - made of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy, a composite material - separated in flight. The Board found that the composite material used in constructing the vertical stabilizer was not a factor in the accident (!!!) because the tail failed well beyond its certificated and design limits. The Safety Board said that, although other pilots provided generally positive comments about the first officer's abilities, two pilots noted incidents that showed that he had a tendency to overreact to wake turbulence encounters. The Safety Board's airplane performance study showed that the high loads that eventually overstressed the vertical stabilizer were solely the result of the pilot's rudder pedal inputs and were not associated with the wake turbulence.

“Had the first officer stopped making inputs at any time before the vertical stabilizer failed, the natural stability of the aircraft would have returned the sideslip angle to near 0 degrees, and the accident would not have happened.”"
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Old 04-10-20, 10:43 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
I think that the cause of those failures was found to be excessive pilot use of rudder to control oscillations due to wake vortices from other planes. I suspect that you could break off any control surface if you apply enough oscillatory force. So I don't think its just CF that's to blame.

CF is just another engineering material. For some things, like plane control surfaces and bicycle forks, it's terrific stuff.
That was the "official" reports they blamed the pilots. How ever, and that is a "huge how" ever since those Airbus airplanes were flown thru a computer. Blaming the pilot or "over controlling the plane is totally bogus. The computer should have be programmed NOT to allow the rudder to be moved that far. Quit frankly it wouldnt surprise me at all to find out money changed hands to put the blame on the pilot. BTW one of the first Airbus airplanes crashed when the pilot was going to do a low pass. It had the flaps down and the gear down. When the pilot advanced the throttles, the computer said no we are landing. It flew into the trees at the end of the airport, and all on board were killed. Further as a former pilot (former because it became too expensive) on the light planes I flew, on heavy cross wind landings, I often hit the rudder stop, and the tail didnt break off. BTW many senior pilots that can chose what to fly WILL NOT fly Airbus airplanes.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:50 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
BTW many senior pilots that can chose what to fly WILL NOT fly Airbus airplanes.
Very true ---- many many heavy airplane pilots hate the "joystick" cockpit
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Old 04-10-20, 10:50 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
I didn't mean to start a structural material based thread drift-- Doh --

Airbus had some problems, for sure - never trust the French! (LOL - just kidding )

The text in blue below is not my opinion, its just a summary I found. Pilot error has been causing accidents since the dawn of aviation but I havent really dug into Airbus' many issues that deep

On the flip side , I still shake my head in wonder that the near 70 year old B-52 is still in service



NTSB wrote:

"The Flight 587 crash [Airbus A300-605R (N14053)] on November 12, 2001, was the second deadliest aviation accident in American history. The aircraft's vertical stabilizer and rudder were found in Jamaica Bay, about a mile from the main wreckage site. The engines, which also separated from the aircraft, were found several blocks from the wreckage site. NTSB says pilot's excessive rudder pedal inputs led to the crash.

The plane's vertical stabilizer separated in flight as a result of aerodynamic loads that were created by the first officer's unnecessary and excessive rudder pedal inputs(???)

The investigation tryded to determine why those components - made of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy, a composite material - separated in flight. The Board found that the composite material used in constructing the vertical stabilizer was not a factor in the accident (!!!) because the tail failed well beyond its certificated and design limits. The Safety Board said that, although other pilots provided generally positive comments about the first officer's abilities, two pilots noted incidents that showed that he had a tendency to overreact to wake turbulence encounters. The Safety Board's airplane performance study showed that the high loads that eventually overstressed the vertical stabilizer were solely the result of the pilot's rudder pedal inputs and were not associated with the wake turbulence.

“Had the first officer stopped making inputs at any time before the vertical stabilizer failed, the natural stability of the aircraft would have returned the sideslip angle to near 0 degrees, and the accident would not have happened.”"
As in my other comment, since the Airbus was flown THRU the computer, it should have been programmed NOT to over stress the rudder. The crash was purely due to Airbus not programming the computer wrong!!!!!! And again due to computer programming error an early Airbus crashed when the computer thot the plane was landing when the pilot was doing a low pass.

You dont want to blame billion dollar corporations for their mistakes when you can blame an expendable little pilot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kinda makes you wonder how many members of the NTSB were able to pay off their houses after that report came out.

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Old 04-10-20, 10:50 AM
  #57  
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Look at orange velo, waterford, rivendell amongst many other. Sometimes a niche market, but still there. I have a curbside find Nishiki , 4 Surlys and a Burley, Cheers.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:53 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
As in my other comment, since the Airbus was flown THRU the computer, it should have been programmed NOT to over stress the rudder. The crash was purely do to Airbus not programming the computer right!!!!!! And again due to computer programming error an early Airbus crashed when the computer thot the plane was landing when the pilot was doing a low pass.

You dont want to blame billion dollar corporations for their mistakes when you can blame an expendable little pilot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kinda makes you wonder how many members of the NTSB were able to pay off their houses after that report came out.
Dont worry about the B-52, people in the aviation industry claim that Boeing planes are built like a bank vault compared to Airbus planes.

Oh and before I get grief about the 737 Max that again is a computer problem, not the air frame.
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Old 04-10-20, 11:15 AM
  #59  
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Clearly, rydabent has some insight that most of us (including me) don't. Thanks for the interesting comments.

If the proposition is "CF is not a good material for airplanes" I don't think that's what the evidence addresses. A lot of Boeing airplanes, and military aircraft (which I suspect take "built like a tank" to a whole 'nother level) use CF and don't fall apart. Clearly, CF works, and works well, for many aero applications.

If the proposition is "CF was not properly used in the Airbus planes that crashed", I think you've made some clear points in the affirmative. As an engineer, though, I'd think that the vertical and horizontal stabilizer joints with the fuselage would likely be engineered to be pretty strong. As a systems engineer, I'd suspect that the vert stabilizer only came off under extreme load. So maybe something in the control system was prompted by the vortices from other plans initiated an excessive oscillation due to improper feedback. Or, maybe the FO DID apply too much correction. If my reading serves, they changed the training wrt stabilizing the plane during vortex shear. Whatever the cause (and I tend to believe an actual pilot) I think that the tail did not just pop off in normal flight: it had to be subjected to excessive shear. And it wasn't at the "bank vault" level of Boeing design/construction.

And thanks, rydabent and DMC707, for sharing expertise. Please correct any misintepretation I've made.
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Old 04-10-20, 11:24 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
I didn't mean to start a structural material based thread drift-- Doh --

Airbus had some problems, for sure - never trust the French! (LOL - just kidding )

The text in blue below is not my opinion, its just a summary I found. Pilot error has been causing accidents since the dawn of aviation but I havent really dug into Airbus' many issues that deep

On the flip side , I still shake my head in wonder that the near 70 year old B-52 is still in service



NTSB wrote:

"The Flight 587 crash [Airbus A300-605R (N14053)] on November 12, 2001, was the second deadliest aviation accident in American history. The aircraft's vertical stabilizer and rudder were found in Jamaica Bay, about a mile from the main wreckage site. The engines, which also separated from the aircraft, were found several blocks from the wreckage site. NTSB says pilot's excessive rudder pedal inputs led to the crash.

The plane's vertical stabilizer separated in flight as a result of aerodynamic loads that were created by the first officer's unnecessary and excessive rudder pedal inputs(???)

The investigation tryded to determine why those components - made of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy, a composite material - separated in flight. The Board found that the composite material used in constructing the vertical stabilizer was not a factor in the accident (!!!) because the tail failed well beyond its certificated and design limits. The Safety Board said that, although other pilots provided generally positive comments about the first officer's abilities, two pilots noted incidents that showed that he had a tendency to overreact to wake turbulence encounters. The Safety Board's airplane performance study showed that the high loads that eventually overstressed the vertical stabilizer were solely the result of the pilot's rudder pedal inputs and were not associated with the wake turbulence.

“Had the first officer stopped making inputs at any time before the vertical stabilizer failed, the natural stability of the aircraft would have returned the sideslip angle to near 0 degrees, and the accident would not have happened.”"
The deal of the NTSB blaming the pilot in a way kind of has a connection to what happened in the cycling world.

Back in about 1934 a recumbent bike was capturing all the biking records and winning races. The big moneyed manuf had the UCI declare the recumbent wasnt a bicycle. The manuf didnt have to buy new tooling to build recumbents, and the members of the UCI probably got to spend at least two weeks on French beaches all expenses paid.
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Old 04-10-20, 03:48 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
As in my other comment, since the Airbus was flown THRU the computer, it should have been programmed NOT to over stress the rudder. The crash was purely do to Airbus not programming the computer right!!!!!! And again due to computer programming error an early Airbus crashed when the computer thot the plane was landing when the pilot was doing a low pass.

You dont want to blame billion dollar corporations for their mistakes when you can blame an expendable little pilot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kinda makes you wonder how many members of the NTSB were able to pay off their houses after that report came out.
That's the simple answer, but this isn't a simple question.

FWIW this is a common problem that a controls design team must make a decision on - Do you grant the operator full authority even if it means the vehicle can be damaged, or do you limit the operator's authority thereby preventing damage to vehicle but possibly preventing the operator from saving themselves (and others) at the expense of vehicle? (Full disclosure - I haven't worked on aircraft control system in 30 years, but I have worked on off-road vehicle control systems (steep slope harvesters) where an operator sometimes needs to use the arm to stop the vehicle from tumbling down the mountainside, usually to the detriment of the harvesting head.) A lot of this comes down to the expected training level of the operator - the better trained they are, the more likely you are to grant full authority. A commercial pilot is typically considered a highly skilled operator who knows the limit of the aircraft they are flying, so you are probably going to grant them full control authority. On the other hand you would likely limit the operator of a rental aerial work platform because they typically won't have any idea that they could tip the vehicle of they extend the boom out too far. It's very easy to second guess and unless you've seen the design analysis there is no way to know if it is the correct decision. No matter what there is always going to be some scenario, however unlikely, that will occur that had the decision to either limit or grant full authority will be wrong.
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Old 04-10-20, 04:59 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
It might seem to you that "so many folks prefer steel" but, in reality, steel bikes are a small niche in the cycling world.
Not necessarily breaking news..

The bike shops are full of carbon and aluminum bikes as they're cheaper to manufacture..this, combined with heavy marketing(and vibration damping gimmicks to make the materials better behaved), can take over any market. Those that grow up with the market blitz really have no idea/appreciation of any other option.

..not trying to start any frame-material wars..just an observation from someone who has been biking as an adult since 1975 and has watched the material transition over the years. Industry will always gravitate to lower cost production and then invest in marketing to sell what they make as a product-plus...nature of the beast.
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Old 04-10-20, 05:56 PM
  #63  
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Some bike companies are still doing a steady business selling steel, even the occasional high-end model. It's a good material
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Old 04-10-20, 07:31 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
The bike shops are full of carbon and aluminum bikes as they're cheaper to manufacture.
If carbon and aluminum bikes are cheaper to manufacture than steel bikes, why are all the cheapest bikes made out of steel?
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Old 04-10-20, 07:50 PM
  #65  
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I think steel bikes are seen as "common". That's how I looked at them when I started riding. I had vintage steel, which to me at the time was the same thing as new steel. I thought only suckers would buy a new steel bike, as vintage steel was much cheaper and its everywhere. I still think this to some degree, but I recognize there are way more options with new steel now. Back when I started, I couldnt wait to get an aluminum bike, and once I got one, I couldnt wait to get a carbon bike. Once I got a carbon bike, I swore by it for a few years before crashing twice while racing and seeing my friends on carbon dropping chains which cost them 500 bucks a pop in frame fixes. Carbon didnt make financial sense for me. My race bike is now an aluminum Jamis, and my training bikes are all steel from the 90's with modern components. I'm back to where I started, but with an appreciation for steel that I didnt have early on. None of the pros ride steel (for road racing anyway). I think a few of them would if they had the chance and weren't limited by their sponsors. But yeah, definitely about money/marketing at the end of the day, and selling new product. No one makes money when the bike that's "best in its category" is actually 20 years old with a 15 year old groupset.

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Old 04-10-20, 08:02 PM
  #66  
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I only ride vintage steel. There were so many bikes made during the bike boom in the early seventies through the eighties that were very well made , so many to choose from. These bikes are mostly hand made bikes with classic racing or touring geometry . Right now they are readily available in any size it just takes finding the one ( or more) that fits your style. The Columbus or Reynolds tubing along with some beautiful lug work make these bikes highly desirable. Some have chrome lugs or cut outs and nice forged drop outs with axle stop adjusters . A lot use very nice components from Campagnolo or Suntour as well as others. All this for less than the cost of an entry level mass produced , disposable piece of land fill fodder. Joe joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 04-10-20, 10:24 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
Just curious, as I flip through the latest Bicycling magazine round up of "best bikes in every category". With the exception of one $11k road bike, there's not a single steel bike. There's one high end titanium Moots. Otherwise, it's all carbon or aluminum. There's so many great steel rides out there now in different price ranges, especially in the gravel category, I just find it a little baffling. Is it about steel having a bad weight rap? Of course, I know I'm talking Bicycling Mag and not The Radavist or what-have-you, but still, so many folks prefer steel I find it curious
What category were you expecting a steel bike to win? I suppose touring bike could be a category that steel would win.

Anyways, just because a magazine doesn't declare a steel frame bike the winner if any categories of bikes doesnt mean much at all.
Also, I was surprised to read the serious ignorance in this thread as it pertains to the availability and quality of good steel frame bikes.


I'll post up a few of my current steel frame bikes. They are but 3 of probably a dozen steel frame bikes that I've owned or currently own.


Fairlight Secan gravel bike. 853 main tubes, 4130 stays, carbon fork. Modern 2x11 drive train and disc brakes.



Black Mountain Monstercross turned into commuter/tourer. Double butted and heat treated 8/5/8 cromo tubing. 3x9 drivetrain thats a mix of modern and classic.



Hand-built road frame i made in a frame building class a couple years ago. Columbus Zona tubing. Modern 2x11 drivetrain.

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Old 04-10-20, 10:39 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Exactly!!!!!BTW there are still steel bikes built by the Wright Bros that are way over 100 years old. In 100 years, how many of todays plastic bikes will be around. If any, I bet if you would give them a good thump with your finger they would shatter.
First time here on the forums I have seen the Wright Bros. mentioned. Such a great story of them. Probably my favorite 'pioneers.' I've got to get over there to Dayton, OH one of these days. They were big into bikes. One of them more than the other but that might have been the period when one of them crashed hard and almost died. Plane crash. They were motivated daredevils.

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Old 04-11-20, 08:13 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by BirdsBikeBinocs View Post
First time here on the forums I have seen the Wright Bros. mentioned. Such a great story of them. Probably my favorite 'pioneers.' I've got to get over there to Dayton, OH one of these days. They were big into bikes. One of them more than the other but that might have been the period when one of them crashed hard and almost died. Plane crash. They were motivated daredevils.
FYI the Air Force museum in Dayton has a display on the Wright brothers.
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Old 04-11-20, 09:29 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
FYI the Air Force museum in Dayton has a display on the Wright brothers.
Yes and I've heard that museum is incredible. Thanks for reminding me of that.

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Old 04-11-20, 09:44 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
BTW there are still steel bikes built by the Wright Bros that are way over 100 years old. In 100 years, how many of todays plastic bikes will be around.
There are also bikes with wooden wheels sitting in museums -- does that make wooden wheels superior to carbon wheels?
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Old 04-11-20, 11:04 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Dont worry about the B-52, people in the aviation industry claim that Boeing planes are built like a bank vault compared to Airbus planes.

Oh and before I get grief about the 737 Max that again is a computer problem, not the air frame.
As a very recently retired airline pilot, Captain on the 737-800NG and 737 MAX, it was Boeing’s alteration of the airframe, to fit the Leap engine, that required the faulty MCAS be added in the first place. Other 737s require no such system, so yeah it was the airframe. Had Boeing designed a new airframe for the Leap engine, there would have been no issues, but that would have been a lot more money, and lost sales to Airbus, with their Neo 320. Think the engineers had the final say on that decision, I doubt it. That said, once the 737 MAX gets its recertification, I will not hesitate to fly on one, as long as flown by any American, Canadian, European, British, Australian, or New Zealand based carrier.
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Old 04-11-20, 11:10 AM
  #73  
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Steel is real, but carbon is elemental.
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Old 04-11-20, 11:22 AM
  #74  
veganbikes
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I occasionally read Bicycling's website when all the other bike sites and outdoor sites I normally peruse have been read and I am desperate. They are marketing and that is about it. Those who ride steel know why steel same thing with titanium. Having at least 8 steel bikes and currently 2 titanium bikes (that is about to go up one more bike) and 2 aluminum bikes (that number is about to go down one) I can say I much prefer steel or titanium and I think if more people go exposed to the higher quality stuff out there more and more people would make the switch. Plus if we saw more pro teams rocking it, it would be marketed better these days.
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Old 04-11-20, 03:31 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Designmindz View Post
I'm about to pull the trigger on a steel bike (when the damn bike shop opens again), so as long as its 4130 I'm good, right? I mean is there different grades of 4130 etc?
I'm looking at Marin Muirwoods with a lifetime warranty on the frame.
I bought a Marin Muirwoods back in 1996. Put countless miles on it with a set of Specialized Fatboy Slicks. I gave the bike to my son last year because I thought I needed a change. The bike was still in excellent condition and he couldn't believe how smooth it was on the road. If I didn't get caught up in the 700c craze I'd still be enjoying it.
If I find myself in the bike market again it will be a steelie......
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