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Why do you ride that old steel road bike?

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Why do you ride that old steel road bike?

Old 04-22-12, 08:39 AM
  #1  
MightyLegnano
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Why do you ride that old steel road bike?

There are wonderful carbon road bikes or even high end aluminium ones that feels like a breeze in your legs. They are fast, agile, reliable and super responsive. The look manly and futuristic and you are getting cool points just by riding them. Some though, choose to ride beat up, heavy oldschool road bikes instead. Why?

Please express yourself.

I ride them because I feel like they are my adoptees. I took them almost dead and with some work & a little bit of live now they are happy and alive again. And also because each one has a history to tell

Last edited by MightyLegnano; 04-22-12 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 04-22-12, 09:28 AM
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They are inexpensive, most of the older frames are upgradable, and the properties of steel alloys make for a nice ride. And steel-framed bikes are still in production - examples are Surly, Redline, Soma, plus Masi and Trek (under the Gary Fisher label) all still offer 'steelies' in their new bike lineups. Some folks are infatuated with the latest-and-greatest technologies and materials (and the corresponding prices of all that new technology), and will always be looking to upgrade to have the best, lightest, fastest, and most responsive bike available (at least that's what the manufacturer will tell them through advertising and marketing), but I'm just looking for a solid bike that'll meet my needs at a decent pricepoint - steel (and aluminum) meet my needs perfectly.

Addendum: I got my commuter (a 1995 rigid MTB with steel frame) for free, and my 1977 Schwinn LeTour I got for sentimental reasons: I had one and it got stolen in the mid-1980s, saw one on my local CL for $60, so bought it and rebuilt it. Its an inexpensive and comfortable ride.

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Old 04-22-12, 09:41 AM
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Old 04-22-12, 09:44 AM
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Old 04-22-12, 09:45 AM
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I ride my old steel road bike because it is fast, agile, reliable and super responsive.



It isn't heavy or beat up though and that would be my steel framed commuter which is only heavy because of all the stuff it carries.
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Old 04-22-12, 09:50 AM
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Only when the the nostalgia mood strikes me. The maiden voyage on my restoration project quickly informed me that my youthful cycling memories had become quite a bit fuzzy over the years.
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Old 04-22-12, 09:51 AM
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I ride an old steel bike because I cant afford an all carbon, fast, agile, reliable, manly, futuristic and super responsive bicycle. Steel bikes are more durable than the new carbon bikes, and make a great bike for someone who cant afford a 2000 dollar bicycle.
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Old 04-22-12, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by shaun413 View Post
.... and make a great bike for someone who cant afford a 2000 dollar bicycle.
For now, and when old steel bike supply dries up, then old steel bikes will be priced higher than an entry level aluminum.
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Old 04-22-12, 10:40 AM
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Some tube sets of steel made for building bike frames by hand, are very nice and light.

Others which favor durability and low price, are used to make a whole bike
for less than the tube-set
of a light butted heat treated high strength alloy steel ..
to build bikes, Like Ugo DeRosa used to make the bike Eddy Merckx
Rode to set the Mexico City Hour record.
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Old 04-22-12, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MightyLegnano View Post
There are wonderful carbon road bikes or even high end aluminium ones that feels like a breeze in your legs. They are fast, agile, reliable and super responsive. The look manly and futuristic and you are getting cool points just by riding them. Some though, choose to ride beat up, heavy oldschool road bikes instead. Why?

Please express yourself.

I ride them because I feel like they are my adoptees. I took them almost dead and with some work & a little bit of live now they are happy and alive again. And also because each one has a history to tell
The one main reason steel bike are superior to other frame materials is.........steel it real.....carbon/aluminum is not......which is why high frequency road vibrations will tear cabon/aluminum apart in time.
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 04-22-12, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
The one main reason steel bike are superior to other frame materials is.........steel it real.....carbon/aluminum is not......which is why high frequency road vibrations will tear cabon/aluminum apart in time.
The majority of steel bikes never made it to road frequency failure stage, since many of them failed to make it past the dumpster stage.
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Old 04-22-12, 11:08 AM
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I have many fond memories of my old chromoly steel Nishiki. She has given me almost thirty years of excellent service and she remains my main steed, after all these years. She's comfortable, agile, durable, and beautiful. I love her...
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Old 04-22-12, 01:00 PM
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I ride a 30 year old Univega touring bike. The short answer is that it flat works for my style of riding. I could afford just about any bicycle out there. It's easy to get a different bike, not so easy to get one that's significantly better.
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Old 04-22-12, 03:50 PM
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I still have one steel bike left but I plan on passing it on to my nephew soon and I doubt if I willl get another steel bike. Unless I find a frame to build that just happens to be steel. But like many I started with steel and stayed with it as it improved from the gas pipe bikes from Schwinn. My first real road bike was a Vicount made with 4020 or 30 steel. Even back then the goal was less weight and less flex at the bottom bracket. At some point steel had to mutate with the addition of alloys to get to 531, and finally to 951 with the addition of airhardening. But 951 is as far from Schwinn Varsity steel as Titanium. Steel is a long way from iron as well.

So to me it is still the same as it always was for a road bike, a search for a lighter bike with less flex and whatever material gets you there works for me.
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Old 04-22-12, 03:51 PM
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My old steel bike just won't suit my needs, most of today's accessories have to be MacGyver'd on, plus it needs considerable upgrading to meet my current commuting/fit needs.......then there's the weight issue.

My newest steel bike was built to be light, and compete with the newer light aluminum/composite bikes, but the thing was a wet noodle to ride. Ended up stripping it for any usable items, and then took it to the scrap yard.

Last edited by dynodonn; 04-22-12 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 04-22-12, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
..then there's the weight issue.
There may be a weight issue with the steel bike you own, but there are weight issues with many cheap aluminium bikes too. It isn't the material, it's the build and the tubing. A colnago master X-lite frame is less than 2 kilos and rides beautifully. Any number of custom steel builders will produce something just as light and stiff. Reynolds 953 has a similar strength/weight ratio to titanium.

And good steel frames look elegant. My carbon bikes are great, but they simply don't have the class of the steel ones.
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Old 04-22-12, 04:08 PM
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Just because something's old doesn't mean you throw it away. A good old bike is still good.
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Old 04-22-12, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
There may be a weight issue with the steel bike you own, but there are weight issues with many cheap aluminium bikes too. It isn't the material, it's the build and the tubing. A colnago master X-lite frame is less than 2 kilos and rides beautifully. Any number of custom steel builders will produce something just as light and stiff. Reynolds 953 has a similar strength/weight ratio to titanium.

And good steel frames look elegant. My carbon bikes are great, but they simply don't have the class of the steel ones.

Colango makes some classy bikes made of other material as well. Even a Carbon fiber lugged frame.
http://www.colnago.com/c59-ottanta/

Last edited by Mobile 155; 04-22-12 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 04-22-12, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
There may be a weight issue with the steel bike you own, but there are weight issues with many cheap aluminium bikes too. It isn't the material, it's the build and the tubing. A colnago master X-lite frame is less than 2 kilos and rides beautifully. Any number of custom steel builders will produce something just as light and stiff. Reynolds 953 has a similar strength/weight ratio to titanium.

And good steel frames look elegant. My carbon bikes are great, but they simply don't have the class of the steel ones.
So much for the affordability part, since that is why a number of cyclists gravitate towards an older steel bike in the first place.
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Old 04-22-12, 04:57 PM
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Some people like old-school, and others must have the newest product. I see some appeal in both perspectives. My old steel-frame road bike that I enjoy riding was purchased for use as an old-school commuter, with obsolete and easily replaceable components. I knew the bike was good quality and a good fit, because I owned one when they were new, many years ago. I did not feel comfortable commuting and leaving my more modern bikes with Campagnolo or Shimano 105 groupsets outdoors on the public bike rack. After much riding, I favor the old steel framer, as I'm satisfied with it, or in other words, it gets the job done and does it very well.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by justadude View Post
I did not feel comfortable commuting and leaving my more modern bikes with Campagnolo or Shimano 105 groupsets outdoors on the public bike rack.
I do it all the time. Most bike thieves around here are not to bike savy, they'll steal any bike that can be ridden. Since I commute a number of miles a year, I might as well ride a bike that fits me and my needs to a tee, and not be a compromise that leaves me beat up after every commute.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:21 PM
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Durability, utility.

why should the weaker frame that has no cargo or accessory capacity cost more? Its a wierd market.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
I do it all the time. Most bike thieves around here are not to bike savy, they'll steal any bike that can be ridden. Since I commute a number of miles a year, I might as well ride a bike that fits me and my needs to a tee, and not be a compromise that leaves me beat up after every commute.
dynodonn, I agree: only ride a bike that fits and if you feel good with what you're riding.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:31 PM
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I ride "old" steel bikes because they still do the same good job that they've always done.

And because the idea that the latest carbon bikes are significantly faster is demonstrably false, especially at the recreational level.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post

And because the idea that the latest carbon bikes are significantly faster is demonstrably false, especially at the recreational level.
On my 30 year-old, nearly 30 lbs. steel bike with Suntour components, I often pass fellow riders on the newest Cervelo, Pinarello, and Specialized or whatever $,$$$.$$ new carbon fiber model. Even when I've already been riding like 40 or 50 miles. It's not so much the bike's age or frame material, or $ value, but how you pedal it.
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