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Are Steel bikes overrated???

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Are Steel bikes overrated???

Old 04-03-10, 05:22 PM
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BummBull
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Are Steel bikes overrated???

After reading bunch of articles and reviews about how Steel is REAL, I've decided to take the plunge. My previous bike was Orbea Lobular which is aluminum bike with seat stay and chain stay are carbon. The steel bike I got was Gunnar Roadie. The bike setups are different so my comparison's definitely not just the frames. However, with all the people praising steel bikes, I feel it is definitely overrated. The feel is different, but I don't think it's more comfortable. When riding on rough roads, I actually feel more shake going up my arms. I do feel the weight difference going up hills and I definitely have to work harder going up which isn't a bad thing for fitness, but not necessarily good for racing.

Does anyone else think steel bikes are overrated?
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Old 04-03-10, 05:23 PM
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No.

To each his own.
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Old 04-03-10, 05:23 PM
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No.

To each his own.






That's 2 votes for me.
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Old 04-03-10, 05:46 PM
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I'm not so sure about steel. I have an old steel bike. It's really comfortable, but its not a very stiff frame so the ride is pretty forgiving.

I've heard steel is supposed to be really stiff though. If you want to best get carbon. The can make carbon so that it's really stiff, compliant, or both.
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Old 04-03-10, 05:49 PM
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What fork is on your Roadie? What wheels? What tires?

I bet those factors have much more influence on comfort at the front of the cockpit than does frame material.

I've probably seen a dozen Roadies in the last couple years, and not one had a steel fork (let alone a nice steel fork).
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Old 04-03-10, 05:55 PM
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Yes. Steel sucks.

Light, strong, steel... pick any two.
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Old 04-03-10, 05:57 PM
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tbh I find the biggest influence is geometry...
I have steel, aluminium, Ti and a couple of carbon bikes. I'd rather ride a perfectly fitting stiff aluminium bike than a slightly compromised bike of any other material...
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Old 04-03-10, 05:59 PM
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You're also comparing different geometries, and different setups, as you admitted.

The Gunnar website doesn't say what kind of steel the Roadie is made of, so I'm going to conclude that it's regular 4130 (otherwise they'd make sure you knew). Different steels have different strengths/weights, so even then, it's hard to say it's overrated.
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Old 04-03-10, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BummBull View Post
After reading bunch of articles and reviews about how Steel is REAL, I've decided to take the plunge. My previous bike was Orbea Lobular which is aluminum bike with seat stay and chain stay are carbon. The steel bike I got was Gunnar Roadie. The bike setups are different so my comparison's definitely not just the frames. However, with all the people praising steel bikes, I feel it is definitely overrated. The feel is different, but I don't think it's more comfortable. When riding on rough roads, I actually feel more shake going up my arms. I do feel the weight difference going up hills and I definitely have to work harder going up which isn't a bad thing for fitness, but not necessarily good for racing.

Does anyone else think steel bikes are overrated?
It depends what you are looking for and your riding objectives; also, just because the frame is made of steel does not make it real.

For example, my Merckx is a total tank. It weighs something like 23 pounds with training wheels but I can ride that thing all day long.

My De Rosa, on the other hand, is so tricked out that it weighs less than many carbon bikes out there. After I post my DA wheelset review in the next month or so, I will be sure to post a pic. I am guessing it will weigh 16 pounds and change but the pictures of it on the scale will verify.

The tubing on the De Rosa (Columbus Genius oversized), plus the geometry (it was a leftover from the now defunct Team Batik Del Monte), make it ride almost like an unbelievably harsh carbon bike. Granted, it has almost as many carbon and titanium bits as it does steel.

Last edited by kimconyc; 04-03-10 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 04-03-10, 06:15 PM
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Going the opposite way, always steel and probably getting a lobular. My guess is you have not put enough miles on the steel bike to not be nagging for euphoria. Most of the steel is real crowd have years on them and have digressions in the other direction for lack of taking the time to get settled in or wanting the familiar. There is a mental phenomenon called new-mindedness you might find helps. It regards people who can approach something different with no preconceived bias and rediscover familiar or not stuff with the eyes of a playful child as if for the first time. That aside old world thinking usually yields objects that are defined by subtlety and favor a patient experienced touch. Just food for thought.

What were your thoughts on the Lobular? I had planned to skip aluminum road bikes and go for titanium or carbon next but honestly have not walked into a bike shop without looking at this take in either steel or aluminum for a number of years. I tend to embody the phrase ridden hard in the good way which is testified by only leaving one bike in my life in useable condition all the way the progression from bmx to mountain biking. My last one being a steel that got limped home with some "cold setting." It really reinforced my worries about a pricy carbon frame being picked out my skin for the next 20 years. I don't personally find steel overrated and enjoy the durability of a well made bike that will be around in twenty plus years of daily riding and exposure to the elements. It is also the least exotic and possibly easiest to recycle at the end of its life. If the frame receives input from a pair of sewups on steel wheels into an equally shock absorbing bar/headset and seatpost it might come closer to describing the magical feeling for the romantically inclined with their flowery language and such. An odd inflection for something so inherently tough.
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Old 04-03-10, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jollysnowman View Post
You're also comparing different geometries, and different setups, as you admitted.

The Gunnar website doesn't say what kind of steel the Roadie is made of, so I'm going to conclude that it's regular 4130 (otherwise they'd make sure you knew). Different steels have different strengths/weights, so even then, it's hard to say it's overrated.
It's True Temper OX platinum. (At least it used to be.)
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Old 04-03-10, 06:23 PM
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The geometry and tubing are going to make two different steel frames ride very differently; not too dissimilar from two carbon frames with different carbon layups and geometries.
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Old 04-03-10, 06:38 PM
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I was considering going with a light weight steel bike for my next purchase. I took my cheap, heavy (27 lb)Jamis Aurora and put on my skinny road tires. As I was riding it around, I had the strangest thought. I actually thought it rode as smooth as my carbon Specialized Roubaix (17 lbs). I did notice the extra ten pounds. So, I could find a steel bike 7 or 8 pounds lighter than my steel Jamis Aurora and hope it rides as well as my Roubaix, or I could stick with carbon. I was surprised that I found the comfort qualities similar between those two dis-similar bikes. The next bike purchase will be in 2011, I am sure BF will have solved the frame material dilemma by then. But for now, steel hasn't proven itself more comfortable to me.
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Old 04-03-10, 06:49 PM
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Try jumping it, like thirty mph on a slight downhill futzing with the bike computer and you hit a sunbaked cowpatty all the cars miss in the center of the road.

That and the fact that damned near every crazy euro to ride a bike put them through stuff most Americans would shy away from on a FS might have had a small bit to do with not looking for anything but a better steel for some large amount of years. I do mean balls out tree runs and looooong rock stairs to a skinny street with no brake check. I know of a few yearly festivals that are centered around all comers taking a glory shot at such and well attended would be an understatement.

Last edited by miyata man; 04-03-10 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 04-03-10, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BummBull View Post
Does anyone else think steel bikes are overrated?
Yes.
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Old 04-03-10, 06:59 PM
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Are steel bikes overrated? No.

Are other materials overrated in comparison to steel? Probably.

My two bobs worth is that steel isn't necessarily the absolute best material for every choice but that steel is in fact still an excellent all round material and that when you take all the different requirements and compromises into account its still in fact an excellent material for bicycle construction which deserves more widespread use than it currently has.

Fashion is a factor I believe in the dominance of other materials. All companies need something "NEW" to sell to keep sales going. The cheap cost of energy and oil is also making other materials cheaper than they should be. Aluminum is very energy intensive so we will see a swing back to steel as energy prices rise.

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Old 04-03-10, 07:28 PM
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different conditions= different construstion materials. Its more of a matching your bike to the type of riding you plan to do.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by miyata man View Post
...Most of the steel is real crowd have years on them....
True and it helps...
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Old 04-03-10, 07:35 PM
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Sounds like you didn't get a frame for the riding you like to do.

But I love my steel bike and I also really like my CF bike. Both ride great and are stiff enough that I don't notice a difference. Very similar rides.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:36 PM
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From what I've learned:

Steel is real.

Carbon is not real.

Aluminum is about almost as real as steel.

Ti is not as real as steel but its about halfway between Aluminum and Steel in realness.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:41 PM
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I've got an old steel road bike that I absolutely love to ride around the city. It's comfy. It's got old rims, a Biopace crank and 14 speeds. I LOVE it.
When I feel like doing some 'real' riding I pull out my CAAD9. I haven't ridden hundreds of bikes but each one has it's place in my heart. I think a lot of the steel love comes from the history of steel bikes. Just want to put on a tiny brimmed hat and zip around the country-side.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
No.

To each his own.
Yes.

If you disagree with me you are incorrect.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Atol View Post
From what I've learned:

Steel is real.

Carbon is not real.

Aluminum is about almost as real as steel.

Ti is not as real as steel but its about halfway between Aluminum and Steel in realness.
Incorrect on every count. Well done.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc View Post
The geometry and tubing are going to make two different steel frames ride very differently; not too dissimilar from two carbon frames with different carbon layups and geometries.
Correct, but at the end of the day (I know how much you Wall Street guys love that phrase) steel is like really heavy, really crappy, really lame Titanium that rusts. On a good day.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
...really heavy, really crappy, really lame...
then again no bike (Cinelli or Cervelo) can solve the problem of the rider you've described above...
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