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What is the "soul" of a steel frame??

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What is the "soul" of a steel frame??

Old 04-04-05, 03:32 PM
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I've read in a lot of places that steel frames just have "soul" and am not sure what to make of it. I like my aluminum bikes, and as far as I know, steel is just heavier aluminum.

In my quest to figure out what kind of road bike I want, weight seems to be steel's only disadvantage that I hear about. But I never hear anything about its advantages; it's like the publishers just assume that everybody knows. Or something.

What are the advantages of a steel frame that its "soul" comes from?
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Old 04-04-05, 03:40 PM
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Well, if you want to discuss "soul" as in some metaphysical nature then you might want to check out this recent thread. As far as steel vs aluminum properties go, steel has some advantages as a metal in that it has a fatigue limit whereas aluminum does not, it has a higher yield and UTS and is more easily repairable. These are gross generalisations however. Some disadvantages to steel include rusting (although that can be prevented by coating and care) and generally higher weight penalty. Now material alone does not a bike make and one has to consider the design and manufacturing processes that went into the production. In the bike industry, steel alloys are a fairly mature technology so by and large, there's a lot of experience behind a well crafted steel bike that can result in a frame with a longer lifespan. With aluminum, CF and other newer materials this maturity has yet to be gained thus confidence in them about their lifespan is usually less.
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Old 04-04-05, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Audiophile121
....

What are the advantages of a steel frame that its "soul" comes from?
Rust.
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Old 04-04-05, 04:01 PM
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My bike (carbon and aluminum) is physical and mechanical. Spirit and soul come into play only when the power source is applied.
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Old 04-04-05, 04:08 PM
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Depending on how the thing is built (tubes, angles, materials) steel can offer a very quiet, subtle ride. However, there are harsh steel rides just like there are harsh aluminum rides. Ditto the opposite, the spectrum is quite broad for both. And, depending on how it's built, aluminum can offer the same thing.

Weight doesn't have to be a penalty either - I ride a 17 pound steel bike, 2 lbs. less than one of my aluminum bikes. I also ride a 16 pound aluminum bike that is 4 pounds less than my lugged steel bikes.

Truth is, many people who believe that one material is vastly superior to another have simply not ridden enough high quality bikes.

The only universal truth when it comes to materials is that there are no universal truths.
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Old 04-04-05, 04:59 PM
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Well, if you read the bible like all good Christians should, you'll know that God and Jesus Christ our Saviour™ both ride steel, and as a result have imparted the material when fabricated into a bicycle frame with a soul - much like you and I have.

Conversely, other materials are 'souless' and therefore the tool of the Devil and must be destroyed.
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Old 04-04-05, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Iron Chef
Rust.
Amen to that! Rust adds character (until your frame snaps in two on a climb...but I guess that adds character to your body)!
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Old 04-04-05, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Audiophile121
I've read in a lot of places that steel frames just have "soul" and am not sure what to make of it. I like my aluminum bikes, and as far as I know, steel is just heavier aluminum.

In my quest to figure out what kind of road bike I want, weight seems to be steel's only disadvantage that I hear about. But I never hear anything about its advantages; it's like the publishers just assume that everybody knows. Or something.

What are the advantages of a steel frame that its "soul" comes from?
You're an audiophile so I'll provide the following SAT style analogy:

steel is to vacuum tubes as aluminum is to transitors
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Old 04-04-05, 05:17 PM
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Not all steel is heavier than aluminum.
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Old 04-04-05, 05:21 PM
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Soul is something bestowed onto something by some greater force. In and of its self a bicycle can have no soul. Any bicycle can be given soul. A Pacific cycle can have soul even if there are a million just like it.

For example, that 60 dollar bicycle has soul when it is found on Christmas eve by it's proud new owner. It has soul when it's taken on it's first ride and it it has all together a differnt kind of soul when it is forgotten about and left in the yard to rust.

A Steel bike can be given soul. If it's owner belives that the old time secrets of lugs and tubes can create a ride unlike that of a mass produced carbon wrapped technological miracle.
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Old 04-04-05, 05:22 PM
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Hehe... Halfspeed,
that is a good analogy. I think style might be a better word than
soul.

For me, the very definition of motorcycle is a Triumph 650, one of the ones from the Sixties. It was light, almost felt like you were throwing a bike around. It had that classic motorcycle sound, only a couple motorcycles since have approached the beauty of that sound. One was the original Honda 750, God what a beautiful noise that made. That Triumph may be slower, it may not handle as well, as the newer ones. But to me, it is the very defintion of what a motorcycle is, or should be. Everything else is measured against it, and falls short to one degree or another.

A good steel bike frame makes me feel the same way. The supple ride, the solid handling (long frame), all the little things add up to what I want a bike to be,.
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Old 04-04-05, 05:55 PM
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There's something about a steel frame when you're just flying along on flats and rollers that seems somehow unrelenting, like you have more momentum or something. It's not an effect of weight, I think it's just from the relative smoothness of the ride - you almost have the feeling each pedal stroke lasts longer. (Not a fact, just how it feels to me).

I'm definitely more "tired" after a long ride on aluminum. On the flipside, though, there's something about aluminum that is so responsive and agile that I've come to prefer it, and it really excels on hills and corners, which is the majority of what I ride here.

It's almost like the difference between the cruising, powerful speed of say a Jaguar (steel), vs the darty, quickness of a Porsche (aluminum) if that makes sense that at all . . .
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Old 04-04-05, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by halfspeed
You're an audiophile so I'll provide the following SAT style analogy:

steel is to vacuum tubes as aluminum is to transitors
I'll take that even further

Steel is to vinyl as Aluminium is to CDs

(See I'm not just retrogrouchy about bikes!)

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Old 04-04-05, 06:00 PM
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It is sort of like a classic car compared to a more modern design. It is really just a perception thing.
BTW, Ti rides smooth with no rust.
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Old 04-04-05, 06:04 PM
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Arrgghh!,
there's no esacaping the invasion of the Bottleheads! Run! Run for your life!
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Old 04-04-05, 06:07 PM
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hey whats wrong with a good 2A3?
I liked the Norton 750, buddy of mine had the 650
Bonneville nice bikes. . .

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Old 04-04-05, 06:10 PM
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Hard to answer. The soul is in the ride quality I would say.
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Old 04-04-05, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by lotek
I'll take that even further

Steel is to vinyl as Aluminium is to CDs

(See I'm not just retrogrouchy about bikes!)

Bottlehead Marty
almost

steel=vinyl
aluminum=cassette tape
carbon=cd
titanium=front row seat at the philharmonic
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Old 04-04-05, 06:22 PM
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Where does reel-to-reel fit in?
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Old 04-04-05, 06:22 PM
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Lotek,
just pulling your chain. I grew up with tubes, I can remember when there were NO transistors. I'm sure your rig sounds great, I just don't romanticise tubes. Also, my stereo also works as the sound for my home theater, and She Who Must Be Obeyed said to hide the gear, so it's all in a closet (except the speakers). Not a good place for tubes even if I was so inclined.
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Old 04-04-05, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Audiophile121
I've read in a lot of places that steel frames just have "soul" and am not sure what to make of it. I like my aluminum bikes, and as far as I know, steel is just heavier aluminum.

In my quest to figure out what kind of road bike I want, weight seems to be steel's only disadvantage that I hear about. But I never hear anything about its advantages; it's like the publishers just assume that everybody knows. Or something.

What are the advantages of a steel frame that its "soul" comes from?
A load of BS?
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Old 04-04-05, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by lotek
I'll take that even further

Steel is to vinyl as Aluminium is to CDs

(See I'm not just retrogrouchy about bikes!)

Bottlehead Marty
Well, it's really the same analogy and, curiously, you get the same kind of arguments. You take barely perceptible differences, wrap them in a collection of foklore, magic and BS designed to justify prejudices far more strongly felt than objectively justifiable.

A lot of this really comes down to fetishism. (An inanimate object with soul?)

BTW, I think tubes are nice and analog is great, but vinyl is crap. Sorry.
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Old 04-04-05, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CAAD5AL
There's something about a steel frame when you're just flying along on flats and rollers that seems somehow unrelenting, like you have more momentum or something. It's not an effect of weight, I think it's just from the relative smoothness of the ride - you almost have the feeling each pedal stroke lasts longer. (Not a fact, just how it feels to me).

I'm definitely more "tired" after a long ride on aluminum. On the flipside, though, there's something about aluminum that is so responsive and agile that I've come to prefer it, and it really excels on hills and corners, which is the majority of what I ride here.

It's almost like the difference between the cruising, powerful speed of say a Jaguar (steel), vs the darty, quickness of a Porsche (aluminum) if that makes sense that at all . . .
So you're saying that steel is over-price, unreliable, and really made by a sub-par company and aluminum is overpriced but will help you get hot women???

I kid, I kid.
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Old 04-05-05, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Audiophile121
I've read in a lot of places that steel frames just have "soul" and am not sure what to make of it. I like my aluminum bikes, and as far as I know, steel is just heavier aluminum.

In my quest to figure out what kind of road bike I want, weight seems to be steel's only disadvantage that I hear about. But I never hear anything about its advantages; it's like the publishers just assume that everybody knows. Or something.

What are the advantages of a steel frame that its "soul" comes from?
They have a kick.
Recoil, tensile flex.
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Old 04-05-05, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by lotek
I'll take that even further

Steel is to vinyl as Aluminium is to CDs

(See I'm not just retrogrouchy about bikes!)

Bottlehead Marty
Carbon is to SACD as Titanium is to DVDA
 

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