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Discussion Starter #1
I have a late 80's steel frame pugeout ten speeder that I use for very little:D but I'm curious if there are many steel frame mtn bike riders out there and why do you own one?
 

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JAG410 said:
The biggest pro is the ability to exclaim that "steel is real" and you can laugh at bikes made from lesser materials.

The only cons are rust and weight. But those are minor.

:thumbsup:
 

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Pros - Steel (and ti) is a great material if you want a frame that was made by hand / in the USA / for you specifically / not the same as three other guys on the group ride. If you are the type that appreciates the form of a thing as much as the function, that wants a bike that was built by a craftsman instead of manufactured in a factory, then steel might be for you.

If you are after "bang for the buck" or "performance" or want a full suspension, steel may not be for you. You'll get a lighter bike with nicer parts and a perfectly functional frame if you take the same money to a bike shop and get an off the rack bike from one of the big manufacturers.

Is one better than the other? I would say no. Is one a better fit for you than the other? Maybe so.

You could make a comparison to the difference between a '65 Mustang and a new Honda Accord. The Accord is faster straight line, around corners, with better fuel economy, and more comfort. Is there an aesthetic, visceral appeal to the Mustang that speaks to some people in a way that overcomes some of the empirical advantages of a new sedan? Yes!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
eric1115 said:
Pros - Steel (and ti) is a great material if you want a frame that was made by hand / in the USA / for you specifically / not the same as three other guys on the group ride. If you are the type that appreciates the form of a thing as much as the function, that wants a bike that was built by a craftsman instead of manufactured in a factory, then steel might be for you.

If you are after "bang for the buck" or "performance" or want a full suspension, steel may not be for you. You'll get a lighter bike with nicer parts and a perfectly functional frame if you take the same money to a bike shop and get an off the rack bike from one of the big manufacturers.

Is one better than the other? I would say no. Is one a better fit for you than the other? Maybe so.

You could make a comparison to the difference between a '65 Mustang and a new Honda Accord. The Accord is faster straight line, around corners, with better fuel economy, and more comfort. Is there an aesthetic, visceral appeal to the Mustang that speaks to some people in a way that overcomes some of the empirical advantages of a new sedan? Yes!
Interesting comparison. How much heavier are we talking with a steel frame? Do you guys own a steel frame bike and if so who makes it?
 

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roc865 said:
Interesting comparison. How much heavier are we talking with a steel frame? Do you guys own a steel frame bike and if so who makes it?

Steel frames are often a whole pound heavier than their aluminum counterparts (4.5 vs 3.5 or less for a Medium). I own a few steel bikes, because I like the look of steel and the durability of the frames.

You are going to pay a premium for high-end steel frames, because many of them are made in the US whereas most aluminum and carbon frames are made overseas. People like the vibration-damping quality of steel, as well as the strength and stiffness of the material. A good steel frame made from something like 853 can also be made to have some vertical compliance, resulting in a comfortable ride that most AL frames won't have. Also, as pointed out by eric, most custom framebuilders use either steel or Ti, which is a great option if you have the money.

Steel bikes I own or have owned:

Specialized Hard Rock, Rockhopper, and Stumpjumper
GT Karakoram and Psyclone
Ibis Mojo
VooDoo HooDoo and Wanga
Rocky Mountain Solo ST (steel and carbon road bike)
 

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Keep in mind that while a steel frame may weigh 1-1.5 lbs more than a comparable Aluminum frame, this generally represents less than a 5% increase in total bike weight. I have owned many steel Mountain, CX, and Road bikes over the years and in my opinion (which includes owning Aluminum and Carbon Fiber hardtails) it is the best material for full rigid and hardtail bicycles if comfort and enjoyment are more important than how light your bike is.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
mtnbiker72 said:
Keep in mind that while a steel frame may weigh 1-1.5 lbs more than a comparable Aluminum frame, this generally represents less than a 5% increase in total bike weight. I have owned many steel Mountain, CX, and Road bikes over the years and in my opinion (which includes owning Aluminum and Carbon Fiber hardtails) it is the best material for full rigid and hardtail bicycles if comfort and enjoyment are more important than how light your bike is.
I'm certainly not in it to win races so a steel frame might be worth a try. Can you guys recommend some bike builders and should I pick a local builder or company to make it easier for sizing purposes and not dealing over the phone.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Maybe the weight you gain by getting a steel frame you can make up by buying some lighter parts on the rest of the bike.
 

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Independent Fabrications is in your neck of the woods (based on your profile), so is Seven (known mostly for Ti but they do steel too). Vicious is in New Palz, New York.

I've sold and worked on these three brands and have been very impressed with their quality. Others I'm familiar with are Gunnar, Strong, Sycip, and Curtlo
 

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Discussion Starter #15
mtnbiker72 said:
Independent Fabrications is in your neck of the woods (based on your profile), so is Seven (known mostly for Ti but they do steel too). Vicious is in New Palz, New York.

I've sold and worked on these three brands and have been very impressed with their quality. Others I'm familiar with are Gunnar, Strong, Sycip, and Curtlo
Thanks. I've heard about Viscious and I'm going to look into them. The others you mentioned are a long ways from me so I guess it would be kind of risky getting a bike from say Gunnar or Curtlo?
 

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Afric Pepperbird
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I'll always stick to aluminum for my mtb rig (until I strike it rich and get Ti.), but I will always love the feel of steel on roads. It's just so.... buttery smooth on every little bump or divot in the pavement.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
dirt farmer said:
I'll always stick to aluminum for my mtb rig (until I strike it rich and get Ti.), but I will always love the feel of steel on roads. It's just so.... buttery smooth on every little bump or divot in the pavement.
so you own a steel road bike?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
dirt farmer said:
Charlie Chan's Number One son very intuitive!
might not be a bad idea to use steel on road and aluminum off road. so you like the lightness of the aluminum on the trails as opposed to the steel frame?
 

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Afric Pepperbird
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Yes, I love climbing on the light aluminum. And, let's face it, while mountain biking you're going to feel a bit of bumps along the way no matter what you ride.
 
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