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It's practically impossible to get a new, good quality cro mo mountain bike in almost any price range. It used to be, until the mid 90's or so, that you had to spend a premium to get aluminum. Now, even the cheapest entry-level bike comes with an aluminum frame and at least front suspension. Steel has become the domain of mostly high-end/custom frame builders.

I wish manufacturers would realize that aluminum is not for everyone, and that there is a market for good quality steel framed mountain bikes (or any bike for that matter). I prefer the ride of a steel frame over an aluminum frame any day.

I'm planning on buying one of the repro Stumpjumpers when they come out. It's the best of both worlds: a retro steel frame, bullmoose bars, and modern components.:thumbsup:
 

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IVMTB & VMBEFG Illuminati
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actually the manufacturers like steel just as much as we do. they're bike dorks too. it's the public that wont buy them. the mis-conceptions about steel are what's killing it for us. just go ask any novice rider which frame material is best. they virtually never say steel. they will make faces at you when you tell them different. it's not so bad though because that leaves the steel frames to be built by the small passionate builders. it's nice to see them have a market to themselves. www.curtlo.com has been making great fillet brazed frames since at least the late 80's.
 

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mountaingoatcycles.com
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Someone was recently quoted as saying that if steel just came out, it would be hailed as the new "wunder material". Consumers have just been brainwashed into thinking aluminum has to be better since it is obviously lighter. Trek recently had a comfort model that switched from steel to aluminum part way into the model year. It was just a high tensile steel but when we weighed it vs. the aluminum model in the same size, the steel bike was a couple ounces lighter.

The lack of steel bikes was one of the factors in bringing back Mountain Goat. We were watching Scot to see if Ibis was coming back as the old company or not. When they went the carbon fs route, it made sense for us to bring back the Goat as a traditional company.

Surly is another inexpensive steel alternative if you don't want to drop "custom money".
 

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artistic...
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full suspension.. it makes sense building them w/ aluminum.
sometime ago hardtails were called dead, extinct.
next came singlespeed and those in the know declared gears lame.
the new bandwagon is the 29er "movement".. or "revolution" :rolleyes: so gears are good and steel is great again. so don't worry, steel is back.

meanwhile, good 26in frames and wheels can be had at good prices at mtbr classifieds. time to look for that IF de luxe you always wanted.
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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It hasn't been helped by the fact that steel tubesets aren't exactly cheap anymore, nor by Tange dropping steel tubesets from their lineup. The company which made most of the steel used by the majority of manufacturers in the 1980s/90s... no longer makes steel tubesets. So now we're stuck pretty much with reynolds and true temper, and both were really minority members of the bicycle tubing industry until Tange ended production about 5 years ago.
 

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DeeEight said:
It hasn't been helped by the fact that steel tubesets aren't exactly cheap anymore, nor by Tange dropping steel tubesets from their lineup. The company which made most of the steel used by the majority of manufacturers in the 1980s/90s... no longer makes steel tubesets. So now we're stuck pretty much with reynolds and true temper, and both were really minority members of the bicycle tubing industry until Tange ended production about 5 years ago.
I show Tange tubing is still bing made http://www.tange-design.com/tange_2005/tubes.htm, maybe there just not importing it anymore :bluefrown:
 

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VRC Illuminati
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82Sidewinder said:
It's practically impossible to get a new, good quality cro mo mountain bike in almost any price range. :
Really? Off the top of my head:

Mountain Goat (www.mountaingoatcycles.com)
Sycip
Hunter
Surly
Soulcraft
Spot
Retrotec
Inglis
IndyFab
RockLobster
Landshark
Curtlo
Otis Guy
Steelman
 

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This is what the general public knows:

Steel = rust
Steel is heavy.
Aluminum = light
Aluminum because it doesn't rust is forever.

Aluminum also changes its properties and may corrode, becomes brittle; while steel if properly maintained and cared for last forever. I have to see bridges made of aluminum;) .
 

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artistic...
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DeeEight said:
It hasn't been helped by the fact that steel tubesets aren't exactly cheap anymore, nor by Tange dropping steel tubesets from their lineup. The company which made most of the steel used by the majority of manufacturers in the 1980s/90s... no longer makes steel tubesets. So now we're stuck pretty much with reynolds and true temper, and both were really minority members of the bicycle tubing industry until Tange ended production about 5 years ago.
columbus and deda are still playing . i read somewhere tange is coming back.
 

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I know someone else who's making a steel frame ;)

There's lots of steel hardtails out there. It's just that if you want to sell a $300 complete bike, an aluminum frame at that level will ride as good as a steel frame at that level and cost virtually the same. But the aluminum frame will weigh 2 pounds less. The $300 customer is concerned about weight.

When you get to performance level steel, the tubing costs more than a comparable aluminum and in many cases has to be imported into Taiwan, if we are talking making frames that end up as complete bikes.

Full suspension. It is almost impossible to do what you can with aluminum in steel and weigh what an aluminum suspension frame weighs. You can get almost any shape forged in aluminum for next to nothing (relatively speaking).
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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Rocky Mountain, True North, Dekerf and Doberman in canada (although the last is so far only doing urban/jump frames). There's also Endless, DMR, Azonic, Planet-X and others who's "urban bike" geometry just happens to be virtually identical to old school canadian XC geometry. Salsa also has a steel model still (A La Carte I believe), and Kona still has one (think the explosif). KHS still does several of their softtail models entirely in steel. Both the singlespeed one and one of the geared ones.
 

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I think it's difficult to defend steel to know-nothing customers when talking about certain bikes. For instance, I used to sell a lot of Trek hybrids because they were made from Trek's "special" Z-so-and-so aluminum which is obviously lighter and more responsive than the cheaper steel models. At least that's what the marketing language suggests, though I, like a previous poster, weighed similarly equipped bikes in steel and aluminum, and the weights were very close. Responsive, as far as I can tell, means stiff.

Gary Fisher used to offer their Hoo-Koo-E-Koo in steel, and it sold poorly along side the Big Sur (I think that's the one) because, I believe, the former was steel. I got into a long and convoluted discussion with a novice customer about frame materials, and the HKEK was the focus. "Why was the steel framed bike priced the same as the aluminum?," he asked. I said, "Some people prefer the ride of steel to aluminum." This did not compute: "But I thought aluminum was lighter than steel." I did not, in my inexperience, know how to say that sacrificing a measure of weight for a better ride is preferable to some. The kid's mother got in on it, and it got ugly. I had an I-Fab on order at the time, and I didn't know how to describe my affection for a material that could be at once heavy and light; cheap and expensive.

What it boils down to, as others have said, is the misconception that steel is rusty, heavy stuff for cheap hybrids. Surly will not change that misconception. Last time I checked, a Karate Monkey/1X1 frame and fork are 7-8 lbs, and the market is small. Carbon, it seems, has been too expensive to go mainstream. We'll see what happens to steel in the meantime. I'm sure it will retain its stature as a great material for hardtails.
 

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blame me for missed rides
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if you are doing cusom frames one at a time, steel works very well. it doesn't require a heat treatmeant post-weld, whereas heat-treating custom frames one at a time would be rather wasteful.

but if you are doing frames a thousand at a time, steel won't work so well because it wears tools down way too fast. heat treating for aluminum frames becomes a non-issue when you throw tens or hundreds of frames into the chamber at a time.
 

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i can see going with alu for FS.

on a HT i personally think steel is more comfortable, but for the most part with modern HTs it's more a matter of what's in style and personal taste rather than performance.

in a way im kinda glad that most all HTs are alu nowadays, i like being a little different and will continue to ride my "outdated" ritchey nitanium 'hopper with pride until either it breaks or i die!

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=205037

:thumbsup:
 
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