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Author Topic: Steel vs Aluminium  (Read 5265 times)

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Offline catman

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Steel vs Aluminium
« on: April 07, 2009, 10:03:46 AM »
So I was out riding my aluminium GF 29'r hardtail a few months back when someone asked me how I liked it. Told them I was really happy with it and what not and then they asked how it compaired to a steel frame. I assume since I jumped on the 29'r SS bandwagon the guy thought I was one of the more hardcore soul riders (which I'm totally not). I simply heard all the buzz about 29'rs and SS so I decided to buy the next used one I saw.
 
Anyway, my first thought was can you really even tell the different between an aluminium frame and a chromoly. Why would someone specifically want a steel frame?
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Offline treadlight

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2009, 10:08:43 AM »
So I was out riding my aluminium GF 29'r hardtail a few months back when someone asked me how I liked it. Told them I was really happy with it and what not and then they asked how it compaired to a steel frame. I assume since I jumped on the 29'r SS bandwagon the guy thought I was one of the more hardcore soul riders (which I'm totally not). I simply heard all the buzz about 29'rs and SS so I decided to buy the next used one I saw.
 
Anyway, my first thought was can you really even tell the different between an aluminium frame and a chromoly. Why would someone specifically want a steel frame?

Wait for a few of months worth of riding on different terrain.

naked indian

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2009, 10:12:25 AM »
I am totally that hardcore guy.

Steel is very compliant and it does make for a softer ride.  And you can Totally tell the differance in many aspects.

Not only handling, but in technical terrain.  The ideal bike would be Steel in front, Scandium main triangle and stays and carbon seat stays... wait... thats exactly what I ride.. LMAO ;D

Luis

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2009, 10:12:30 AM »
Anyway, my first thought was can you really even tell the different between an aluminium frame and a chromoly. Why would someone specifically want a steel frame?

In general, steel will have a far more compliant ride than aluminum. You can definitely tell the difference.  That said, not all steel tubes are created equal. 

Luis

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2009, 10:13:40 AM »
The ideal bike would be Steel in front, Scandium main triangle and stays and carbon seat stays...

I beg to differ...

naked indian

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2009, 10:16:06 AM »
The ideal bike would be Steel in front, Scandium main triangle and stays and carbon seat stays...

I beg to differ...

LOL, knew you would.  Also, added point I forgot to mention.  Aluminum, "technically" has a defined shelf life and expiration date.  Meaning they only recommend like 5 years of use out of it and then after that you know, ride at your own risk.  But with Steel or Titanium, you have a bike, if properly cared for that should "theoretically" last for life.

Offline treadlight

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2009, 10:20:15 AM »
Anyway, my first thought was can you really even tell the different between an aluminium frame and a chromoly. Why would someone specifically want a steel frame?

In general, steel will have a far more compliant ride than aluminum. You can definitely tell the difference.  That said, not all steel tubes are created equal.

The frame size makes a difference too, the bigger the frame the larger the "deflection" or "give" and vice versa.

Offline catman

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2009, 10:23:46 AM »
Ok, it's time to start talking down to me a bit cause this is a little over my head.
 
I take all my parts and put them on a steel frame. Take the bike out to Alafia and hit Rollercoaster. What is the first difference that I'll notice? Or do you have to be the guy who is fully in tune with his bike in order to feel much?
 
Also, do they make steel frame FS bikes or is more of a HT experience?
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naked indian

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2009, 10:28:30 AM »
Ok, it's time to start talking down to me a bit cause this is a little over my head.
 
I take all my parts and put them on a steel frame. Take the bike out to Alafia and hit Rollercoaster. What is the first difference that I'll notice? Or do you have to be the guy who is fully in tune with his bike in order to feel much?
 
Also, do they make steel frame FS bikes or is more of a HT experience?

What you will notice is that the ride is not as harsh or as rough feeling.  The tubing absorbs more of the vibration from the trail and it tunes out the chatter better.  You will fatigue less and be able to ride longer.  I have not heard of any FS steel bikes, but that doesnt mean they dont exist.  IMO its more of an HT or fully rigid type of thing, or a guy who wants a nice custom bike that he hopes to keep forever.

Most guys who ride Carbon or Aluminum (like my team mates that race XC for example) they sell their bikes and get the new model every season. 

Carbon rides pretty sweet as well and it does help to take out the chatter of the trail and they make every type of bike out there in Carbon I know that for a fact.

Luis

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2009, 10:29:11 AM »
Ok, it's time to start talking down to me a bit cause this is a little over my head.
 
I take all my parts and put them on a steel frame. Take the bike out to Alafia and hit Rollercoaster. What is the first difference that I'll notice? Or do you have to be the guy who is fully in tune with his bike in order to feel much?
 
Also, do they make steel frame FS bikes or is more of a HT experience?

First thing you'll notice is that the bike doesn't vibrate your teeth off with every little rock or root out there...
 
You can get a custom steel frame FS front triangle (usually the rear triangle will be Al) -mass produced FS bikes are Al.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2009, 12:37:31 PM »
Ok, it's time to start talking down to me a bit cause this is a little over my head.
 
I take all my parts and put them on a steel frame. Take the bike out to Alafia and hit Rollercoaster. What is the first difference that I'll notice? Or do you have to be the guy who is fully in tune with his bike in order to feel much?
 
Also, do they make steel frame FS bikes or is more of a HT experience?

What Indian said is basically all there is to it. Steel means flex. flex means less vibration makes it to your bones. Steel can warp or even bend completely out of shape easier. But aluminum can just plain crack or break. Hardness and maleability are the only differences both have their failure point.
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Offline silentneko

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2009, 04:42:09 PM »
What about weight differences? I used to ride BMX as a kid and never bent or cracked my chromoly frames, but the one aluminum I had didn't last me, got a few good gashes in her and went back to my steele.
on my mt bike if I even look at it wrong it seems to get scratched.
 
is there a cheap steele frame out there that doesn't weigh alot?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2009, 05:02:09 PM »
Weight is your trade off for flex/comfort. Cost? Steel is as widely varied as aluminum. Both metals will sucumb to structural damage just in different ways. Scratches aren't relevant unless the are deep. You need to really penetrate the metal for it to matter. How much it matters increases in relation to depth of cut. The only steel I ever owned wa a voodoo about a forever ago. Loved it.
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Offline Gregg

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2009, 09:41:37 PM »
Ok, it's time to start talking down to me a bit cause this is a little over my head.
 
I take all my parts and put them on a steel frame. Take the bike out to Alafia and hit Rollercoaster. What is the first difference that I'll notice? Or do you have to be the guy who is fully in tune with his bike in order to feel much?
 
Also, do they make steel frame FS bikes or is more of a HT experience?

First thing you'll notice is that the bike doesn't vibrate your teeth off with every little rock or root out there...
 
You can get a custom steel frame FS front triangle (usually the rear triangle will be Al) -mass produced FS bikes are Al.

Not all of them.....


Offline $irWattZZZZ

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Re: Steel vs Aluminium
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2009, 10:55:29 PM »
I understand the compliancy of steel in a HT, but would'nt that be wasted in a FS design? Other than the uniqueness, I don't see any benefit.  > (in a FS)

 

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