Monday, May 14, 2012

Make Mine Steel

Skinny, Supple, Steel
I'll dispense with the expected cliche' about steel and why it is good for bicycles. . But I do like me some steel frame action. Yessirree.

This Breezer is a good example, but there are others. I own a few steel bikes- The Black Mountain Cycles "Orange Crush, my Singular Cycles Gryphon, the Salsa Cycles Fargo. My classic Of Spirit Blackbuck. Karate Monkey anyone?

So it isn't just a few Twenty Nine Inches test bikes. I have several I've laid out cash for. I like steel bikes and how they ride. Why?

Well, I will say other frame materials can ride as nice or nicer. I've ridden a carbon frame  I liked real well. I've ridden an aluminum frame I liked just fine. I like titanium, but then, it is rather steel-like. (Just a lot more expensive.) However; I've ridden more steel frames that were at least "pretty decent" or better than all the rest, (full suspension bikes excluded).

Nuthin Fancy
What's really kind of weird about all of these steel bikes, (well- most of them, anyway) , is that the technology behind them is.....uh.....ancient? Compared to what else is going on, these steel bikes are rather antiquated. It's funny because people still love the way they ride anyway- regardless of the "latest and greatest".

To be fair, there is a lot going on with steel, you just don't see it much. Like that Breezer above. It has hydro-formed steel, a press-fit 92mm bottom bracket, and some asymmetrical chain stays which help keep the bottom bracket really stiff.

Other builders are doing some really cool stuff with steel too, but for the most part, it is traditional methods of brazing, welding, and lug work that define steel frames. I think the long running use of steel has the techniques and designs refined to the "nth" degree. That said, it's cool to see that steel is being pushed farther. Hopefully it'll improve the breed.

Time will tell. However it all shakes out, I will be keeping the steel steeds around awhile, that's for sure.


Small Adventures said...

Steel IS real,my friend...and except for the Xtracycle I'm building (it's in the shop as we speak,I didn't have all the needed tools) out of my old (2000) TREK 6000,it's all my bum rides :)

Courtney Hilton said...

I work for Pagliai's pizza when it was in Des moines and was hoping to eat there after TI but it didn't work out. But seriously the best pizza ever! Can't Wait.

MG said...

Great post... And you are correct, sir. Steel does indeed kick much ass. Ride quality, durability, aesthetics, value... The list of attributes is long. There's a reason it's the material by which all other materials are judged. Being "the Standard" sets a high bar.