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No mainstream love for steel?

Old 04-09-20, 10:15 AM
  #1  
pbass
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No mainstream love for steel?

Just curious, as I flip through the latest Bicycling magazine round up of "best bikes in every category". With the exception of one $11k road bike, there's not a single steel bike. There's one high end titanium Moots. Otherwise, it's all carbon or aluminum. There's so many great steel rides out there now in different price ranges, especially in the gravel category, I just find it a little baffling. Is it about steel having a bad weight rap? Of course, I know I'm talking Bicycling Mag and not The Radavist or what-have-you, but still, so many folks prefer steel I find it curious.
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Old 04-09-20, 10:25 AM
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follow the money

Magazine profits come from ad sales. How many (any?) ads were for steel bikes?
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Old 04-09-20, 10:45 AM
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I have no desire to be mainstream in any case. I stopped getting Bicycling Mag years ago because they had very few articles or information anymore that pertain to my two wheeled world, or that I could find interest in. I certainly do not miss it.
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Old 04-09-20, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by grayEZrider View Post
Magazine profits come from ad sales. How many (any?) ads were for steel bikes?
I expect that pretty much sums it up!
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Old 04-09-20, 10:52 AM
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Putting hands on a decent quality, modern steel frame can be tough. Most of the steel readily found is of the cheap bike variety, or vintage. The only local builder that I was both aware of, and that didn't charge an insane fortune for a 'custom' steel frame and fork went out of business (like most of the other brick and mortar shops around). Within an easy drive of my location I have a Trek store and a place that sells Giant. With almost 99% certainty neither of those shops ever have a bike in stock, in my size. They will make you buy a bike to get it (before test ride or evaluation on a properly sized machine), and insofar as I know neither brand carries a decent steel bike.
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Old 04-09-20, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
Putting hands on a decent quality, modern steel frame can be tough. Most of the steel readily found is of the cheap bike variety, or vintage. The only local builder that I was both aware of, and that didn't charge an insane fortune for a 'custom' steel frame and fork went out of business (like most of the other brick and mortar shops around). Within an easy drive of my location I have a Trek store and a place that sells Giant. With almost 99% certainty neither of those shops ever have a bike in stock, in my size. They will make you buy a bike to get it (before test ride or evaluation on a properly sized machine), and insofar as I know neither brand carries a decent steel bike.
I guess it depends on your definition of a decent quality steel frame. For example brands like All City and Surly make steel bikes that IMHO are good quality steel, affordable, and ride great (better than a similarly priced aluminum big brand bike, but then, I'm a steel guy...). They're quite popular too--I see tons of 'em out there in the wild. But as grayEZrider points out, they don't run ads in the mainstream world!
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Old 04-09-20, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
I guess it depends on your definition of a decent quality steel frame. For example brands like All City and Surly make steel bikes that IMHO are good quality steel, affordable, and ride great (better than a similarly priced aluminum big brand bike, but then, I'm a steel guy...). They're quite popular too--I see tons of 'em out there in the wild. But as grayEZrider points out, they don't run ads in the mainstream world!
IIRC Surley used to sell bikes through one of the BBS retailers near me I cannot recall if it were Dicks or Academy but they were that super low end caliper brake mountain bike. I have read about a lot of people touring and such on them. I would call them decent quality if nothing else, in reputation. I haven't ever actually set eyes on an All City. I looked at them for buying a single speed some years ago, along with a few others.
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Old 04-09-20, 11:24 AM
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I bought my steel bike after reading an article about it in Bicycling, but that was in 1992
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Old 04-09-20, 11:42 AM
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I like steel.

I think it all depends on a person's riding style, some people ride... what's the right word? Calmly I guess... So they go for something more finesse. I like steel because it's cheap, and durable and I can hop curbs without worrying that the whole thing might crack in half and poke a top tube through my lung or something...
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Old 04-09-20, 11:46 AM
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Waterford still makes some pretty good steel frames, probably no paid advertising in bikmag though, not that they really need it. But not really mainstream either.
Tim
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Old 04-09-20, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by grayEZrider View Post
Magazine profits come from ad sales. How many (any?) ads were for steel bikes?
Exactly!!!!!

BTW there are still steel bikes built by the Wright Bros that are way over 100 years old. In 100 years, how many of todays plastic bikes will be around. If any, I bet if you would give them a good thump with your finger they would shatter.
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Old 04-09-20, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
I have no desire to be mainstream in any case. I stopped getting Bicycling Mag years ago because they had very few articles or information anymore that pertain to my two wheeled world, or that I could find interest in. I certainly do not miss it.
I first started reading Bicycling in the early 80s. It was interesting and informative then. It now is a far cry from those 80s magazines with the pretty comic book and picture approach it has now.
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Old 04-09-20, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
I have no desire to be mainstream in any case. I stopped getting Bicycling Mag years ago because they had very few articles or information anymore that pertain to my two wheeled world, or that I could find interest in. I certainly do not miss it.
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Old 04-09-20, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Exactly!!!!!

BTW there are still steel bikes built by the Wright Bros that are way over 100 years old. In 100 years, how many of todays plastic bikes will be around. If any, I bet if you would give them a good thump with your finger they would shatter.
Walmart hi tensil will still be around
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Old 04-09-20, 12:18 PM
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I'm in my early 50s. While I prefer the styling/looks of modern cars (Tesla, etc), over I can't really say that about modern bikes. "Classic" road bikes and "Ten speeds" -- Schwinn, Raleigh, Peugeot, Fuji, Panasonic, etc. Those are what attract my attention.
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Old 04-09-20, 12:26 PM
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The fact is there has never been a more beautiful bike than a steel lugged frame bike with down tube shifters, built in the late 80s. They were beautiful, light and clean, many with triple butted steel tubes made just for bikes.
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Old 04-09-20, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
The fact is there has never been a more beautiful bike than a steel lugged frame bike with down tube shifters, built in the late 80s. They were beautiful, light and clean, many with triple butted steel tubes made just for bikes.
I get what you are saying, but to my eye I find stuff like Baum or Elephant to be FAR more attractive.
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Old 04-09-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
IIRC Surley used to sell bikes through one of the BBS retailers near me I cannot recall if it were Dicks or Academy but they were that super low end caliper brake mountain bike. I have read about a lot of people touring and such on them. I would call them decent quality if nothing else, in reputation. I haven't ever actually set eyes on an All City. I looked at them for buying a single speed some years ago, along with a few others.
Surly LHT in its element.

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Old 04-09-20, 12:41 PM
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I'm not necessarily talking about super retro bikes. I'm thinking more about new steel bikes that while traditionally inspired, have modern appointments like disc brakes, modern drive trains, modern geo, whatever. There's many out there that you could get for the same price range as some big brand aluminum thing with a harsh ride. But, clearly, I am biased!
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Old 04-09-20, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
I'm not necessarily talking about super retro bikes. I'm thinking more about new steel bikes that while traditionally inspired, have modern appointments like disc brakes, modern drive trains, modern geo, whatever. There's many out there that you could get for the same price range as some big brand aluminum thing with a harsh ride. But, clearly, I am biased!

We have discussed Surly and All City.
I know that Specialized (made) a steel bike very akin to the Roubaix......It doesn't seem to be on site any more, but they have one called a Sequoia.
Giant only lists Aluminum and Carbon as road bike materials.
Trek has (surprisingly) re-released the 520 as a disk model.

I am aware of a smattering of Single Speed steel bikes, but not really what we are talking about here.

I would be interested in knowing what else is out there and available.
Speaking for myself I ride between a 59 and 61. It's hard to find a bike in my size, in stock, anywhere without lucking out. As I mentioned before shops don't just ship bikes around for you to try. My experience in dealing with buy before you try bikes is a super well known cheap cost brand and has been very hit and miss as far as fitting charts. Any steel bike I would consider would certainly pass that acceptable cheap threshold.

I had personally intended on following through with a bike purchase from Snyder Cycles, a local builder, but he closed before I commissioned him.
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Old 04-09-20, 01:37 PM
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As pointed out you won't find much in the way of steel frames from the big 3 but they are out there some reasonably priced.

https://www.cyclingnews.com/features...el-road-bikes/

https://road.cc/content/buyers-guide...gs-traditional

Rodeo Labs makes a nice one as does Niner
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Old 04-09-20, 01:39 PM
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In issue 5, 2019 Bicycling they had an article about the steel Motobecane Gran Premio. I'm sure there are others.

https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear...-elite-review/
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Old 04-09-20, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jicafold View Post
In issue 5, 2019 Bicycling they had an article about the steel Motobecane Gran Premio. I'm sure there are others.

https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear...-elite-review/
And, it is available in orange!

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Old 04-09-20, 01:54 PM
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Steel is real.


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Old 04-09-20, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Jicafold View Post
In issue 5, 2019 Bicycling they had an article about the steel Motobecane Gran Premio. I'm sure there are others.

https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear...-elite-review/

Available exclusively from Bikes Direct.
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