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Why was Chromoly phased out?

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Why was Chromoly phased out?

Old 06-26-20, 05:51 AM
  #1  
Snow Dog
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Why was Chromoly phased out?

I'm not very educated on the subject but I've noticed that I rarely, if ever, see Chromoly frames offered on new bikes these days. Is there a specific reason that it isn't used anymore?

I'm asking because I have a 1999 Specialized Crossroads with a Chromoly frame and I'm curious why the material isn't used much anymore.
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Old 06-26-20, 05:52 AM
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I had to wait until after I had 10 posts to post a picture.

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Old 06-26-20, 06:06 AM
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I do not think Chromoly was really phased out. Steel is just not used anywhere near as much as it once was. I believe most of the bikes at that level are now aluminum. Higher grades of steel are used for higher quality steel frames. I used to have that exact same bike. I gave to a friend in need, who still has it. It was a nice bike. He accidently ran over it with a vehicle. The fork was ruined and had to be replaced. The frame was straightened by a local bike shop. It is not perfectly aligned, but you have to look real close to see it, and cannot tell when it is being ridden. Can't do that with aluminum or CF, not intending to knock those materials. I am sure others with more knowledge will chime in.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:16 AM
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For a given weight, it seems to be cheaper to mass produce bikes in both carbon and aluminum. However, plenty of folks like steel for the aesthetics and ride characteristics. Steel bikes are still readily available if that's what you prefer.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:39 AM
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I wouldn't say it has been phase out. Still lots of bikes still being made with chromoly steel. It goes by different brand names, like 4130, Reynolds 853 tubing and what not. Surly has their own name for the chromoly tubing they use, I think it is Natch

From what I have read aluminum frames can be cheaper to manufacture. At the price point of the bike you posted they are probably mostly aluminium frames.

Look for a touring bike and I would guess the majority of them will be steel.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:07 AM
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Still around, but chromoly is the expensive form of steel, and people who want higher-end bikes to be steel are a bit of a niche market. There's plenty of high-tensile steel bikes being manufactured, many of them sold through the big box stores.

Basically, aluminum can be both fairly light and cheap, while steel needs to be pretty expensive to be light.

I have two bikes with mid-1990s steel frames, and they're absolutely wonderful rides. If you want to get affordable but great chromoly frames, you might want to look for used rather than new.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:16 AM
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Excellent information here. Thanks for the replies. I'm glad I asked.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:43 AM
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My old Cervelo Prodigy and the Cervelo Renaissance had chromoly alloy Columbus tubes. The tube shapes were unique at that time. Something the two engineers were tinkering with. If you check with Gerard Vroomen, he still has a fondness for steel alloy frames, the one's the custom builders make.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:12 AM
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Curious as to why you'd be interested in Chro-Mo? It's still very alive and well in BMX bikes, probably because it's tough. However, I have no desire to return to Chro-Mo frames for road biking, other than for nostalgia's sake, as the alternatives are so much better.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
Curious as to why you'd be interested in Chro-Mo? It's still very alive and well in BMX bikes, probably because it's tough. However, I have no desire to return to Chro-Mo frames for road biking, other than for nostalgia's sake, as the alternatives are so much better.

Now you've done it! Cue endless argument.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
Curious as to why you'd be interested in Chro-Mo? It's still very alive and well in BMX bikes, probably because it's tough. However, I have no desire to return to Chro-Mo frames for road biking, other than for nostalgia's sake, as the alternatives are so much better.
I'm only interested in it because that's what my frame is made of and I was curious about the material. I'm not shopping for a new bike. Just wanted some info on the type of steel that mine is made of.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:27 AM
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I thought my carbon frame bike had some issues when riding downhill on a rough concrete surface. Then, I remembered I was use to riding my Reynolds 853 steel frame down the same rough road and none of the harshness was present. Quality steel just has a better ride quality IMHO.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:35 AM
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Steel is real. There. I said it.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post

Basically, aluminum can be both fairly light and cheap, while steel needs to be pretty expensive to be light.
^^^^^ This.

Light weight metal framed bikes are expensive.

The rise of automated TIG welding made it easier (cheaper) to mass produce aluminum frames.
A cheap aluminum bike will be lighter than a similarly cheap steel bike, and in most cases, a lighter bike would be preferred, that’s why in the modern bike market, the majority of it is various grades of Aluminum bikes, with steel occupying the only the high-end, and the very cheapest.

Last edited by cb400bill; 06-26-20 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
I thought my carbon frame bike had some issues when riding downhill on a rough concrete surface. Then, I remembered I was use to riding my Reynolds 853 steel frame down the same rough road and none of the harshness was present. Quality steel just has a better ride quality IMHO.
I had the same experience when I ditched my incredibly unforgiving aluminum Colnago after it cracked at got an IF steel frame. Rode it home from the shop and went over the bump in my block that I had ridden the Colnago over for more than a year. Felt totally different. And no: It wasn’t the wheels or tires, which were taken from the Colnago. That Colnago was lite and stiff as hell, but you felt every bump.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
Curious as to why you'd be interested in Chro-Mo? It's still very alive and well in BMX bikes, probably because it's tough. However, I have no desire to return to Chro-Mo frames for road biking, other than for nostalgia's sake, as the alternatives are so much better.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:46 AM
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So...

Surly Long Haul Trucker, 100% Surly 4130 CroMoly steel.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
So...

Surly Long Haul Trucker, 100% Surly 4130 CroMoly steel.
All of Surly’s bikes are steel but they are the last steel bikes standing...mostly.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
All of Surly’s bikes are steel but they are the last steel bikes standing...mostly.
Good, they make great bikes. There are plenty of steel bikes around, it is just that now there are many other options as well.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
All of Surly’s bikes are steel but they are the last steel bikes standing...mostly.
Surly, Soma, Black Mountain, All City, Cinelli all deal exclusively or almost entirely in steel frames.
You also have mass produced steel offerings by niner, bianchi, colnago, fuji, fairlight, ribble, ritchey, twin six, and many more.
After that, you come to the higher costing frames that are custom built by dozens of brands across North America and Europe. Dozens.


So yes, besides all the others, Surly is the last steel bikes standing.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:20 AM
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Kona Sutra - CroMoly.

Salsa Marrakesh - CroMoly

Salsa Vaya GRX 600 - CroMoly

Trek 520 - CroMoly
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Old 06-26-20, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
So...

Surly Long Haul Trucker, 100% Surly 4130 CroMoly steel.
I thought it was cast iron?
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Old 06-26-20, 09:31 AM
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Riding mine nearly every day! 95 Cro-Moly strong!!!
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Old 06-26-20, 09:34 AM
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All of my bikes are steel.

There are pros and cons. Carbon fiber frames, in principle, can be formulated to mimic the properties people like in steel, but it is hard to find ones that say that explicitly.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Snow Dog View Post
I'm only interested in it because that's what my frame is made of and I was curious about the material. I'm not shopping for a new bike. Just wanted some info on the type of steel that mine is made of.
Now that you know your bikes frame is made of the best material available you can enjoy going for a ride even more!
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