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Steel

Old 06-26-22, 04:57 PM
  #76  
Recycled Cycler
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I Googled it. Amazing tool that Google.

"By the time the modern "safety" bicycle was developed in the late 1800s most frames were made with steel tubing instead of wood or cast iron. While the steel bicycles were quite strong they were also very heavy. It was not uncommon for a bicycle of that era to weigh in at over 80 pounds."

So seems steel was the material in late 1800's.
By 1900, Karl Siemens in Germany replaced Bessemer steel with a better method. You still started with a big batch of melted blast furnace steel (“pig iron”), but instead of cold air you slowly added wrought iron (which has a lot of oxygen in it) or rust (iron oxide) until you had the right amount of oxygen in the steel. Then you added limestone as before.

Cheap steel leads to hundreds of new inventions

An open-hearth process allowed for making "cheap steel" and was invented in 1900 and was easier to control and could make even bigger batches of steel. The price of steel kept on going down, while the quality got better and better. People started to make all kinds of things out of steel including bicycles.
Hope that helps.

Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
But that's not my question, I would like to know what kind of steel tubing, or piping, was used back in the 1880's to early 1900's in the construction of bike frames? I can only assume from your answer that you don't know just as I don't know, fine, I can live with that.

Does anyone else know?

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Old 06-26-22, 05:00 PM
  #77  
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It's all down to construction. I really do think 1" steel with short chain stays was the pinnacle of the grand compromise, at least for metal bikes. (And yes. You need at *least* four).
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Old 06-26-22, 06:56 PM
  #78  
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I have been on my Gunnar 8 years and it is a wonderful riding bike.
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Old 06-26-22, 07:28 PM
  #79  
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I gifted my steel rigid mountain bike ('95 Marin Muirwoods) to my son thinking my modern aluminum bikes were all I needed.
Didn't take long before I missed the ride of steel. Picked up a steel framed SS and its been my go to.....
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Old 06-26-22, 08:32 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by Recycled Cycler View Post
I Googled it. Amazing tool that Google.

"By the time the modern "safety" bicycle was developed in the late 1800s most frames were made with steel tubing instead of wood or cast iron. While the steel bicycles were quite strong they were also very heavy. It was not uncommon for a bicycle of that era to weigh in at over 80 pounds."

So seems steel was the material in late 1800's.
By 1900, Karl Siemens in Germany replaced Bessemer steel with a better method. You still started with a big batch of melted blast furnace steel (“pig iron”), but instead of cold air you slowly added wrought iron (which has a lot of oxygen in it) or rust (iron oxide) until you had the right amount of oxygen in the steel. Then you added limestone as before.

Cheap steel leads to hundreds of new inventions

An open-hearth process allowed for making "cheap steel" and was invented in 1900 and was easier to control and could make even bigger batches of steel. The price of steel kept on going down, while the quality got better and better. People started to make all kinds of things out of steel including bicycles.
Hope that helps.
So basically the steel used back then was what I said it was, GAS PIPE, because gas pipe contained cast iron, later when French steel manufacture Ateliers de la Rive in cohoots with Vitus came out with the first dedicated bicycle tubing in the 1930's it did not contain pig iron, or cast iron. Gas pipe that contained cast iron, not pig iron, pig iron was crude made from iron ores, cast iron was a result of remelting pig iron with coke and Limestone. Cast iron was used in gas pipe and the first "steel" bikes, but that steel made bicycles heavy at around 80 pounds. Pig iron was not used in bicycle frames because it was too weak, and not used for gas pipe because it was not good at holding pressure.
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Old 07-02-22, 12:52 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by freeranger View Post
Agree that a well engineered steel bike is smoother, the steel itself makes a difference also. Butting, grade of steel, design, all makes a difference. That being said, a neighbor is selling his 2002 LeMond Alpe d'Huez. The frame is 853 steel with a carbon fork. Too small for me, but I took it for a short spin anyway. Yes, it sure is smooooooooth!! My old mtn.bike is steel, but chromoly and rides nothing even close to the neighbor's LeMond. Good steel is for sure real!
The grade of steel only makes a difference indirectly. The flexiness depends directly on the wall thickness of the tubes and the outer diameter of the tubes. A tube with a thinner wall will be more flexible, but weaker, more prone to breakage. The grade of steel affects its inherent strength (resistance to breakage), so it is better to make make durable flexy tubes from 853, for example, than high-tensile steel such as from the '50's three-speed days. So steel alloys with higher strength enable tubes which have larger diameters and thinner walls, and which will be durable. This in turn enbles bicycles which do a better job of flexing to cushion you butt from shocks, and could easily be lighter.

Glad you like steel! So do I!
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Old 07-03-22, 09:11 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
French steel manufacture Ateliers de la Rive in cohoots with Vitus came out with the first dedicated bicycle tubing in the 1930's it did not contain pig iron, or cast iron.
Not sure that Vitus was the first. Reynolds 531 also came out in the 1930s, and Columbus claims to have made seamless, cold-drawn tubing even earlier:
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Old 07-03-22, 09:21 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Not sure that Vitus was the first. Reynolds 531 also came out in the 1930s, and Columbus claims to have made seamless, cold-drawn tubing even earlier:
The odd thing was when I first googled this French company came up several different times in different ways of asking the question, but today when I asked the same question again I got this: Sportive Cyclist's Guide To Bike Frame Materials: Steel - Sportive Cyclist where it says: "Reynolds is based in the UK (who said we’ve lost our industrial base!). The company started life in 1841 as a maker of nails, before turning to bicycle tubing at the end of the nineteenth century. The firm patented the invention of butted tubes (whereby tube walls were made thicker, and therefore stronger, at the ends) in 1898." Weird that I got two different responses, so not sure which is correct, but the date on the Reynolds is earlier than either the French of the Italian companies, and if that site is right then that makes Reynolds the earliest, and it does say that Reynolds patented the double butted tubing method. I don't know.
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Old 07-03-22, 09:14 PM
  #84  
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I’ve been riding a Waterford RS33, True Temper S3, Carbon front fork, Campy Record 10sp, Ritchey for the past fifteen years. Bought it when I was fifty four. Custom fitted and built by Vecchios in Boulder. I still get a really nice smile on my face, like I did yesterday morning riding it. Could have bought Carbon, but the Waterford build is so smooth, comfortable and it handles like a dream.
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Old 07-16-22, 08:00 AM
  #85  
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People out and about seem to appreciate my Gunnar Roadie. I know I do.




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Old 07-20-22, 11:00 AM
  #86  
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I have always found Steel to be a better riding bike than aluminum in road bikes. My first "Real" bicycle, was a 1988 Peugeot Versailles with Light action Shimano components. Not top end by any means but a comfortable bike. In 1991 I moved up to a Trek 1400 which was aluminum. Nice bike and very light, but super stiff. After I recovered from being rear ended on the Trek, I picked up a Specialized Allez from 1993. That thing was so smooth. I also had a 1993 Trek 930 with True Temper OX that was smoother than the 1400. Several years back I got a 2014 Fuji Cross gravel bike. Aluminum frame, but running 32's on the tires. Someone commented on aluminum frames with large tires would be similar as steel from on 25's, and I do agree with this. The Fuji rides very nice, but if I were to run 25's, or 23's I'm sure that would change the game.
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Old 07-20-22, 12:24 PM
  #87  
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What about a carbon fork which comes on most newer aluminum bikes, does that have a big impact on the ride? I have a few steel bikes, a few chromoly bikes and 2 aluminum road bikes with carbon forks. I find my 2013 Cannondale CAAD 8 to be a pretty smooth ride but my Peugeot with 453 Reynolds steel is also super smooth. I have a gas pipe steel bike which is not smooth and very heavy.

I've never ridden a carbon bike so can't speak to it.
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Old 07-20-22, 12:58 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
What about a carbon fork which comes on most newer aluminum bikes, does that have a big impact on the ride? I have a few steel bikes, a few chromoly bikes and 2 aluminum road bikes with carbon forks. I find my 2013 Cannondale CAAD 8 to be a pretty smooth ride but my Peugeot with 453 Reynolds steel is also super smooth. I have a gas pipe steel bike which is not smooth and very heavy.

I've never ridden a carbon bike so can't speak to it.
Carbon forks, like steel forks, can be stiff or compliant. I rode a cross bike with a thick cf fork and I was surprised at how nice it rode on washboard type stuff. Of course, it had a bigger tire than I road ride with.
I have a Kestrel fork on my steel Gunnar. It rides smoother than the cf fork on my Seven.
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Old 07-20-22, 01:00 PM
  #89  
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That's a great question. My Fuji has a carbon fork, My Specialized has an aluminum fork, and my other 2 steel frames have steel forks. Of all of them, I like the feel of the carbon fork the best. It's just personal perception, but it does feel smooth, and not harsh in my riding.
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Old 07-21-22, 01:17 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
What about a carbon fork which comes on most newer aluminum bikes, does that have a big impact on the ride? I have a few steel bikes, a few chromoly bikes and 2 aluminum road bikes with carbon forks. I find my 2013 Cannondale CAAD 8 to be a pretty smooth ride but my Peugeot with 453 Reynolds steel is also super smooth. I have a gas pipe steel bike which is not smooth and very heavy.

I've never ridden a carbon bike so can't speak to it.
What you said is indeed a problem, I can understand an aluminum bike coming with CF fork because AL fork is far too weak to safely ride on for a long period of time. Also on TI bikes that's all you'll find is CF forks, while they do make TI forks bike manufactures look at the cost of a TI fork vs a CF fork and opt out of using TI forks, plus a TI fork would have to be thick and large in diameter otherwise it's too noodly, which in turn would make it weigh as much as a steel fork, and buyers don't want the weight.

I personally, don't trust my arse to be on a CF bike, with CF wheels, I've known people who's CF stuff broke just riding, even my mechanic at my local bike shop won't buy CF. However, on my Lynskey I have a CF fork, which I had the original one replaced back when I bought it for a Enve 2.0 because at the time that fork was rated to carry the most weight at 350 pounds intended to be used on tandem bikes (if I remember correctly the weight limit), I wanted a fork that was going to be FAR over rated for my weight at 175 pounds, the stock fork and the Enve 1.0 was rated for 224 pounds. I'm hoping that fork will last a lifetime, so far so good, and that's my lifetime, not the forks!
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Old 07-31-22, 10:19 AM
  #91  
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I remember a former BF'er who would love this thread. Didn’t post much in 50+, tho qualified.
I think he made a few t-shirts.


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Old 11-26-22, 04:31 PM
  #92  
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Thanks for all the reply's, I've got it now read every post and this is what I learned.
Yes I did buy a touring "comfort" bike so it should be no surprise that it is very comfortable.
But the real take away is I just need another bike or two. Gonna have to work on that.
And I guess the best bike is the one that inspires me (you) to get out and ride.
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Old 11-29-22, 10:27 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
IMO/E, tire size, inflation & suppleness (quality) can have far more to do with how 'harsh' a bike feels than frame material. My old Cannondale felt awful with the (cheap) 28c tires that were on it when I got it. Shoe-horning some Rene Herse Barlow Pass tires (38c, 45psi....$$$) on it was transformational in terms of ride & comfort.
Agreed. I just put together a new bike and am using Schwable One tubulars on it. Incredibly smooth riding tires. And quiet. Its really a totally different experience. Reminds me of the Clement Paris Roubaix tires I had in the 70's, maybe even better.
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Old 11-29-22, 11:20 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
I have one CF, one aluminum, one titanium, and 5 steel framed bikes. They are all comfortable, with the CF Orbea Avant being the "harshest" ride. I think the most comfortable is my steel Soma Smoothie, much of that being the geometry and fit. The biggest differences between each bike are the components and the weight.
And my carbon Orbea Orca rides like a dream. Like was said above, any material can be designed to be as rigid or compliant as the manufacturer wants.

I also have a steel bike, an aluminum and another carbon. The steel bike is so smooth, the aluminum is stiff but it’s a full suspension MTB, and the other carbon is an endurance frame with more relaxed geometry which really absorbs rough pavement but is still responsive.
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Old 11-30-22, 05:25 AM
  #95  
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Other things equal, I've found that the way a given bike rides correlates not with the frame material but instead with its wheelbase. Long-wheelbase bikes ride smoothly, if a bit stolidly, regardless of frame material. Short-wheelbase bikes give a harder but, for want of a better term, racier ride, regardless of frame material.

For an example, my mid-'80s Columbus steel Bianchi Specialissima, with its short-wheelbase criterium geometry, was no more or less comfortable to ride than a same-era Cannondale Crit series bike (aluminum, obviously) with equivalent geometry. Since then, I've come to prefer the more or less standard road geometry that most companies offer these days, so all my road bikes (steel, carbon, and aluminum) share that geometry.

[Edit: actually, come to think of it, my one carbon road bike has a slightly longer wheelbase, which is probably why I've been riding the aluminum road bike almost exclusively for the last 10 years.]

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Old 12-01-22, 08:47 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by Ttom View Post
Different bikes specialize in different things they all have their place, that is why we all need at least 4 right.
Can't disagree with ^^^that last sentence!

That being said, I don't buy into this notion that frame materials have specific different riding characteristics that are A) discernable to the rider, and B) independent of design, and fit, and component selection, and probably a handful of other variables.

I currently own two steel bikes, one carbon bike, and one aluminum bike...and have owned at least a half dozen other steel bikes and one other aluminum bike over the years. Plus rented/borrowed a number of bikes made from carbon and aluminum. And there is/was absolutely nothing consistent about the frame material correlating to the subjective experience of riding those bikes.
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Old 12-01-22, 09:07 AM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
What about a carbon fork which comes on most newer aluminum bikes, does that have a big impact on the ride? I have a few steel bikes, a few chromoly bikes and 2 aluminum road bikes with carbon forks. I find my 2013 Cannondale CAAD 8 to be a pretty smooth ride but my Peugeot with 453 Reynolds steel is also super smooth. I have a gas pipe steel bike which is not smooth and very heavy.

I've never ridden a carbon bike so can't speak to it.
In my mind, one is not generally better or worse than the other. They are different and feel different over things but that does to mean one is bad or one is good. Just different. The steel fork I have has a much softer a springy feel, and does better with the bigger bumps. The carbon is much better with the smaller stuff.

I have had steel forks that I think ruined the ride for me. I had purchased a Colnago Master that was my dream bike, a replacement for my Tommasini that I loved the ride of, but not the look. However, while I still think the Colnago was better looking, the ride to me was terrible and really harsh. Just plain unpleasant, especially through the handlebars. Never thought about it that much, but often wonder it it was all down to the fork - straight steel on the Colnago and curved on the Tommasini.

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Old 12-01-22, 01:12 PM
  #98  
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Again with forks, regardless of material, it comes down to geometry (just like frames). My old Bianchi’s fork has a minor swoop/ curve down by the wheel, which absorbs bumps with aplomb while my steel Fondriest has a straight carbon fork does not.

Similarly my carbon “endurance” frame with a relaxed geometry absorbs a fair amount of chip seal vibration while my racing frame carbon lets me feel every pebble - bless its sprightly heart.
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Old 12-04-22, 07:38 PM
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Nothing wrong with steel. I have carbon road bikes, an AL MTB, a TI gravel bike, but my dream bike is steel touring rig. Reason: My carbon race bike is awasome for what it is, but I personaly like riding a slightly heaver bike with more relaxed goemetry and a mellow, stable feel. One look at me and it's easy to see I don't prioritze lightweight.
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