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First Road Bike: Steel or Aluminum?(7 posts)

First Road Bike: Steel or Aluminum?JaredUCLA
Aug 11, 2001 8:44 PM
Im a "newbie" who is starting to train for a sprint triathlon and wants to get into road biking. Right now Im looking at the 2001 Trek 1000 (aluminum frame) and the 2001 KHS 300 (steel frame). Ive rad a bunch of reviews and some people love the light weight of aluminum while others cant stand the discomfort. I can get the KHS for abotu $50 cheaper than the Trek, but those are really the only two bikes I can afford. Any help would be cool.
re: First Road Bike: Steel or Aluminum?Roadster
Aug 12, 2001 2:14 AM
generally the ride quality of aluminum (ie. smoothness over uneven roads) will not match a steel frame of equal soundness and components. if you were planning primarily to ride centuries, steel would be an easier choice to choose based on frame materials alone. but since you are planning on racing a sprint triathalon where the distances are less technical (ie. fairly flat and straight) and within 40K then the lightness of aluminum and its stiffness can work to your benefit. they both have their pros and cons. but at the end of the day, you should really base your decision on their ride quality as you perceive them. in other words, take a test ride and let your body decide which feels better to you. even if it takes 5 separate trips to the lbs to figure that out, you'll will have chosen wisely. fit is more important than frame material anyday.
Steel or Aluminum? Aluminum!!Highgear
Aug 12, 2001 9:55 AM
If your looking for a short distance (30-60miles) bike ,I would go with a aluminum frame. An aluminum bike will be more ridged and sap less power from you but will beat you up over a long ride when compared to a good steel bike. My first bike was a Trek 1200 back in 1990. I would look into the weight of this 1000. I don't think you will see an advantage in this over a steel frame. It is an old technology and many steel frames are now just as light. The one advantage aluminum has over steel is being very light while stiff at the same time. You should look into Cannondale or over at supergo.com for a good deal on a light stiff bike. Supergo just started selling some aluminum frames with an Italian name that look to be a great deal. Getting back to steel. Steel can vary. I have to say that there is nothing like the ride of a good steel bike. I marvel every time I'm out on my steel De Rosa and the road gets rough, the bike just soaks up the road buzz. But if your competing and hills are involved, a LIGHT aluminum will give you more preformance.
re: First Road Bike: Steel or Aluminum?filtersweep
Aug 12, 2001 12:11 PM
I'd be reluctant to purchase at steel bike at the price point of the Trek 1000. It is likely steel because it is easier to weld (and manufacture) rather than built for ride. What are you talking about, a $600 steel bike? Add the heavier components at that price point...
re: First Road Bike: Steel or Aluminum?marklorie
Aug 12, 2001 1:05 PM
One of the lower cannondales might be a good compromise for you. They're a bit smoother than any of the other aluminum bikes i've tested, but offer the lightness and rigidity. I think the R400 (or R300...do they make an R300?) would be in you price range.

I should say that I just make this decision and went with steel in a Lemond.

Also, check out bianchi for some nice steel bikes.
Doesn't matterRacer-X
Aug 12, 2001 5:47 PM
Don't believe all the BS you hear about Aluminum being harsh. Here are a couple of links from people who actually measured some things instead of repeating old wives tales:

http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html
http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/106.html
Buy the Trekjtolleson
Aug 13, 2001 3:01 PM
These are both entry level bikes with comparable components, but since you want to do a little racing (tri) there is really no comparison. I'm too lazy to look it up, but I'd bet the KHS is at least a pound heavier. The Trek will resale slightly better when you decide to trade up.

The Cannondale R300 is generally at least $150 more than the bikes you are looking at, but not a bad option, and sales are coming!