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Steel or Aluminum?(9 posts)

Steel or Aluminum?mr_anderson4942
Feb 21, 2002 5:52 AM
I know steel absorbs some vibrations that aluminum doesn't, but in terms of weight, will a steel frame be that much heavier than an aluminum frame? I'm trying to decide between a LeMond Buenos Aires and a Cannondale R900 Si, and I'm wondering if the metal difference will the bike significantly, or if they're both about the same.
re: Steel or Aluminum?RayBan
Feb 21, 2002 6:00 AM
There are a few steel frames (the higher priced ones) that are as light as aluminum, but most of the steel rides are heavier than aluminum. Sure people will always say that aluminum is harsh but with the addition of a carbon fork, and some 23mm tires the ride is nice. I personally think that whole "aluminum is too stiff argument" is a thing of the past. Of course the pros mostly ride aluminum now and they spend megamiles/hours on their rides.
re: Steel or Aluminum? 853 much better - but other brands toobikejack
Feb 21, 2002 6:11 AM
the Reynolds frame with 853 will ride better than the Cannondale and be only about 1/2 lb heavier. But you might want to check into the Mercier Serpens - at -- nicer than the lemond and you can find it for about $1250
Mark Twain said it best:Spoke Wrench
Feb 21, 2002 6:12 AM
"It's not the things we don't know that hurt us, it's the things that we know for sure that ain't so."

Don't overanalyze, you'll outsmart yourself. Take a leap of faith and go with your feelings. Chances are you will subconsciously pick the bike that fits you best because it "just feels better."

If you take a 20 mile hike, any old pair of shoes that fit perfectly will feel more comfortable than the highest tech pair that doesn't fit. Why do you think bikes might be any different?
Mark Twain said it best:Cherry1
Feb 21, 2002 6:14 AM
aluminum is easily recycleable so you would be doing something good for the environment and feel good about yourself while riding it
Agreed, it's all about the bike, not the materiallaffeaux
Feb 21, 2002 10:53 AM
I ride both steel and aluminum frames (admitedly mostly mountian bikes). I think the frame material issue is over rated. A good builder will make the material that they choose into a great frame. Making broad brush statements like, Material X is better than Maerial Y, is almost always a bad idea.

Get the bike that you like.
More at work than frame materialsDCP
Feb 21, 2002 6:19 AM
Both are nice rides, but there are differences which go well beyond the frame material. The LeMond has geometry more suited toward long stable rides rather than snappy handling, which the CDale favors. The frame material choice fits nicely with each design approach. There remains much debate over how well current AL design addresses the viration problem. You can only decide for yourself.

Try to take one of each for a longish ride (more than a parking lot size). One bike will speak to you. Either choice is solid.

Some on this board will say that you are better off with a used bike if you could choose one wisely and others will suggest that these brands lack cachet. I suspect all would agree, however, that you should buy what you like.
Don't make weight the biggest factorRetro
Feb 21, 2002 8:09 AM
The aluminum frame probably will be a few ounces lighter, but it's a mistake to make weight your only (or even the major) consideration. If it's a half-pound heavier, that's still only a third of a water bottle, a few Power Bars or a big breakfast. If you weigh 150 and the bike weighs 20 pounds, the extra weight is 0.3 percent of the total. Get the one that fits best, feels best and does what you want it to do.
What type of riding do you do?Wilier
Feb 21, 2002 11:37 AM
I don't have either of those bikes, but I do have one steel and one aluminum...

I must admit that I was a long time steel only snob. Previous bikes include Bianchi, Gios, Guercciotti, and the current Ritchey. (also a previous italian snob until the Ritchey).

My current bike is an aluminum Wilier (Scandium) which is just about the most beautifully riding bike I've ever had ... for the first 60 miles anyways. See - the full CF fork and the CF seatpost do an incredible job soaking up those small hits and road vibrations. But they still do nothing for the larger impacts (most of which you should be avoiding anyways). The frame is much stiffer and I can feel some amount of increased efficiency. I'll be using this bike for shorter circuit and road races (don't do crits) and hill climbs.

Now - I still have the Ritchey. This bike is a couple lbs heavier mostly because of the 8 speed D/A (all 7400 stuff). The frame is about 1 lb heavier, but it's worth it to have a bike that can take rides in the 80 mile and up range. Now - if I put a CF fork and seatpost on it... hmm... Still, it's a comfort bike (a very fast one)

I know it's a luxury to have 2 bikes, but you have lots of factors to consider sa mentioned by the other posts here.

- Type of rides (and your personal riding style)
- Length and type of rides (or races)
- Cost
- Weigh
- I'm sure there's much more I can't think of.