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Ok! Who can help me Out! (Steel or Aluminum)(11 posts)

Ok! Who can help me Out! (Steel or Aluminum)ADKBiker
Apr 7, 2002 7:06 PM
I've been shopping around for a good road bike. This is going to be my first road bike. I've been mountain biking for 12 years and been using lite steel bikes. I'm about 6' ft and weighing in at 210 lbs(and loosing weight). I've been looking at the Lemond Zurich 2001 & 2002. Its a very nice ride. I've also checked out the Cannondale R900, another nice riding bike. I know that the Steel is more forgiving. I'm going to be doing a mix of century rides, long bike races and small triathlons. I'm don't know which way to go. Some people rave about steel and some say aluminum is faster. I've also heard that steel is something from the past and that its dieing out, is this true? Some of the best bicycle manufacturers make steel bikes (853 Reynolds) I don't understand. Can anyone help me out? Thanx!
re: Ok! Who can help me Out! (Steel or Aluminum)jtolleson
Apr 7, 2002 7:51 PM
This is completely a matter of personal preferences, and either material could make you happy for the uses you've listed. Whoever said steel is "dying" is, IMO, pretty ignorant of current road biking options. But it is much more prominent outside the racing ranks, 'tis true.

See if you can borrow the Zurich and the R900 for a longish test ride. Let the feel decide for you. Everything else is just someone else's opinion.
re: Ok! Who can help me Out! (Steel or Aluminum)mwood
Apr 7, 2002 8:03 PM
I agree, there doesn't seem to be any right or wrong answer to your question, just a matter of what works for your needs and makes you happy.
I ride an older Cannondale R900 and can tell you it beats on you pretty hard...of course, that is w/o a carbon fork or seat post, both of which will make a big difference in the ride. The Cannondale is a very light, responsive and fun bike to ride, however, and I understand the newer CAAD bikes are lightyears ahead when it comes to ride quality.
I'm leaning towards steel for my next bike. BTW, I've ridden a Lemond Zurich quite a bit and find it a very relaxing ride (maybe too much so). Another option is to build up a quality steel frame. I've recently been quoted a price on a Colnago Master XLight w/ Centaur which is very close to the cost of the more mainstream Lemond.
re: Steel vs Aluminumcyclopathic
Apr 7, 2002 7:56 PM
two questions:
- what would be your longest race/ride?
- where do you live/ride?

if you're planning to do rides 150-200mi or longer or if you ride bad pavement and/or dirt fireroads go with steel. Otherwise Cannondale is stiffer (esp in comparo to Zurich), which may be a bigger factor for 6'/210lbs rider.

Steel is dieing out? hmm.. not quite! Some of the best bikes still made out of steel
re: Ok! Who can help me Out! (Steel or Aluminum)siclmn
Apr 7, 2002 10:28 PM
Stiffer, more responsive = harder ride and more oscillations. I have just described an aluminum bike. On a long ride it is not comfortable to the bones in your body. Steel or ti is the way to go.
STEEL and try Mercier instead of Zurichcentury2
Apr 8, 2002 1:00 AM
I think steel rides way better; if you want to stay on your bike for over a couple of hours. If you are looking at a Zurich - you should consider a Mercier Serpens ( - it is a better bike and you can often find it for around $1200 new
both have advantagesscruffyduncan
Apr 8, 2002 2:18 AM
I have a steel and an Al bike. Steel is more comfortable, Icould sit on my bike all day, but then I do have wider tires and a more comfy saddle on that bike becase I use it on potholed streets, in the rain etc and it's built for comfort not speed. I am definitely faster on my Aluminium bike though, you'll notice it off the line or sprinting up a hill, also it feels taut and fast) It rides stiffer, but I only notice it on long rides (4 hours say) unless the pavement is really bad. I would get a comfy saddly (selle trans-am is v.good) and put it on an aluminium bike, more fun to ride fast I say, and isn't that why you buy a road bike?.

Also I found you pay alot more for a good steel frame than for a good Al one.

If you can afford one I hear those frames with carbon seat stays help Al alot.
I've done both...OwenMeany
Apr 8, 2002 5:45 AM
and I am on steel right now and I an NEVER going back to alum...ever! I had a cannondale for about 2 years and on any day over 25miles I felt beat up...then I was riding for a club sponsored by Lamond, I got a Zurich frame set. It was soooo nice and smooth. From my first peddle stoke I could feel the diff. It was like riding on ice.

If you think you the races you are in are going to be decided by a second or your are going to race mainly crit's..then the Cannondale would be a good choice. If you want to have long comfortable rides, get the Zurich. From a racing standpoint..I never felt the Zurich was holding my back...except maybe in a crit..

Plus...steel is cool....
I always wonder...Lone Gunman
Apr 8, 2002 7:50 AM
why alot of bike mfgs try to emulate "the feel of steel" with their offerings of other materials other than steel.
either oneColnagoFE
Apr 8, 2002 8:48 AM
At your weight no AL bike should be harsh. Personally I'd go for the steel bike, but get the one that fits you best. No material is "faster". It's the engine, not the machine.
This enginerideslikeagirl
Apr 8, 2002 9:56 AM
prefers my new aluminum bike. I've had steel for a few years and am starting this season on an aluminum one.

Wow! I think I'll have a hard time going back to steel.

I had the same concerns regarding comfort on long rides, but haven't noticed a diff yet. The biggest difference has been my climbing! I don't have to use my old mantra - "light as a feather" - all the way up a hill. I actually FEEL that way.

Good luck with whichever you choose!