What are the benefits of steel tube road race bike frames to carbon or aluminium?

I wonder why my beloved Cinelli still produces Colombus steel tube frames for both road and track... They surely know it better than me :)

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In a nutshell.....

    Steel gives a comfy ride but usually heavier than Aluminium or Carbon

    Good for long distance, easy to repair.

    Aluminium is lighter than steel but a harsher ride (you feel the bumps more) Also cheaper! (Aluminium framed bikes often have a Carbon or steel fork to offset the harsh ride)

    Carbon is more expensive and can be the lighter of the three but depending on how the frame is formed, it may be a harsh ride or smooth (although usually, not as comfy or strong, as steel)

    I generally ride a full carbon Cervelo R3 - Although the Cervelo S2 (Aluminium) is faster, due to its Aerodynamics !!!

    In terms of durability then it's:- Steel; Aluminium; Carbon. in that order.

    On a flat surface such as a track, then weight is not a issue, emphasis is on aerodynamics and power transfer.

    Could go on for ages about this, but I kept it simple !

    Hope this helps?

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  • 1 decade ago

    My current commuting bike is a Raleigh Record Ace, it is at least 25 years old. It has some rust on the frame but is still going strong, and with a respray will most likely do another 25 years. I just sold an 18 month old Aluminium bike which had a problem with the paint coming away around a cable housing because the aluminium was oxidising at that point. Needless to say I lost a lot of money on the bike from when I bought it. I would still buy aluminium and carbon bikes but feel that a good steel frame is so much more durable.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Although the above answer is correct in saying steel can be very stiff, steel framed bikes tend to be less stiff and 'buzzy' than aluminium frames. Carbon can be built to provide various properties and strengths - Cannondale Scalpel has bending chainstays instead of a pivot for example. Steel bikes done well are very highly rated, and the companies making them don't tend to be trend followers so you know you're getting the product of experience and skill, and frame makers like Cinelli have a lot of heritage too in steel frames, which cyclists still want.

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  • Mary
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I am not sure where some of these posts came from, but from someone like myself who road cycles 6000 to 8000 miles per year and has a 3 year old carbon fiber frame, I have never had any problems with my frame... I have never heard of any carbon bike "breaking" unless it was in some MAJOR crash... the same crash that would destroy almost any bike (except cromealloy steel)... That being said, carbon frames are usually the lightest out there, but they can be pricey. Yes, they can be stiffer, but that is a GOOD thing because the power transfer through the drivetrain is better, especially when you have to get up out of the saddle. While riding regularly, especially on the flats, it gives a bit, providing a "plush" ride. I love my Specialized Roubaix Pro, pretty much everything on the bike is carbon, from the FSA cranks to the Specialized carbon stem... But be prepared to spend at least 3000 bucks to get the bike with good components. Ride safe and have fun!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As has already been said, steel offers excellent ride qualities of comfort. It can be built very lightly and is an excellent material for bespoke machines,one off bikes, experimental machines and for the long distance cyclist. It is also fantastic for work bikes that are designed to carry heavy loads.

    Steel (whatever formula or tube set) can easily be repaired. The huge majority of my bikes are of steel.

    Aluminium bikes can be lighter than steel, but do tend to offer an harsher ride. This can be offset with carbon forks and a carbon seat pin. It is very difficult to repair an aluminium frame.

    Carbon is a great frame material, but it depends what the frame is built for. It can be very light and aerodynamic or light and compliant or strong and comfortable. It depends on the manufacturer and their specifications. As far as I'm aware, carbon fibre frames cannot be repaired.

    Carbon fibre can tend to be a little 'dead'.

    I have several bikes, steel, aluminium and carbon fibre.

    Source(s): Personal experience over far too many years.
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  • 1 decade ago

    I tried a steel bike when out to buy my last new roadie, didn't like the feeling under hard acceleration.

    Found the same with aluminium, ended up buying carbon, but I am a sprinter so what 'feels' right for me might not be so for a TT or climber.

    Get into your friendly local shop, ride a few different fabrication types & buy what 'feels' right.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I definitely prefer steel to aluminium, steel feels like a REAL bicycle!

    It soaks up vibration instead of sending it up your spine and it's much stronger than aluminium. Steel frames can also have eye-holes for bolt-on extras which is very useful for touring bikes.

    The disadvantage of steel is that it is heavy (although lightweight frames can be built from steel) and expensive so you don't see it used much on new bikes these days.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Steel frames can be very stiff and easy to manufacture and repair.

    http://www.caree.org/bike101framematerials.htm

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Carbon fiber is awesome

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