Is steel really…. Real?
We know steel is making a comeback with some scenes, the new wave of hardcore hardtails, tourer bikes and retro frames. And steel has its strengths – it’s supple, compliant, pretty strong and this next one is subjective, but it can be pretty damn gorgeous!
Wilier Superleggera. A very sexy steel bike. Credit: www.grandfondo-cycling.com
Over here at BikeMart SG, we put aside our biases and we appreciate all bikes. But when it comes to pure performance and efficiency, it is difficult to argue against science! Carbon fibre will always take the cake in a battle of performance. Its strength to weight ratio beats steel, so you’ll always get a lighter bike. It is stiffer and this allows better energy transfer, which means you travel further and/or faster with every rotation of the pedals. Carbon fibre also doesn’t rust! So you don’t have to worry about getting your bike wet, for example, in our humid tropical weather.
Look at those lugs! Just look! Credit: CyclingTips
Look at the fillet brazing on this Kona Roadhouse.
And don’t get us wrong – If we could have an unlimited number of bikes, we’re sure to have at least one steel bike. Those retro steel bikes with lugs and nice fillet brazing are absolutely beautiful. But most of us here are a tad bit nuts about performance and speed. So most of us have carbon fibre bikes. Some of us also have aluminium bikes as commuters, for their value and practicality. Some of us also ride in clubs so at the end of the day, we want to be as efficient as we can be. Go a further distance, at a faster speed with as little energy as possible. But it all depends on you! If you’re looking for a more comfortable ride, a more compliant frame that soaks up the road buzz, steel would be good. It probably won’t be the fastest bike in your group, but definitely the most comfortable, and maybe also the sexiest!
+ subjective but we think sexy!
- Prone to rusting
- Not as responsive as carbon fibre
+ stiffer than steel
+ higher strength to weight ratio = lighter bike
+ doesn’t rust
- Fatigues after a couple of years
- Can be a harsh ride