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  1. #1
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    Steel vs Aluminum HT

    I tried searching, but didnt find anything very relevent. So my question is, whats the main difference between steel and aluminum hardtails?

  2. #2
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    Steel is real..
    Santa Cruz Blur TRc

  3. #3
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    Not a lot really, one can rust, the other one can corrode but not rust.

    They're just materials, geometry and the tubing profile/thickness used are more important. I've had a steel frame that was a serious ass kicker (On One Summer Season) and currently have an Alu hardtail that's extremely comfortable. The stereotypes are just that, don't give them too much credence.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve.E
    Steel is real..
    insightful, thanks

  5. #5
    No Clue Crew
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    Having had both back to back (not concurrently), I'm not sensitive enough to tell the difference. There are guys who will swear that steel is more forgiving. I'm not sensitive enough to feel that.

    That said, everything else being equal, I'd buy steel over alu. on a hardtail. Go figure.

  6. #6
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    agree with fix. Especially these days with sus travel options, geometry plays a greater part than materials. Seems materials just get marketed for weight weenies now.
    don't sweat the petty things & don't pet the sweaty things

  7. #7
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    Having ridden and owned a handful of both types of hardtails, I've come to appreciate steel for aggressive riding. While the above is true, the summer season is stiff as all get up, frames like the first gen evil sovereign (or even the much cheaper jamis exile) provide a very comfortable amount of give in the rough & on landings. I also have never had a steel frame break on me, where as I've cracked 2 alu frames, which supports the argument that steel has better fatigue resistance.

    So yeah, either can make for a harsh, stiff frame. But I haven't found a nice, forgiving frame that isn't steel.

  8. #8
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    regarding frame flex characteristics, I think this is secondary (by far) to having good tires at the lowest psi you can get away with when it comes to hardtails being forgiving. Maybe even third after a good suspension tune.

    Geo dictates how a bike rides much more than material.

  9. #9
    BMW 2002, Dodge A100, etc
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    Depends on materials too. There are some nice super light weight aluminum frames in Scandium, 6061 or other special blends that fly uphill and track singletrack on rails. They tend to be light weight race rigs > 25lbs but not as forgiving as steel on a long ride. A good quality steel bike is nice for touring, xc and is a good material for custom frame builders. You can get steel bikes built to custom geometry specifications specifically for you or your riding style. Many are handmade works or art in today's mass production environment. Steel has more inherent flex than aluminum, so does titanium, but sometimes you want a stiff frame... My Klein Aluminum HT climbs like a goat.

  10. #10
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    any recommendations for a steel AM HT made for 120-130mm fork?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko G
    any recommendations for a steel AM HT made for 120-130mm fork?
    On One Inbred 456

    DMR Trailstar

    Upcoming Ragley Piglet

    Tons of options out there now.

  12. #12
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    I run my Blue Pig with a 130mm fork, sagged to about 100mm. Works fine for me.

  13. #13
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    I ride an Evil Sovereign & it's smooth on trails. Very quiet too. I started out on a Speesh P1 AM so went from ok to grrrreeeaaat in terms of quality but the less vibration from rough, rocky sections was noticed immediately. I don't thinkI could ever break the Sov either if I were ever to do anything insane, which, I'm not. I basically use it as an XC bike cuz that's what my local trails are.. The Sov is fun as hell!

  14. #14
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    Cromo, all the way. Way better ride quality..

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