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  1. #1
    I don't huck.
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    Pedaling performance VS. ride quality?

    At some point I am going to replace the Karate Monkey as my SS bike. I was absolutely set on steel as the frame material for the perceived nicer ride over alu (ti is out of my $ range). It still is my first choice...but...the more I ride SS the more I understand it is first and foremost a pedaling machine above all other bike choices I have ridden over the years. And that pedaling is typically high effort, out of the saddle stuff.

    It has me thinking that whatever compliance I gain from steel over scandium, etc, might be just as easily obtained with a slightly fatter tire and 3 or 4 lbs less PSI. Then, the gains from a snappier pedaling bike like a AIR-9 are worth it.

    Anyone have any thoughts on that? Am I assuming things that are not so? Does a good steel bike really respond just as well to the prodding of my spindly legs?

    At some point I hope to ride some examples of each, but I have not got to that point yet.
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  2. #2
    meatier showers
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    Personally, I don't think I'll ever own another aluminum bike that isn't FS.

    But then I'm 6'3", 195#... and I do think that different body shapes and riding styles have a place in the "best material" discussion.

    --Sparty
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  3. #3
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    Scandium Kona FTW!

  4. #4
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    I agree with Sparticus. Although I'm much leaner and clearly handsomer at 6'5" and 185lbs.

  5. #5
    conjoinicorned
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    the AIR9 will pedal better for so many reasons that have nothing to do with the scandium.

    generally (with exceptions of course) aluminum bikes are designed racier than steel steeds. this is as much of or more of a contributor to pedaling efficiency and trail comfort than just the raw material.

    that said...i ride steel hardtails.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  6. #6
    Live Life, Ride a Bike!
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    I know the material battle will always be there like ford and chevy(unless they collapse) but how is it so many bikes in the 29er other than steel get such high marks? Is it because of geometry, build quality, or something else? I personally have never ridden steel so I can't compare, but doesnt tire selection and psi have just as much of an effect as material?

  7. #7
    Duckin' Fonuts.
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    Tire PSI and wheel choice and or proper tension on whatever spokes you pick can change ride as much as frame material. With the longer spokes on a 29 wheel you get some inherent flex and change in ride, but it is all nonsense. A bike is a bike is a bike. Buy what you think is cool and ride the living daylights out of it. All the b s about this and that is exactly B.S.

  8. #8
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    a 29er Aluminum frame

    can be pretty soft due to the fact you could run really low psi on the 29" wheel.
    I ride a GF Rig, in which I changed the rear tire lately & started running it with less PSI.
    I was close to selling it, and now I actually feel this ain't the same bike. It became so smooth .
    Still, it's aluminum , it's snappier & more efficient than any steel frames I have tried (although I have not tried any hi-end or custom steel frames, but rather cheap ones).
    So, to the OP, what I'm basically trying to say is that your assumption is correct - an Alu or Scandium frame could be pretty smooth but still retain snappiness & efficiency (and lighter weight too) over steel.

  9. #9
    awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtroy

    Anyone have any thoughts on that? Am I assuming things that are not so? Does a good steel bike really respond just as well to the prodding of my spindly legs?
    I do agree with you that tire choice and pressure matters more than the rest in a rigid bike.

  10. #10
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    I agree with Sparticus. Although I'm much leaner and clearly handsomer at 6'5" and 185lbs.
    Dude. I'm right here. I can hear you and you're hurting my feelings.

    --sParty

    P.S. Back on topic, plenty of comments in here implying softer tires are the same as different frame materials. That's like saying a new saddle is like making suspension adjustments. They both change things, but they change different things.
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  11. #11
    Curmudgeon
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    where the rubber meets the road

    Aluminum bikes are going to be stiffer, not because of the aluminum, but because of the design. With continual flexing, aluminum work hardens much more quickly than steel, and especially than cro-moly. Because of that, manufacturers of aluminum frames design them not to flex. Where they do flex, they eventually will break.

    Steel can be heat treated such that it is designed to be a spring. You may see aluminum suspension components in cars, etc... but the springs are all still made of steel (with the very few exceptions of exotic carbon, etc..alloys.).

    If you want a bike which is designed for vertical compliance, which will last for a long time, then steel or titanium is your best answer. If you want a machine which is designed for rigidity, aluminum can't be beat.

    There is a reason almost all suspension bikes are aluminum. The stiffness of the design, combined with the lightness of the material is perfect for applications where the material need not flex.

    imho, properly designed steel can't be beat for the perfect blend between comfort and efficiency. However, there are other considerations as well. Steel, of course, is most prone to corrosion (rust). While aluminum will corrode, it typically needs a dissimilar metal of some kind to get it really going (unless you soak it in salt water). Anodized aluminum is nearly impervious to common corrosion. Ti, of course, is very close to impervious, but flexier than steel (at the same weight) while at the same time stronger. big choices.

    I plan on having three...bikes...eventually.

    1. Rigid SS steel (have - Groovy Big Wheel)
    2. FS Alum 29r (have - Racer X 29r)
    3. Rigid 1x9 Drop Bar Ti (maybe a fork..but maybe a Faith fork from Blacksheep) - Don't have... saving my pennies.
    ...got chuck to join my Rock Racing SS team....

  12. #12
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    Dude, I am 6' 2"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Dude. I'm right here. I can hear you and you're hurting my feelings.

    --sParty

    P.S. Back on topic, plenty of comments in here implying softer tires are the same as different frame materials. That's like saying a new saddle is like making suspension adjustments. They both change things, but they change different things.
    and 175 lbs. You guys just gave a complex. I am applying for the biggest loser.

    What I like about the SIR Niner is that the huge aluminum EBB provides the stiffness where it matters while you get a very compliant frame. the one 9 may be a bit snappier but it will never feel like steel. Impressively enough, my SIR niner SS fits the duties of aggressive xc, xc race, and trail bike.

    A high end steel frame (I.g. 853) should be more efficient that a full suspension bike by default. - now, kill me....
    Sit and spin my ass...

  13. #13
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    I rode a Redline Moncog for a year and a half and thought I would not go anywhere but steel. I just recently picked up a Specialized Stumjumper Marathon and built that up as a SS. I think the Stumpy is more compliant but not a worse ride. I am not riding it full rigid nor was I the Redline. I think a well built aluminium frame will be just as good as any steel frame.

  14. #14
    meatier showers
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    "Them that know, know they know. Them that don't know, don't know they don't know."

    Can't remember who said that, but I've always liked it.

    --sParty
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
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  15. #15
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    I rode a s.i.r. 9 for almost 2 years. Had a chance to switch and went to scandium One 9. I prefer the ride of scandium. Both frames are stiff. Scandium damps the vibrations but steel rings like a bell. Impressed enough to add an Air 9 to the stable.

  16. #16
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    Steel vs Aluminum

    I had the opportunity to test ride a Haro Mary as well as a Cannondale F29ss. I was surprised to find that , for me, the Cannondale felt like the more "compliant" ride. I think that aluminum has come a long way in ride quality. Plus, an aluminum bike will usually be lighter than a comparable steel bike which will contribute to how a bike feels.

  17. #17
    .......
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    Rode a aluminum 29er for a season (Outcast 29). Then bought an 08 Monocog 29er last year. I prefer the Monocog.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    "Them that know, know they know. Them that don't know, don't know they don't know."

    Can't remember who said that, but I've always liked it.

    --sParty
    Huck Finn??

  18. #18
    @adelorenzo
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    I was a "steel is real" Karate Monkey-riding guy, but I'm now riding an aluminum Misfit DiSSent. I don't notice any downsides, only a lot of upsides -- faster, lighter, stiffer...

    Part of it could be because I'm strongly built 6'6", so I beat the bike up a lot more than it beats me up. I'm also running 2.4 tires and a squishy fork. At this point, I can't think of one reason to go back to steel.

    Oh yeah, one more thought: With the singlespeed, on most rides I find I'm out of the saddle a lot on climbs or descents. Being out of the saddle half of the time, you're less worried about comfort sitting on the seat.

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