Ride characteristics comparison.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ride characteristics comparison.

    What is the ride characteristics of a scandium frame vs. a steel frame. Found a great deal on a Niner one 9 scandium with ebb bb. I currently ride a Kona steel SS And was wondering what to expect before I pull the trigger on the Niner. Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
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    it will be a more harsh ride. research aluminum vs steel. it may be a little lighter, but likely less forgiving and less lively feeling. you can always use high volume tires to help offset the difference in ride, but for me, the only rigid bike i would ride is steel.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENKD29 View Post
    it will be a more harsh ride. research aluminum vs steel. it may be a little lighter, but likely less forgiving and less lively feeling. you can always use high volume tires to help offset the difference in ride, but for me, the only rigid bike i would ride is steel.
    Yea, I realize it's aluminum but have read where they claim it's a "like steel feel" but was a bit skeptical.

  4. #4
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    Honestly, given 2.3" tubeless tires, I haven't felt much/any difference in frame materials in the bikes I've ridden. I feel a subtle difference in a road bike, probably because the tires don't do much to mute the feedback from the road.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENKD29 View Post
    it will be a more harsh ride. research aluminum vs steel. it may be a little lighter, but likely less forgiving and less lively feeling. you can always use high volume tires to help offset the difference in ride, but for me, the only rigid bike i would ride is steel.
    A pretty blanket generalization here...there are other factors to consider. If he's on a kona Unit which I have as well, the steel frame is not very forgiving. It's a beefy 4130 chromoly tube set that doesn't seem to give that magically forgiving steel ride that many rave about. No doubts about its' strength or ability to take a beating though.

  6. #6
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    i think seatpost and handlebar materials matter a hell of a lot more than frame material regarding ride quality.

    a nice steel frame rides nice but so does a nice aluminum frame.

    that said i don't think you're upgrading much either so i'd just ride what you have if it ain't broke...

  7. #7
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    Geometry, materials, buttings, and other considerations all effect the feel. For example, although nearly identical geometry wise, the Unit is indeed much harsher than an El Mariachi, mainly due to the butting of the tubes. Some flex is good, and in the case of the El Mar, it flex just enough in the rear stays to take away the edge from big hits. My wife rides a scandium Selma which is brutally stiff, but because of carbon bars and seatpost, combined with 2.3 tubeless tires, it is a fast, responsive bike that only fatigues on truly long days in the saddle. If you consider each piece and add it to the whole, it will have a greater difference that just frame material.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    i think seatpost and handlebar materials matter a hell of a lot more than frame material regarding ride quality.
    I'm recently coming to this same conclusion (for a rigid SS). I just replaced a stiff "DH" carbon h-bar with a light one, and was surprised by the difference. Yet when I replaced a SIR9 (Reynolds 853) frame with a Unit (4130 chromoly), I noticed little difference.

    I think its largely about rider position (throw out the long stem!), tire size/pressure, post/saddle, and h-bars.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    I'm recently coming to this same conclusion (for a rigid SS).
    yeah getting a carbon bar made a world of difference from the brutally stiff aluminum bar i replaced it with (that last aluminum bar was WAYYY harsher than the aluminum bar i had before that one). it was almost as significant as upgrading the tire from a 2.4" to a 3."

  10. #10
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    I was experimenting with 4 Niner frames, wondering the same thing. Used 2010 Niner SIR 9. The thing flexed like a wet noodle. It was owned by a bigger fellow, and I sold it before I broke it shuttling Downieville. I switched to new Scandium Niner One 9. Felt the same, no stiffer. Upgraded to new Hydroformed NINER ONE 9 in 2013. Felt the same. New Hydrofrmed NINER ONE 9 this year. All size small, so the tubes are probably stiffer than XL? All with 130 or 140mm front suspension fork, and 2.35 high volume tires at 25 PSI, tubeless. The tires and fork may have made these frames all feel the same. Alternatively, I did a lot of high speed 3000-5000 foot descents, so I think I tested these bikes fairly well. Same wheels/tires/forks on all bikes. I think the aluminum vs steel ride feel discussion, belongs in the road bike forum if you have suspension fork. I bow down to those of you that ride fully rigid, those guys may have different opinion than me. Oh, the SIR 9 is the best looking!

  11. #11
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    One thing that made the SIR 9 feel softer was at one point I had it set up with 9mm QR worn out fork, 24 spoke XT wheels, 2.4 Nobby Nic 25 PSI. The 24 spoke wheels were so compliant that You could easily pull the wheel sideways, touching the fork with the tire. That thing cornered like spaghetti. Held a line like a rubber band. It was a really fun wiggly jiggly ride. Very fun once you got the feel for it.

  12. #12
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    I recently had a chance to ride my son in laws Scandium One Nine and compadre it to my El Mar. I was pleasantly surprised, expected a much harsher ride, but it was quite comfortable. I must add that I just road it 11 miles on one of our easier trails. Other than being about 2 lbs. lighter, I couldn't tell much difference.

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