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 Post subject: Back to steel?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:57 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3364
Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
I'm currently riding a Look KG241 which has quite a nice retro appearance as carbon frames go and is a great bike to ride uphill and on the flat, but I'm about 12 and a half stone and it does occasionally feel a bit too twitchy on the downhills for someone of my build. Based on that, plus the fact that steel frames are easier and cheaper to acquire, repair and respray, I'm seriously considering reverting to riding a steel bike - with the right design and material it shouldn't offer too much of a penalty for uphill riding, should it? Is this a sound idea or just plain barmy [1]? I don't ride mega-competitively on the road, mostly club-level time trials with few big hills involved so surely can't be disadvantaging myself too much.

Thanks in advance for comments.

David

[1] In a TV Burp context; "I like carbon bikes, but I like steel bikes too. So which is better? There's only one way to find out....." ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:13 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
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Location: New Forest, UK
Few of us can work out the difference between two bikes a with a kilo of weight difference in the dark. Or indeed carbon, steel, alu or Ti... :D

Very light bikes can be skittery, but as much of the feel is down to tyre choice, you could try running wider tyres (if they fit) to see if that makes a difference. My 1994 Litespeed rides like a jackhammer on 20c, with 23c it's a magic carpet for 100 miles plus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:30 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
hamster wrote:
Very light bikes can be skittery, but as much of the feel is down to tyre choice, you could try running wider tyres (if they fit) to see if that makes a difference. My 1994 Litespeed rides like a jackhammer on 20c, with 23c it's a magic carpet for 100 miles plus.


True, although due to a last-minute puncture I had to use the front wheel (with a 23mm Michelin Krylion) out of the Look on my all-cromoly winter bike on Sunday morning, no handling or comfort problems there. Although the winter bike inevitably has more relaxed angles which is another factor to throw into the equation.
Plus, recently saw a cheapish Nigel Dean Senator (531c) from a local buyer on eBay which caught my attention....

David


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:22 am 
Retro Guru
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I haven't ridden a carbon bike before but I have had a go on my friend's ultra stiff alloy framed racer and I didn't like it. My old rusty steel frames are much smoother to ride despite being 20-30 years old.

I don't think you'll notice the added weight. My middle of the road 531 Raleigh weighs about 9.25kg and my older racer weighs maybe 10.5kg and moving down the road there is very little difference. I'm more likely to notice a bit of added drag at the end of the week when the tyres aren't as hard.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:16 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 3:44 pm
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Location: Leeds
David B wrote:
Plus, recently saw a cheapish Nigel Dean Senator (531c) from a local buyer on eBay which caught my attention....

David


I had / have one of those and just recently changed to a Raleigh Road Ace (forum passim) and although exactly the same tubeset, the ride is so much smoother and enjoyable on the Raleigh. The main difference being a far better groupset on the Raleigh.

hth


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:03 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:56 pm
Posts: 36
My regular ride 2005-2007 was a Look 251, a very similar frame. Lovely ride in many ways, very smooth but it was distinctly flexy in the front end - I had very low confidence on it going fast downhill and cornering - and I ended up selling it for that reason.

Actually, the later Looks of that design are meant to be much better in this regard (e.g. KG381/481) - they beefed up the tubing stiffness - and I'd be very tempted to pick one of those up if the right one came on the market.

Otherwise, steel... well, you wouldn't be mad, the weight penalty is not so great on newer steel frames (my Look weighed in at around 2.2kg F&F IIRC - my Concorde Columbus Genius is 2.8-ish, with a lot of that in the fork). But I guess it all depends what you want out of a bike - decent alu frames (I also have a newer alu/carbon mix) are excellent and great value, and more suitable for racing/riding up hills on. That said, I'd sell my alu bike before my steel :-)

In other words, get the right frame and don't worry so much about the weight!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:23 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:56 pm
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PS The big difference isn't so much the dead weight per se, it's the extra snap you get off a lighter frame with a stiff rear triangle which makes accelerations easier.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:34 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:04 pm
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Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
Finally took the plunge and invested in a TIG-welded 531 frame (of the later sort with oversize down tube, much like those that Graham Weigh did at one time) with carbon fork, in need of a little TLC. Will hopefully put a pic or two up once it's been powder-coated and built up with the parts off the KG241.

EDIT: Frame arrived today, paint not as ropey as I thought but still going for a re-finish. A bargain at just under 80 quid, has all the braze-ons I wanted, and came with a very smooth Stronglight headset and Time Millennium carbon fork - currently chuffed to bits and haven't even built it into a bike yet! Design is quite modern and has head-tube cable adjusters (I use Ergos, so that's another plus) rather than down-tube lever bosses although I'm sceptical that it's 531 as I'm not sure they still did ovalised tubes by the time this frame was probably built. Maybe 631, 853 or something from the Columbus stable instead? Either way, nice & light so I'm not grumbling. :)

David


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