FGR #13 Wrap

OK, we asked what your everyday ride was made from and here were the answers:

25 Responses

9 Steel
7 Carbon
5 Aluminum
4 Titanium

As many of you pointed out, it’s all about conditions and distances. Some live where the weather is sunny and roads are smooth. Others of us (like me) live where the weather is a cruel joke and the roads are more suitable for adventure racing than transportation.

It’s hard to know how scientific we’ve been. In general, if you named an aluminum bike with carbon stays, I counted it as aluminum. If you said you train on steel, but race on carbon, I counted you as a steel. Remember, we were looking for your everyday ride.

So from the thousands of readers who stop by RKP everyday, if we extrapolate out from our small sample, a little over a third are either still riding steel bikes from back when that was the best a (wo)man could get, or have stayed true to their steel feelings. In my case, it’s both. A new-ish Surly Cross Check and a vintage Moser 51.151.

After steel came carbon, though there seemed to be some overlap with the aluminum people. You all seem to like it stiff and fast, and really, given the right conditions, who doesn’t?

I’m not even sure what to say about the titanium crew, not because I have strong positive or negative feelings about titanium. My wedding ring is made of the stuff. Titanium obviously affords its own advantages, chiefly lightness, but also stiffness and repairability.

If you’re like me, you’re loyal to the bikes you’ve got, but always, always, always curious about what other people are riding. Is it better? Is it worse? Are they faster because they’re bike is lighter, or are they faster because they train properly? No. It must be the bike.

, , , ,


  1. Jim

    >>>Are they faster because they’re bike is lighter, or are they faster because they train properly? No. It must be the bike.

    LOL. So what you’re saying is, 9 of us prefer steel crutches, 7 prefer carbon crutches, 5 prefer aluminum, 4 prefer titanium, and some of us will use a blend of these materials to come up with an optimal rationalization for our poor performance that is both laterally stiff, and vertically compliant.

  2. soul_cramp

    I forgot to mention my Cross-Check. I love that bike even though its not my daily road ride I know I can count on it to do just about anything from a ride on rough roads, maybe some single track, hauling ass on fire roads or a late night beer run. Great, tough, do anything bike.

    1. Padraig

      SinglespeedJarv: If you go with a 953 bike you will likely save some money and it will also likely be pretty light for a steel frame. That said, a ti frame is truly for a lifetime. The indestructo aspect can’t be overvalued.

      If I could get carbon stiffness with only a 25% weight penalty with ti, I’d never ride carbon again.

  3. BillK

    RE: “Bike to Last a Lifetime”
    The bikes I’ve had break under me:
    1 carbon
    2 aluminum
    3 titanium
    4 steel
    Seems to me, if you ride it enough, it will eventually break.

    1. Padraig

      BillK: Indict the builder, not the material. I’ve got 50k miles on a Seven Cycles Axiom and all it needs are new decals (second set); back in the early to mid-’90s I saw a lot of Litespeeds break, I’m sorry to say. With the logic you suggest, we’d be afraid that every car on the market was prone to sudden, unintended acceleration, not just Toyotas.

  4. Souleur

    BillK, Perhaps all those are frames you’ve toasted. I am not doubting it. Here are some things I have observed over my +20yrs saddle time.

    -Not all makers are equal
    -Not all materials that appear equal, are equal.
    -even the best makers can have an off day
    -Marketing can sell darn near anything
    -Given a strong bombproof frame, there is always a gorilla-cut PRO out there that can splinter the BB at will, I have seen it…
    -I am none of the above

  5. Michael

    Sorry I missed the survey. My everyday road bike is made of steel (with steel forks). I’ve been riding it (a Serotta Nova Special – Columbus SL) for 25 years.

  6. lalahsghost

    Champagne Taste with a Beer Budget is completely bass-ackwards these days. When you can get a carbon frameset for 2/3rds of the price of a nice steel (lugged?) one, which do you choose? Do you go for the lightweight carbon, or the enjoyable, everlasting qualities of steel?

    My decision has one stipulation that ranks higher than all others: Fit.

    If you fit to your bike in a way that you are comfortable, which may or may not be the most race worthy/aero position, there is a chance that any inequalities can be overcome with the benefits of endurance and confidence.

    After having lunch on a Saturday double metric, then hopping back on the bike to ride the rest of the way home, does your bike give you pain, or are you still feeling pleasant (albeit some possible kinks here and there with age) making those last 15k?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *