Brace yourself. Steel is fast, comfortable, safe, strong…and lighter than you think. Get ready for a bike that will change everything you thought you knew about the joy of cycling. Because it will be a bike built just for you. That means it will be a natural extension of your body. Your best friend. Your loyal supporter who will take you wherever you want to go, no questions asked.
But isn’t carbon lighter, stiffer and faster?
Not always. Steel tube sets are lighter and stronger than ever. The most advanced material we use is an air-hardening steel that actually becomes stronger as it cools after welding. It also resists weakening during welding. That means thinner, lighter tubes can be used without sacrificing strength. Which makes it pretty darned competitive with carbon. A bicycle dealer friend of mine likes to ask customers to lift a nice steel bike to test its weight. He tells some that it’s made of carbon fiber and others that it’s steel. Those who are told it’s carbon respond, “Wow, it’s light!” Those who are told it’s steel say, “Hmm, heavy.” Mind over matter!
How customizable is steel?
In a word: very. We can paint it any color you can imagine. We can customize components and even the frame geometry itself. Steel makes it all easy and relatively inexpensive to tweak. Longer or shorter top tube, slacker seat angle, more drop…you name it. There’s virtually no part of the frame that can’t be changed as easily in production as it can be on the frame drawing.
How durable is steel?
Metallurgically speaking, steel is a tough, ductile material that “tells you what it’s thinking.” It typically dents or bends after impact. By contrast, a carbon fiber bike might not show any evidence of damage in an accident. But if enough stress accumulates, the frame can fail without warning. With steel, you can see the damage that could compromise safety.
How “green” is steel?
Ride magazine recently calculated the cost to the planet of manufacturing bikes. Steel was the least expensive, about half the cost of making a carbon fiber frame. This study took into account the amount of greenhouse gases used to produce the bike from extraction to refinement to production.