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Steel framed MTBs

Discussion in 'Mountain Biking, Trials and BMX' started by Mr Pig, 26 Jun 2008.

  1. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    I'm going to go and ckeck out a few new bikes, the Rockhopper and Genesis Core but out of left feild comes the Genesis Altitude!

    http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/index.php?bikeID=16&show_bike=TRUE

    Cr-Mo steel frame, looks like a lovely bike and is two Kg 'lighter' than the Rockhopper! Anyone out there got or used a steel frame MTB? I like the sound of a steel frame, seems like a good idea to me, but obviosly I won't be able to thrash a shop's bike down a hillside so opinions welcome :0)
     
  2. ransos

    ransos Legendary Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    I have a steel framed Breezer of 1992 vintage so I doubt longevity is a problem. Steel is considerably stronger than aluminium, but is also heavier. Without wishing to start another debate on the merits of different frame materials, if you use the bike for its intended purpose (e.g. don't jump off cliffs if you're on a light XC bike) I can't see that you'll have any problems.
     
  3. Flying_Monkey

    Flying_Monkey Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere

    If you are going to go steel-framed, you cannot do better than the tried and tested On-one Inbred from Britain's quirkiest MTB company. They are also much cheaper (£160) than the Genesis (not being made from 853, which On-one have tried and don't recommend). Only problem is that they haven't got any in stock right now - call them if I were you.
     
  4. ransos

    ransos Legendary Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    The original Inbreds were made from 853, do you know why they changed? I rather like the look of the Cotic Soul myself, but they are more expensive.
     
  5. Steel is 'stronger' than aluminum but I don't think you can say that steel frames are stronger than aluminum ones which is what might be inferred from your post.
     
  6. ransos

    ransos Legendary Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    True enough - the OP seemed to be under the impression that steel might be too weak, and this definitely not the case.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    I'm sure both types of frame will be more than strong enough, what I was thinking of is the more compliant ride of steel.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    I had a look at the in-bred site but I can't see how it's cheaper, they don't sell standard bikes by the look of things? You're also back to the idea of buying a bike without having ridden it. How are you suposed to know what type of stem, bars etc to order without trying the bike?!
     
  9. ColinJ

    ColinJ Hillfinder General

    I have a Rock Lobster from Merlin Cycles (Leyland Lancs, not the US Merlin!). Its frame is made of 853 steel.

    I bought my MTB in 2001 and it arrived 2 days after the great Foot and Mouth epidemic started so I wasn't able to ride it off-road for many months... :ohmy:

    Merlin Cycles are selling an updated version of my bike and it looks good value - link.

    'Compliant ride of steel'? I'm sure that I might trigger off the old debate again, but as far as I'm concerned my steel Basso isn't any more comfortable than my aluminium Cannondale on the road. I can make the Basso unbearable to ride (on rough Yorkshire roads) by pumping the tyres up too hard. I can make the Cannondale comfortable enough by running lower pressures.

    As for off-road riding on the Rock Lobster... I ride great big 2.3 inch knobbly tyres and choose tyre pressures that are low enough to be comfortable and high enough to make snakebites a rarity even though I'm pretty heavy. I also have nice plush Marzocchi suspension forks and a USE suspension post so comfort isn't an issue for me.

    The amount of 'compliance' you'll get from (suitably set up) tyres and suspension will greatly overshadow that of a frame of any material.

    I don't fancy the catastrophic failure mode of carbon-fibre for off-road use so I wouldn't choose that material. I always fancied titanium but it was more expensive than steel. If you can afford it, why not go for Ti over steel since it has even better properties? Aluminium has to be the best-value option and it is lighter than steel, but I cracked my Al Bianchi road-frame so that rather put me off Al for off-road, even though I'm sure that most people have no problem with it. It'd just be worrying hearing rocks bouncing off the frame tubes on gnarly descents if you didn't trust the material :becool:!

    PS In summary - if I'd had the cash I'd have chosen Ti but I didn't and 853 seemed like a good compromise - I've not regretted it. My MTB is a bit on the heavy side but it is tough and reliable and I've enjoyed riding it.
     
  10. Flying_Monkey

    Flying_Monkey Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere

    The story is on the website somewhere... in the FAQs perhaps. Cotics are lovely - and the Rock Lobsters are great by all accounts. You see a lot of them an XC events.

    Mr Pig - the only things you are going to be able to test ride are readily available commercial and probably aluminium bikes. If you are going to go for a steel hardtail, you pretty much should know what you are looking for already and why you want one. What will be important to you is the geometry and set-up - you can get yourself measured up on a jig in any good bike shop, and if you know what your preferred riding position is, then you can look at the various geometries and set-ups. A good do-it-all basic hardtail MTB frame is going to be highly adjustable anyway - you can change the saddle height, stem lengths, there will be a variety of suspension forks that will be suitable. In short you can make it how you want it - that' why On-one sell the bikes the way that they, and I think Merlin and Cotic do it similarly.

    If you aren't comfortable doing this, or don't understand what I am going on about, you are probably better off sticking with a commercially available steed! ;)
     
  11. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    Location:
    S of Kendal
    Absolutely.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    Thank you again for the good advice.

    I spoke to a guy in the hire shop at Glentress and he rates the Genesis Altitude. He also says they've been using the Tora fork for about a year and a half, they seem bombproof and the Shimano disk brakes on the Altitude are fantastic. All good and I'm looking forward to trying one out at the weekend.

    The Rock Lobster looks great but it's too expensive for me.

    A friend of mine has just bought a Viper frame, knowing him it'll be from Chain Reaction and my bet is that it's a carbon one. What worries me is that the Viper carbon frames are literaly half the price of everyone elses carbon frames! I don't know but if it was me and I was going to ride a carbon frame off road I'd want a good one!!
     
  13. Flying_Monkey

    Flying_Monkey Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere

    Just one word about carbon off-road frames for anything except XC racing: No!
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    Why's that? Maybe he's not bought one, but I bet he has.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    Well that was a waste of a day!

    I was looking for a shop that stocked both the Rockhopper and the Altitude, so that I could try them back to back. I found a shop in Stirling called 'Stuart Wilson Cycles' who had both so I dragged my wife and two of the kids up there today to try them out.

    After chatting to the nice salesman for a while I said 'so can I take the Genesis for a spin then?'. And he said 'No, we don't allow that!'.

    'What??' said a pig. 'That was the whole point of me driving up here'. He said 'You're welcome to ride it round the shop (which isn't that big) but we don't allow people to take bikes outside.

    I said 'Every other bike shop I've ever used is happy to let you try bikes'. I've bought about half-a-dozen bikes out of dales in Glasgow and they let you take the different sizes of bike out to make sure you get the right size. But that was Stuart Wilson's policy, and it cost them a sale.

    I said 'Well, that's it then. There's no way I'm spending six-hundred pounds on a bike I've never even tried'. It was so frustrating. I'd wasted the day trailing up there, stood right next to the bikes I was aiming to buy and learned nothing. It would've been helpful if they'd at least told me over the phone that when they said I could 'try' the bike they meant only inside the shop!

    Pretty pissed off when I got home but I looked up the dealer list again and phoned a shop called Gear Bikes in Glasgow. Their attitude couldn't have been more different. They said 'Yeah, of course you can take the Genesis for a run, we're quite near Kelvin Grove Park, you can have good blast and get a proper feel for it in there'. !!

    Incidentally, my mate has bought a Viper frame which is made of aluminium but has carbon fibre seat stays. Now I'll be honest, I don't see the point of that. You've still got the weight of aluminium but with the vulnerability of carbon on a mountain bike, kind of the worst of both worlds?

    He's done a great job on the build though. Sticking to Deor componants makes it look shop bought and he's made a tidy job of putting it all together, looks great.