Steel hardtail?

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Steel hardtail?

Postby Jean » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:38 pm

Hi,

Ok, I've had my intro aluminium MTB hardtail for a bit over 12 months now. Having just cracked the frame and sent it off for warranty it's been time to take stock of my MTB future. A dualie beckons but a quick look at the likely budget is not encouraging. N+1 was much simpler when I didn't have kids :| .

If the budget is going to keep me on a hardtail it seems worth making the swap to steel or possibly, at a stretch, Ti. Going to a 29er is a possibility, but a wheel set just ads to the expense.

There's oodles of off the peg steel MTB frames out there (On One, Pace, Salsa, Voodoo, Sanderson, etc etc) and matching one to a nice-ish fork and build kit has it attractions.

Anyone got (or had) a modern steel MTB frame? How you find it?

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by BNA » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:48 pm

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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby toolonglegs » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:48 pm

Love it..its cheap,rides really well,is a bit heavy (12-13kg but has free ride wheels which weigh a lot).Full length cables outers only...good for the slush around here.Handles the techie stuff ok,not as fast as a dualie over the rough stuff but I am not a dualie fan.Next bike will be a steel 29 single speed...maybe the same make.
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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby idw » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:19 am

im still not sold on modern steel frames. too heavy for the xc around me dont feel as right to jump or hop anything, i'd say breaking your aloy frame was a fluke or just a faulty frame.

the only thing i've fpuind steel mtb frames good for are monster trike's who needs a recumbent with 20" wheels when you can have 26" full suspetion:P
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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby Jean » Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:17 am

The aluminium frame went at the junction of the top & seat tubes. No particular fault I think, but it was a smidgen small and I've had to run a long seat post with plenty of set back, which put too much stress on the weld join. I've requested the next size up for the replacement.

I'm interested in steel because it should ride more gently than aluminium and after the back ache I've been suffering since the Scott 24hr that is appealing. I'm not much of a jumper and a few hundred grams extra to drag up the hill is not going to bother me. My current bike is no light weight either.

Thanks TLL, the On One 456 is a hot contender. The price is eye catching and plenty of UK riders seem very happy with them.
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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby trailgumby » Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:19 pm

I really liked the Spot Rocker I reviewed recently (see mtb news page on this site), although I'm not really sold (yet) on the single-speed.

If you're looking for a long term buy-and-hold, then I'd go 29er. I reckon there'll be a significant shift in that direction over the next few years... it has already started. Besides wheels, you'd need a fork to go with the frame.

For Ti, take a look at Van Nicholas.
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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:10 pm

Alloy frames are crap...sweeping statement,but they can't make an XC frame that can hold me...but then I have snapped two steel fames as well.
I agree that steel frames are too heavy for a proper XC racer...but so is pretty much alloy these days.
Mine is strictly a frame I needed to put all my bits on after yet another alloy frame broke and it is only for playing...I only raced it once I think in a 3 hour climb fest...and as I don't really climb it wasn't an issue :lol: .
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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby Uncle Grumpy » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:12 pm

Not really much utility in saying "steel" when it covers a range of bikes from the high tensile steel clunkers you get in department stores, through 4130 chromo and then on to the high end stuff that makes real bike lovers drool. I figure if you're talking about Voodoo et al you're looking at the higher end.

I love a good steel frame, even MTB. Something about it. Steel is real, as they say.

Look for something in a Reynolds 853, Dedaccai, or a True Temper Ox. As well as the brands you've mentioned, keep an eye out at KHS, Jamis, Kona, and Rocky Mountain. You might pick up a second hand steel frame made by those guys. The Jamis Dragon was a beautiful steel frame, not sure if they still make them and I couldn't be bothered looking them up.

Here's how much I love steel. A couple of years back I was looking at a Jamis Dragon in my local bike emporium and I said "man, I'd love a nice steel frame like that" and the shop guy said "dude, you have a ti hardtail already". Ummm, yeah.... I kind of got all misty eyed about the steel frame and forgot about my ti weapon.

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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby MountGower » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:33 pm

There's a couple of things in this thread that don't add up for me.

You say that a dually beckons, but it's not affordable at the moment, yet you are willing to put it further in to the future by spending money on a hard tail when you are about to recieve a free one.

I can't understand that. If you have a replacement frame coming, why waste your dually money on a new hard tail? Your replacement frame isn't going to cost you a cent and allows you to continue saving towards the bike you want.
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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby Jean » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:31 am

MountGower wrote:You say that a dually beckons, but it's not affordable at the moment, yet you are willing to put it further in to the future by spending money on a hard tail when you are about to recieve a free one.


My warranty frame should be here in the next day or two and will no doubt be out on the trails by next week. Who knows, I might like the larger frame so much all this thinking will go in the bin.

Dualies are expensive, no getting round that. I don't have the cash for one and given competing demands elsewhere am not likely to any time in the next few years. I can, however, get enough together to change over to a steel hardtail frame which might be worthwhile sometime in 2011 given their supposed riding qualities. My 40-year-old body is doing ok, but bashing it around on an aluminium bike does have a down side. I'm stuck with a hardtail for the foreseeable future so I may as well look into making it as pleasant as possible.

High end steel MTB frames can be had for around $700-$800 (eg. Pace RC104 in Reynolds 853 from CRC). If I go for something more modest, like an On One 456 or Ragley mmmBop, I can get the frame and a good mid-level fork for the same sort of money. I already have a 26" wheel build in the works and can swap over my SLX running gear, so for a about a third of the price it would cost to even start looking at dualies I can get myself on what will likely be a fun, lively bike that's a bit kinder on the body and will placate my upgraditis (which I have to honest I have - stop gaps and first bikes lose their lustre. It doesn't have to make sense, as this forum is testimony to). Ti is a very outside chance, as is 29er.

So I was just trying to gauge experiences with steel MTBs as my steel days were on the road and many years ago.
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Re: Steel hardtail?

Postby MattyP » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:25 am

I have a 2007 Jamis Dragon Comp. I don't race & it does what I need it to do (weekend warrior riding mainly at the You Yangs here in Vic).

It could be lighter, but then so could I. :mrgreen: In saying that I'll be looking at changing the forks & wheels in future.

Just put SLX shifting goodness on it.

As long as my back copes I'll stick with it, then I'll go full suspension.

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