Steel frames - blind test

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Steel frames - blind test

Postby misterhorsey » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:08 am

stumbled on this interesting article from 1996, where a bike journo 'blind' tested 7 different bikes constructed from different types of steel tubes to see if there was any noticeable different in ride quality. Same set up, same gear, same geometry.

http://www.habcycles.com/m7.html

I can't say I understand the differences between the different steels being used, but the results are interesting.
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by BNA » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:29 am

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Re: Steel frames - blind test

Postby rkelsen » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:29 am

Been posted before, but it's a great article.

FWIW - the lightest frame tested weighed 1.8kg (frame only) and the heaviest 2.15kg. Fairly narrow range.

I think the results might have been more meaningful if they added a hi-tensile frame (~3.0kg) and a frame with cr-mo main tubes and hi-tensile stays (~2.5kg) into the mix.
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Re: Steel frames - blind test

Postby misterhorsey » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:13 pm

I must confess my personal medium term goal of getting a steel performance roadie has taken a turn towards Confusing having spent the past few weeks doing some ebay vintage steel frame watchin' and learnin'.

My take away from that article was that fit is the most important thing. Which should be bloody obvious!!!
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Re: Steel frames - blind test

Postby rkelsen » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:08 am

While fit is the most important factor, it certainly isn't the only factor.

I'm far from a pro when it comes to this stuff, but I have made some observations over the past few years. Please feel free to take the advice below with a grain of salt, and note that none of these "rules" are hard & fast. They certainly wouldn't apply to touring or MTB frames, so please read this entire post in the context of a steel road racing frame only.

If you're looking for steel road frame on ebay, there are a few things to look for:

- Forged dropouts - Avoid stamped ones. You can easily spot these,
- Bent tubes/fork - Look for bends/kinks near the head tube,
- Geometry - tighter clearances between the tyre & frame can indicate better quality. If it looks like you could fit your fist between the seat tube and the rear tyre, then it's probably a cheap/low quality frame. A thumb's width would be more acceptable (a good "rule of thumb!" :lol: ).

If the seller doesn't provide enough photos to enable you to take in these details, then ignore it and move onto the next one. Also, ignore anything from interstate/overseas. There are millions of bikes around. I guarantee that you will find something you like within 15km of your house.

For some pictures of desirable frames, or frames which have the attributes you should watch for, you can look at websites like Fyxomatosis.

Most importantly: Don't rush it, and have fun learning. :)
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Re: Steel frames - blind test

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:58 am

rkelsen wrote:Also, ignore anything from interstate/overseas. There are millions of bikes around. I guarantee that you will find something you like within 15km of your house.

Sorry, but many of the most desirable classic steel bikes were never sold in Australia. My NOS Chesini, extremely rare here, is 30 years old and never built. It came to me from Switzerland. There was certainly nothing of interest to me within 15km of my home.

Whilst care is always necessary when buying on eBay, if you pay with Paypal there is recourse if the goods are not delivered or not as described.

It pays to have a look for NOS frames - there are quite a few around, and at quite reasonable prices compared to the cost of a new contemporary steel frame - but do your homework carefully, there could be fakes too.

Oh and a tip - use the free service of searchdome.com to set up a daily ebay search for items of interest - and wait for the right item to turn up. I have a number running looking for NOS components to build my Chesini. And use auctionsniper.com to ensure you are not outbid.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
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Re: Steel frames - blind test

Postby rkelsen » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:40 am

RonK wrote:Sorry, but many of the most desirable classic steel bikes were never sold in Australia. My NOS Chesini, extremely rare here, is 30 years old and never built. It came to me from Switzerland. There was certainly nothing of interest to me within 15km of my home.

Uhh... that comment was targeted at the OP, who has listed his location as Northcote. A 15km radius from Northcote covers a large chunk of Melbourne.

There are many rare, classic and desirable frames for sale within 15km of the OP's front door, including NOS and stuff that was never sold here.

But the OP didn't mention that he was looking for something rare. He merely said he was looking for a steel racing frame. Given that he is searching for something on ebay, I gather that the emphasis is on good and usable rather than a rare and classic museum piece.
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