New Poll: My primary commuting bike’s frame is?

With all the discussion about steel vs aluminum, let’s find out who rides what. Feel free to leave a comment on why you chose steel/aluminum/carbon fiber/titanium.

Our poll is located on the right sidebar, just scroll down a bit.


27 Comments

  1. Mike February 6, 2008 10:01 am 

    Aluminum. I’d prefer steel and loved it when I had it, but the current iteration of my commuter bike was built up on a frame I got a spanking good deal on at my LBS. Early 90s Cannondale Beast of the East (M800?) Mtn bike frame I picked up for a song after it gathered dust on the LBS wall for years. It’s a bit harsh and twitchy, but it was great for my Medford to Boston commute, and works well on the beat up roads here in So. ME. Running 1.25 kenda kev belt tires at about 80psi, aluminum post, and Brooks B17 saddle–like I said, harsh, but not overly so. The geometry is whack for a road bike–I think C’dale used to market this frame as having one of the highest production BBs around–with a lot of exposed seatpost and extreme drop to the bars on what should be a small frame on me, but a riser stem and steel bars off an english 3sp put the bars just below the saddle, perfect.

    I’ve been riding it for years as the only bike I put real miles on, so maybe I’ve just gotten used to it. Just picked up a steel road bike (ebay deal on a 1990 paramount with OS tubing), so it will be interesting to see how they compare. I’m expecting apples and oranges, but a bike’s a bike and riding one will be more like riding another than, say, snorkling…

  2. Noah February 6, 2008 10:03 am 

    This time of year you’ll find me on a Steel mountain bike regardless of weather. It’s my primary winter commuter. Over the course of the year, most of my commuting miles will go on my Trek 1200, and aluminum entry-level road bike. Aluminum it is.

  3. Greg Raisman February 6, 2008 10:12 am 

    hydroformed aluminum citybike for me.

  4. RL February 6, 2008 10:16 am 

    For my quick commutes, I ride a steel bike, the Redline 925. But if I have to carry any type of load, then I use my Alum bike that has the steel Xtracycle on it…best of both worlds I suppose.

  5. russ roca February 6, 2008 10:19 am 

    4 bikes. All steel. I didn’t go out of my way to buy steel, it just so happened all the bikes I liked were steel.

    My problem with Aluminum (and I know its a silly complaint), is that when you have a bike with big aluminum tubing, they tend to get splattered with all sorts of wacky logos and stripes, so you feel like some silly NASCAR driver.

    Some are worse offenders than others. The Trek Soho actually looks pretty nice, a lot more low-key. I’d rock that in the 8speed version (Soho 4.0), though I wish they would have built it with regular rim brakes. For me it just adds more expensive parts to break (and it hardly rains here in So. Cal).

  6. cafn8 February 6, 2008 10:21 am 

    I can’t say that I don’t like Aluminum bikes. That’s because I’ve never owned one or ridden one enough to really be able to say that. On the other hand, I like my steel frames and don’t necessarily have any reason to replace any of them with anything non-ferrous.

  7. Ghost Rider February 6, 2008 10:27 am 

    7 bikes…only one of which is aluminum, and I haven’t even ridden it yet!

    I’m mostly like Russ…it just so happens that the bikes I like are steel-framed. I didn’t set out to buy steel only; it just worked out that way (probably because at least three of my bikes are 25+ years old, before aluminum became commonplace). I agree that the fat-tubed aluminum bikes out there offer an excuse for companies to splash their graphic vomit upon, and that turns me off.

    I like the way steel rides, but I’m not married to it. There is no “one” material — good bikes can be had in the four major frame “flavors”.

  8. HalibetLector February 6, 2008 10:42 am 

    I have 2 bikes, one steel Raleigh and one aluminum Cannondale. The steel one gets used more for commuting because it’s the more run down of the two and the caltrain has been especially nasty to it (to the tune of two broken deraullers, a broken shifter, a broken brake lever and a ripped saddle in the span of 4 months).

    Generally, I prefer aluminum, despite the harsher ride. The lighter weight makes it feel more responsive.

    Oh, and it’s an older model Cannondale, solid blue with a white letter brand decal on the top tube. No graphic vomit here.

  9. uncompressed February 6, 2008 10:57 am 

    Main commuter is a steel IRO Mark V and it’s like butta. Off-Road is an old aluminum Diomandback that has been pretty bulletproof. And I agree with Russ and Ghost Rider, those graphics are henious. That’s why the MTB has been plastered with stickers like a college dorm from hell over the years.

  10. uncompressed February 6, 2008 10:58 am 

    *make that a Diamondback please. Come on coffee, don’t fail me now!

  11. Quinn February 6, 2008 11:13 am 

    3 bikes, 2 steel, my mountain bikes. I accepted the Aluminium on the road bike because i cant afford a light weght steel rig. and the reputation of the company and bike.

  12. Lance February 6, 2008 11:31 am 

    Steel Redline 925 for the road and an aluminum full suspension SC Heckler for mountain. I love the ride of steel on the the street. Have to say I prefer it to aluminum but definitely wouldn’t scoff at a quality aluminum road bike/frame.

    Ride aluminum off-road mostly cuz there aren’t really any full suspension steel ones. Plus aluminum tends to be cheaper in cost.

  13. dvicci February 6, 2008 11:46 am 

    ’93 steel frame Kona Fire Mountain. It’s seen it’s fair share of trails, but it’s recently been converted to a commuter, and that’s likely where it will stay for a while. I may switch out to a Kona Dr. Dew later this year, but if not, it’s steel all year.

  14. Mike February 6, 2008 1:22 pm 

    Current commuter is an Alum Redline Conquest Pro. Having a custom built by a frame builder in Flagstaff, Coconino Cyles. Nice bikes, all steel built to spec. It will be for commuting and touring, built with a BOB in mind.

  15. Michael February 6, 2008 2:33 pm 

    I have the best of both worlds I guess. I commute using a Montague MX folding bike. The big top tube is aluminum and the rear triangle is steel. With its 1.95 slicks and 60 psi it is a very comfortable ride into work. My road bike I use for club rides is a LeMond Steel bike, very comfortable with over 10,000 miles in 6 years.

  16. Dwainedibbly February 6, 2008 3:20 pm 

    Steel, but only because Ti is so expensive.

  17. Paul February 6, 2008 3:49 pm 

    Steel. Springy and durable.

  18. Mike Myers February 6, 2008 4:56 pm 

    Four bikes total. Two commuters/road bikes, one grocery getter, and an MTB that never gets ridden. Both road bikes are steel, and the other two are aluminum.

    I have a Gunnar Sport and a Surly Pacer. The Gunnar is True Temper OX Platinum and the Surly is 4130 chromoly. The Gunnar is lighter and better built, but they feel pretty similar. Same tires, same pressure, and they soak up road vibration and I DON’T HURT when I stop riding.

    The aluminum grocery bike is good for about 12 miles before my back hurts. Same tires as the steel bikes, relatively similar geometry, and it hurts. My hands go numb, my back cramps up, and I have a bad time.

    Steel, only because titanium is so expensive, and Gunnar and Surly because I can’t justify an Independent Fab or a Waterford.

    I’ve never had a carbon bike, but that’s because I know my steel bikes will last me the rest of my life, and I don’t know if that’s true about carbon. If someone was to give me a carbon fiber Trek Pilot I woudn’t turn it down, however.

  19. Kim February 6, 2008 7:44 pm 

    My new horse in the stable (which has become my commuting-and-everything-else bike) is a steel (4130) Surly Long Haul Trucker. My semi-retired commuter/do everything bike is a Specialized Sirrus (bottom of the model lineup) which is aluminum with a chromoly fork. I love my Surly and can’t wait to get out on it again every time I get home.

  20. james February 6, 2008 8:50 pm 

    A majority of steel riders on the poll. That’s interesting because most bikes in the shop are aluminium and it can be hard to find good steel. My guess is that more enthusiasts ride steel than aluminium, and more enthusiasts go to bike websites. Why would more enthusiasts vote steel? Well, no one has ever claimed that aluminium was a better ride or looking.

    I have two bikes, and both are steel: one on purpose, and one by accident. My first adult bike is a Trek hybrid I use as a winter bike (Toronto, Canada) made of 520 chromoly. It’s heavy but indestructible, and without a shred of elegance.

    My second bike is a 2006 Lemond Croix de Fer: http://2006.lemondbikes.com/2006_bikes/croix_de_fer.shtml
    That’s just about the best steel production-frame I have ever seen. Too bad I cannot afford handmade. I always choose this bike to ride, because it feels perfect. The unfortunate thing is that I do not want to ride at all if I have to choose the hybrid, to avoid winter salt or theft. With some alterations including a $500 Brooks seat, it is unthinkable to leave outside.

    I need to replace the hybrid for a less flashy/expensive version of the Lemond: a Surly Crosscheck in black with the drivetrain switched to fixie or Shimano 8 speed internal. The Surly is steel, of course.

  21. russ roca February 6, 2008 8:52 pm 

    Kim…ha…that’s exactly like my gf situation….she’s been riding a Sirrus for the last year and just ordered a LHT frame that she’s going to build up (after she finishes painting it and decorating it with a custom headbadge she’s making…she makes jewelry so it should come out pretty neat)….

  22. Joel February 7, 2008 7:51 am 

    Wait, they make bikes that aren’t steel? The three I currently have (and one that was stolen) are all steel, but for the most part that was coincidence. I bought the bikes for specific purposes, and they happened to be same frame material.

  23. James February 7, 2008 3:23 pm 

    I have nine bikes total, but only 2 that I commute on. One is a dented old aluminum Cannondale. The other is my steel fixed gear. The latter is the one that sees the most commuting time these days.

  24. Antoine February 7, 2008 5:15 pm 

    Mostly ride my old aluminium mountain bike converted to a commuter with fenders and a rack because that’s what’s hanging in my garage. It was a very harsh ride but has been tamed with 2.0 Schwalbe Marathons. On days I know are going to be fine I take my steel Surly Pugsley. You don’t want 4 inch tyres throwing water up at you!

  25. Tim February 8, 2008 12:43 am 

    Al for me. Need the weight reduction. Plus, TIG’s just look nice.

  26. bigall February 10, 2008 5:17 am 

    I have 4 bikes, 3 al (mtb), and 1 steel surly LHT. I love the LHT and I can see a steel mtb in my future….

Leave a comment

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