Some of the best bikes are those that have a few years on them. People really seem to love steel road bikes, and for good reasons too!
Beyond the obvious collectors items, what reasons are there to ride a steel bike?
Custom fit is not a term thrown around the bicycling industry these days as most bikes will not be made custom fit. A custom-made steel bike is designed and built exactly to the rider’s height, weight, inseam and torso specifications, which will not only deliver a far better fit, but significantly better handling, compliance and ride quality. These are much easier to come by then a carbon, aluminum, or even titanium custom.
Steel has a timeless style. Yes, carbon fiber looks cool, but its look has not stood the test of time like a custom-built steel frame. Hand-carved stainless steel lugs, fillet brazed tubing, and subtle accents provide far more personalization than a mass-produced carbon frame can ever wish to offer. It’s like comparing a nice suit you buy at Brooks Brothers to a suit that was made with raw fabric, by hand, in painstaking detail and care, by a master tailor.
People like to exaggerate the weight differences between steel and other frame materials. The lightest steel frame you’ll probably find comes in at three pounds, but spec the bike the same, and you’re only talking a one pound difference over a carbon frame. Is that one pound weight penalty really a deal breaker? Are you that much of a weight weenie?
Durability is also a major factor in the popularity of steel bikes. Frame builders have been working with steel for over a century for many reasons, but one of the most popular reasons is because of the material’s durability.