Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 42 total)
  • Hardcore Hardtail – Steel or Ally?
  • doomanic
    Full Member

    I’m toying with the idea if blowing this year’s C2W voucher on a HCHT build to use over the winter so I don’t destroy my KSL in the FoD slop.

    I fancy a Ragley, either a Blue Pig or am Mmmbop. I think the only difference is the frame material and the weight so which would you choose and why?

    I’m also thinking about running it as a mullet (because that’s what wheels I have available). I can reduce the travel in my Smashpot Lyrics to get the geo right, can anyone see a fatal flaw in this plan that I’ve missed?

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Steel out of those choices, a bit heavier but more special and with a bit more comfort than alloy.

    seadog101
    Full Member

    Steel, always. Yes there’s a weight penalty, but not that much to worry about.
    Steel just feels right for a HCHT.

    spaniardclimber
    Free Member

    I can feel a big difference between my steel and alloy bmx (I ride them at at 100psi), but on a 29” mtb with high volume tyres, tubeless etc I don’t think you’ll notice much difference.
    I’d go with steel anyway 🙂

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    There’s a lovely Clockwork EVO in the classifieds… 😉

    Singletrack Reader Awards - Most Desirable Mountain Bike: Atherton AM 150

    Singletrack Reader Awards - Most De...
    Singletrack Video Archive: Singletrack Reader Awards - Most Desirable Mountain Bike: Atherton AM 150
    doomanic
    Full Member

    That is indeed lovely but it’s the wrong size and I suspect you don’t accept C2W vouchers…

    a11y
    Full Member

    Until recently I’d have said steel every time, but I bought a alu Norco HT with 150mm fork 6 months ago and quite enjoying the (slightly) lighter bike. Can’t say I notice any loss in comfort compared to my previous steel Genesis HT which was heavier than my trail FSer.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    The actual bike is as important as the material tbh- there are stiffer steel frames and there are some surprisingly compliant alu frames. Generally speaking, a frame has to be both steel AND light to really do the “steel feel” thing that people want- because it largely comes from thinner tubes.

    As for alu, that comes down to the exact material and the frame design. Like, I had an On One Scandal- the original one I think- which was very compliant, and tbf if you rode it and an inbred back to back in a blind test, I reckon 100% of all riders would get it the wrong way round

    luket
    Full Member

    I was skeptical as to whether steel would have any benefit in terms of feel once you get to the tyres and forks associated with a “hardcore hardtail”. I still am TBH, but my (steel) Moxie I really do like very much and unscientifically I do think I’m getting that steel feel I got once upon a time with my Soul 26.

    That said, I’ve also ridden other steel frames that felt very leaden. So I guess I think there’s still something in it but only some frames deliver on the promise.

    mrdestructo
    Full Member

    I had an Identiti DJ/Street frame I built up, way back. 24″ wheels, 3 piece crankset. It rode like a pig. Cromo, with adjustable dropouts. I certainly wouldn’t claim steel/cromo over alu with that experience.

    Design is everything, and then if they did the same frame in various materials to check.

    reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    Having a 29″ wheel out back will add more comfort and grip than going steel or alu in my experience.

    I’d go steel regardless for a HCHT anyway.

    hijodeputa
    Full Member

    Agree with all the above, frame design and tyre choice have as much/more influence than the material.

    Hardtail Party on YouTube has done this comparison a few times, think he did the big Al v Blue pig. Really good channel for all things Hardtail, unsurprisingly….

    joebristol
    Full Member

    I don’t think it makes much difference these days with cen testing. Steel frames aren’t the light whippy things they were in the past. I reckon the only way to get that is with a custom frame from the likes of Curtis with 853 main tubes.

    I’ve got a steel hardtail now and it’s more comfy than the alloy Vitus Sentier I had before it – mines Marino and loosely based on the Sentier geo with a few tweaks. It is more comfy on longer rides but it has 2.6” tyres and the Vitus has a 2.3” one in the back. So it’s not like for like.

    Just for the look I’d probably go steel for a hardcore hardtail. If off the shelf I’d probably be looking at a Bird forge or a Pipedream Moxie. Not sure about Pipedream but Bird take cycle to work.

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    I don’t think it makes much difference these days with cen testing.

    I’m not sure about that. BITD when CEN hit, most HTs suddenly turned into heavy, stiff, pigs almost overnight. Seemed like for a while all that happened was more material was put into frames.

    I think most manufacturers have better learned to accommodate CEN requirements these days – there’s alot more design and modified tube profiles around now. But we’ve also grown more used to heavier frames than the old 26 stuff now that most are larger for 27.5 and 29ers.

    Agree that tyre dimensions and design are bigger factors than frame material.

    Didn’t stop me speccing Ti for mine, but that was just the icing on the cake.

    singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    Running a full 29er rather than a mixed size will give you a smoother ride than any choice in frame material on a hardtail.

    nedrapier
    Full Member

    Agree with all the above, frame design and tyre choice have as much/more influence than the material.

    And how you feel about the bike. If you like it, believe in it, think it looks dead good, then you’ll ride better on it.

    If how you feel about the bike is based on “facts” that aren’t necessarily true, who cares? 😀

    IHN
    Full Member

    Having just bought a similar steel ‘hardcore’ (although it’s a shame I’m not) hardtail to the ones you’re looking at (a Sonder Signal ST), I’d go ally. It’s a great bike, but there’s no denying that it’s a bit of a lump. Losing a pound off the frame would be a very good thing, and even as a committed Steel is Real chap as myself, in these days of massive tyres/bars/wheels etc I think it, really, makes chuff all difference in terms of ‘feel’.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    To wade into the “steel feel” debate, my view is that steel offers two characteristics that riders tend to value.

    1. Compliance / flex.
    2. Damping

    As some have suggested, I think the first is marginal these days as steel frames have got stronger to cope with modern riding and components.

    But the vibration damping is generally still “a thing” in my experience. Some alu frames can be pretty good at it too, I’ve had a couple myself, but it’s much more of a given with steel frames.

    Anyway, back to the OP – I reckon you should get a short travel FS instead 😀

    kiwijohn
    Full Member

    I’ve been pondering the new Banshee Enigma as a home for all my spare parts.
    Normally I’d go steel or Ti if I could afford it.
    But the Enigma is gorgeous.

    dc1988
    Full Member

    I think skinny steel tubes always look better than big hydroformed alloy things, and looks are always the most important thing

    tall_martin
    Full Member

    I went from a alloy cove stiffee to a steel hello Dave via an alloy orange clockwork 120.

    The bikes made a load more difference than the material.

    I suggest you Get the bike you like the look of if everything else will be the same. They will be both be great.

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    The only difference I’ve noticed with hardcore hardtails is that steel is heavier and more expensive.

    Can still be a good choice for road bikes or lightweight XC type things tho.

    ymmv

    IHN
    Full Member

    my view is that steel offers two characteristics that riders tend to value.

    1. Compliance / flex.
    2. Damping

    Value? Yes.

    Can actually, really, honestly, discern any difference? Arguable.

    (and said as an admitted steel fanboi)

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    The best feeling steel frames are less harsh than any alloy frames (I’ve been very impressed with my Moxie) but with steel being much stiffer than aluminium alloys it’s certainly possible for a steel frame to end up stiffer and harsher riding than an alloy frame.

    Having gone from 26″ to 27.5″ to 29″ with my last three hardtails, whilst going steel, alloy, steel. The slightly bigger wheels on the alloy 27.5″ seemed to compensate for the stiffer alloy frame (Zero AM vs Soul). The 29″ wheels AND steel frame on the Moxie make a big difference.

    So if you’re tall enough for a 29″ rear wheel (you don’t need to be as tall as on a 29″ full-sus because the wheel stays where it is and doesn’t try to bite you) then I’d go full 29″ first and steel second with any hardtail purchase. Only exception is if you’re wanting something that can also do pump tracks, dirt jumps, flow trails better at the expense of speed everywhere else, then mullet or full 27.5″ would make sense.

    kayak23
    Full Member

    I wouldn’t have anything but steel for a hardtail personally*.
    Always felt like there is a difference despite the naysayers.

    *Except my aluminum fatbike.

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    The best feeling steel frames are less harsh than any alloy frames

    Yeah, but the worst feeling steel frames are worse than most alloy ones!
    I’ve just been riding my Pinnacle Iroko (£120 alu bargain!) mulleted with 130mm Pikes and it feels blimmin great.

    funkybaj
    Free Member

    Agree with all the comments relating to the actual frame quality and geo being most important.

    Have been riding a steel Orange P7 29 for the last four years. It’s great but it’s not dynamic or light.

    I’ve just pulled the trigger on an alloy Chameleon frame to swap parts over. Will certainly be lighter and by all accounts it’s a “good” alloy frame.

    honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    HardtailParty on youtube has reviewd the Ragleys in both steel and alu and has lots of interesting thoughts, I think the gap between steel and aluminium is narrower than a lot of people think

    Ben_Haworth
    Full Member

    I don’t think there’ll be any significant difference in ride feel (tight triangles, big volume tyres etc) so just get the one that you like the aesthetic of the most!

    intheborders
    Free Member

    can anyone see a fatal flaw in this plan that I’ve missed?

    You’ll ride it once and then remember why you ride an eBike?

    doomanic
    Full Member

    That’s a fair point, but I’ve gone from FF to SL in the last year and like the SL far more. I’m hoping that a HCHT will do more than just protect my KSL from the worst that the FoD winter can throw at it.

    I commute on a 2011 Spesh Camber, but to make it gnar would need so much money chucking at it that I’d rather start again with something more suitable and sell it.

    On another note, I’m seeing that reach figures on even HCHTs are shorter than my KSL which is making size selection difficult. Is this a “thing” with HTs in general? Do I buy the medium with less reach than my S3 (medium) KSL as it’s the right size according to the size charts or do I buy a large to get the same reach?

    funkrodent
    Full Member

    I’d agree with the majority view on here, re frame design, build quality and geometry being way more important for ride quality and feel than material.

    I’ve recently built up a Banshee Paradox V3. Took it to Antur Stiniog and Coed y Brenin a couple of weeks ago. The ride quality was excellent, with vibration damping the equal of my Production Privee Shan GT (from which came the parts, so couldn’t run them side by side which was a shame), which is an excellent steel hardtail frame (just a bit small for me at 6’4″ with a long torso)

    I’d definitely say that the weight benefit of the aluminium v steel is a real bonus. Difference with a reasonabky high end steel frame is somewhere between 500 & 800 grams. More so with a more basic steel.

    I’d thoroughly recommend hardtail party on youtube too. Really knows his stuff and id say is qualified to comment based on his riding prowess. He runs a really good comparison between the Ragley Big Wig (steel) and Big Al 29er hardtails, which are essentially identical other than frame materials. Big Al for the win (to his evident surprise). And not just cause it’s lighter, he actually feels that it rides better than its steel brethren.

    I’d have bought the Big Al based on that if I hadn’t got a deal on a mint used Paradox..

    funkrodent
    Full Member

    I’ve been pondering the new Banshee Enigma as a home for all my spare parts.
    Normally I’d go steel or Ti if I could afford it.
    But the Enigma is gorgeous.

    Just built up a Paradox V3 and smashed it around the reds (and one black, GULP) at Antur Stiniog and Coed-y-Brenin. Was only marginally slower on it than on my FS. Should add that the reds at Antur are more akin to blacks at most other trail centres.

    If the Enigma is anything like the Paradox I’d say buy it!

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Big Al for the win (to his evident surprise). And not just cause it’s lighter, he actually feels that it rides better than its steel brethren.

    To be fair, it’s not a case of just saying that big Al was better. He did say that the bigwig was more of a crusher at speed, just at the big how was a moor all round bike for his riding tastes.

    the00
    Free Member

    For me it would definitely be aluminum.

    I was a fan of the original Inbred, but every steel hardtail I have had since, including a newer inbred and a SolarisMax, has been a disappointment.

    I much preferred my v2 Scandal and BC Podsal

    The steel bikes began to feel like leaden lumps. They looked nice, but it wasn’t matched by the ride feel. The aluminum frames actually felt more forgiving and lighter. I don’t know if it was CEN standards that ruined steel frames, or I was unlucky.

    b33k34
    Full Member

    I fancy a Ragley, either a Blue Pig or am Mmmbop.

    I hovered between steel and ally when I ended up with a BigAl. The aluminium was a few hundred £ cheaper and over 800g lighter. That’s significant difference in weight on a hardtail, and putting what you save on the frame into a better set of wheels (or fork) is likely to make more difference to the ride than the frame material.

    nickc
    Full Member

    I’ve had both a SC Chameleon and a PP Shan and the least interesting thing about either of them was what they were made from.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    “You’ll ride it once and then remember why you ride an eBike?”

    I haven’t ridden my Levo for proper MTBing (just fun commuting) since I got my Pipedream Moxie in the spring (and it’s built up as a singlespeed). That fun was interrupted by a bad crash a month ago but I’m finally on two wheels again and itching to get back on the hardtail (just need my wrist to feel a bit more normal).

    The Banshee hardtails look fantastic and if the geometry had suited my extreme level of fussiness I’d probably have got one instead of the Moxie. They’re pretty special compared to other alloy hardtails with those cunning vibration reducing sections between the stays, front triangle and rear dropouts.

    zerocool
    Full Member

    Either material is good if done well. The old on One 456s felt dead whereas the Kona Honzo ESD feels nice and a Curtis level HT feels sublime.

    Tyres and suspension tend to make more difference.

    I think slack hardtails still ride well with slightly shorter reach than a FS. Mine is 440mm (I think I’d prefer about 455mm) whereas I like a FS/ebike to be between 480 and 505mm. I’m 5’11 or 181cm).

    As said above Hardtail Party does a good comparison of the 2 Ragley bikes.

    One of the main things to think about with a HCHT or rowdy bike is getting the shortest seat tube you can and the longest dropper. Mine ST is 425mm and the dropper is 200mm and it makes so much difference to the 125mm dropper it came with.

    funkmasterp
    Full Member

    Steel just feels right for a HCHT.

    HCHT has to be steel. Real innit

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 42 total)

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