Friday, February 4, 2011

Hard and Sexy: Steel

Co-Motion Nor'Wester

Well would you look at that. I walked into Webcyclery yesterday and this leather-saddled steed made me say, "daang." I can identify a sexy piece of steel when I see one and this...this is a sexy piece of Reynolds 725 steel. If you go to Co-Motion's website, you can see some close-up shots of the frame. It is very impressive. As Ed of Webcyclery pointed out, their welds are so smooth, the frame looks like it was molded from a single piece of steel. 

Here's the deal with steel. Reynolds is probably the most popular steel manufacturer. They're like the Kleenex of steel. Hopefully they aren't trying to break into the tissue market, though. My bike, the Raleigh Sojourn, is made from Reynolds 520 steel. It's nice, kind of industry standard. Reynolds 531 is very similar to 520, for those of you who are familiar with that particular chromoly (chrome-molybdenum) grade . Both these grades, which are nice as far as steel is concerned, but at the bottom of the barrel in terms of Reynolds steel, are very elastic. This means they have some give or stretch, if you will. When you ride on a frame made from one of these two materials you have a very smooooth ride. Cadillac-ish, but without the dubs and hydraulics and under-dressed women. Reynolds 725 is heat tempered chromoly, which makes it stronger. It is resistant to oxidation and very light weight. It's not quite stainless steel, but it is very high-end. It is desirable for bicycles because it is a little bit stiffer which yields a little more performance for the rider. Because the material is lighter and stronger, it makes for a great choice for a touring bike. It will carry everything just fine. Your bike will practically pedal itself with this frame. (Reynolds is now making a 953 stainless for bicycle frames... Maybe I will post a steel-frame bike review in a couple of months and highlight some high-end steel frames.)

Every bike that Co-Motion  builds is hand-crafted in Eugene, Oregon. The frames that they are producing are very nice looking and that's just the foundation. Everything from wheels to drive-train to brakes are meticulously selected to build the best possible bicycle for your needs. In a world filled with so much carbon, there is nothing like cold, hard steel.

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