It wasn’t long ago that this question wouldn’t have been asked, as there was only steel. All race bikes, touring bikes, mountain bikes, and cruisers were steel. From the ranks of the pro peloton to the city streets of Amsterdam - bikes were made of steel.
But in the 80s and 90s, things began to change. With the emergence of new materials, such as aluminum and carbon fiber, the focus on what made a great race bike changed. Weight. The storied builders of pro level steel race bikes were often cast in a mythological light - wielding torches and casting spells on metals. Tales of bicycle nirvana only achievable through select craftsmen were replaced with weight figures.
It’s much easier to compare weight than it is to compare how a bicycle feels.
For nearly 3 decades, weight has been the deciding factor in comparing road bikes. And somehow the allure, the emotion, the soul of a bicycle has oft been forgotten. We’ve got nothing against light bikes, and we’re sure not fans of boat anchors, but there is more to the story than grams.
The way a bicycle rides is so much more than the low hanging fruit comparison provided by the gram scale. And yet, despite steel falling out of favor for a time, the development of the material has not ceased. Modern steel tubing is better than ever, and comes in a larger variety of alloys, sizes, and butting profiles. You’ve heard your experienced cycling friends tell you about how smoothly steel rides, but they’re probably not telling you that it can also be very stiff and snappy.
Don’t forget, this material was used to build race bikes for the fastest cyclists on earth. Steel bikes can still make it up the toughest climbs, they can descend the worst chip seal roads, and they can do so with a smoothness that’s difficult for any other material to match. For a time, steel was relegated to soft riding bikes because it was thought to be what the market wanted and expected from that material. But steel doesn’t have to be that, in fact, it’s one of the stiffest metals to make a bike out of. It’s why steel frames use smaller diameter tubes, so they aren’t too stiff.
The Phantom, our steel road bike, is a rocket in metal guise. A bike best suited to fast road riding over a large variety of surfaces - it’s nimble and quick to accelerate yet eerily smooth. It’ll get you where you’re going quickly without compromise and without complaint from rider or machine.
We choose to work with steel because it’s a brilliant starting point for a road bike that has very few compromises when actually out riding it. Because that’s what you want to do with your bike, right?
But don’t take our word for it, check out the reviews from real riders. Most folks getting on our Phantom are either converts to steel or are coming back around to the soul of bicycles from a time away from metal. You can read what our riders have to say here.
But a quote from one of our customers, Patrick in Quebec, probably sums it up best.
“It is super comfy. But standing and accelerating is Insane!!!
And it’s just as light as my previous bike (or close to it)
The weight and acceleration really blew me away. I would totally race it.”