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Sept. 22, 2022, 8:23 a.m. -  Mike Ferrentino

I'll tilt at that windmill any day. I love steel bikes, but it's a total myth that they are somehow stronger or superior to bikes made from other materials, especially with regard to longevity. Steel has some properties that lend themselves very well to bicycles - relatively light, relatively capable of flex and stress absorption, easy to work with, easy to repair. But it's also prone to corrosion, and in order to be strong enough to withstand really big forces you need to use a lot of it, and that ends up making it a really heavy choice for what we would call modern mountain biking. But to your point - absolutely on board with the notion that the Rock Lobster was a sweet bike, and definitely a better choice at the time than the Kestrel that the customer was leaning toward. But there was a Fisher Supercaliber OCLV in the shop too. I raced one of those for a few years, then handed it to someone else. That guy drilled a hole in the seat tube for one of those fancy plate-mount XTR derailleurs, and at some point I think he even ran a dual crown fork on it. To the best of my knowledge the damn thing is still alive and kicking. Carbon fiber is a dominant frame material these days because it can be made to outperform just about any other frame material in whatever area you choose to measure that performance. And short of the kind of catastrophic failures that would also have wadded that Rock Lobster up in nothing flat, there's no real reason to believe a carbon frame wouldn't last just as long as a steel one. You are right to be suspicious of the year, because there was a LOT of shitty stuff being built back then, but that was also the beginning of when some people were starting to get it right.

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