If you don't love bicycles made from steel, then maybe Sonnet rides are not for you… and we're fine with that… it's kind of like the equivalent of listening to vinyl vs streaming mp3s. However, without trying to convert anyone, these are the reasons why we love steel over carbon…
MATERIAL AND TECHNOLOGY
The advancement in manufacturing technology that led to the carbon frame's arrival in the mainstream has also benefited steel, primarily in the form of thinner-wall tubing that provides not only more tensile strength, but also lighter weight. So steel has never been stronger, lighter and more durable than it is today.
Our master frame builders have been working with steel for 35+ years, specialising in road and track frames. Our current framesets are engineered in top-of-the-range Columbus Niobium steel, a tubeset normally reserved for competition, where lightness and high reliability are key.
A 56cm Sonnet frame and fork weighs in at just 2.47kg. The lightest carbon framesets (costing many thousands) weigh around 0.9kg. The difference is just 1.57kg. However, this seemingly significant weight difference completely loses significance as soon as you add the weight of the rider.
Carbon frames do not come close to providing the phenomenal, lively ride that only steel can deliver – feeling the road, whilst soaking up road buzz to protect riders' arms.
A steel frame and fork maintains its integrity much longer than a carbon equivalent. Failures are rare, grow to total failure gradually, and are visible on the surface. Failures in carbon bikes often develop between the layers, where they're undetectable until the tube breaks. Plus, in response to trauma, steel doesn't snap like carbon does, it bends and dents and can be repaired.
Frame builders have been working with steel for over a century and one of the most popular reasons is the material’s durability. You still see bikes built 60+ years ago, cruising the streets today, proving steel's worth as a 'lifetime' material. Frames can easily be protected from rust by professionally applied layers of wet paint and lacquer, but also by using rust inhibiting sprays on the insides of frames (such as cavity wax), which we apply prior to all our bike builds.
Timeless looks, individuality and minimal decals vs mass production and loud branding.