'Steel' on the road after all these years!

Dennis Bushnell holding a Raleigh 'funny bike' he's just finished building

Dennis in 1984
Looking funny, holding an Olympic funny bike

As you may or may not know, our former head frame builder, Dennis Bushnell was respected as one of the finest bicycle frame builders in the United States. As long ago as 1984, he was selected to build the bicycles for the U.S. Olympic team.

It was no surprise that in 1990 he was asked to build a fleet of bikes for the Huffy Crest Team. The bikes were ridden by racers like Scott Moninger and others throughout the year. A few weeks ago, one of those frames found its way back to Dennis here at Rodriguez Bicycle company for a small repair.

I thought a quick article demonstrating the longevity of steel as a bicycle frame material was in order. Here's a lugged steel frame that was built as light as possible for its day, and designed only to be raced professionally for a year. It certainly served that purpose, but then spent twenty more years on the road before a small crack developed.

The frame weighs just 3 pounds 14 ounces verified on a digital scale. For a 1990 frame, this is incredibly light. Now, I will say that there were plenty of aluminum and carbon bikes that weighed in just under 4 pounds in 1990 as well. Something to consider: How many of those world class carbon or aluminum frames built in 1990 do you see still on the road after being professionally raced? How many of them are on the road for 20 years? How many of them could be easily repaired and back on the road if they cracked? It's just worth considering if you're looking to ride your expensive custom bike for 20 years plus.

After selecting an appropriate new seat stay, we were able to repair the bike fully with very minimal damage to the classic paint job. This is just one of the beautiful things about a high quality steel frame. Even a high-performance steel frame built super light, can still be repaired decades down the road.


The customer wanted the frame repaired, but wanted the paint job to stay as intact as possible...especially the signature.