Recently I bought a new bike which has the following characteristics:

Size of frames: M (44cm) / L (48cm) / XL (52cm) 
Wheel size / Number of gears: 26 "/ 21 
Frame: HI-TEN Steel 
Fork: HI-TEN steel fixed 26" 
Hedsch: A -HEAD 1-1 / 8 " 
Stem: ZOOM, Steel A-HEAD, ML 80mm / XL 110mm 
Steering wheel: ZOOM, Steel 20 / 580mm 
Suspension: Steel 28.6x300mm 
: BERETTA 26 "ALU double-walled 36H 
Front head: ALU 36H 
Rear head: ALU 36H 
gearbox / brakes: SHIMANO ST-EF51-L 3x7 
Front brakes: PROMAX V-ALU 
Rear brake: PROMAX V-ALU
Front Shift: SHIMANO FD-TX51 
Rear Shift: SHIMANO RD-TX55 
Terminal: SHIMANO MF-TZ21-7 14-28 
Chain: KMC Z-50 
Middle shaft: THUN cartridge 
Transmission: Steel 48x38x28 170mm 
Pedals: MTB PVC 
Backing: ALU  
Tires: KENDA 26x2.10

I'm not a bike expert, but a friend of mine made a negative remark about the hi-ten frame saying that he would prefer an aluminium bike frame, or maybe another kind of steel.

I'm mainly going to use this bike to get around through my city, and nothing serious like mountaneering etc. I would like to know what issues can the hi-ten steel frame cause and should I change it for another one (aluminium frame bike) if I can?

  • 6
    Congrats on your new bike! As long as you ride it, any bike is better than not having a bike. Perhaps your friend is just a bike snob (not a compliment) or perhaps he is envious that you could afford a new bike. – Criggie May 1 '18 at 19:45
  • 3
    If you don't have to carry it up three flights of stairs, weight doesn't really matter. The components seem decent enough for a bike getting around in the city. If you are happy riding your bike enjoy it and ignore the limitless snobbery of other cyclists. – gschenk May 1 '18 at 20:16
  • 1
    Steel is far easier to repair than aluminum or carbon fiber, and its failure modes tend to be graceful rather than catastrophic -- there are situations where one can quite reasonably prefer it. – Charles Duffy May 1 '18 at 21:07
  • I would far rather have a steel bike than aluminum or carbon or something else exotic. A little heavier, perhaps, but generally more durable and usually with a smother ride. "Hi-Ten" steel is a poorer quality steel than Cro-Moly, et al, and thus the frame must be heavier for the same strength, but the difference isn't enormous. – Daniel R Hicks May 1 '18 at 22:58
  • (And don't get taken by the "steel rusts" complaint. The other parts of the bike -- whether steel or aluminum -- will succumb to weather and rust long before the frame does.) – Daniel R Hicks May 1 '18 at 23:00

I have 4 bikes, and the one I keep for just riding around a city is high-ten steel. Yes, they're heavy, and normally cheap, but they can be tough and practical.

What's more important is that it works for you - that it's the right size and convenient.


High tensile or 'hi-ten' steel is the lowest end material used for inexpensive bikes. The next level up is so called 'cro-moly' steel (alloys using chromium and molybdenum).

High tensile steel frames are relatively heavy because the steel is relatively weak necessitating thicker wall tubes be used. A steel frame is also more susceptible to corrosion, but this can be mitigated by taking care of the bike.

Cro-moly steel or even aluminum framed bikes can still be heavy if they are equipped with inexpensive heavier components.

If the bike works for you it's fine. If you had a aluminum framed bike some other friend would comment that they would prefer a bike with a carbon-fiber composite frame.


There was a time when all bikes where made of steel, people rode them around cities, and nothing terrible happened.

You don't have to change it if you don't mind the weight.

It 's more prone to rust, but it's not a big problem if you take good care of it. I ride a steel bike from the mid-80's around the city, even when it rains, and it barely has any rust. You can prevent rust by keeping your bike clean and applying grease to rust-prone areas - basically, places where the frame is touching another part or water can collect, like the collar of the seating tube and bolt holes.

(It should go without saying that you should keep the transmission well lubricated too if you don't want that to rust, but that's the same regardless of what your frame is made of.)

It helps if you store it inside, or cover it if it's stored outside. But even if you keep it outside it shouldn't rust too much as long as you don't neglect it.

(That's true where I live, I guess it might rust faster if you live in a very humid area.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.