A Little Bit of Shhh for Steel and the Luggernaut

In prior best frame material debates, pundits would take sides on aluminum, carbon, steel, or Ti. Even combinations of those materials “tuned” to the best ride. There were a few instances of beryllium and other exotic materials, but eventually carbon and aluminum pushed steel and Ti to specialty builders. Steel did hang around like an unwelcome guest at the party in manufacture’s line. Chromoly was used for low-end hybrids or inexpensive campus cruisers. A material that was loved for a century by cyclists, had cheap components hung on it and was sold as hybrid, comfort bikes. If bikes have personalities, and I think they do, those were sad years for steel.

In the past few years though, cross, urban, and fixed-gears bike trends have brought steel back. You could argue with product managers whether they did for the ride and their customer’s benefit or there was an aluminum shortage and they got better margins with steel. Some even insisted that steel was greener, but when pushed had no facts to prove that; especially, when their factories are in countries that don’t manufacture to modern, clean standards.

Luggernaut sun1

Your school days are over with this bike. This is a commuter that’ll keep up with the Big Yellow bus on the flats, but the hills are another matter. Just up that riser, you’ll grab for gears that aren’t machined into the internally-geared hub.

Having finally ridden the Luggernaut after getting it for New Years and noticing the details, I think Traitor released the bike for the ride. They like it and want you too. They believe in steel and manufacture their entire line with it.

Luggernaut sun2

Ride this bike into the sunset and nearest pub. That’s what it wants to do. It’s a pub-crawler

We share their enthusiasm for lugged steel, but an enthusiastic ride is stalled at the first steep rise in the road. I wondered if this bike was geared for the Bonneville Salt Flats, cause there’s not a hill you’re going to spin over, even with 3 speeds. Besides San Fran and Seattle, I know other cities have hills, including outside of the downtown core of Portland. The thick as a brick, puncture-proof, Halo Twin Rail Courier tire isn’t going to help you go fast. When it wears out, replace it with one that rolls well.

Luggernaut sun3

Noticed the half link chain, but it’ll grab at your cuffs like an angry snake. Urban bikes should ship with bash guards.

Luggernaut sun close2

A sharp drop from the saddle to the bar with a short stem and a couple spacers makes a tight cockpit. Would like a little more room to breathe.

If we agree that steel is back, then this bike has all the elements to get noticed and loved on your rides. If not already a fan, you’ll understand why people rave about steel in the first mile. You may also want to get a smaller front chain ring, if you live in a hilly city or prefer to not mash gears.

Specs

  • Columbus Thron Tubing
  • Traitor Katana Lugged Fork
  • 1 1/8” Threadless w/Race Dropouts
  • Frame 4.8 lbs | Fork 2 lbs (Uncut Steer Tube) | Complete Bike 19-23 lbs.
  • 1 1/8” Headtube, 27.2mm Seattube, 120mm Rear Dropout Spacing, 68mm Bottom Bracket Width, Max Tire Width 34c

As ridden

We rode the Luggernaut with the 3-speed kit and expect to pay about 1K MSRP. Learn more about the build kits, geometry, and features on Traitor Cycle’s site.

More Photos

Find more Luggernaut photos on Flickr.

Luggernaut graffittie