>"I don't pretend to know, but I would sure love
>to here from our resident framebuilders on this issue...
>So, ante up framebuilders!!"

here is my quick & dirty reply in very general terms;
(hey, i gotta ship a 3.6lb steel cyclocross frame to
switzerland today for some ''light use'' in two weeks
at the world campionships...).

i buy NONE of it.
technically, with repeated bending cycles, steel doesn't weaken, it
gets stronger. but what nut is going to test out a bunch of random
steel frames before and after 15,000 miles of use? there are too
many variables; skill level, brazing sequences, materials, tolerances
(which vary from batch to batch); it's like, AS IF!!!! (said in my
best valley-girl speak.)

there are no controled situations. even the best produced, most efficient
factory assembly line frames have wide variations in their levels. at best,
this is an arcane subject, perpetuated mostly by people whose riding
speed never exceeds 30kph and who will take a lifetime to accumulate
15,000 miles.

imho, it takes a certain amount of depth to understand that these items
actually GET BETTER with use. my current, (my ONLY), bicycle is
four racing seasons old and there is no end in sight. keep in mind that
this is the ONLY bicycle i have ridden for the last four years.

one reason people assume that bikes don't 'last' and they 'need' to
replace them is that this is how the industry markets itself. that's
why it is called the bicycle BUSINESS. also, frames that are not
new do not work with parts that are new; another dilemna, huh!
furthermore, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the 'feel' of a bicycle
is also determined by factors other than the frame's material; tire type
and pressure, heat treated bars, padded saddles, weight distribution,
as well as what was consumed for breakfast.

finally, if people can accept that violins and guitars can 'improve'
with age owing to the skills of the luthier and the materials used, why
can't they understand similarly about steel frames?! and just as is the
case with these instruments, the bicycles will not get better without