Is Hi-Ten Steel Good For Bike Frames?

When you are out looking for your first bike, you will find bikes whose frames are made of different materials. Notably, most entry-level bikes have high tensile (Hi-Ten) steel frames, but you are not likely to find it on high-end bikes. So, is Hi-Ten steel good?  

High-tensile steel is suitable for making bike frames, especially entry-level bicycles. Though heavier than other alloys of steel, Hi-Ten steel is relatively cheap and long-lasting. That’s why most older bicycles were made of Hi-Ten Steel which is still common to date.

Therefore, high tensile steel is good for making bike frames. 

All the same, since Hi-Ten steel happens to be heavier than Chromoly, bikes made of high tensile steel to be heavy.

is Hi-Ten steel good - A rider participating in BMX racing

Is Hi-Ten Steel Good For Bicycle Frames

Are high tensile steel frames good? Well, As we had noted earlier, bicycle frames are made from different materials. All the same, some of these materials are expensive for a beginner or a person working on a low budget.

On the other hand, Hi-ten steel is best for making inexpensive entry-level bikes. 

However, high tensile steel is relatively weak, demanding thicker tubes to achieve the required strength for a bicycle frame. As a result, bikes made of Hi-Ten steel are heavier than other bikes.

A few years ago, almost all bikes were made of steel, and nothing terrible ever happened out of that. Therefore, Hi-Ten steel isn’t bad for bikes at all.

Actually, since high tensile steel is comparatively cheap, it is used to make bicycles for those who can’t afford high-end bikes. An excellent example of a Hi-Ten bike is the Mongoose Legion Freestyle BMX Bike, (View on Amazon) which is ideal for youths. It features U-brakes, excellent control, and is suitable for beginners.

Notably, steel is susceptible to rust and corrosion, but you can lessen this problem by taking good care of the bike. Cleaning and applying grease on rust-prone areas should do you good.

So, is Hi-Ten steel good for bike frames? Yes, though there are better options like Chromoly and aluminum alloy that are lighter and stronger but more costly.

is Hi-Ten steel good

Does Hi-Ten Steel Rust

When buying a bike, durability is a crucial factor that one has to consider. You never want to spend money on a bike that will fall short of your expectations. 

When going for a Hi-Ten steel bike, you need to understand that the material may rust and get corroded.

All the same, if you take good care of your bike, rusting should not be a problem to bother you.

Mostly, bikes come painted not only for aesthetics but also for preventing the frame from rusting.

The best way to keep your Hi-Ten steel bike rust-free is to clean the bike and grease areas prone to rust. On the other hand, you can repaint your bike in case the paint is badly damaged.

Is Hi-Ten Steel Good For BMX Bicycles?

The Bicycle Motocross (BMX) bikes are some of the most used bicycles, especially by the youths. Although this type of bike was originally for BMX racing, it is now also used for stunts and trick riding.

Therefore, the BMX bikes are some of the most abused bikes, and they need to be hardy. Actually, a good BMX bike should withstand lots of rough off-road riding.

Since the BMX bicycle needs to be easy to maneuver, they also have to be lightweight.

Therefore, a good BMX bicycle will keep off the Hi-Ten steel in favor of Chromoly, which is lighter and stronger. 

On the other hand, to achieve the same strength with high tensile steel, you would require thicker tubes, negating the lightweight feature of a BMX bike. Again, the cycle will be too heavy for stunts and trick riding.

In that case, Hi-Ten steel is not good for a BMX bike that will be subjected to all the abuse these bikes go through. 

But for inexpensive children’s bikes such as the Mongoose Legion Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike for Kids, (View on Amazon) Hi-Ten is the way to go. The bicycle has U-brakes on the rear wheel for safe stops.

In addition, the bike has aluminum mag wheels that have sealed bearings.

Mongoose Legion Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike for Kids

When Is Hi-Ten Steel Good For Bike Frames? 

High tensile steel has its shortcomings, but there are some situations where Hi-Ten steel bicycle frame tubes are an appropriate choice. Some of these situations include:

  • Beginner/ Entry Level Cycling

If you are a beginner, a less expensive bike is suitable for a start since Hi-Ten steel is more affordable than Chromoly, aluminum, or fiber bikes.

Therefore, Hi-Ten steel allows people who can’t afford high-end bikes to enjoy cycling. People who are desperate for a bike but are low on budget can befit from Hi-Ten steel bikes.

  • When Introducing Someone To Cycling

You may be buying the bike for someone else, mostly a beginner. In such a case, it is wise to start with a less expensive bicycle. They might not like the cycling sport, and the cycle will be a waste.

For example, when buying a bike for your child, you are not sure they will like riding. Actually, when buying bikes for people you aren’t sure they will carry on with biking, a less expensive Hi-Ten bike is the way to go.

  • If you Are Not A Rigorous Rider 

If you need a bicycle for commuting and not any rigorous activity like stunts or motocross riding, then a good-quality Hi-Ten bike could be a wise choice.

Therefore, if you only want a bike to commute and run a few errands, a high tensile steel bike will get you rolling and comfortably bring you back home.

In addition, these bikes have a tank-like momentum on flat or slightly sloppy terrains. Even a fixed-speed bike will do well in relatively flat areas. 

  • Buying A Bike From A Reputable Company

When your budget can only get you a Hi-Ten steel bike, make sure you buy one from a reputable company and brand.

Mostly, bikes from unknown brands tend to be cheap, but their quality is also compromised. Also, these bikes feature components that malfunction from the start.

On the other hand, reputable brands and companies will strive to produce quality products to protect their status in the market. Therefore, leave those unbelievably cheap bikes; they will frustrate you. 

Does Hi-Ten Steel Rust

When Is Hi-Ten Steel Not Good For Bikes?

On the other hand, there are times when you should keep off the high tensile steel bikes. Some of those situations include:

  • When You Are Into Extreme Riding

If you’re looking for a bike like the BMX bike for extreme riding sports, avoid a Hi-Ten steel bike. First, these bikes are not as strong as their counterpart, Chromoly bicycles. 

Actually, high tensile steel cannot endure the kind of abuse Chromoly withstands.

In addition, Hi-Ten steel is heavy, and bikes for extreme sports need to be exceptionally light. A heavy bicycle will definitely hinder your performance.

  • When You Plan To Get A Good Resale Price

Unfortunately, Hi-Ten bikes have been losing popularity since the entry of other stronger and lighter alloys.

For this reason, a Hi-Ten bike may not fetch reasonable resale prices if you ever plan to do away with the bike. 

Therefore, if you know that you will eventually resell your bike, it would be better if you kept away from Hi-Ten steel frames. You may go for a bike such as the Mongoose BMX Freestyle Bike that features 26-inch wheels and single-speed gear.

Final Take

For a long time, Hi-ten steel was the basic material for making bicycles, and there never was a problem.

All the same, the emergence of lighter and stronger made of other alloys; manufacturing companies took the wrong turn. They reduced the thickness of Hi-Ten tubes used to make bikes.

As a result, bikes became lighter, but their high tensile steel frames lost their strength.

All the same, Hi-Ten is not all that bad; it depends on how you intend to use your bike. For ordinary daily commuting, a high tensile frame bike will be ok. 

If you have to take your bike to extreme levels of biking, the best thing is to avoid H-Ten steel frames.

Also Read: