Bikes vs. The World: Round #4 – Steel 531 vs. Steel Reserve 211

Nov 28 2005

I really don’t know how these two combatants got tangled up. I mean, can you think of two things less related than a well-regarded vintage bike tubing and a smooth finishing, oddly glowing malt beverage? I guess it might be a make-up call for last week’s pathetically obvious battle. Rounds 1 and 2 can be found here and here, respectively. Now let’s get down to seeing which steel is more real.

Category Bike Culture:
Steel 531
Pop Culture:
Steel Reserve 211
Claim to Fame: For over half a century, the standard for high-end bicycle tubing Premium “high gravity” malt liquor 531; based entirely on longevity
Named For: Allegedly, the percentages of manganese, molybdenum and carbon in the tubing Alchemical symbol for steel, which looks kind of like “211” Draw; the factual soundess of each name is debatable
Craved By: People who think technology peaked in 1935 Hobos, frat boys tired of drinking “Mickey’s Draw; it’s just too close to call
Known For: “A very lively frame without any harshness in the ride quality” “Nice basic flavor, balanced hop bite, adequate aromatics” and 8.1% alcohol by volume 211; 8.1% is at least quantifable
Dirty Little Secret: Replaced by 753 and 853 tubesets some two decades ago Insists that it is a “beer,” despite consensus opinion that it’s a malt liquor 531; most people who buy it seek an outdated product, anyway
Immortalized By: More TdF wins than any other tubeset The Ramones song “Gimme My Steel Reserve” 531; as much as I like the Ramones…
Evil Nemesis: Humidity and salt Alcohol content laws 211; no one is trying to sell malt liquor to Utahns
Environmental Friendliness: Easily recycled, but you might have to pay a few dollars due to the unweildly shape of a bike frame Easily recycled, but generally the bottles are just smashed and/or left in back alleys 531; I guess saving the Earth is worth a buck or two
Manufacturing Process: I’m told it has to be lugged and brazed Slow brewed for at least 28 days Draw; given the effectivness of faster methods, each seems unnecessary
Lasting Contribution to Society: Allowed people to judge the ride quality of a bike without ever riding it None, really 211; encouraging people to buy bikes based on a sticker on the downtube is a net loss to humanity

Wow! Look at all those draws! Seems like these two had more in common than I thought. Really, this one could have gone either way (and after a bottle or two of Steel Reserve, probably would have) but in the end it’s good old Reynolds 531 squeaking out the 4-3 victory over Steel Reserve malt liqour. Who knows what sort of madness will show up here for next week’s installment

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4 Responses to “Bikes vs. The World: Round #4 – Steel 531 vs. Steel Reserve 211”

  1. hulkster 28 November 2005 at 3:06 pm #

    Malt liquor actually is a type of beer, it just uses different amounts of beer ingredients and adds a few more uncommon ones. Very little hops are used, and grains such as corn, rice, and dextrose are used, whereas the predominant grain in beer is barley. The brew process is essentially the same.

  2. Anonymous 29 November 2005 at 6:44 pm #

    531 is a type of steel, although you can steal it, it’s not really for that. Just to keep people up to date with their beer information.

  3. Tom 17 January 2006 at 8:36 pm #

    I protest. Noone recycles steel—there is plenty of iron in the ground. And fourty-bottles can be used to revive those blase icicle-style christmas lights.

  4. Not Important 3 July 2008 at 11:52 pm #

    I also protest. Steel Reserve should have won the ‘Environmental Friendliness’ category.

    Empty SR cans and bottles are much more likely to end up helping to offset the price of a keg than being tossed in an alley.

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