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Steelman bikes(20 posts)

Steelman bikesDINOSAUR
Jul 19, 2001 6:58 AM
I think my quest is over. Anyone have a Steelman and can comment?
I'm looking at a 525, Campy Chrous, with a nickle paint job. I want a steel frame that is reasonably light, stiff in the bottom bracket, does not have much flex, and has the ride of steel. Sort of comparable to the ride of my Klein, but with different geometry and comfortable for long rides and centuries. This bike is well under my price range and it might fit the ticket. Any input from Steelman owners would be appreciated.
Note~ I'm keeping my Klein, but this bike would be my main ride.
re: Steelman bikesEames
Jul 19, 2001 7:09 AM
I own almost exactly that bike. Steelman SR 525 w/ Campy Chorus 2001. Only difference is the paint ( mine's blue ). Excellent bike, I can't say anything bad about it. It is very comfortable for centuries, yet still racy and lively feeling. Last century we rode 30+ miles over fairly new chip sealed roads. Even with a Steelman steel fork the bike was still comfortable.

Given that you currently ride a Klein, be aware that the Steelman will not be as light as the Klein. This may be a duh, but my bike will never be under 19 lbs ( 63cm ). This steel frame will always be heavier than a Klein, a frame that advertises its weight.
Approx weight for a 58cm?DINOSAUR
Jul 19, 2001 7:19 AM
Ball park figure for a 58cm SR 525, Chorus, with Mavic Open Pro's?
I realize that my Klein will be lighter, but at 210lbs I'm not eactly a weight weenie. I want stiff and strong, Foco? I was considering a Master X-Light but I was worried about the touch up on the paint and the geometry. Actually I can get a ML for less price.
re: Steelman bikesMike Prince
Jul 19, 2001 7:26 AM
I have the 853 frame, same geometry as the 525, just different tubing. I think I've found my lifetime frame. Drop them an e-mail and see who responds - Brent himself. They are great to deal with and do everything they can to make sure you're happy. They also work with you very closely to make sure the bike fits well. Also the welding, painting and workmanship are first-rate.

I am 6'4", 200 lbs. and feel no more BB flex in my Steelman than in my Cannondale when I really get on it. I did the same as you are thinking and kept my Cannondale as a second bike, although it's seen less than 20 miles since I got my Steelman. I guess I'll sell it. Long (60-100 mile) rides on the Steelman have been no problem for me from a comfort point of view, so your desire for the ride of steel is satisfied.

If you do go with a Steelman, make sure you get a Steelman stem as well. Brent will give you a good deal on the stem and I'm glad I went for it as it is as beautiful as the frame. Are you buying the frame only or the assembled bike from Steelman?
re: Steelman bikesDINOSAUR
Jul 19, 2001 7:33 AM
Assmbled bike. I live up in the foothills e/of Auburn. Redwood city is a two and a half hour drive. I like to do one on one and visit my mother-in-law in Redwood City and visit the Steelman Company. Guess I should just email him.
Brent will soon be on vacationBipedZed
Jul 19, 2001 7:43 AM
I have a Eurocross on order from Steelman. Brent is leaving for a European vacation on July 25 and will be back Aug 15, so if you want to go visit or want a frame soon, keep that in mind.

This is my first frame from Steelman, but I spoke directly with Brent at length about frame/fork/stem specifics and he was fantastic with absolutely no attitude.

Typically frame availability is pretty quick as he has a few frames of each model/size welded and ready for braze-ons (cable stops, rack eyelets, etc). Then they get shipped to a powdercoat shop. Of course, custom top tubes/dimensions require more time.

Great experience so far.
re: Steelman bikespeloton
Jul 19, 2001 7:53 AM
I'm not going to show any bias to Colnago or Steelman, everyone should have to make a decision as hard as that one! I would say though, that you aren't just buying a frame but also a company. Steelman might be easier to deal with given their proximity if something should go wrong. I have heard that Colnago is s-l-o-w on warranty work. Maybe there are people out there that have had experiences with either Colnago or Steelman in this respect.
you know what I'm going to sayHank
Jul 19, 2001 7:50 AM
just do it

I think at your weight the 525 is a better choice than the 853. I've build up quite a few, ridden quite a few, have friends who ride them, and don't have one bad thing to say about them. And that's the color I'd pick, too - I'm jealous. I'd go with a threaded fork and a Steelman quil stem painted to match. Classic.
Thanks for the input...DINOSAUR
Jul 19, 2001 8:02 AM
I emailed Steelman directly. I had a dream about this bike last night. I think my quest is finally over. I saw a photo of this bike on the VeloNews forum last year and it fits the ticket.
Are you sure that wasn't an ANVIL?nm
Jul 19, 2001 8:10 AM
I remember the Steelman ht insigia and the nickle paint NMDINOSAUR
Jul 19, 2001 8:17 AM
re: Steelman bikesjacu
Jul 19, 2001 8:25 PM
I can't speak to the 525 road frame, but I can rhapsodize at length about my Manzanita. Where to start. I think it most germane to start with Brent himself. He was absolutely soothing (yes, I think that's the right word) to deal with; he understood the drama of having a frame built as only a framebuilder could. And, he was just a very cool guy to deal with. Very approachable; very knowledgeable. You get the point.

And my frame, well it was perfect in every regard. I nearly opted for the nickel paint but went instead with the persimmon sparkle (I always wanted a cannibal orange bike, and that's basically what persimmon sparkle is, metallic orange.

For a more detailed review of my frame and Steelman in general, check out my review over in MTBR. Under frames, Steelman, Manzanita.

Congrats on your choice, I think you will be ecstatic with your frame.
Independent FabricationsDINOSAUR
Jul 20, 2001 9:56 AM
I know this is back on page two now. Another name popped up, Independant Fabrications. My LBS carries them, costs more than the Steelman but I can probably get a discount on the price. I guess I couldn't go wrong with either. I think I am becoming neurotic with this new bike thing, now I'm contemplating ti (Lightspeed Tuscany). The men in the little white suits are coming to get me...
Independent Fabricationsbob smog
Jul 20, 2001 2:02 PM
I believe the main difference between the steelman and the IF would be the bottom bracket height. steelmans have a low 26.5 BB. the IF runs closer to 27. also I believe steelman used to make the straight blade forks for IF. I tried a 2001 litespeed classic and found it to be too flexible for my riding style. very comfy though. I currently have a 853 steelman on order. several guys on my group ride have the 525 steelmans and love them.
Decisions, decisionsCliff Oates
Jul 20, 2001 3:57 PM
The heck with that, we're coming after you with our Park PW-3 pedal wrenches and SR-2 chain whips...

At some point, you have to draw a boundary constraining your choices. You'll go crazy if you don't. When I was buying my bike, I decided I wanted to buy from my LBS because he had been good to me and I wanted to give him the business as a thank you. That instantly limited my choices to one bike (Marin just isn't in the same league as Waterford when it comes to steel) and all I had to do was decide on the color.

You need to make a similar decision before we all arrive in Auburn...
Narrowed down the field...DINOSAUR
Jul 21, 2001 7:09 AM
Good point, I think I shall limit my choices to my LBS. That narrows it down to Tommasini, Torelli, Mondonico, and Colnago. All lugged italian steel. The best deal is on the Colnago. I think I'll leave ti out of the picture for now, perhaps for my next bike...
Widened the field againMeDotOrg
Jul 21, 2001 8:25 AM
Recently I crashed my Bianchi Veloce. I have a 1983 Fuji Touring bike for backup, but I wanted a new frame.

Talked to the Bike shop that sold me the Bianchi about replacing the frame. Looke at Gunnar and Waterford frames while I was there.

For me, the decision came down to Brent Steelman and Carl Strong. I went with Strong ( ), primarily because ALL his frames are custom and his prices are great. I certainly have no knock on Steelman.

There is a bike shop down the street who sells Litespeeds. I priced some frames there, but they were a little out of my price range. After I made the decision to get a Strong frame, I called him and told him I was getting a custom frame, and would he be interested in putting it together. He was very gracious, said that he had heard great things about Strong, and said he would charge $160 to pull the equipment off my wrecked Bianchi and put it on the Strong.

(My LBS: Chris at )

There are a couple of things you might consider in this type of arrangement:

1. You get exactly the frame you want.

2. Point out to your LBS that they get another relationship with a potential supplier. True, he won't be making the markup THIS time, but he's got the potential for more labor units and markup in the future.

Yes, $160 is a lot to assemble a bike. But I'm getting the exact frame I want, and I'm going to upgrade a lot of equipment from Veloce to Chorus, buying over the internet from in England. What I lose in labor costs I will more than make back on equipment markup my LBS would charge!
Narrowed down the field...Cliff Oates
Jul 21, 2001 8:40 AM
Am I hallucinating, or did the post I responded to indicate that your LBS carries IF? I wish my LBS carried that large a variety of frames, I might be riding a Torelli right now if he did. On the other hand, I've never asked him what he could get his hands on for me. I probably ought to do that.

In any case, Colnago's are nice bikes. If it were me, I'd pass on the Mapei colors because they're so common out there and I like to be different from the other riders. It's your bike though, so do whatever puts a smile on your face.
As for now......DINOSAUR
Jul 21, 2001 6:27 PM
Since I can't make up my cotton picking mind, and since I had a great ride this morning on my Klein, I'm just going to do a minor upgrade and replace all the Ultegra stuff with Campy Chorus and keep the Rolf Wheels. The Klein is good for a couple of more seasons. Maybe by then I will know what I want.
Buying a new car is a lot easier....
As for now......Cliff Oates
Jul 22, 2001 7:13 AM
That's cool. You will probably need to purchase cassettes from Wheels Mfg. to make the wheels work. Excel sells both the 9 and 10 speed versions. They're converted Shimano cassettes, and the 10 speed version goes for $130 and comes in 11-21/23/25/27 gear ranges. By way of comparison, a standard Chorus cassette sells for $75.

If you decide not to go this route, it's worth noting that my 205 pound riding buddy has a couple thousand miles on a pair of Campy Nucleons, and they're holding their true and have otherwise been reliable for him so far. I'm a bit lighter at 190 and my Nucleons were also absolutely true at 2,000 miles until I crashed. The back wheel was knocked out of true by a few millimeters, but my LBS taken care of it now. The front wheel is fine.

The last time I bought a car, I did it pretty much entirely over the web and on the phone with the fleet guys. Other than test drives, I didn't set foot at the dealers until my truck was delivered and the paperwork was waiting for me to sign. It was a downright civilized experience.