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An Informal Poll of the Best Bike for Me(14 posts)

An Informal Poll of the Best Bike for MeTorv Carlsen
Aug 2, 2001 2:36 PM

I'm in the process of putting together my dream bike. I've narrowed down the component package to the Campy Record 10spd kit with Mavic Ksyrium wheels (I'm open to other suggestions, of course). But frankly I'm sytmied at the decision for a frame. I've narrowed down the list to these:

Merckx Team SC
Colnago C40/CT1
Pinarello Prince/Opera
Look KG281
Paul Taylor OX Platinum
DeRosa Merak

I've had a custom measurement done on the Serotta measuring device and it comes down to this: 60cm Frame, 60.2 top tube, seat angle 72, head angle 74. For what it's worth, I'm 6'1" and 180lbs.

I live in Marin County and am looking to do longer rides in the neighborhood of 60 - 100 miles and want a bike that will be comfortable and fast, something I won't be all fatigued on after a long ride. I know all the frames I've mentioned are pretty damn terrific and I probably won't go wrong, but I've got to live with this thing for a while so I thought I'd get your expert opinions, one way or the other.

Thanks in advance.
re: An Informal Poll of the Best Bike for MeBlue Sunday
Aug 2, 2001 2:50 PM
Pinarello is way stiff.
C-40/CT1 can't go wrong with either.

But I like the merckx. I think that Scandium gives other materials a run for their money. Superstrong and light. Plus if the Merckx geometry works for you, you'll be dicin' and cruisin'
I'm partial to the Calfee...MrCelloBoy
Aug 2, 2001 2:50 PM
as I'm awaiting a Calfee tandem right now.
He'll build to your weight spec's. and seems to be on a roll these days after years of developing the techniques working with C.F.
On top of that, carbon seems ideally suited to some of the rough roads around here (Sonoma/Marin Counties.
re: An Informal Poll of the Best Bike for Mebadabill
Aug 2, 2001 3:26 PM
All these frames are top notch. If money is no object I would check out the Calfee. The Look kg281 is said to ride fantastic, I know they use a slack seat angle but not sure on there top tube sizing. If it fits your sizing req. I would also give it a good look ;-) I ride steel but have allways lusted after carbon fiber, with look and calfee at the top of my lists.
re: An Informal Poll of the Best Bike for MeCliff Oates
Aug 2, 2001 3:53 PM
I've been tempted (and continue to be) to spend my own money on the Calfee. They will do custom for a $500 upcharge, the Tetra frame is warranted for 25 years, and their location in Santa Cruz makes them relatively local to this East Bay rider. I have not ridden one, but I have heard nothing but positive comments about Calfee's frames. I have seen a few on organized rides, and they are handsome. I'm a bit of a retrogrouch with my Waterford 2200, and the LBS that takes _very_ good care of me is a Kestrel dealer, but...
Another happy Calfee CustomerWhatever
Aug 2, 2001 4:15 PM
62cm stock geometry Tetra Pro, build with 1 1/8" steerer and straight blade fork/carbon steer. I am 6-3, 220. (I toyed with tweaking the geometry, but decided that Craig probably knows a lot more about bikes than I do.)

The Calfee Luna has the same ride quality as the Calfee Tetra, is less expensive and only a few ounces heavier.

At two different shops that carried both Kestrels and Colnago C-40's, the shop personnel (mechanics and riders) all steered me towards the Calfee. All great-riding bikes, but the ability put extra meat into the frame for funky-but-chunky (me) pushed Calfee way over the top. They all commented on Calfee's great workmanship...a very high quality frame. Kestrel has had some inconsistencies here. Colnagos are beautiful but you can read some reviews about inconsistent paint quality.

I steered away from the Carbon-Al composite frames because I was concerned about the longevity of the frame...carbon-aluminum joints are prone to galvanic corrosion, so I have heard. The pros don't care since they get two or three new bikes every year, but I am spending my own money and want it to last. I would not have this concern with a carbon-ti composite frame, like I think Colnago makes. In the end I opted for Calfee in part because it was custom, and I wanted a 62cm bike that was tuned for a 220 lb. rider instead of a 185 lb. rider.

I probably should just lost some weight and saved some money. But I am really, really happy with the ride. Descends like a demon, smooth on long rides, plenty stiff. No real sense of "deadness" that some people attribute to carbon. I moved from an old-school steel frame (full Columbus SPX), both bikes have a similar road feel and resiliancy.
My takeI'llridethrushit
Aug 2, 2001 4:49 PM
The Pinarello has very quick handling characteristics and is great for racing (read: not what you want for a 70 mile ride). I know they use it in the tour - but you and I don't have their stamina or durability. For the price, and for what you want, their are better options.

The Look (I had a KG 171) is a super compromise between raceability and comfort. It was a tad too flexy for me, nut it really is a lovely, springy feeling bike. A much nicer ride quality - no dead feel - compared to the OCLVs I've ridden.

What I don't like about the Merkcx: 1" steerer. I have a 1" Bianchi and am itching to switch frames - also b/c it's small on me.
However, it is much more difficult to blend the carbon and aluminum rear, and Eddie must have a reason for doing it. And if I remember correctly, it's right at 52.5 or 52 degrees.

Merak: Great v107 tubing is as light and better in terms of strength and durability than the scandium stuff. However, no carbon stays on this one. Some will tell you they're vital - I think it depends on the bike. Beautiful workmanship.

Nags: 73 and up angles, so not what you need. And the top tube should be way short, as a nag 63 only has a 58.7 tt. (Perfect for me if anyone's buying).

Never seen the other two or ridden them myself.
If price is an issue, hear are the best deals I know of:
LOOK - total cycling. 1200 with deda newton stem and bars - wow!!!
Colnago - it realy won't fit you, so I won't tempt you.
DeRosa - 786 uk pounds. Email me and I'll tell you where. But there's at least 3-5 months delivery with De Rosa unless your size is in.

Good Luck
Operaterry b
Aug 2, 2001 4:53 PM
I have both a Calfee Tetra Pro and a Pinarello Opera and in my experience there is absolutely no comparison - the Opera is heads and shoulders above the Tetra Pro. I'll admit I am partial to the ride that steel offers (I also have a Colnago MxL) - the carbon bike just does not feel as lively. The Opera is smooth as silk and offers all the ride benefits of carbon without the deadness. However, for the use you describe you really can't go wrong with either of those two or any of the others except perhaps the Prince, being aluminum it is purportedly not super comfortable for long hauls. I've not ridden it, so I really can't compare with the same degree of certainty that I can with these two. By the way, dimensionally you and I are about the same size/weight.
re: An Informal Poll of the Best Bike for Metr
Aug 2, 2001 5:40 PM
I think the Opera will give you the best long ride without beating you up. The Look would be comfortable also along with the C40. But, the top tube on the C40 will be too short for you. I don't think you want an aluminum bike based on your description of what you are looking for.
re: An Informal Poll of the Best Bike for MeJohnG
Aug 2, 2001 7:00 PM
I only have limited experience with these frames other than the KG281. My take on the 281 is that it is a VERY lively "racey" ride. In my size, 52cm CC, it fits and rides fantastic. You should try to get a test ride on one. As always, fit is paramount so take a serious look at the #'s and try to narrow your search down a bit. If fit isn't an issue..... you probably can't go wrong with ANY of the frames you've listed.

good luck!
Aug 2, 2001 9:18 PM
sounds like that's the geometry you're after
Whatever makes you happyDog
Aug 3, 2001 5:20 AM
Bikes are really so similar, as long as the fit is there, get whatever brings a smile to your face and motivates you to go ride it. That's my philosophy.

re: An Informal Poll of the Best Bike for MeGregJ
Aug 3, 2001 8:22 AM
I think the Pinarello will be a bit short in the TT for the size you want. Probably the Colnago as well. You will not be disappointed with ride of the Pinarellos if you decide the geometry works for you. These are great all around racing bikes and quite suitable for long rides on all kinds of roads. I have the Aluminum Surprise which I take on 60-80 mile jaunts all the time, it is quite excellent in all respects, I am sure the Opera and Prince would be great rides as well. I have a good friend with an Opera, he loves it.
A question that has no correct answer...DINOSAUR
Aug 3, 2001 12:24 PM
I posted a similiar type question a couple of weeks ago. The problem with a question like this is that you receive personal opinions from riders who bother to respond. You might end up being more confused then before you submitted your question. My suggestion would be to pick the frame that fits you best. You must have a bike that you are leaning toward, one way or the other. I would think which one is the best deal for the money, warantee, and what kind of wheels and components are you going to slap on it? I'd say screw it, and get the one you are lusting for. You are the one who is going to be riding it.
I'd say fit is paramount, then I'd think about what wheels and grouppo I was going to build it up with. Another thing, are all these bikes offered by the same LBS? Remember when you buy a bike you are in fact buying an LBS. How is their service dept and do they bend over backward to be helpful when you need it. I've found that sometimes the small mom and pop type shops with smaller inventories are easier to deal with then big shops with huge inventories. I think the big shops have so much business they don't really care if they lose a customer. And some shops are really lacking in the fitting dept. Also if you are really up on your fit you can get super good deals over the internet. At least the guy on the other end of the phone is listening to you and writting down you body measurements to make sure you are properly fit. Sometimes I think we as roadies put too much thought into what we are riding. Do you see the pro peloton standing around an admiring each others bikes before the start of the race. Do you think they care if their bike is equipped with Campy or Shimano? No, they just ride the crap out of them and if they break they have mechanics to fix them.
Enough rants for the day, time for my medication and nap...I should have rode this morning instead of refinishing the front door, it must be all those toxic fumes eating up my brain cells, what few I have left...