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Opinions on Italian Steel framed Steeds(36 posts)

Opinions on Italian Steel framed SteedsDoctorNurse
Aug 7, 2001 11:29 AM
Okay....

Here is my quandry...I am an aggressive recreational rider looking to invest in a steel framed bike to upgrade for fast group rides and beginning racing....Given those needs I am looking for light weight, durable frame costing around $1000...I am 6'1" and weigh a featherlight 165lbs...I'm mostly a spinner, and leave the grinding for the sprints, and ride on fairly decent roads..

My choices thus far ar the Bianchi Reparto Corse Boron/Steel alloy, The Torelli Countach or Express, The Mondonico Leggero, Merckx Corsa, and Pinarrello Galileio.....Okay I know that those are a lot of options, but I would love to hear from folks who have ridden any of these rides....I know that fit will be a primary consideration, but I picked these frames because of their geometry.....Any help would be greatly appreciated....

DoctorNurse
re: Opinions on Italian Steel framed SteedsLardog
Aug 7, 2001 12:23 PM
For $1000, you've got some great options. Wilier, Ciocc, Coppi... the list goes on and on for $1000 steel, frame only.
Opinion only!!Cima Coppi
Aug 7, 2001 12:24 PM
I have ridden a Merckx Corsa Extra for 14 seasons and found its ride to be a classic. Merckx's geometry has not changed since he began to build frames, and is a near copy to DeRosa (whom was his builder for much of his career). The Corsa 0.1 uses Dedacciai Zero Uno tubing, which is among the best for steel. I would highly recommend this frame, but of course ride it and make sure it fits you well.

Mondonico is one of those little known Italian builders who still uses pinning of the lugs to help with joint strength. His frames were one of my final considerations before I made my frame choice for my new bike. A Mondonico is a work of art, and will bring you many happy miles out on the road.

Of the one you have narrowed you search down to, I'd recommend one of the two above. You pretty much cannot go wrong with either. They will last many years, and with the new alloys used to fabricate steel tubing, fatigue will not set into the frame for a long time.

Good Luck,

CC
Opinion only!! Mondonico...Rant...cycleguy
Aug 7, 2001 5:19 PM
I will be getting my Mondonico Leggero in three weeks. I was not been able to ride the frame I bought. One of those purchases that just speaks to your soul. I had been look for a steel lugged Italian frame for some time. Again just a want, not a need. I walked into a BS not a LBS. The frame was on the wall and it spoke to me just as I'm speaking to you. I somehow got out without buying the frame but spent the next month searching everything about Mondonico I could. One month to the day I went back, not knowing if it was still there!?! It was and I put it on layaway. Sounds like a poseur thing. LOL

I just felt that after all I had read about Mondonico and how they made their frames it was just the thing to do. Torelli.com can give you all the info you need. Bill McGann will answer any question you have. Most of the time the same day. Lugged steel frame, made by hand, pinned lugs, columbus tubing, yada, yada, yada. Yes, I will pose when built up. But not for long!!
MondonicoDINOSAUR
Aug 7, 2001 5:32 PM
Check out Mondonico. Unheard of frame builder in italy that pumps out custom made frames, about 1000 a year. Mondonico is distributed my Torelli, another italian steel bike worth a look at. Italian steel gets a bad rep, but they have been building steel bikes for a decade. A lot of the frame building process is passed down from father to son and they have it down to a science. I too long for a lugged steel bike, perhaps because I miss the ride of steel or maybe it's because I married into an italian family (just don't get them mad).
http://www.torelli.com/mondonico/mndnico.html
More on Mondonico/Torellimike mcmahon
Aug 7, 2001 6:38 PM
As you may know, some of the high-end Torellis are built by Mondonico. I have a Torelli EL-OS (Nitro Express) that was built by Mondonico. As someone else here mentioned Bill at Torelli will be happy to answer any questions you may have. He usually answers the phone at Torelli. IMHO, you can't go wrong with Mondonico or Torelli.
More on Mondonico/Torelli can't go wrong.cycleguy
Aug 7, 2001 8:36 PM
I can only agree 100%
Slight correction....DINOSAUR
Aug 8, 2001 8:54 PM
Slight correction on Mondonico. Cycleguy was nice enough to email me and not make me look like an idiot. First: I should have said that Mondonico is virtually unknown, or perhaps a well kept secret. Second: they make ready to order frames, not custom. Also if you click on the Mondonico website and read their history you will note that old man Modonico was at one time is business with Guerciotti, so they share similiar geometries. The Guerciotti brothers were apprentices of (I belieive) Cinelli, untill they started to pump out their own frames.
The history of italian steel bikes goes back a long way. I once owned a Guerciotti SLX in the late 80's, a very sweet riding, stable bike, and made for long hours in the saddle. A tad heavy for todays standards, but at that time the frame had not been changed for fifty years.
you overlooked one thingJack S
Aug 7, 2001 12:39 PM
Merckx not Italian
you overlooked one thingDoctorNurse
Aug 8, 2001 5:27 AM
Oops!! My bad! Merckx and his bikes are of course Belgian....Call it an oversight and don't tell Eddy!

DoctorNurse
Bianchi boron opinionSpokeman
Aug 7, 2001 1:00 PM
This is only my opinion so take it for what it is worth. I've been riding a 2001 boron for about 8 months now, it was a replacement for a 1999 boron that cracked at the seat tube/bb weld. It's a great all-around bike.

It's a very well made steel frame and one of the lightest out there for the money. The best thing I can say about it is that it is one of the most stable bikes I have owned.

The only downside is the all-carbon fork that comes with it. Yes it is very light, but very flexy. I replaced mine with a Time and it improved the out-of-the-saddle feel tremendously.

All the bikes you mentioned are great. Go with the one you like best and fits you best.
Bianchi boron opinionHank
Aug 7, 2001 5:42 PM
yes, those Boron Bianchis are nice but lots of them seem to break (used to sell them). They also don't come all that straight. The Merckx will be heavier, but very durable (I've got one that's twelve years old). If you're not stuck on Italian (since you had Merckx on the list, which isn't Italian) check out Steelman - the Steelman 525 goes for about $900. Best steel frame I've seen for under a grand.

http://www.steelmancycles.com/
Bianchi boron opinionSpokeman
Aug 8, 2001 8:58 AM
Yes, some of them do break, that's what the warranty is for.

I look at it like this. I can hammer the heck out of the frame and if it breaks, I get a new one FOR FREE (at least for the first 10 years). Try that with a Steelman.
flexy fork, replaced with a TimeSteeve
Aug 8, 2001 7:56 AM
I have heard many comments on how flexy the Time carbon forks are. Do you mean to say that the Bianchi carbon fork is even more flexy?
There are many different Time forks.....Spokeman
Aug 8, 2001 8:54 AM
and the model I bought, The Millenium, is very stiff. The all-carbon fork on the Bianchi is basically a Profile all carbon. It's really light (350grams) but man is it a noodle. Plus, I'm not so keen on carbon steerers. I think that there are certain areas where saving weight should never come before safety, steerer tubes is one of them. I'm sure this will piss of some, but after you snap off a stem, or bars (I've done both several times) you will not want some parts to be stupid-light.
Maybe I was thinking about Look forks...Steeve
Aug 9, 2001 4:39 AM
I could have been mistaken, It may have been Look forks that I have heard were quite flexy.
Galileo is aluminum, consider Tommasini Sintesi & Colnago...C-40
Aug 7, 2001 1:38 PM
The Galileo is 7003 aluminum. The aluminum Surprise is supposed to be pretty decent riding, and only $800 at Schwab Cycles.

In this price range, the Tommasini Sintesi ($900) is a better value than many of those listed. Great workmanship, better paint, more chrome. Classic Italian.

If you're willing to try sdeals.com or totalcycling.com, the Colanago Master X-light can be had for about $1000, which is cheap compared to it's $1500 MSRP. It will be the stiffest of the bunch. Once again, great paint and chrome.
Many choicesMass Biker
Aug 7, 2001 6:42 PM
Back on a steel bike after a short hiatus and I'm loving my Master X Light. Lugged and pinned tubes, carbon fork, and an absolutely over the top (perhaps) gaudy paint job belie its ability to perform: it climbs like crazy, accelerates out of the saddle better than any bike I have ever ridden, and holds its own in tough climbs, pack sprints, and efforts that have me gnawing on my stem. In other words, it does what it has to do in training, and does not let me down in racing. Reasonably light, incredibly (race) tuned, and stiff in all the right places, but not too stiff for my sub 150 lbs. There are good deals to be had on a Master X Light from some of the foreign dealers. If you want lighter, consider the Technos (thinner walls, and not as many shaped tubes).

I second the Tommasini Sintesi recommendation - it's perhaps the best deal in lugged steel frames. The GIOS from Excel appears to be a pretty good deal too. Just remember the differences in fit between all of these.

Two more frames I would keep in mind are the Cervelo Prodigy and the Landshark. While not made in Italy (Canada and the US respectively), they are both made from Italian steel (Columbus FOCO and Dedaccai respectively) and the construction technique does save some weight (i.e. not lugged). I recently saw a Landshark and took it out for a spin. Super lively, super stable, and easily one of the most beautiful paint jobs I have ever seen. And the Cervelo was light enough to give Al. bikes a run for their money.

MB
Lots of good options ...bianchi boy
Aug 8, 2001 4:13 AM
Just make sure you settle on one with the size and geometry that suits you. I agree w/ Mass Biker that the Tommasini is hard to beat for $900. I came very close to buying one but settled on the Gios Compact Pro sold by Excel because the geometry suited me better and it was $300 less expensive. At $600 on sale right now, Gios is hard to beat -- but the geometry might not suit you, as it has a relatively short top tube and steep seat tube angle.

I also agree about checking out www.gvhbikes.com. Gary Hobbs has the best selection of Italian steel bikes around, with photos posted on his web site, and a broad range of makes and sizes. Prices are very good as well. I was all set to buy a bike from him in May and then he went on vacation for several weeks (can't blame him for that), and I needed a bike quick and the Gios geometry was perfect for me.
Don't forget to check Gary Hobbs' inventory . . .DCW
Aug 7, 2001 1:51 PM
He has a nice selection of Italian steel at discount prices and will build to suit your preferences.
re: Opinions on Italian Steel framed SteedsEW
Aug 7, 2001 5:49 PM
So what are you a doctor or a nurse? Just curious.
re: Opinions on Italian Steel framed SteedsDoctorNurse
Aug 8, 2001 5:08 AM
Actually, I' both.... Im a physician whose last name is Nurse...Can you believe it??

Thanks!

DoctorNurse
Question for ya DN...Lazy
Aug 7, 2001 8:10 PM
What made you choose steel? To clarify, I'm curious as to your past bikes, riding experiences, and thought processes that led you to only consider steel.

I don't mean to influence your decision or to suggest that you should consider other materials. Just curious, that's all.
Question for ya DN...DoctorNurse
Aug 8, 2001 5:13 AM
Sure! I have ridden Cannondales, Treks, Klein's, Specialized, and Lemonds in aluminum, and I really can't explain why I don't like them but I just didn't...I think that maybe because I am a lighter rider, and maybe because I place a premium on vertical compliance, I was just not enamoured with the ride of these admittedly fast and responsive rides...then I messed around and rode a Colnago Classic, and a Torelli Countach and just liked the feel more...okay a little heavier and less sharp, but I felt like I could ride longer and more often on a steel ride. Given that I like to deal with the experts, I decided on Italian steel bike makers, because I figure that hey, they've done it longer and better than anyone, and since my girlfriend will not allow me to have too many bikes, I gotta choose wisely!!

Thanks!

DoctorNurse
Cool, thanks...Lazy
Aug 8, 2001 6:45 AM
It interests me what makes people choose one thing over another. Sounds like you've put some good thought into it. Good luck in your choice!
Question for ya DN...Mel Erickson
Aug 8, 2001 7:44 AM
The thread above titled France or Italy?? contained a post with this link, http://www.thelamgroup.com/cycling.html

This genleman had some interesting insights on Italian steel construction. Worth a read.
re: Opinions on Italian Steel framed SteedsJohnG
Aug 7, 2001 9:42 PM
Just my opinion: I've ridden the Bianchi Boron frames and didn't like the feel of the bike. Very harsh and tiny feeling. The welds are hideous too. :( BTW: I really like the XL2 frames.... way sweet!

If you haven't looked at the MasterXL from Colnago you should. VERY nice steel frame. Classic styling an very sporty.

good luck
JohnG
Merckx Corsa 01Meissen
Aug 8, 2001 3:16 AM
I bought a Merckx Corsa 01 in last September. It is my first road bike, so I cannot really compare it to other models. However, it is
a LOT more comfortable than my Klein MTB. It is not quite as stable anf might accelerate a little less quickly when hammering out of the saddle but these days I would choose comfort over stability any time.

The frame is beautifully made even though the paintjob is not quite as good as the one on the Klein. It seems to hold very well and the chrome rear triangle and the chrome fork are just classic. I have had problems with rear wheel slippage on two occasions and I am not really sure whether it is a design flaw of the horizontal drop outs or whether it was my own mistake.

There are two things you should be aware of: In the larger frame sizes the seat tube angle is rather slack as compared to other brands. This might become an issue if you prefer to sit more centered over the bottom bracket. Moreover, also due the slack seat tube angle, the effective top tube length is more on the short side, which might be an issue as well.

Hope this helps.
Merckx Corsa 01DoctorNurse
Aug 8, 2001 5:21 AM
Wow! What can I say people...You folks have given me an embarrassment of riches in terms of advice and really, really helpful tips! I will take everything into consideration, and even though the reviews thus far have only been equivocal for the Bianchi (damn! a steel 2.9 lb frame too! I guess that weight is going to have some downsides) I will check out Gary Hobbs and the other sources your folks suggest. Please keep the info coming and let me throw some other names at you for some reaction:

Pegorretti Palasanto and Duende
Giordana Superleggero and Eco

Additionally I have heard that the quality control on Colnagos was questionable on their steel frames...I know that they are wonderful bikes, but I think I'm gonna stick to the names I mentioned earlier...No knock on the Mapei and rabobank kids out there, but I like a surer thing!

Again many thanks, and keep the feedback coming!

DoctorNurse
Merckx Corsa 01--Aw, now you're not playing fairBigDaddySmooth
Aug 8, 2001 6:32 AM
I've done a fair bit of research on steel because, well, it's steel and it IS REAL and the choices out there make for a tough decision. I personally have had a Bianchi SLX (comfortable, but a bit too much flex), a Tommasini Tecno (sweeeet) and a Strong Racing frame Foco (real nice, check him out too as the frame will be custom--strongracing.com). My next frame will be either a Mondonico or a Pegoretti. Both Pegoretti and Mondonico build frames for pros that are "re-badged" for the team sponsoring the rider. Also, check out the Viner frames from Gary Hobbs. Good luck, there are alot of great frames out there. Let us know what you finally decide on for your ride.
Merckx Corsa 01--Aw, now you're not playing fairDoctorNurse
Aug 8, 2001 7:57 AM
You bet! I am really glad that I asked you folks because I had never even heard or Tommassini, or the amazing treasure trove of steel bikes that is GVHbikes.com, and clearly this board was helpful there! I am now even more excited, albeit a little more confused, but I'm gonna stick with steel all the way and will let the fit of the frame (and hopefully ride, although I realize that with some of the more custon stuff, and mail order stuff that may be a little trickier, if not outright impossible) rule in or rule out frames as appropriate, but rest assured, I will be a blur on my steel bullet very soon!

Thanks again!

DoctorNurse
You're going the right route ...bianchi boy
Aug 8, 2001 7:50 AM
I tried an aluminum frame (a good one, too) for a while, and it just can't compare with steel. You just can't top the ride of a good steel frame, in my opinion, particularly for the price. There are some very good values in Italian steel frames right now, and as you say, they've been doing it a long time. A lot of the Italian frames have a certain style that most other makers just can't match. I apologize in advance to all the ti fanatics out there, but there is nothing more boring looking to me than an unpainted ti bike.

Some of the US custom shops make some very nice light steel frames, but you'll generally pay much more than you would for an Italian. You might want to check out a few just for comparison. Some of the better customs I've found are Steelman, Waterford, Anvil, Landshark, and Strong -- but they're generally gonna cost you more than a steel Cinelli, Tommasini, Gios, Pinarello, Viner, Casati, etc.
re: Opinions on Italian Steel framed Steedsjaybird
Aug 8, 2001 8:13 AM
while you are at it check out richardsachs.com He makes the bikes himself and beauty and quality are second to none...
no-one mentioned Guerciotti ?dotkaye
Aug 8, 2001 8:29 AM
rode a borrowed Guerciotti for a month or so and just loved it. This was an older one, early 90's I think. I just bought a new alu frame/carbon fork, but I'm already trying to justify a Guerciotti..
Not that it has any bearing on the issue, but I'm exactly the same height/weight as you..
I'll mention Guerciotti . . .DCW
Aug 8, 2001 12:42 PM
I ride a Guerciotti Neuron/Chorus that Gary Hobbs built up for me last year. Very comfy and lively, not heavy for a lugged steel frame and chromed fork (the Ksyriums help). Still love it after 5000 mi. and would recommend it to just about anyone for a good all-purpose ride.
re: TorelliGriff
Aug 8, 2001 3:47 PM
I just got a torelli with genius tubing and love it.
Look at schwab cycles in Denver or Arvada bikes at www.arvadabikes.com
Arvada bikes had GREAT deals and you can build it how you want.
The columbus nemo or genius tubing is silky smooth, stiff when you jam on it and light for steel. I mated it with chorus group, a profile brc fork (because of my size 6' 210), and krysium wheels, it is under 19 lbs.
Good luck and rermber fit is the most important factor to consider.
One more thing, the engine that drives the bike will win out over exotic materials every time.
Griff