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Ultimate Century frame(14 posts)

Ultimate Century frametmargul
Mar 24, 2002 12:22 PM
I'm considering a Merlin Extrlight or a Calfee.
Any suggestions?


something cheaper...C-40
Mar 24, 2002 12:57 PM
If you want a pleasant ride and something that you won't cry over when it gets it's first scratch, look at the Macalu Ti (made by Litespeed) from Excel Sports. If you want something a little fancier, consider the Litespeed Tuscany or Siena.

Riding centuries (organized ones at least) can be a great way to tear up a bike. Riding on unfamiliar roads with a bunch of amateurs can be a recipe for disaster. I sure see a lot of scratched-up and beat-up looking bikes (including Merlins)at the centuries I've ridden.

I'd recommend a good steel frame like the Tommasini Sintesi, but it's too nice to treat thay way.
something cheaper...bic
Mar 24, 2002 6:41 PM
Gosh you make it sound like a demo derby not cycling. I have ridden lots of organized centuries and have not had a problem.
re: Ultimate Century frameNessism
Mar 24, 2002 12:59 PM
How about a regular Merlin? I would look for a small diameter tubed Ti frame since these will be more flexable. The Extralight frame is reputed to be fairly flexable but is quite a bit more money that the regular Merlin.
re: Ultimate Century framecyclopathic
Mar 24, 2002 1:15 PM
is probably not the lightest one. Calfee warranty is 10 years, Extralight is lifetime but you void it if you install rack or kickstand.. which means they're not up to the abuse.

The question of warranty is not hypotetical one. I've ridden with RAAM racer and he breaks in avg 1 frame in 2 years.

Typical English audax frame is lower grade 525/531 steel lugged and ~4lbs and there's a good reason why builders don't like to get bad reputation. Lower end LS make good century bike.

Other option would be to look at touring or sport touring steel frames like Rivendell, Mercian, Dave Yates etc or cyclocross steel or Ti frames (those are pretty strong). Advantage of going this route is that you get canti brakes with enough clearance to install fenders and wide tires.

here are few URLs take a look


PS this is the picture of Merlin from '01 BMB. It was the regular one not Extralight. Frame I believe was '96 and crossed Am once.
Is this pic really from '01?jtolleson
Mar 24, 2002 2:45 PM
I feel like it has been bouncing around the 'net for longer than that (as Exhibit No. 1 in the "ti isn't bombproof" case).
re: Is this pic really from '01?cyclopathic
Mar 24, 2002 4:16 PM
yes, happend on Aug 18 ~8 o'clock. I was leaving Middlebury when guy called in for pick up. I was sorry for him we talked on few occations. It was first BMB and he wanted it bad.
I dunno.arafat_fan
Mar 24, 2002 1:25 PM
I've been doing at least one century per week since January on 23-25 lb SLX and SP clunkers, but they haven't slowed me down at all. Your most important comfort considerations are choice of saddle, pedals & shoes, tires, bar position, and attire.

Don't expect the frame to make a world of difference, but buy something you will enjoy training on now and in the future. If it takes an expensive, exotic frameset to accomplish that, then so be it.

If there are budget considerations, I would buy a nice quality steel frameset, or a low priced Ti model, and then spend on a pair of custom built Zipp carbon wheels with Record or DuraAce hubs. They would seem to offer a performance and comfort advantage.
re: Ultimate Century frameMikeC
Mar 24, 2002 1:47 PM
I'm sure you expected someone to say that it depends on what kind of rider you are, and what kind of centuries you ride. So it might as well be me.
Now we've gotten that out of the way, I'll make my pitch.
I've never been caught up in the "I have the best bike" garbage because there are so many variables and personal tastes that come into play, but I honestly can't imagine a better century frame than my Seven Cycles Odonata. It's buttery-smooth, stiff laterally and in the bb, and 16lb 10oz built-up, even with non-exotic wheels. A century is one of the best excuses for a custom bike, as the little fit problems that are excusable for forty miles can really bug you after 100.
I did an MS 150 less than a week after getting the Odonata, and had no dial-in issues, no problems, and no pain anywhere.
Not what you asked, but......Len J
Mar 24, 2002 1:53 PM
I would answer your question a little differently.

First a couple of questions:
How fast do you want to do the century in?
How much do you want to spend?
What are your pertinant measurements?
What do you ride now, how comfortable is it over long (4-5 hour) rides?

My suggestions for a century frame would be based on two interrelated things, fit & comfort.

A century can take anywhere from 4 to 8+ hours and as such, the ability to ride for an extended time with little discomfort is (IMO) the most important consideration when choosing a frame. Comfort is a function of proper fit & frame compliance. Both of the frames you mention have a reputation for reasonably good frame compliance. However, it is impossible to say wether either fit you well (Although calfee does make custom). Obviously the range of frames available to you depends on the price you can pay.

Need more info.

hampsten cinghiale procolker
Mar 24, 2002 2:27 PM
long chainstays, low bb,long top tube and it's made of... steel. all together spelling comfort. and it's fast too.
Excellent choice! -NMTig
Mar 24, 2002 4:44 PM
Litespeed Classicjtolleson
Mar 24, 2002 2:47 PM
IMHO, is THE ti frame designed with centuries on the brain. Ditto on the Merlin (reg or Ultralite), both nice options.

The Macalu suggestion is probably a good one; the folks at Excel confirmed that Litespeed makes 'em and the geometry and polished ti finish looks suspiciously like the Classic.
Love my CalfeeSantaCruz
Mar 24, 2002 9:53 PM
I'm not a very high mileage guy, but I have ridden 6 centuries on my Calfee. I love the bike for its comfort, lightweight and BB stiffness. My Tetra has a 25 year warranty.
Quite honestly I prefer to do a century on my tandem (with a strong stoker, of course).