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steel frames(19 posts)

steel framesjubiea
Aug 1, 2002 11:28 AM
I have always like the ride of a steel frame but not the weight. Recently I came across a couple of steel bikes made out of Ultrafoco that weigh under 3 lbs. Has anyone ridden and Ultrafoco steel bike and can provide some input about the ride?
Aug 1, 2002 11:54 AM
On the harsh side, might as well get a good Al frame for less.
If you want a "steel" ride, you can still get a "light" frame made for you. Mine is 19 lbs, 4 oz without getting weight weenie about componates (Record/Chorus mix, heavy but comfy saddle). I could shave off another 2 to 3 pounds if I really wanted to.
Made from Zona, which has that nice "real steel" ride.
One thing the build was concerned about was that the super thin walls of UltraFoco were very easily dented. He had gotten this feed back from other small builders, so YMMV.
Ultra-Foco. - (Putting my aerospace engineers hat on)joekm
Aug 2, 2002 6:50 AM
If the tube walls are that thin then the effective strength of the tube will be reduced due to failure of the compression side long before reaching the tensile strength of the material. If it's thin enough to accidentally dent, then I'd be concerned.

Before I got that obsessed about frame weight, I'd just go with a heavier frame and buy lighter wheels. Weight off the wells will probably be more meaningful anyways.

Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Ultra-Foco. This comment is based upon the statement that the walls were "super thin".
you dont get somthing for nothingColnagoFE
Aug 1, 2002 12:12 PM
it's either gonna be way flexier or not very durable unless they found some new wondermetal to blend the steel with.
Columbus Foco...miposy
Aug 1, 2002 12:34 PM not thin (relative to Ultrafoco), is very durable, rides nicely, and is still a 3.5 pound frame from a good custom builder like Strong or DeKerf.

My bike, a Strong Frame, is 18.5 pounds with a Campy Daytona Group, and standard components. Nothing chi chi light at all.

Really, most good builders can build a frame like this at about 3.5 pounds.
Foco strong like moose, eh.klay
Aug 1, 2002 12:42 PM
I had a Foco frame till it proved it's strength by lifting the first joist of my carport about an inch+. The bike was in the roof rack etc... It only suffered a small wrinkle in the down tube.

Made by Marinoni, it had a thin walled octagonal downtube (no longer used by Marinoni cause it was too thin). It held up fine under my 200 lb self although I could get a bit of brake rub when climbing. I think the rear end was flexing. One other builder said this was a result of the build and not the material. The Marinoni did not have a "bridge" between the chainstays. It only had a small tab on the bottom bracket lug.

I'd would have no qualms about it's strength. I've even seen it mado into mountain bikes.

BTW - Thanks to the exchange rate, the Marinoni is a good deal. About $1200 US will get you a Ultrafoco frame with carbon rear end and carbon fork.

Foco strong like moose, eh.koala
Aug 1, 2002 1:40 PM
My Teesdale foco is55 c-c and weighs 3.34. Its as stiff as my old masrelite in the bottom bracket yet rides much nicer. Built with chorus, looks, and light but not weight weenie stuff its 18.5 with excel cirrus wheels. The ride is truly sublime. The builder can use different tubes for your weight, power and riding style.
so you have no qualms about foco...rufus
Aug 1, 2002 4:47 PM
for a heavier rider? i've been thinking about getting a mondonico frame, but am torn between the el-os or the foco. i know the el-os has longer butts at the head tube junctions, at least longer than nemo or the older genius tubeset, which should make a good solid front end; not sure how the foco is butted. both are drawn down to .4mm middle sections, which is very thin, and i'm a bit concerned with durability.

currently i'm about 220, down from 240. hope to get down to 180 or less.
so you have no qualms about foco...merckx56
Aug 1, 2002 5:56 PM
I have a Look foco frame and it's plenty stiff under my 180 pounds. It rides like a dream too. 18 pounds with dura-ace! Not quite a smooth as the steel merckx (what is?) but rides very well. Check into Dean frames at . They build very nice stuff out of foco and ultrafoco. Honestly, I don't believe that this frame will last forever, but 3 or 4 good years will be plenty for me! I usually get itchy for something new after that long anyway.
Got a Dean Zonasn69
Aug 1, 2002 6:05 PM
Great bike. Very happy with it. Works quite well under my 180 pounds, and I expect it'll last a while (a lot longer than the comps I put on it at least). Plus, Dean has good prices on build kits with relatively low mark-up.
No worries with the Zona...Gregory Taylor
Aug 2, 2002 5:44 AM
As I've posted a couple of times here, I crash tested a Dean road frame built up with Columbus Zona this past June. Hit a car (he pulled out in front of me) square on at 20 mph. The frame is visually straight...I am replacing it, however, as it took a hell of a whack and I don't want to see if it comes apart later.

My point, however, is that the tubeset didn't buckle or break in the accident.

By the way, the Dean is a great deal. They will work with you to tweak the tube selection to match your weight and riding style. My experience was that they won't let you go out the door on a bike that is marginal for your style and needs.
so you have no qualms about foco...koala
Aug 1, 2002 6:23 PM
Opt for the mega down tube and even at your weight the .7, .4, .7 heat treated microalloyed steel with the crimped seat tube and elliptical stays give excellent rigidity. Foco is great stuff, but at 240 i would avoid the ultra foco.
so you have no qualms about foco...zray61
Aug 1, 2002 6:27 PM
Stay with it. You will,
so you have no qualms about foco...koala
Aug 2, 2002 3:59 AM
Aug 1, 2002 6:50 PM
I go 175-180 and have been on a Strong Foco for the past 16 months. It performs at least as well as my EL-OS frame with less weight. When I was putting together the frame with Carl Strong, we discussed UltraFoco and agreed that it wouldn't be a good idea at my weight.
re: steel frameslegs
Aug 1, 2002 6:09 PM
merckx makes a steel frame that is amazing...
not any more ...tarwheel
Aug 2, 2002 9:53 AM
Regretably, Merckx has quit making steel frames (except for their Pista track model) -- or at least doesn't export them to the US any more. Check their website and catalogues in stores -- no steel models listed. A real shame.
DEDA EOM16.5tmguy
Aug 1, 2002 6:16 PM
Very similar to ultra focco, maybe better (?) Riding my Pinarello Opera with carbon rear stays and fork. The skeptics went on and on about the durabiity issue. So far no dents and it rides wonderfully! Go steel and forget Al! It just gets better and better as the technology improves.

Marinoni makes great bikes. I had a Nemo (similar to Focco) frame that was really nice. The price is right and he has built frames for all the great Canadian riders.
true temper has a new steel tubing..Stinky Hippie
Aug 2, 2002 6:48 AM
....think it's called S 2. and it's designed with racers in mind. I have an ox platinum frame that is a custom 58-59cm that weighs 3.6 lbs. (complete bike is 17.2) I betcha a compact frame out of S 2 comes in very close to 3 pounds. Check out the Henry James website.

Feel the gin