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Best steel bike.(19 posts)

Best steel bike.TREKY
Oct 26, 2002 6:27 PM
What would you consider to be the best steel bike or frame available on the market today?
re: Best steel bike.siclmn
Oct 26, 2002 7:05 PM
Davidson,made in Seattle. They also make Ti. It's the special ride that you are looking for.
re: Best steel bike.Me Dot Org
Oct 26, 2002 8:18 PM
I was talking to the folks at Steelman Cycles Booth during the San Francisco Grand Prix. I asked them if Brent did lugged frames, and they said nope, but steered me towards Davison in Seattle.

I think you might find a lot of people who would give the nod, however, to Richard Sachs. Tht's not to put the knock on Davidson. I think post folks would be exstatic with anything from the top frame makers.
Many fine steel frames...Debatable topicrwbadley
Oct 26, 2002 8:21 PM
Della Santa of Reno. Serotta is nice, the csi especially. Sachs are gorgeous. Columbine makes some special rides. You can pick up some of the older Waterford Paramounts on e-bay for some nice prices.

The new Waterfords are lovely. Davidson are special. Rivendell makes a really neat frame. Some of the Japanese small makers are doing some fantastic work.

Get as much info as you can and go for it, you won't go wrong with any of them.

It actually depends on you. It is the bike/frame that...sprockets2
Oct 26, 2002 8:58 PM
fits you, meets your needs and expectations, and your budget which will be your best. Anyone who claims that this guy or that guy is your best builder is going to far, at least without knowing your needs. There are literally dozens of guys who can make the nearly perfect bike for you. The steel market is too diverse to ID any specific "best" builders. Especially since it is no longer necessary-and in my opinion sometimes a mistake-to remain tied to the brazed lug style of yesteryear. Many shops can design for your needs and then weld tubes very nicely.

Some of the long respected builders make great "old school" style bikes, which are still fine bikes, but they are not quite the lightest or best performing steel bikes that you can find. That may not matter to you and their mastery of the traditional bike building art will be all that you need to see. Some of these traditional builders choose to not use, or are not able to utilize the best modern tubes-some of which are oversized-in their designs. My feeling is that there is an advantage to some of the shaped and OS tubing made from the best of the new steels available.

If you are actually looking for a bike you should start looking around, but take your time. There are many builders out there. You can find some very expensive exotica out there, with excellent craftsmanship, and sometimes the best tubes, which are a visual and cycling delight, and OTOH can find surprisingly good performing frames for not much money-I got a terrific Gunnar for about 1/2 the price of what many other welded bike builders charge, but the artisan/craftsman aspect that is found in the best lugged frames is mostly absent in all of these welded frames. On the road, the tube selection and design of my Gunnar make for a great performer, so I don't miss the lugs, brazing, artsy carving and fancy painting. And I am glad I saved 50% over many other welded bikes from other big name builders. It is my best bike.

I don't want to start a pissin' contest over this, but some other poster mentioned Davidson in Seattle. I would beg to differ. First, as I said above, there a lots of guys who can make your best bike, and you or anyone else have no idea if he can do that until you talk with him, give him your story and see what he says. In my experience, I will say that while Davidson makes bikes, some of which are beautiful, many of which are good performers, I have had dealings with him and I would strike him from your list. If you really need to know the details, we can talk.
re: Best steel bike.gtx
Oct 26, 2002 10:38 PM
lugged: Richard Sachs
tig: Steelman
Up there: Richard Sachs (nm)jtferraro
Oct 26, 2002 10:42 PM
re: Best steel bike.Andor
Oct 27, 2002 7:39 AM
Cervelo Renaissance
re: Best steel bike.mackgoo
Oct 27, 2002 12:18 PM
Anything with EL-OS.
Oct 27, 2002 1:31 PM
re: Best steel bike.j-son
Oct 27, 2002 2:49 PM
Steelman: functional, beautiful, no nonsense; a no BS frame for no BS riders more interested in performance than hype.
This is where I'd probably spend my own money. (My wife rides an SR and I have a Manzanita; Brent Steelman is fantastic to deal with).

Sachs: breathtakingly beautiful frames. More art than mere sporting equipment. Sachs frames are best suited for those with a deep appreciation for the esthetics of road cycling. (I find it interesting that I've never personally met a Sachs rider under 50 yoa; just an observation; and my sample is tiny, only four riders compose my entire Sachs riding familiar).
re: Best steel bike.e-RICHIE
Oct 27, 2002 5:01 PM

(I find it interesting that I've never personally met a Sachs rider under 50 yoa; just an observation; and my sample is tiny, only four riders compose my entire Sachs riding familiar)


nearly all of my clients are younger than me. and i'm 49.

re: Best steel bike.j-son
Oct 27, 2002 6:24 PM
Must be the people I know and ride with.

It seems like the younger guys want the latest and most hyped, ie Al with carbon stays, compact geo etc.

The older riders seem to have more of an appreciation for craftsmanship and pure Pirsigian (if that's even a word) quality. The older guys also have the disposable income.

Funny, but a few days ago (on the occasion of my 29th birthday) I told my wife that when I turn 40 I'm ordering a Sachs frame.

I told her that in another 11 years I should hopefully be able to fully appreciate it. (And finally afford it; she's still in school -- studying to be a veterinarian -- and I'm a lowly cop.)

I'm assuming that this message was posted by Richard Sachs ... I didn't at all mean to disparage your work by my comments regarding the age of Sachs riders. It was just a flippant observation and commentary on frame choices made by riders I know.

Any opinions on the Pinarello Opera or Casati Laser...Bruno S
Oct 27, 2002 6:05 PM
both are made from Deda EOM 16 tubing with a carbon fiber seat stay. The Fondriest Xtasys is also made like that. Never ridden one of this frames but they look very modern unlike most steel frames.
Any opinions on the Pinarello Opera or Casati Laser...rengaracchi
Oct 27, 2002 9:32 PM
Pinarello Opera is a fantastic bike. I bought one this summer and rode about 500 miles on it. It is light weight, responsive and doesn't make your muscles exhausted after a century or serious hill climb. I also like its classic design. Mine is silver and black (their "nice" color scheme) and is just beautiful to look at. I often wonder if steel is this good, what else we need.
KInda curious myself....any opinions on IF?joekm
Oct 28, 2002 5:50 AM
I see steelman is well represented and everything I've heard so far has been good. I'm kinda curious to know if anybody has experince with Independant Fabrication as well.
Steel thoughtsmass_biker
Oct 28, 2002 8:18 AM
Rode/raced an IF for a while - very, very nice build, but the geometry was a bit off (i.e. too relaxed) for me.

Riding/racing a Colnago MXL right now - a tad heavier than the IF, but it definitely has the right racing geometry (and a shorter TT, which I like).

There are some folks doing things with crazy-light steel (Foco?). Saw one bike the other day and could literally squeeze the tubes with my hand. Scary.

Staying away from the Europeans (my ownership of an MXL does make me somewhat biased), my list of top North American steel bikes would be:

* Serotta CS whatever
* Cervelo Prodigy
* Steelman
* Richard Sachs
* Landshark

All of these are bikes you can pound on, train on, and still race competitively on.

I almost bought the Prodigyjoekm
Oct 28, 2002 8:32 AM
As an engineer, all of the frame tweaks seemed logical. I finally decided against it because it appeared to be optimized more for sprinters and I saw better component setups out there. OTOH - for all I know, such a bike might have been perfect for me. Certainly the Rennaisance frame has caught my attention.

I have heard that there is a variation on Foco called "Ultra Foco" that has extra-thin walls. Not sure if I would go for that either.

Once again, Steelman is mentioned in a positive light. I've yet to see anything bad said about those frames.
It would be a mistake to not consider Strong Frames as well...miposy
Oct 28, 2002 10:59 AM
As mentioned earlier, there are many good builders, and each may "fit" you in different ways both literally and figuratively.

Owning a bike does not make it the best bike, but I own two Strong Frames (, have been riding all kinds of bikes since 1983, and am very happy with both Strong Frames. Also, Carl Strong is a really nice guy.

They are great bikes. Period.

I also owned one of the earliest Davidson Mountain Bikes, and it was a great bike as well.

A bike I have always wanted, but have never ridden is the I-Fab Crown Jewel, and two buddies who own them love them. They are beautiful bikes, too.