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Poll: Italian Steel or American Steel??(18 posts)

Poll: Italian Steel or American Steel??Ride-Fly
Nov 25, 2002 10:48 AM
I want to ask what is more desirable/preferable to
? I know other issues such as durability, ride quality, and handling depends on each individual builder and to an extent the rider's preferences so I am not asking for your opinions on those issues. So what about desirability between the 2 steel pedigrees?? Would you prefer an Italian custom such as Mondonico, Pegoretti or an American custom such as Landshark, Waterford, Steelman, Serotta? What about non-custom builders of steel such as DeRosa, Bianchi, Torelli, Tommasini against its American counterparts such as Ritchey, Lemond, Jamis??
One thing I've noticed is that most American steel bike makers are custom and most Italian steel bike makers are non-custom. Ride On!!!
Euro or Italian steel is becoming a little more rare latelyTig
Nov 25, 2002 11:04 AM
At least with the racing frame makers, there are fewer steel models to choose from each year as other materials are advancing in design and popularity. There seem to be plenty of American builders using steel (some exclusively) to choose from. I'd have a tough time choosing. Here's a listing of independant US frame builders:
re: Poll: Italian Steel or American Steel??Sintesi
Nov 25, 2002 11:20 AM
Both good. Italy has a long storied tradition, mystique and fancy paint. Essentially, people prefer those frames simply because they're "Italian." American builders match and exceed Italian quality all the time, it's just that they weren't making bikes for Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx back in the day. It's a matter of label consciousness.
Personal preference.dzrider
Nov 25, 2002 11:57 AM
My inclination is toward custom builders or production bikes by custom builders. They, for some reason, appeal to my sensibilities.

My wife has a 1986, Columbus SL, Pinarello. Every time I get on that bike I'm amazed by how well it goes down the road. Stable, responsive, even comfortable with a women's seat.

Is one of our bikes any better than the other? Probably not.

Am I happy with mine? Definitely.

Would I be happy with hers? Yes, but not in pink.

What will make you happy?
re: Poll: Italian Steel or American Steel??mapei boy
Nov 25, 2002 12:20 PM
I haven't done much bike testing in the past few years, but over my considerable lifetime I've come to appreciate Italian frames above all others - whether they be American, British, French or Japanese. (I've never ridden a Merckx or an Orbea, so I can't comment about Belgian or Basque ones.) It doesn't matter if a frame is made of steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon. The national characteristics of frames tend to be fairly consistent. When it comes to American frames, they usually have the best sheer workmanship; but depending on make and model, it seems as if they are either too stiff & tiggly or annoyingly numb & unresponsive. The Italian bikes, by contrast, are usually more nuanced and balanced. An Italian bike lets you feel the road, but it won't beat you up or buck you off if you hit a chuckhole. An Italian bike will let you dive into a corner, but it'll stay upright and moving forward even when your eyes have rolled back in their sockets from sheer exhaustion. Of course, there are exceptions. But if you've ever ridden a Colnago Master Extra Light, you'll know what I mean by balance.
re: Poll: Italian Steel or American Steel??climbo
Nov 25, 2002 1:13 PM
national characteristics? so NO American bikes are any good, they are all too stiff or too numb? What an absolute joke, this is pretty funny stuff !! I needed a laugh, thanks mapei boy.

So if Eddy buys his steel in Italy and makes the bike in Belgium, does it have Belgian characteristics or Italian ones? Please help, I want to get the right bike next time I buy one.
re: Poll: Italian Steel or American Steel??mapei boy
Nov 25, 2002 3:19 PM
A mite sensitive, ain't we? Here. Ride this Pinarello. You'll feel a whole lot better in the morning.
American - better valueSantaCruz
Nov 25, 2002 2:48 PM
It comes down to buying a bike that makes you want to ride. For some that has to include the heritage and mystique of a Euro bike, others want fancy paint or a famous name on the frame.

I like the value from North American companies, and there are lots of exceptional custom builders to choose from. I believe we should try to support American craftsmen.
re: Poll: Italian Steel or American Steel??Ironbutt
Nov 25, 2002 3:20 PM
In my opinion (and please remember that this is opinion, not absolute fact) the ride characteristics of a bike are almost solely determined by the builder. There is no particularly American or Italian build methodology that yields particular ride and handling characteristics. That being said, (and here is the really opinionated part) the precision with which good American steel bikes are built is unmatched by anyone else, Italian, Belgian, or anywhere else. A bike built by someone like Steelman, Serotta, or the folks at Waterford will have all of the threads fully chased and the critical tubes will be faced to near perfection. Most European builders assume that a quality frame is going to be built up by a professional quality shop and skilled mechanic and will need to have the threads cleaned up and the head tube and bottom bracket faced. I used to have access to a surface plate that was nearly two meters square, and fashioned a few fixtures so that I could check the alingnment of a bike frame on it with a dial indicator. The American frames were so close that any misalignment was barely measurable, using good (Starrett) measuring tools. Most (but not all) European frames would require cold setting to achieve perfect alignment. My wife has a Waterford and I'm lusting for one for myself!
if money no object...DaveG
Nov 25, 2002 4:07 PM
If money were no issue I'd probably go with a high-end, lugged, custom American frame (Sachs, Eisentraut, Waterford etc.) However, as the owner of a lower-end Italian frame (Torelli) I'd say you can buy a small bit of Italian mystique for less dough. I can't say that it will perform better than a Lemond or Jamis, but it does bring a bit of uniqueness and history that they can't ever offer.
I have both...StevieP
Nov 26, 2002 4:33 AM
...Colnago Superissimo from '97 & a '02 Lemond Nevada City. Ok, they are only comparable by the fact that they are both steel tubed as they are a world apart in class.

Thing is, if I were seated blind on the bike (enough of the 'how would you see where you are going jokes'), I dont think I would be able to feel a noticable difference. After all they are both steel and I don't hammer my bikes.

However, at the end of the day, I know which bike I would rather ride. I would take the Le Mond out in any weather (despite the fact that this was what it was bought for). The Colnago only comes out on bone dry days.

I think it all boils down to personal opinion but most of all desirability. I wanted a Colnago when I was a kid so when I could afford one I bought one. I have never lusted after a Le Mond.

How many of you would take a Lemond over a Colnago? Especially what I consider to be the dream of all bikes - the CT1.

At the end of the day, you need to be happy with the bike you have. Otherwise you wont want to ride it and surely cycling is about getting out there and doing it & not talking about it (although I have to admit this site is excellent and I would be lost without it!).

Steel is still THE tubing to have on a bike (Ti apart). Alu is not attractive. This will open up another debate I am sure! Again, it is only opinion.
I have both, including your dream bike, but no steel.djg
Nov 26, 2002 9:10 AM
You asked how many would take a Lemond over a Colnago. I don't honestly know. I do know that I have a Lemond Ti bike--built by Clark Kent about 7 or 8 years ago--and a Colnago CT1.

The Lemond is a good bike and, incidentally, very nicely tacked together. The CT1 is in a different league. Very, very sweet.

My conclusions about US versus Italian steel are null. I've owned both in the past, and it seemed to me that there was more variation between bikes than there was between countries of origin. I love my nag, and I wouldn't trade it for a Lemond. But while I enjoy seeing the occasional nag on the road, I'd be bummed if everyone had the same bike I do. And puzzled. These things are different, as are the people who ride them. I happen to like the variety of design ideas people have, within what is a fairly tightly constrained idea of a road bike.
re: Poll: Italian Steel or American Steel??cycleguy
Nov 26, 2002 7:55 PM
For a full custom I would go with one of the American builders. Sachs, Moon, Bayless, or Rex. But only after meeting them in person. I would need this to justify the difference between them and the off the rack Mondonico I now have and love. It is everything I wanted when I was looking for an Italian steel frame two years ago. I have fought the desire to go to a fitting with Antonio when he has been in the states only because I love the bike I have now. Oh, I will still keep my Mondonico no matter what bike I might get in the future.
tell me more about the mondonicorufus
Nov 27, 2002 6:05 AM
i'm thinking of getting one of his frames.
tell me more about the mondonicocycleguy
Nov 27, 2002 10:53 PM
i have the futura leggero made with a tube they call nemo 747. if you don't already know the importers site its a good site with lots of info. i bought frame only without a chance to ride it. but it was what I was looking for. built it with all daytona parts and mavic op rims. as for the ride the best way I can explain it is I also have a trek 5200 and I ride the mondonico. the trek will be for sale soon. oh, it was painted in italy with a orange to black fade. one of the best paint jobs i have seen.
you mean like this?rufus
Nov 28, 2002 7:53 PM
you mean like this?cycleguy
Nov 29, 2002 7:01 AM
if the orange is metallic thats the one
and i also found this...rufus
Nov 28, 2002 7:57 PM
for $150 more, new paint schemes for 2003 if you order a custom fitted mondonico. i kinda like the red and white in the middle.