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help me decide on a frame (long)(25 posts)

help me decide on a frame (long)tarwheel
Dec 11, 2002 1:40 PM
Well, I finally convinced my wife I need a new frame, so I plan to order one for a Christmas/birthday present. The problem is that I can't make up my mind. I plan to swap an Ultegra group with Open Pro wheels from an old steel frame I've had for years. I want this bike to be my mileage hog -- used for long rides and the bulk of regular rides. My other bike is a steel lugged Gios with chrome fork and Campy Chorus. I am happy with the the Gios, but want the new frame to be more comfortable and better suited for longer rides -- with a more relaxed geometry, longer chain stays, etc. I want to use the Ultegra group on the new frame because I have found the Campy 10 to be too high maintenance, with chains and cassettes wearing out much too often for high mileage use (I ride about 500-600 miles/month).

Anyway, now that my wife has given me the green light for a new frame, I am paralyzed by indecision. I'm not sure whether to order a custom steel frame, buy an off-the-rack steel Merckx or Colnago, or try something really different like a carbon Look. I started out looking for a used Merckx steel frame but have had no luck finding one in my size and in good condition. So here are the frames I've narrowed my search down to:
-- Merckx Corsa 0.1, steel w/ lugs, weighs about 5.5 lb. frame & fork, cost $900
-- Look KG361, carbon, 4.2 lbs frame & fork, cost $800
-- Jeff Lyon custom, Reynolds 753 or 853 steel, filet brazed, weighs about 5 lb. frame & fork, cost $750-900
-- Colnago Master Lite, steel w/lugs, weighs about 5 lb. frame & fork, cost $900 w/ steel fork, $1,000 with Flash carbon
-- Giordana Super Legero, Excel steel w/lugs, carbon fork, weighs about 5 lb. frame and fork, cost $1,000

Here are a few other factors that weigh in: The Merckx has a threaded fork and stem, which I like, and would be the cheapest to swap over -- all the parts on my current bike would fit (BB, headset, stem, etc.). Geometry and size is perfect. Only available in one color, if the frame I'm looking at hasn't sold already, but could be special ordered from Belgium in any Merckx color scheme for $1,100 and a 3-4 month wait. It would be the heaviest of the frames.

The Look 361 is perhaps most intriguing. It would be considerably lighter than my current bikes. I've never owned a carbon frame, but supposedly these are very smooth riding. I would have to spend the most on the frame swapping parts -- needing a new headset, stem, BB and seatpost, but total cost would still run around $1,000. Only available in white color, which doesn't excite me much, assuming it hasn't sold out yet. Geometry in my size is very similar to the Merckx, although the Look has shorter chain stays.

The Lyon custom could be built to my exact needs -- size, geometry, braze-ons, etc. -- and painted in any color. Fork could be threadless or threaded, carbon or steel. The problem is I have never seen a Lyon frame in person and have heard little feedback on the quality of his work or paint jobs. I talked to the builder several times and he is very laid back, to the point where it concerns me a little. Says his current build time is 6-8 weeks, but I've heard many stories of custom frames taking much longer to build than estimated.

The Colnago would be ordered from maestro in england, if I got one. Maestro estimates 6-8 weeks delivery, but I have heard it can take much longer. Colnago paint schemes baffle me and I would have trouble deciding on one. Geometry not as laid back as I would prefer. Not sure it would ride that different from my Gios. Costs would involve new headset and stem, but not BB or seatpost. Confused about Colnago forks. Maestro says the steel Precisa is most comfortable, but others say the carbon Flash would be better in that regard and lighter.

The Giordana is a sharp bike and seems to be a nice value for such a light frame. Geometry almost identical to the Merckx, which is ideal. The bike shop that sells them steered me t
5+ pounds for a frame and fork is outrageous. Keep looking.(nm)onespeed
Dec 11, 2002 1:55 PM
not a weight weenietarwheel
Dec 11, 2002 2:03 PM
I've tried an aluminum frame w/carbon fork before and didn't like the ride -- too much road buzz. Comfort is much more important to me, which is why I am looking at steel or carbon. Ti is too expensive for me, and I don't like the look of most unpainted frames.
Cinelli Supercorsa?Gregory Taylor
Dec 11, 2002 2:13 PM
Surf over to GVHBIKES.COM and check out the Cinelli Supercorsa. Beautiful chromed lugs, steel threaded fork. About $800. I've not ridden one, but the Cinelli stuff seems to be a good deal.

Don't sell youself short on looking at ti bikes, either. Dean has a couple of framesets that are in your price range. They can powdercoat it for an upcharge. I just took delivery of a yellow El Diente CTI, and it turned out very nice. Of course, with the crappy weather here, I've not actually ridden it...
Dec 12, 2002 7:40 AM
I actually was considering a Dean Colubre until they quit making steel frames. The Dean ti frames are outside my budget ($1,000 or less) when you factor in the upcharges for custom geometry, fork, etc. -- even without the paint. They are a good value for ti, though.
5+ pounds for a frame and fork is outrageous--yeah, okaywaynebo
Dec 11, 2002 2:14 PM
Let's see a 18 pound bike (<4 pounds for frame/fork) vs a 20 pound bike (5-5.5 frame/fork). Assume the rider/bike combination is 160-220 pounds. 2 pounds saving on bike represents anywhere from a 0.9% to 1.25% savings. This, especially for someone who does mostly recreational riding, is insignificant. Go steel, go lugged and don't worry about the weight.
re: help me decide on a frame (long)Smoothie
Dec 11, 2002 1:57 PM
Wow - alot of good choices there.

I wanted to throw my vote towards the Look. Couple of people here ride Looks - the 386, the 381i, and the 361. I got to log maybe 75 miles on a 361 with DA/Ultegra mix with K's. Very nice ride. It was stiff enough in the BB area and the carbon really dampens the road shock. I think that would be a nice comfortable frame for you. The Look geo is also supposed to be more laid back and relaxed - which is a bonus since that's what you are looking for.

It would be really nice if you could ride a Look frame to make sure you like carbon though. It's very different than a steel bike. A full carbon bike doesn't feel like it absorbs road shock, more like it deadens it. Still a nice ride, just feels different.

hopefully you can get some good info on the steel bikes from other posters. Enjoy the new ride and good luck picking your frame! Remember it's supposed to be fun - don't stress over it too much and ruin the experience.
Second the Look . . . hands down the best ride I've ever had . .Look381i
Dec 11, 2002 4:39 PM
I enjoy the liveliness and comfort of my Guerciotti lugged Neuron (steel), appreciate the stiffness and efficiency of my son's Colnago Dream Plus (alu) and liked the smoothness of a ti bike I had some years ago. None approaches the comfort and efficiency of my Look. I can't say from personal experience that the 361 rides as well, but I have heard others say it. Mine seems to have the best characteristics of all the metals.

Good luck and have fun deciding.
fa la la la laa, la laa laa merckx!JS Haiku Shop
Dec 11, 2002 2:08 PM
first, your post was cut short. if you're not already, you might consider replying with the rest of your commentary.

second, when we rode in GA, you spoke about getting a merckx, as you have here numerous times, including this post, which harkens back to the merckx--either directly or in comparison--at least twice. i think--no matter how much you enjoy any of the other choices--you'll immediately, or eventually, regret not purchasing the merckx if you choose otherwise.

third, for guys our size, you're a heckuva climber. i wouldn't stress too much over the weight of frames within a pound of each other, within reason. i figure gearing can be had mucho low for a reason, and if a little more weight on the frame means you're either more comfy with the ride, or happier, or both, then so be it. you saw the pig i rode up brasstown: the cross-check, frame alone about 5 pounds, plus the fork weighing in at minimum a pound, probably closer to 2. it's the same one i used for the 6-gap, and didn't have *any* problems. all told, without bottles or a seatpack, it weighs in at 23-25# (ultegra/XT, open pros, brooks b17.n, ritchey & salsa otherwise).

my merckx strada (columbus brain) weighs 4.5# with a 1.5 pound chromed fork, also with chorus 10 (double, 13/29) and open pros; comes in at i think 21# with look pedals. i've done two double centuries (one lumpy, one hilly) on it, and can say today (and could say then) that, immediately after (and during!) each ride, i was still amazed at the pleasing ride *and* aesthetics of the bike. i'm with you on chorus expense, though.

otherwise, i really know nothing about the others, 'cept that gary hobbs ( carries lyon. i think it's the only frames he has with rack & fender braze-ons. if you're getting nowhere with the builder, you might contact gary. he's (gary) no-nonsense and to the point, but that can be a good thing.

it's really too bad the molteni corsa(s) didn't work out. that's my dream ride, too. beeee-yoooteeful burnt orange and blue. :)

fa la la la laa, la laa laa merckx!tarwheel
Dec 11, 2002 2:32 PM
Thanks for the complement on my climbing -- I don't get many of those. Most of the guys (and gals) I ride with are great climbers, so I am usually pulling up the rear. I am not hung up on the weight factor but was thinking I might ought to nudge a little closer to the 21st century if I am buying a new frame. It might be a long time before I buy another one. The Look is intriguing because it is so much lighter, and the geometry in my size is almost identical to the Merckx, but I'm just not real excited about the "looks." What I was gonna say about the Giordana is that the bike shop said it might be a little too light-weight for someone my size. They recommended the Merckx Corsa for more durability. The geometry is nearly identical to the Merckx. I like the option of adding braze-ons with the Lyon, which is one of the reasons I am seriously considering it. Although I don't currently have a need for fenders or a rack, I might down the road, particularly if I start commuting to work.
fenders and rackJS Haiku Shop
Dec 12, 2002 5:37 AM
on the fenders i can't say much.

on the rack or carrying capacity, i can: santa is bringing a couple carradice bags, a bag support (seatpost mounted, made for the bags), and a retrofit-kit for non-brooks saddles. this might be a consideration for you.

also, recently i've been experimenting with a lumbar pack, after reading much of mb1's postings about their convenience and utility. this one's an eddy bauer, and probably rates at around 1200 cubic inches of capacity. not too bad for long rides, though i wouldn't wear one for a climbing century+.


Tourer? Cyclo X?peter1
Dec 12, 2002 8:25 AM

If you can stretch your budget, look at an IF Club Racer. (doubt you could find one used, though). It has braze-ons.

Or, maybe you could get a custom or boutique builder to include them, as well as room for long-pull brakes.

WHy not consider a cyclo-X frame? With the right wheels, it won't be any slower than a pure road frame. But you'll have clearance for fenders and the canti brakes will let you run wide, load-bearing tires. We've got a guy on our team who has ridden crits on his Cross bike with fenders...

...of course, he's also the state cyclo X champion...
re: help me decide on a frame (short)sprockets2
Dec 11, 2002 2:37 PM
I think that you need to ride these things before you buy these things. As you have commented above, some of the bikes may not differ from the bike you have now in the sense that you are not actually gaining a longer-legged, more comfortable bike.

First, have you tried higher volume tires, a more cushy seat, a different stem length/angle, and a good carbon fork on the Gios? That would be my first thought on how to enjoy high mileage.

Second, you have not mentioned titanium. If you are looking for a comfortable, solid ride you surely want to check out a ti bike, like a Litespeed or other nice ti bike. You can get one or two types of LS framesets for a decent price.

Third, you can get a custom-sized Waterford welded tube bike (R-14) for $1200. 1" or 1.125" headtube. Reynolds 853/TT OX tubing, real nice finish. Waterford are the people who used to do the Paramounts for Schwinn. Nice work.
test ridestarwheel
Dec 12, 2002 7:48 AM
Unfortunately, none of the frames I am considering are sold in my area. Bikes shops around here only carry the common commercial brands -- Trek, Specialized, Bianchi, Cannondale, etc. -- none of which are the right geometry for me. My problem isn't the Gios. I am pleased with it's ride and performance. I just want something with different ride characteristics for a second bike. I've got an old Bianchi frame with top-notch components, so just want a frame to swap the parts onto. Litespeeds are outside my budget and their geometry is not the best fit for me. Waterfords are great, but outside my budget.
what size???C-40
Dec 11, 2002 2:38 PM
You have probably mentioned a frame size and your weight previously, but it helps when dispensing advice.

Have you looked at recently? They have a number of good steel frames, including some Colnago MXL and Technos models. Colnagos are racing bikes though, just like your Gios. Don't expect a touring ride from a Colnago.

Check out for good prices on LOOK frames.

By a "mileage hog" do you also mean that it's going to quickly become a beater that you don't maintain adequately and/or ride in the rain? If so, I'd consider cheap Ti. The ride will be smooth, it won't rust and you won't have to worry about the paint (or color). The Excel Sports Macalu Ti is a good example.

You're the one of the few that have posted claims of accelerated wear with campy 10. I've found that the chain and cassettes wear as well as any IF you keep the chain and cassette properly lubed and cleaned. Using a 4/1 mix of mineral spirits and synthetic motor oil to clean and lube every 100 miles or so will insure a long life for your campy 10 drivetrain. If you regularly ride in the rain or dirty conditions, more frequent lubing would be wise. My campy 10 chains typically have only 1/16" of stretch over 4 feet, after 3000 miles.
what size???tarwheel
Dec 12, 2002 8:02 AM
My ideal size is 57 c-c seat tube with about 56.5 top tube and 73 seat tube angle. A 57 Merckx comes very close to that -- 57 seat, 56.8 top, 72.5 angle. Giordana has the same measurements as well as last year's model of Look KG361. A Colnago MXL in size 59 has a 57 top and 73 seat angle. A Lyon frame could be built to those measurements with added features such as braze-ons for fenders and racks, extended head tube, etc. I also prefer a frame with longer chainstays (42 cm) for a smoother, more stable ride.

By mileage hog I mean this would be the bike I ride most of my miles on as well as longer rides. I can't explain my poor luck with Campy 10 chain/cassettes. I clean and lube my chain regularly. What happens is that shifting performance starts to decline rapidly after about 1500 miles. Since I ride 500-600 miles a month, I am having to spend $35 every three months on new chains and $80 on cassettes every 6 months -- that's $300 a year on chains and cassettes, which I find excessive. I would not buy another Campy 10 group for that reason alone, although I prefer the feel and shifting to Shimano when the chain is working right. In my view, Campy 10 stuff is great if money is no object, if you are an ace mechanic and keep everything working just right, or if you don't ride a lot of miles. In my case, it's just too finicky and expensive to maintain for a bike that gets a lot of mileage. It would be fine for a "Sunday bike" that doesn't get ridden a lot.
Tommasini Sintesi on sale...C-40
Dec 12, 2002 2:59 PM
Colorado Cyclist has a 59cm c-t Tommasini which has a 73 degree STA and 57cm TT. Darn nice frame with a fully chromed rear triangle and fork for $765. I rode a 55cm for 4 seasons and really liked it.,223,277&TextMode=0
How long is the wait for a De Rosa Corum?djg
Dec 11, 2002 4:09 PM
I think maestro lists them at around 1 grand, US. Less for the Ciocc with EOM tubes. I don't know if the geometry would work for you or not.

A friend recently bought a Pegoretti Palosanto which I think lists for less than a grand here in the US and might be cheaper if ordered from abroad. It's a pretty new purchase but he reports being very pleased with it. That makes two friends on Pegorettis, both satisfied customers.

There's also always custom from some place like Anvil or Landshark. I've no real experience with either builder but Landshark has an excellent rep. and Anvil seems to have a growing and good one.

And maybe this is outside your price range but GVH had some Merckx Millenium Ti frames for somewhere around 12 or 1300, and I think Colorado Cyclist had them on sale as well.
Help?? No I'm gonna make it more difficult!!Lone Gunman
Dec 11, 2002 5:06 PM
Have you looked at Pegoretti? GVH has them, or how about F. Moser?
Dec 12, 2002 8:07 AM
The Pegoretti Pasolanto is another frame I have considered. It's a little longer across the top than I prefer, but I like the extended head tubes they put on their frames -- a nice touch for someone (like me) who rides with higher handlebars. However, I have never seen a Peg in person and it would be a bit of an unknown. Not sure if a frame that light (3 lbs.) is the best option for someone my size and weight (5'11", 190 lbs.)
Sounds like you want the Merckx...Donger
Dec 11, 2002 5:39 PM
Don't drive your self crazy by over analyzing all the options and get what you really want. Same goes for components. Bite the bullet or else you might regret later. Hey, you can always take out a home equity loan! :-)
Another thought if you're looking at Lookdjg
Dec 11, 2002 6:14 PM
If you are interested in the 361, what about a 281? These are vanishing, so far as new stock goes, but several places still advertise some in this size or that. Parker International has them listed on their site at a pretty good price (remember to subtract the VAT, which they don't do for you). Dunno if they have your size, but maybe it's worth a look.
just get the Merckxgtx
Dec 11, 2002 6:24 PM
You won't regret it. Molteni orange looks cool, too, though I think you kinda got build that color with Nuovo Record.

I've seen the Lyons and they seem nice.

Of course I would consider IF, too--same slack STA and longer c-stays, bb is a bit higher than the Merckx, though. The Club Racer could be cool.

I like the Steelman 525 a lot, too--I think his bikes are on sale now.

But you should probably just get the Merckx or you'll always be wondering. I wanted one for 15 years and finally got one and wasn't disappointed.
Go for a MerckxNessism
Dec 11, 2002 9:19 PM
The Corsa 0.1 uses the Dedacciai ZeroUno tubeset which is very nice stuff. I have two different frames made with that tubeset and find the ride quality to be quite good. A regular ZeroUno tubeset frame should come in a little over 4 lbs. so the chrome must be weighing the Merckx down some. Of course, the chrome looks damn nice so don't fret over a little weight. Go for it.

nice thread.......ty to allmealex
Dec 12, 2002 9:23 PM