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Which frame should I pick - Colnago , Seven, Merlin?(22 posts)

Which frame should I pick - Colnago , Seven, Merlin?CaptainJuicy
Jun 10, 2003 9:26 AM
Well I'm ready to treat myself to a beatiful new ride to reward myself for completing 9 weeks of chemotherapy battling testicular cancer.

I currently ride a Trek 5200 that I really like but I don't think it fits me particularly well. I get pain in my neck and arm on longer rides. Most likely it's my setup but thought I'd include it.

I love climbing, love pounding fast on roller coaster hilly rides but I am a a skittish decender. Lots of big mountains where I ride in the Mt Shasta, CA area, so a good climbing bike with great control to help my weak decending are really important. I want the bike to be ideal for comfort on long rides, centuries and the occasional road race. No criteriums for me though.

I am 6'0", 175-180lb with longer legs and a shorter torso.

I think I want a titanium frame for comfort and feel but would like to hear thoughts.

What do you have to say about:
Seven Odonata - Crazy expensive but it would be custom
Colnago CT-1 - Everybody seems to rave about it's handling
Seven Axiom - Again expensive but custom and seems versatile
Merlin Extralight - Even more pricey but I love my Merlin MTB

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!!
And don't forget...My Dog Wally
Jun 10, 2003 9:31 AM
Not to confuse the issue further, but you'd be crazy not to also include the Serotta Legend Ti, Serotta Ottrott, and Independent Fabrication Ti Crown Jewel.
RE:And don't forget...CaptainJuicy
Jun 10, 2003 9:54 AM
Wow that Ottrott makes me drool. Still in shock over the price but you only live once...Thanks for the tips!
RE:And don't forget...ryder1
Jun 11, 2003 4:03 AM
I vote for the IF.
if you don't mind waiting...._rt_
Jun 10, 2003 9:39 AM
and waiting....and waiting....Dean makes beautiful ti frames, and they'll do a custom frame as well.

they sound & act like a bunch of stoners but they make really nice bikes!

rt (love my Dean mtb)
re: Which frame should I pick - Colnago , Seven, Merlin?MP
Jun 10, 2003 9:45 AM
I was in a similar situation last year, and test rode a number of different bikes. I settled on a Litespeed Siena because it climbs so well. It is also comfortable, light, and handles well downhill. I, too, am skittish about going fast downhill, but feel comfortable on this frame. This year Litespeed uses a carbon seatstay rather than ti, which is the only difference from my year-old frame. I have it outfitted with Record components and Campy Eurus wheels which are light,strong, and comfortable. I live in Folsom and do a lot of climbing in the Sierra foothills and mountains. Give one a try, you will be surprised at how nicely it climbs.

Another CT1 rave here.djg
Jun 10, 2003 9:48 AM
Lots of nice bikes out there, but I've been extremely happy with this all around--killer handling and very smooth.

Congratulations and good luck.
Another CT1 rave here.Jowan
Jun 10, 2003 1:57 PM
Must adhere to this message, the CT1 is a blast, comfortable -also because of the shorter then average topttube- and pretty stiff. I just can keep riding this rig without being beaten after 100+ klms.

re: Which frame should I pick - Colnago , Seven, Merlin?jtolleson
Jun 10, 2003 9:59 AM
Go get a good fitting on a Serotta size cycle or similar to find out what you need, especially TT length. Like you, I am longer in legs and shorter in torso, and I have trouble with the TT length on many of the bikes that "should" fit me. I just can't handle a TT longer than about 54 cm, but many bikes with TTs that short where too small elsewhere (or bars too low). So, it became pretty apparent that I would really benefit from going custom.

In contrast, you may be one who can fit several manufacturer's stock geometry, and then can consider getting a good price on, for example, the CT-1 through Maestro.
re: Which frame should I pick - Colnago , Seven, Merlin?irregardless
Jun 10, 2003 10:17 AM
Haven't tried them all but I have a CT1 and an Extralight. The Extralight is lighter and climbs well and has probably the best resilient/sringy titanium ride I have experienced. However, I still prefer the CT1. Good climber, plenty resilient, comfortable for the long rides, but the handling is out of this world, especially descending. I worship the thing. My recommendation is don't buy any of them until you have test ridden a CT1 on a couple of hills. It also sounds like you are a good candidate for the Colnago geometry with long legs and a short torso.

And congratulations on your victory. My hat goes off to you.
Well, if you love to climb...bigdeal
Jun 10, 2003 10:01 AM
What about an Eddy Merckx Majestic? Eddy's geometry and it's build under the same roof as Litespeed and Merlin.
Steven, welcome to the club...Dave Hickey
Jun 10, 2003 10:14 AM
It's not a club any of us wanted to join, but there a a couple of TC survivors on RBR. You DESERVE something very special. If you ever want to talk, email me at I'm 8 years cancer free........
Man, where is the love:funknuggets
Jun 10, 2003 11:08 AM
Don't forget Fondriest has a fat Ti bike... and thanks to everyone's prodding, I also now can suggest the Look KG381, not Ti, carbon...and so freaking cool. Compared to the Fondy (which I love), it sounds like Darth Vader breathing when it rolls at speed. Crazy. For comfort in that area... I wouldnt suggest the SLR saddle, but I am still getting the frame dialed in.

Jun 10, 2003 12:09 PM
Go to the Fondriest USA site and check out their ti model. It's beautiful. The welds are incredible. You should at least consider it. And everyone rightly raves about their customer service.

Also, many congratulations on your triumph. Here's to continued good health and many miles for all.

Enjoy your new steed
none of the above!FTMD
Jun 10, 2003 11:28 AM
Oh yeah!
re: Which frame should I pick - Colnago , Seven, Merlin?Caseysdad
Jun 10, 2003 11:49 AM
Not to further widen the field, but if you're set on this level of indulgence you owe it to yourself to get in touch with Tom Kellogg at Spectrum Cycles. Every spectrum owner that I've ever run across has raved about the intensely satisfying process of having a perfectly customized frame developed and created by this master craftsman. Whether you go steel, ti or ti/carbon, you're assured of getting a bike that's been meticulously crafted to meet your individual needs and preferences. At the very least, be sure to check out the Spectrum website and discussion forum. They're excellent resources for anyone trying to get enough of an education about bike design and custom builds to make an intelligent decision.

Above all, enjoy yourself and stay healthy!
Second vote for SpectrumGleep
Jun 10, 2003 12:17 PM
After riding my '03 Merlin Extralight for several months now (which I absolutely love BTW), the top of my list of bikes I want to own someday is a Spectrum Ti-Super. Think of the very best fabrication that the Merlin/Litespeed workshop can turn out, with frame tubes and design selected especially for YOU by Tom Kellogg. All the magic of a Ti frame, tailored to your exact riding needs by a 25-year master builder. How can it get better than that?

You definitely owe it too yourself to check out Spectrum's website and user forum. I haven't seen an single lukewarm/negative response to a Spectrum cycle experience, they've all been overwhelmingly positive. There is a 3-month wait, but worth it an then some according to owners.

Someday for me.....
long legs, short torso?gregario
Jun 10, 2003 12:12 PM
if you have long legs and a short torso I would go with the Colnago.
Long wheel base, low bottom bracket for stable descendingdzrider
Jun 10, 2003 1:13 PM
You won't believe how much difference those two measurements make in the stability of a bike at high speed. A custom builder's job is to create a bike that considers your shape, your riding style, your taste and your spirit. You've earned it!
Congratulations......Len J
Jun 10, 2003 2:06 PM
you deserve some rewards.

I went through the same choice the end of last year. I test rode everything I could find & decided on a Custom Serotta Legend TI. I couldn't be happier.

Lot's of good advice above. The only thing I would add is to be really clear on what type of riding you want to do & have the bike designed for that riding. (A crit geometry is not as comfortable after 100 miles of hills as a long wheelbase/low BB as an example).

Custom builders are valuable for other reasons than just how you fit pyhsically on the bike, including fitting the bike to how you use it. Do you want clearance for larger tires? fenders? longer wheelbase? lower BB? Pump peg? Chain hanger? What about a unique custom paint job? For all of these reasons I would go custom, which may rule out the CTI (I know Colnago does custom but how long, how much?).

FWIW my final order of preferance was:

Serotta Legend TI (Beautiful lines & ride)
Spectrum TI (Tom Kellog fit and great paint)
Moots Vamoots (Beautiful craftsmanship & smooth ride)

Everyone else was ruled out for either ride, looks, lack of quality paint or no-customizable to my desires.

Congratulations......My Dog Wally
Jun 24, 2003 3:24 PM
"Everyone else was ruled out for either ride, looks, lack of quality paint or no-customizable to my desires."


Which one of the above criteria caused you to reject the IF Ti Crown Jewel. It couldn't have been the ride, because their frames are legendary for delivering the precise ride the owner wants. It certainly can't be the looks, the paint or the welds -- not with those gorgeous and swoopy chain stays, the deeply lustrous paints, and virtually invisible welds. And it definitely can't be that they're not customizable, because they'll build a bike exactly to the body type, desired handling characteristics, and preferred geometry of the rider. So, if it's not any of these things, what are you referring to?
Specifics.Len J
Jun 25, 2003 3:32 AM
I have read several comments on this board and others as well as the experience of one of my riding buds, about the lack of durability of the IF paint, including chipping. I'm not talking about one report but enough of the same complaint that I felt, based on the amount of money I was going to spend, and the number of high quality choices out there at this price range, that ruling out IF was prudent.

Sounds like you haven't had that experience, I just didn't want to take the chance.