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Good STEEL frames?(30 posts)

Good STEEL frames?Dave_Stohler
Dec 27, 2003 6:55 PM
I'm starting to decide what I'm going to build my next bike with, and I'd like your (serious) feedback. I've decided to stay with steel (DB or TB throughout, please) mostly because I want to keep the price down, and want to have it last. Here is what I'm looking for:

60-62cm frame, with decently long top tube (maybe 60 for a long tube, 62 for a short one??).

Must be rigid! No noodly frames, please!

Welds must be presentable.

Must be affordable. You can take this any way you wish.

Must be reasonably light. Shooting for an 18lb total weight (with tubulars).

BB type, paint sceme, brand not important.

OK, any ideas? I'm in no rush.
If you want to stay affordable (<$1K),sn69
Dec 27, 2003 7:05 PM
here are four recommendations:

1. TET--Teesdale Cycles. Nice TIG welds, reasonable prices. I've not seen too many in person, but their owners always seem quite content.

2. Curtlo--fillet brazing at a great price. I have seen a couple of these, and they are terrific. Fully custom without any up-charge.

3. Ionic/Dean--Dean no longer makes their steel Culebra under their name, although they still weld the same pipes for Ionic. Check both websites for info. I've got one of the last Dean steals, and it has proven to be a terrific frame (I'm 6'2", 180).

4. Landshark--particularly on Gary is the sole internet provider that I know of. I've only seen one L'shark in person and it was quite impressive. Nice brazing with a lugged bottom bracket. slightly more than the other three.

...A fith possibility would be to scan the classifieds here or ebay for a (slightly) used Ibis Spanky.

Good luck,
what Scott saidgtx
Dec 28, 2003 6:20 PM
you're not selling your Ibis, are you?
what Scott saidsn69
Dec 28, 2003 7:32 PM
Hey man,

How was X-mas? ...Lots of adorable baby photos, I'm sure. Did Santa bring you anything cool?

Dunno...I wasn't planning on selling her, although I'm still collecting her parts and she's still hanging from a peg in the garage. So far I've got a Record headset (bought on sale), an Easton EC30 fork (bought on sale), a used Ultegra rear d from the parts bin, RX100 brake calipers from the parts bin, new/unused downtube shifters from the parts bin, a new Shimano square taper BB--reason why coming up, Shimano brake levers from the parts bin, a wicked cool Stronglight crankset from ebay, an even more wicked cool NOS Superbe front d (I'd still love to find a matching rear), a silver Nashbar seat post and an old saddle, and a set of Profile Stoker pursuit bars that I was going to use just to be different (with white bar tape to match the downtube decal). I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do about the wheels before she starts going together. No rush, but I wanted her done in time for the Solvang Century.

My father-in-law was hinting around about her, but I think I've sold him on a Rivendell Romulus for his needs. I might sell her, but, just to be "chickish"...I'm just not sure.
Depends on what you mean by affordableMel Erickson
Dec 27, 2003 8:23 PM
I put this bike together a couple of weeks ago for under $1200.
Haven't ridden it yet and won't be able to 'til spring. Seems to fit your needs. Gary Hobbs has this frame for under $400 I think. Not sure if he has your size.
Think Foco...-JC-
Dec 27, 2003 8:38 PM
I think you are going to spend ~$1000 for a steel frame that will build up under 18lbs.

I have a Coppi CF (columbus foco) I like very much. The bike come in at 18.5lbs with a chorus triple and OP/chorus wheels. The ride is great, the frame is stiff and the handling is quick but still stable.

I have a friend who has a Carl Strong foco frame which he says is stiff and the bike certainly is light.

I think any competent builder can build you a light steel bike but it wont be cheap.

Good luck,
Think Vanilla...SenorPedro
Dec 27, 2003 9:24 PM
SE Portland frame builder. Absolutely stunning frames. Period.

I would go with lugs, but this is a fine example of fillet brazed steel.

not my cup O teaColnagoFE
Dec 29, 2003 12:26 PM
Compact frames are all ugly IMO. And this one especially as it is painted silver to look like TI? Don't like it, but I'm sure many do.
18 lbs. will be a real challangeNessism
Dec 27, 2003 9:31 PM
You will need to spend some serious money for components in order to meet your 18 lb. goal. Realistically, you might want to think about something closer to 19 lbs., especially with a frame your size. Even if you use one of the newer thin-walled tubesets, you will be hard pressed to find a 62 cm frame, that has reasonable stiffness, that will weight less than four lbs.

In terms of the frame, look for someone like TET or Strong who can TIG you something together using super-oversize thin-walled tubing. You are going to need at least a 35 mm down tube considering your size. And stay away from tall-ovalized blade shaped down tubes, they are ovalized in the wrong direction for bottom bracket support.

Good luck.

At his height and assumed (?) weight,sn69
Dec 27, 2003 9:44 PM
no offense intended, I was thinking that Zona would work well. However, while surfing the meager swells of the net tonight, I remembered Soma, specifically their Smoothie. I'm thinking their 853 round tubed frame would hold up well and prove mighty durable. It's the right price to afford a nice, low weight build that would keep the total somewhere between his target and yours. Not sure about the overall BB stiffness though.

By way of comparison, my Dean has a Columbus Zona mega down tube, and I've yet to flex it. I would, however, avoid the really thin walled stuff like Foco at weights over 200 #s.

Zona = Good!Nessism
Dec 27, 2003 10:43 PM
Zona is a very nice tubeset with lots of tube choices. Medium thin by modern standards unlike some of the more cutting edge, and less durable, choices.

I'm still not a fan of Megatube shaped tubes though. Not a show stoping issue mind you but something to think about if one is trying to maximize the materials use.

Agreed - Second CurtloB2
Dec 28, 2003 7:17 AM
At that frame size, it will take some extrememly light components or perhaps a steel frame that's "too light" for the whole bike to come in under 18 lbs. Personally I think 19 lbs would be more realistic objective given the likely weight of an "affordable" steel frame.

I would second the Curtlo recommendation. I have a friend who purchased a bike last year from Doug. The work was outstanding and the fit perfect. I have another friend that's in the process right now. They offer a frame with S3 tubing for $945, but I believe it has a 200 lb recommended weight limit. Their standard road frame uses Ox Platinum tubing and costs $695. Custom builds are the same price.

Good Luck,
IRD makes a nice 853 frame...russw19
Dec 27, 2003 11:47 PM
I can get you one for $600 with a matching carbon fork. It's about the cheapest I have seen an 853 frameset. It comes in blue with black or a ruby red.

Here's the link

Stunning welds!BowWow
Dec 28, 2003 5:50 PM
The silver solder over tig looks very nice!
How about...BowWow
Dec 28, 2003 12:53 AM
Cervelo? You can hit your weight goal, it's a Columbus Thermachrom tubeset, the 61 has a 587cm top tube, with a Columbus Muscle fork, for $999 on the Cervelo website...

With the Team CSC colors, no less!
re: Good STEEL frames?koala
Dec 28, 2003 5:24 AM
I have two foco custom built bikes. One from Carl Strong and one from Tom Teesdale. The Teesdale was less money and took forever to get(he is a one man operation). The Strong has prettier welds,is more money,and was delivered in 5 weeks. The Teesdale is every bit as good (except for the welds) and full custom a few years ago was 799 and he sold me an Ouzo Pro for wholesale. The Strong was 920 plus options(1025 two color) during one of his sales. Now its 1200. Pay more for the Strong if welds impress you.
Dec 28, 2003 5:57 AM
As everything else in life, there is a Good, Better, Fantastic, and there are generally additional $$ relative to each progession of quality. Whichever Manufacturer you choose, don't skimp on the frame; <$1k will only make you wish you had spent >$1k for a better frame. I purchased two lugged Waterford 2200 frames in '98 and have enjoyed every ride, with no regrets or thoughts of a 'better' frame...(both bikes are ~19.5# ready to ride......the 'biker' needs to lose about 15#; so until I'm at the 2% body-fat mark, bike weight will mean very little)
re: Good STEEL frames?ramboorider
Dec 28, 2003 6:06 AM
You may want to check out the Surly Pacer if you want good and affordable. Probably gonna be tough to hit 18lb though.

Another vote for StrongPicshooter
Dec 28, 2003 6:51 AM
Carl is easy to talk to. you owe it to yourself to at least talk to the builder and see what he has to offer. You will get all sorts of opinions but in the end it's up to you to make the educated decision.
quality/price... custom? can't beat marinoni.Frith
Dec 28, 2003 8:01 AM
I'd think seriously about Marinoni. You can get a beautiful steel for around $500 and add custom geometry/paint for about $150 more. They've been making quality handbuilt frames for like 25 years. The other good option would be something like landshark from gvh... see if you can find one of his gary v. frames in your size. He won't say for sure but most people suspect the gary v's are actually landsharks.
Here's my pick for the big boys.Sintesi
Dec 28, 2003 4:50 PM
Merckx MX Leader in original Molteni colors (ORANGE!). You think $1600 is cheap right?

This baby won't flex on you and you can ride it through a brick wall if you need to..
a nice 21/22lbs bike.colker1
Dec 28, 2003 5:25 PM
weight schmeight. the mx leader is it!
I'll take two, pleasegtx
Dec 28, 2003 6:20 PM
one to ride and one to hang on the wall.
here you go....linkage....scrublover
Dec 28, 2003 10:03 PM

nice frames. got my 02 model from; very good pricing/shipping from them.

not sure if any of the 02 frames are left. very good price; a bit more $$ for the newer ones, but they are reynolds 853, and may be a bit lighter/nicer.

this is an option to get something a bit different, for a bit less $$- thus letting you spend more money on your wheels/parts.

my 02 built up right at 18# with nothing super exotic. though mine is a 51cm size; i'm sure the 60-63cm would be heavier. though with their sizing, you may get away with a 576cm. has a slightly sloping toptube; sort of halfway between a "traditional" toptube, and say, a giant compact model. built up nice and easy. feels nice and rigid to me, though take it with a grain of salt - i only weigh in at 145#. very comfy riding, and feels pretty fast.
look at..bill105
Dec 29, 2003 5:36 AM
the Burley Wolf Creek. light and affordable, all carbon fork.
Any opinions on the Colnago Master XL?853
Dec 29, 2003 9:48 AM
What does it weight frame and fully built up?
Is it stiff or noodly?
Is there a weight limit?

I've been considering this steel frame for a long while,
Any help, please?

This would aslo help the original poster w/ another option Dave_S
I have a 62cm MXLColnagoFE
Dec 29, 2003 11:18 AM
Rock solid BB...I weigh over 200 now...185 at fighting weight in the summer. Built up with Chorus/Record and light wheels, saddle (SI SLR) and pedals (Record) it is around 20lbs or maybe a little under. weight limit...recommended for 165 pounds plus (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 29, 2003 11:19 AM
I have a 62cm MXLColnagoFE
Dec 29, 2003 12:28 PM
here is a cracks about the rise stem now... ;0
Dec 29, 2003 10:09 AM
Nobody seems to have mentioned them. Reasonably priced, for 2004 have gone to larger-diameter tubeset that should be stiffer in large sizes.