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  1. #1
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    First ride on Wabi's latest offering

    A couple of weeks ago I ordered Wabi's Lightning RE geared frame set. They only sell the frame and fork not complete geared bikes. This is my second purchase from Wabi, I own their Classic FG as well. The RE is not intended to be some retro cool steel bike, it's just a great bike that can compete with the carbon offerings. High end steel coupled with a carbon fork and in my case carbon seat post and man what a ride. It retains the crisp acceleration that my aluminum bike had but with a buttery smooth ride quality.

    My LBS stripped my Trek of it's 105 components and installed them on the Wabi, this weekend I did 42 on Saturday and 52 on Sunday riding the new frame. Wow, I'm amazed bikes ever migrated away from steel. I understand it takes skill to weld together a steel bike and that's inconvenient for manufacturing, but Geez this thing is comfortable. It weighs 19.6 lbs or 1.5 less than my aluminum Trek 2.3 . Of course with my belly who's counting

    I've been trying to think of how to quantify the ride quality without just using lots of adjectives. So what I did notice is I didn't feel the need to move around on the seat or stand up until much deeper into the rides. Same goes for hand numbness, I used to be shaking out my hands and switching positions regularly while on the new frame it's just not necessary. Around mile 40 on Sunday's 52 miler I started to seat and hand fidget where before it would have been more like mile 20. We didn't just stick to smooth roads either, my friend threw in a nasty section of rough chip seal just to see how I felt on it.

    It's too bad we typically are not offered a test ride on high quality steel when bike shopping. Seems like aluminum and carbon are the choices. My path to steel was due to wanting a Fixed Gear and ending up with a Wabi.

    I guess the ultimate would be Titanium? But with the Wabi's affordability I'll just keep it waxed and avoid denting it.

  2. #2
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    we need bike porn

    Glad you're enjoying the race red bike with some good mile chunks too. I too love the way steel rides, it was quite surprising going from a classic 70's nishiki CROMO to the schwinn's Columbus SL tubing on my circuit. Great bike for beat up roads and where I'm not too concerned about speeds. It's a "good" different than Carbon, but just not as snappy out of the saddle would be my take on it. But the circuit is lugged tubing not tig welded like your nice Wabi frame set. I think the tig welded bottom bracket would be nice and stiff.

  3. #3
    Aspiring Fred
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    bbeasly - My feelings for the Wabi RE parallel yours and the affection for the bike keeps growing the more I ride it.

  4. #4
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    You guys are killing me with this steel bike talk .... my wallet and my marriage just can't take it any more! Lol!
    "I had this baby hand made in Tuscany, from titanium blessed by the pope. It weighs less than a fart, and costs more than a divorce..."

  5. #5
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    Photos or it didn't happen
    www.BigBonedBiker.Wordpress.com

  6. #6
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAMAMRA View Post
    Photos or it didn't happen
    Okay, I don't like the way mine looks just yet but I owe a pic so here goes.



    Here's what happened. I took all the components off of my 105 Trek. I don't think the white wheels work, but to try we went with white cables and orange lizard skin bar tape. I know the tape is a direct violation of "the rules" . So here's the plan. Black Flow 30s with Ghost red decals, black bar tape and cables.

    Anyway, it's just a shame most of us don't get the chance to ride high end steel when we're shopping for our bikes. Had I not stumbled across Wabi via my fixed gear fixation I would have never known what I was missing.

  7. #7
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    Looks like a sweet ride~!
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  8. #8
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    Anyway, it's just a shame most of us don't get the chance to ride high end steel when we're shopping for our bikes.
    Have you ever ridden a high end carbon bike to compare it to? What was your bike before this one anyway? I forgot, call it old man disease.

  9. #9
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Have you ever ridden a high end carbon bike to compare it to? What was your bike before this one anyway? I forgot, call it old man disease.
    I have a Trek 2.3 aluminum, great acceleration but a bit harsh on rides > 3 hours. Before buying the Wabi I rode a Cannondale Synapse Carbon and an Evo. I found both rode rougher than the Wabi and neither had the snap of the Trek. I think the Wabi out rides all three and is as crisp as the Cannondales but a tad less than the Trek. I'm sure many folks don't consider the Cannondales high end but they are for me.

  10. #10
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    No, I'd agree with you, nobody said it had to be a $10,000 Time or anything.

    I started on Steel (I'll call it low end, nothing magic but I liked it) went to high end Ti (but old, so full on noodly) and then old carbon and now fancy carbon and I like 'em all in that order (over the course of 20 years). To each his own.

    I keep meaning to fix up my old steel bike purely for nostaligia reasons though.

  11. #11
    Thread Killer
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    Boy, those chainstays look pretty stout; it responds well when you stand on it, huh?
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  12. #12
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    Boy, those chainstays look pretty stout; it responds well when you stand on it, huh?
    It does. I'm no expert on bike design. From what I've read, tig welded frames are stiffer than the lugged variety. Maybe someone who knows will chime in. I'm also no speedster, spirited group rides and a race once a year are about it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Nice bike. My understanding tig will be stiffer because of the tubes you can use (different shapes and larger) and the fact that welding as apposed to soldering lugs or fillet brazing the metal is actually bonded itself instead of "glued" for quick description. That's not to say lugged or fillet brazed can't be made just as stiff, just easier with tig welds.

    Most of my bikes are still steel though I do have a really nice carbon road bike.

  14. #14
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    Steel is real Seriously though, I absolutely love my steel bikes (and seriously lament the loss of the ones I don't have anymore). I too went from steel, to ti, then high - end aluminum (De Rosa Merak), then ti again and finally carbon. Have to admit that Carbon does it best for me now (stiffness, ride quality, comfort), but I'll always have a steel bike in play (have two right now, though neither one is a high - end one). Sweet bike.
    "I had this baby hand made in Tuscany, from titanium blessed by the pope. It weighs less than a fart, and costs more than a divorce..."

  15. #15
    Thread Killer
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    Check out the stays on Big Leg Emma; boy, I can feel the hammer just lookin' at 'em!

    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  16. #16
    Aspiring Fred
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    Okay, I don't like the way mine looks just yet but I owe a pic so here goes.

    Anyway, it's just a shame most of us don't get the chance to ride high end steel when we're shopping for our bikes. Had I not stumbled across Wabi via my fixed gear fixation I would have never known what I was missing.
    The bike looks great and once again, my Wabi experience parallels yours. I hope this helps others discover the RE as I believe it is one of the best values available in a high performance road frame.

  17. #17
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    It does seem like a very good frame, and I suppose its lack of adornment helps keep the cost down, but it would be nice to see some design flourishes (e.g. nicer dropouts) and more interesting paint and brand indication. As it sits, it's too plain Jane for my tastes, but then, there are more than plenty of fancier, or more garish, bikes out there, so it's nice having options for all.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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