I'm getting ready to purchase a custom frame from Waterford and I have a question about frame materials. First of all, the bike is going to be used as mostly as an ultimate commuter, but also for many long rides and some touring. I sold my car and I'm sinking the money into a nice commuter bike. I spend a lot of time on my bike each day, and I want to spare no expense to get something that I love.
The person at my LBS who is helping me with the design also has a custom Waterford. What originally drew me to them is their unique disc brake mount, on the inside of the triangle along the rear chain stay.
The characteristics that I'm looking for is something stiff and sturdy but also lively -- something that's fun to dodge around in traffic. I realize that there are compromises to be made here, especially when I'm talking about the ability to put racks & panniers on the front wheel for an occasional tour. And here, finally, comes the question about frame materials.
I'm really partial to a beautiful Waterford steel lugged frame made out of their typical OS frameset. I'm worried that this will be too heavy and not so lively after all of my other riding parameters are met. What are the benefits/drawbacks of a TIG welded OS2 frameset? My buddy at the LBS seems to like the livelier feel of larger tubes. Is there a significant difference in weight and riding characteristics between larger thin walled TIG welded tubes and narrower gauge lugged frames?
GS, if your concept of livelyness is the ability to dodge around in traffic, then I think that is more a mater of geometry than frame materials. You might be looking at steeper head tube angles and tighter rear ends, the opposite of what you most likely want on a touring bike. The lugged bike would probably be a little heavier but not so much that it would be a dealbreaker in the specified use.
One possibility would be to get a bike from them with two forks. One perhaps a lightweight or even cheap carbon fork, and the other one a more relaxed fork that will track on tour, is a little sturdier, and has all the junk for front racks and fenders. If you look up the kogswell porteur you will see the idea. That would do a lot for getting the ride you want for different uses. Then just tell them the feel you want in the bike and let them spec the main frame. As the saying goes, the fork is the frame.
Aesthetics are your choice of course, but TIG and disks seem more a match than tig and lug. and while doubtless it all worked fine somewhere, TIG crowns seem to deal with the loads a disc puts on crowns better than some lugged crowns that do not have a lot of lip in line with the wheels rotation.