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Framebuilders Thinking about a custom frame? Lugged vs Fillet Brazed. Different Frame materials? Newvex or Pacenti Lugs? why get a custom Road, Mountain, or Track Frame? Got a question about framebuilding? Lets discuss framebuilding at it's finest.

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Old 03-23-09, 06:54 PM   #1
Bowman
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Calfee CF vs Merlin Ti track Frame

Who makes a stiffer Track Frame. Basically this is about material. Calfee has "ultra stiff" tubes and Merlin has different size tubing. I understand both builders have good reputation. I weigh 250 and don't want any frame flex.

Thank you all.
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Old 03-23-09, 07:55 PM   #2
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I'm guessing any answer you get to this will be speculation. I'd ask on the Clyde or road forum
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Old 03-23-09, 09:52 PM   #3
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The Calfee track frame that I have experience with was somewhat flexible. That was years ago, though. I do not know if they are now advertising that same frame as made of "ultra stiff" tubes (if they are it's a lie) or if they have something different available now.

Many years ago either Merlin or Spectrum built a titanium frame for then-national team sprinter Ken Carpenter. Apparently it was much too flexible, as were the subsequent half dozen frames, each made stiffer than the last. Eventually they got one that was stiff enough for him but it weighed more than his steel frame. (This is not firsthand info, BTW, but infield scuttlebutt. Grain of salt and all.)

The moral of all this is that big dudes who "don't want flex" need to buy heavy -- and preferably OS -- steel frames. You might consider contacting John Waite in Apple Valley, California. He is the king of ultra stiff sprint bikes.
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Old 03-24-09, 09:42 PM   #4
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Good info. I think someone certainly could make a stiffer carbon frame than steel or Ti, but they don't because it would weigh too much for good marketing. Track bikes have never really been the province of weight weenies, probably because most trackies are heavy and they can put out some serious power.
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Old 03-25-09, 08:45 AM   #5
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The moral of all this is that big dudes who "don't want flex" need to buy heavy -- and preferably OS -- steel frames. You might consider contacting John Waite in Apple Valley, California. He is the king of ultra stiff sprint bikes.
Johnís an interesting character. He built a road frame for me in the early 90ís when he was living in Huntington Beach. Watching him build that frame is what got me started building for myself. At that time he was making a frame for himself using straight gauge OS tubing Ė I think he was using head stock tubing for some of the main tubes (very stiff, but heavy). At one point he was under consideration for a national team birth as a sprinter. He didnít make the cut and seemed to carry a grudge against certain competitors that he claimed were using banned substances. With hind sight, I suspect he was spot on with his criticism.
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Old 03-25-09, 05:01 PM   #6
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John was Junior National sprint champ in -- I think -- 1980 and '81. He may have won the kilo one of those years as well. You probably know he was hit by a car at around 18 or 19 years old, which didn't help his form any. I guess that was about the end of him at the national level, although I think he did well in a few vets races.

The last track frame that he built for himself -- that I am aware of -- was straight gauge OS with reinforcing gussets at all joints. Good chance that was the one he was building when you knew him. That bike must have weighed 30 pounds and was just absolutely rock solid. He even had custom hubs with flanges that extended just about halfway to the rims!

He moved to Apple Valley about a decade ago, and last I knew he was spending most of his time helping his wife with her business. I believe they made many of the costumes for one of the Spiderman flicks. He was/is also building a concrete velodrome in his backyard -- it is to be one bike wide!

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Old 03-25-09, 06:22 PM   #7
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How about a Zullo Inqubo?
http://www.zullo-bike.com/products/inqubo.html
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Old 03-25-09, 10:51 PM   #8
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John was Junior National sprint champ in -- I think -- 1980 and '81. He may have won the kilo one of those years as well. You probably know he was hit by a car at around 18 or 19 years old, which didn't help his form any. I guess that was about the end of him at the national level, although I think he did well in a few vets races.

The last track frame that he built for himself -- that I am aware of -- was straight gauge OS with reinforcing gussets at all joints. Good chance that was the one he was building when you knew him. That bike must have weighed 30 pounds and was just absolutely rock solid. He even had custom hubs with flanges that extended just about halfway to the rims!

He moved to Apple Valley about a decade ago, and last I knew he was spending most of his time helping his wife with her business. I believe they made many of the costumes for one of the Spiderman flicks. He was/is also building a concrete velodrome in his backyard -- it is to be one bike wide!
That's the John I remember.

He once told me that his special technique when going for the line was to hold his breath. No joke. Can't imagine how that would help but hey, the guy was fast.
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Old 03-25-09, 11:07 PM   #9
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He was certainly a character. At one point we were sitting around the infield at the old concrete Dominguez track and he said "I'm going to go roll around for a while." He walked about 15 feet away, laid down, and literally started to roll around. It was so ridiculous and unexpected that we all laughed our heads off.

I personally think most of his "special techniques" were invented on the spot as his way of having a bit of fun with folks. The only "special technique" he had that I know for a fact was effective was making sure that his wife was on the stopwatch. For some reason his 200s were always a couple of tenths faster when she was on the button. He wouldn't let honest folks anywhere near his stopwatch and complained that most people didn't know how to do it!

And as long as we're swapping stories, I had him modify the bars on my old 24" wheeled kilo bike. I sat on the bike and held the aero extensions in the right spot for him to TIG into place. He said "Okay, now close your eyes."

I had a sunburn for a week, but the bars were perfect!

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