I have a Co-Motion steel tandem that rides great and looks great. So based on my tandem experience I ordered their single Espresso model and it should be in this Tuesday. But I won't have it fully built up until next spring due the funding that it will take to get it the way I want it. Frame and fork will set you back $1800ish.
You can get a new 'decent' steel frame in that price range, or you can get really nice used steel frame in that price range... or you can blow your budget and get in line for one of these and wonder why you ever rode carbon in the first place:
I was fortunate enough to find a great deal on a used Seven Axiom steel that is a great fit. Have barely ridden my alum sectuer with zertz fittings since and it's a fine bike as well. If going new and I had the bucks Seven would be at the top of the list, what a great ride.
One of the great virtues of steel in general is that with certain limits, it can flex without fatiguing. To me, that screams "buy used!" if/when I decide to try a steel frame.
What *I* want, is to find a cheap '83 Trek 620 to match my wife's ride.
Would a steel road frame suffice, or must it be a roadie frame?
Gunnar is a little less money and I have been impressed with the one I have and would consider another if I was looking for a steel road frame.
As to buying used, I have been less than thrilled with the experience. Probably won't do that again unless some super deal falls into my lap.
Oh, a friend has a Soma Smoothie and he says it rides as nice as his Moots. Sometimes Soma has special deals on their website.
I'd get a Ritchey Road Logic in a heartbeat.
Good night...and good luck
Be wary of custom frames if buying used.
Cuda...please tell me you're riding the crap out of that Kirk! Not that there's crap in it...but you know what I mean.
2014 Specialized RoubaixOOOOOO 2003 Interloc ImpalaOOOOOO 2007 ParkPre Image C6 (RIP)
I had a Gunnar Crosshairs built year before last for an adventure bike. Really like it and when I replace my carbon frame, I'd be very inclined to build a Gunnar Roadie with carbon fork and probably Ultegra DI2. That would be a nice bike and probably come in around 17lbs or so in a 56cm.
gunnar is looking good at this point.
is a carbon fork the way to go??
will the gunnar accommodate 28mm tires?
The Gunnar Roadie lists 25 as the max, but the Sport will take up to 32mm. You may want to call and ask though, sometimes listed specs are on the conservative side.
I would get it with the carbon fork (pick one). They will also, if asked I believe, paint the carbon fork to match the rest of the bike. The steel forks are nice, but they are heavy AND the carbon fork from what I hear, also adds to the ride.
When I ride my Crosshairs, the feeling is one of solidly bolted to the road. It's very smooth, great road feel - lively but not tiring or harsh. It's a "ride all day" sort of feel. Really like it.
And the paint jobs are gorgeous.
FWIW, I have several bikes that are built using high end lugged steel frames from the '80s or early '90s with modern (well, at least 10 speeds in the rear) components & wheels. With a "vintage" frame you may have to (or want to, at least) re-space the rear dropouts to 130mm, but that's not a big deal (just be sure to check alignment afterwards....Google will explain). You could check out the retro-roadies/STI (or something like that) thread in the Classic & Vintage forum to get some ideas. With the most modern (and, yes, pricey) new steel construction you will get a bit of a lighter ultimate build and hand craftsmanship (and perhaps even custom sizing/fitting), but I have been more than adequately pleased with my carefully selected survivors in Columbus SL, SLX, etc. built up with modern pieces (in fact, I strongly prefer them to anything I could imagine ever actually purchasing...ie, not the ultra high end boutique stuff). I generally prefer the original steel forks, but you can also source a good 1" steerer (threaded or not) if you want that...they're around. Weight-wise, I don't have a steel bike for which I've tried to really be weight-conscious. I have a 1986 Bertoni Professionale built with Campagnolo Record 10 with practical Open Pro rims and a Brooks saddle that comes in a hair under 21lbs. I'm sure with other wheels/tubulars & a lighter saddle & pedals it could easily approach the weight of the bike I race with.
Of course, I don't think uber-lightweightness is one of the reasons one choses a steel bike these days. The ride is wonderful in every instance other than a sprint and I'm quite a believer that riding heavier bikes is a good thing...makes you stronger!
IMO, stiffness and weight are overrated if you're just talking club riding. Vibration damping and ride quality should be a higher priority. A more comfortable, damped frame allows you to keep pounding out the miles while an ultra-stiff racer may become tiring. Frame materials are only part of the story here, carbon frames can be smooth and comfortable (Roubaix), steel frames can be stiff and lightweight (English).
My personal experience is that I vastly prefer the ride quality of my cheap-o steel framed bike to my super lightweight carbon racer, especially on the longer rides. The carbon frame is extremely light and as stiff as a bridge truss but it really beats me up on the rough roads around here. The steel frame glides along, smooth and silent. Also, it's probably not as stiff as the racing frame, but the steelie is hardly a noodle when I'm out of the saddle. Modern steel alloys are pretty good. Again, frame material is only part of the story here...
I can't fault the carbon bike, it's meant to be a no-compromise race bike. But, there's a reason why most people don't drive track cars on the road...
One note: I just bought a titanium racing geometry frame. Never ridden one before, we'll see how I like it.
Last edited by Hiro11; 07-08-13 at 03:29 PM.
This is coming from someone with a stable of only steel bikes. Top on my all time lists would be a Parlee Z-Zero and maybe a Cervelo RCA, but a stainless steel Firefly is hovering on a dream somewhere.
I can say that my Schwinn Tempo and my Tange road bike feel stiff and fun to ride but aren't necessarily all that comfortable. They are quite a bit porky though. I've ridden my friend's Basso, Ron Cooper, Ritchey, and they're all great fun and slightly a bit better over the rough roads. The material can vary quite drastically in how it feels, but the minimum weight mostly can't vary all that much. It just so happens that I live on hills upon hills and I'm a fat b*stard now so I need all the help I can get.