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Steel Frame manufacturers (not "custom")?

Old 08-30-15, 07:51 PM
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Steel Frame manufacturers (not "custom")?

Unwiling to spend the money needed to buy a custom steel frameset, I'm wondering what companies out there make nice steel frames these days--preferably luggged, but not necessarily. Locally (Vancouver, BC) a shop sells Soma and Surly frames, but I'm interested in looking around more.

Any suggestions on what options are out there? I've found great resources on custom frame builders, but I'm looking for frames (hopefully, if possible) in the sub-1,000 dollar range.

If it matters: I'm looking for something with fairly compact geometry. THe Soma "Smoothie" seems very nice, but it's not lugged. (Though a guy road by today on one that was very pretty..)

A non-carbon fork would also be nice.
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Old 08-30-15, 07:59 PM
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Soma and Surly are ****. That's why they are on sale every year, that's just another Giant bike.

If you are not too worried about the paint you can get a frame for under $1000.

Right here, Curtlo at $990.


Curtlo Cycles - Pricing

Last edited by FRANK CANNON; 08-30-15 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 08-30-15, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by FRANK CANNON
Soma and Surly are ****. That's why they are on sale every year, that's just another Giant bike.

If you are not too worried about the paint you can get a frame for under $1000.

Right here, Curtlo at $990.


Curtlo Cycles - Pricing
I assume the asterisks are not good.
Regarding Curtlo: two things appeal: one, they are in Winthrop and Mazama is a favourite place. Two, they ahve the colour "baby poop brown," a colour I know well.

Do they have a good rep?
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Old 08-30-15, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wannabemekon
I assume the asterisks are not good.
Regarding Curtlo: two things appeal: one, they are in Winthrop and Mazama is a favourite place. Two, they ahve the colour "baby poop brown," a colour I know well.

Do they have a good rep?
Curtlo is a one man operation, and Doug Curtiss is excellent at what he does, but what he is not is fast.

Curtlo is a custom maker, which you said you didn't want.

For non custom frames, including steel, Ti, aluminum and carbon, look at Adrenaline Bikes

Adrenaline Bikes

The Breezer Venturi frame in there is steel at $599.
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Old 08-31-15, 12:22 AM
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Try Kona.
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Old 08-31-15, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by wannabemekon
I assume the asterisks are not good.
Yeah. They are so bad countless people buy them and ride the hell out of them every year.

There are these:

Custom Bicycle Frames from Gunnar Cycles USA

The Rodie frame is $900.
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Old 08-31-15, 07:14 AM
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Ya, those SOMA and Surly frames... what a load of crap poster Frank C has told you.
So. CA is full of granola...

Last edited by trailangel; 09-01-15 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 08-31-15, 07:39 AM
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Rivendell has a pretty lugged frame for $1300. If tigged is ok, Gunnars are very nice and you can pick your color. Lots of vintage stuff from early 90s will take modern components.
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Old 08-31-15, 07:44 AM
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lugged frames are more expensive, and for whatever reason the mass manufacturers don't want to go upscale. Probably because then they'd be competing with bikes they would have more trouble competing with. I have an All City, it's not a bad bike
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Old 08-31-15, 08:00 AM
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Soma makes excellent frames, particularly for the money. I doubt if you will find a lugged steel frame for less money. Some other budget brands to consider include All City, Salsa.

Gunnar makes great frames and forks, but will end up costing you about twice as much as a Soma, Salsa or Surley. However, the Gunnar would be made from higher quality steel and allow you to choose your color and decals.

Not many manufacturers are making lugged frames any more, except for a few Soma models, unless you are willing to pay up for something like a De Rosa Primato or a custom frame. You also could consider buying used or NOS from eBay if wanting a lugged frame. I bought a beautiful NOS lugged steel De Bernardi with lots of chrome from an eBay seller for a fraction of the cost of new custom.

Back to Soma. I am really impressed with their lineup and they've been adding some nice new models, like the Wolverine. I have a Soma Saga, and it is an excellent bike in every respect. Geometry fits me perfect, finish is top notch and it rides great. My LBS was so impressed by my Saga that they decided to start carrying Soma frames after they built mine up.

Last edited by tarwheel; 08-31-15 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 08-31-15, 08:27 AM
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Maxway TW is the Taiwan contract company many brands get to make what steel frames , they Import.

they likely produce the brands others speak of .. Your US Brand importers warehouse and distribute.

"Makes" , in order to apply has to physically be made by an employee of the company.

QBP and Merry/Soma are importing distributors ..


making Batches of lugged frames is a different production tooling ..

I visited the NL Gazelle Pro bike division in the late 80's ,

they had a Torch array fixture that heated all the lugs at once.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-31-15 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 08-31-15, 11:31 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions.
As for looking around for used/NOS frames, I've been doing so but have come up short, hence the desire to find a new one. I do worry about getting an older frame and having to bend out the rear stays/etc. to accommodate a 10/11 speed cassette, but it seems that people do that all the time with no worries.

I never imagined a custom frame could be had for 1000 dollars, so that's a possible route....

Thanks all.
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Old 08-31-15, 01:28 PM
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Check out Milwaukee
https://www.benscycle.com/c-110-milw...[GridView]

Frames are made by Waterford. Unfortunately, not lugged, but if you want that detail you probably have to go custom, or at least be willing to shell out some cash
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Old 08-31-15, 01:40 PM
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Bianchi Tipo Corsa? There's also Mercians, Singular, the old Soma Stanyan I think was lugged, Holdsworth...
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Old 08-31-15, 01:55 PM
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A few steel options:

Kona Kapu: KONA BIKES | 2015 BIKES | ROAD: CLASSIC | KAPU
All City Mr. Pink: Mr Pink | All-City Cycles
Jamis Quest: QUEST
Charge Plug 5: Charge Plug 5 Road Bike -- 2015

Ritchey Road Logic - has to be built and these places will build you one and ship it to you:
Ritchey Road Logic 2.0 Frameset - Framesets - Excel Sports
https://www.adrenalinebikes.com/stor...oductid=132634
www

Then there are the heavier Salsa, Surly bikes out there as well.

If you are looking for an inexpensive titanium bike, its good to keep an eye out here as well:

https://www.lynskeyperformance.com/store/loft.html

Also Adrenaline Bikes will build you up any steel or titanium frame you want and ship it to you:
https://www.adrenalinebikes.com

Looks like the Kona Kapu is no more for 2016.

It appears it has been replaced by a disc brake versus called the Roadhouse:

KONA BIKES | 2016 BIKES | STEEL ROAD | Roadhouse
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Old 08-31-15, 06:09 PM
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You can check out the Pake C'Mute which is usually less expensive than Surly or Salsa. I know Marinoni used to make custom steel frames for $500...

EDIT: Oh cool. I just googled Pake C'Mute and saw it's possibly discontinued. And I can't find the message again on the Marinoni web site saying you can order a custom frame (you may have to email). But, I can say you can find some unique frames at Velo Orange.

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Old 08-31-15, 06:15 PM
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Marinoni still makes steel frames. Prices are in Canadian dollars
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Old 08-31-15, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by wannabemekon
As for looking around for used/NOS frames, I've been doing so but have come up short...
Really? Seems odd since I find decent old bikes at least once every few months that are priced so low they're hard to pass up. And I live in the boondocks where decent used road bikes are few and far between. Some of them are cosmetically challenged, but even with the cost of a repaint or powder coat, they're still a lot cheaper than a new frame. And hey, you get a whole bike's worth of parts, too!

Originally Posted by wannabemekon
I do worry about getting an older frame and having to bend out the rear stays/etc. to accommodate a 10/11 speed cassette, but it seems that people do that all the time with no worries.
8/9/10/11-speed hubs are spaced at 130, so if you start with a bike so equipped, you won't have to bend the frame at all. If a bike was originally 6- or 7-speed, the rear will likely be spaced at 126 mm. Spreading from 126 to 130 is only 2 mm per side, which isn't a problem at all for steel.

Old "ten speeds" with five cogs on the rear were typically spaced at 120 mm. Those may not be the best candidates to bend (cold set) to 130 mm.
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Old 08-31-15, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75
Really? Seems odd since I find decent old bikes at least once every few months that are priced so low they're hard to pass up. And I live in the boondocks where decent used road bikes are few and far between. Some of them are cosmetically challenged, but even with the cost of a repaint or powder coat, they're still a lot cheaper than a new frame. And hey, you get a whole bike's worth of parts, too!
Well, I haven't been looking for months. I asked at the local shop that builds steel bikes and the guy there suggested it's hard to find old frames--and they rarely sell them--because of Vancouver by-laws or some such thing that regulate the resale of bikes because of the rate of bike theft in town. I find this hard to believe, but who knows. The rate of many things in Vancouver is insane.

Thanks for the tip about rear hub spacing.

I have some fun internet browsing to do, so thanks for the suggestions....
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Old 08-31-15, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by wannabemekon
Well, I haven't been looking for months. I asked at the local shop that builds steel bikes and the guy there suggested it's hard to find old frames--and they rarely sell them...
You'll generally find more old steel-framed bikes from private parties than from shops, and without the retailer's markup. Check sources like craigslist and kijiji.
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Old 08-31-15, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wannabemekon
Thanks for the suggestions.
As for looking around for used/NOS frames, I've been doing so but have come up short, hence the desire to find a new one. I do worry about getting an older frame and having to bend out the rear stays/etc. to accommodate a 10/11 speed cassette, but it seems that people do that all the time with no worries.

I never imagined a custom frame could be had for 1000 dollars, so that's a possible route....

Thanks all.
the later steel frames, early nineties usually had 130 spacing. I saw a Moser go for $150, a couple weeks ago(eBay). Kick myself for not snatching that one up. There are plenty of frames of that era that will work for you. Some brands sell really high because of the name. Others lower. A little research can get you the same quality frame at a lower price. Or you can still likely find a Merckx, Colnago, De Rosa etc under $1000
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Old 08-31-15, 09:07 PM
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Genesis bikes worth consideration
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Old 09-01-15, 05:36 AM
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Torelli, DeRosa, Colnago, and other Italian makers. You could also just search through here: Bicycle and Frame Manufacturers
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Old 09-01-15, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
Marinoni still makes steel frames. Prices are in Canadian dollars
+1 on Marinoni
The lugged frames are rather pricey, but very pretty (not as pricey as the Italian frames at Adrenaline, though). I have also heard good things about their piuma and primo frames, but they are tig welded and have carbon forks.
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Old 09-01-15, 09:36 AM
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try an older Lemond. their newer steel frames, post 2004ish, have carbon forks
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