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Who makes the lightest steel frame bikes?

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Who makes the lightest steel frame bikes?

Old 06-15-20, 05:45 AM
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RH Clark
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Who makes the lightest steel frame bikes?

How light can a steel frame bike get and who makes the lightest? What I would like is a 58cm steel frame road bike 700c wheels that is around 20 lbs and can accept tires from 23mm to about 42mm. Does one exist or can one be built from an older classic triple butted frame? I'm not experienced enough to know what to look for so thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 06-15-20, 06:12 AM
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Are you looking to have one built or building off an old frame?

If you are getting one built I'd go Speedvagen first
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Old 06-15-20, 06:14 AM
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You aren't likely to find a light frame that will take 42s. For that you'll be looking at touring or gravel frames. You may be able to convert a road frame to 650b, that will require careful planning and measurement and 38s may be the limit.
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Old 06-15-20, 06:37 AM
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10.8lbs is the weight of Rob English’s Superlight Road V3, and English Cycles is the answer to the other questions as well.
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Old 06-15-20, 06:43 AM
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A 20 lb. bike with a steel frame is doable. accepting tires from 23mm to 42mm is going to be the fly in the ointment.
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Old 06-15-20, 06:44 AM
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Do you want an ALL steel bike or a steel frame and CF fork?
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Old 06-15-20, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
How light can a steel frame bike get and who makes the lightest? What I would like is a 58cm steel frame road bike 700c wheels that is around 20 lbs and can accept tires from 23mm to about 42mm. Does one exist or can one be built from an older classic triple butted frame? I'm not experienced enough to know what to look for so thanks for any suggestions.
Sub 20lbs is easy, sub 17 easy but expensive but not with that tire range. I would guess 30 mm is going to be your limit. Speedvagen can do a sub 15lb steel bike but in that size maybe a hair heavier.

I have a Serotta Colorado in a 56cm that is 17lbs with aluminum wheels. I could get a pound off with lighter wheels, stem, seat post.
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Old 06-15-20, 06:58 AM
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As others have written, you can get sub-20 lbs, but not along with tire clearance to 700cx42.

As for brands: most frame builders have access to the same steel tubesets, so there are plenty of builders who can produce a light frame. But as Germany_chris suggested, check out Speedvagen. Light steel bikes is sort of their thing.
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Old 06-15-20, 06:59 AM
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I wouldn't necessarily mind a carbon fork, bars and seat post for that matter. Having a custom made may be the answer but if there was a less expensive option involving a vintage frame, that would be ideal. 38mm tires would do fine as well, if that's the limit. The Kona Roadhouse is as close as I found and I think it's out of production.
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Old 06-15-20, 07:05 AM
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Talk to Mike DeSalvo @ https://www.desalvocycles.com/ of all the well known custom builders he enjoys speaking to customers. He has a semi-custom model that is one hell of a bike.

A vintage road frame will not have the lightest tubing and more importantly a vintage frame was likely made for 23 mm or even narrower tires, maybe 25's.
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Old 06-15-20, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
I wouldn't necessarily mind a carbon fork, bars and seat post for that matter. Having a custom made may be the answer but if there was a less expensive option involving a vintage frame, that would be ideal. 38mm tires would do fine as well, if that's the limit. The Kona Roadhouse is as close as I found and I think it's out of production.
You won’t find finer than English, but expensive. This example is 19.7lbs as pictured with 35c and fenders, but fits 38c without fenders.


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Old 06-15-20, 07:47 AM
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^^^^Haven't seen many bikes that look that good with fenders.
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Old 06-15-20, 07:59 AM
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This Guru Sidero w/SRAM Red amd Mavic USTs weighs in at 17 lb 11 oz in size 55. Unfortunately, Guru is no more but lots of builders can get you to a light steel bike. Oh, the tubing is Columbus Spirit.
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Old 06-15-20, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
You won’t find finer than English, but expensive. This example is 19.7lbs as pictured with 35c and fenders, but fits 38c without fenders.


That is a cool bike. Fenders look totally integrated. I know it's required for the weight, but I've never been a fan of the idea of an integrated seatpost. This one does looks smooth though.
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Old 06-15-20, 08:15 AM
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The Norco XR steel line (Reynolds 725) is in the 22lbs range with 700 x 42c, but maybe a careful custom build off the $1.1k frameset could get you to 20lbs.


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Old 06-15-20, 08:44 AM
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Maybe a Breadwinner ‘B-Road’

or you can look at the David Kirk ‘JK Cross’ or just have Dave build you a full custom bike (it’s only money after all)

JK Cross
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Old 06-15-20, 08:52 AM
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20 lbs. on the nose with pump and pedals. Built by J.P. Weigle $$$$$$$

Looks like 42 mm tires.

https://www.renehersecycles.com/j-p-...s-de-machines/

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Old 06-15-20, 09:12 AM
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It sounds like you want a gravel bike, thru axles and discs. Is that correct? You should be able to build whatever weight is the best on the market, plus 2-3 pounds depending on frame.

​​​​​​I've got 3 older steel bikes, with average builds, not weight weenie. The steel road bike, with steel fork is 18lbs. The steel gravel with steel fork is 21.5. That's with a 900g fork and square taper bottom bracket.

With modern parts and carbon rims, I think you can easily be under 18. The Ritte Satyr is my favorite production steel gravel bike. It also comes with a carbon fork. Spec'd with GRX 800, a smattering of carbon, and Light Bicycle rims on Bitex hubs should put the bike around 19. Probably around $5000 for that.

Just a little hint on weight. Single sided SPD from Exustar are much lighter than Shimano and are more than enough on gravel. I see a lot of nice builds with 420g SPD pedals. Most bike are weighed without pedals by the manufacturer, so add .5 to 1lb to any number you see published.

There's also a pound one way or the other on tires in the 42 size. As low as 370g per tire and as high as 500+, unnecessary tubes, x2.
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Old 06-15-20, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jlaw View Post
20 lbs. on the nose with pump and pedals. Built by J.P. Weigle $$$$$$$

Looks like 42 mm tires.

https://www.renehersecycles.com/j-p-...s-de-machines/

Sure, but it'll be over 20 lbs when you add in bar tape.
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Old 06-15-20, 10:07 AM
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Bar tape? Who needs that?
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Old 06-15-20, 10:48 AM
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Not to detract from the nice custom bikes... but the OP mentioned an older vintage frame.

This late 70's era Apollo weighs in at 23.5 pounds. That's with tool kit, pump, Brooks C-17 saddle (not shown in picture) and Gravel King SK 700x35 tires. It could take 38's with a road tread.

Granted it does not have derailers or cassette but it gets within the general ballpark and could easily drop more weight by losing the heavier Brooks saddle, toolkit and by going tubeless with light road tires.

Older 27" wheel frames like this can take wider 700c by using long reach calipers (or disc) because 700c is smaller (like adding 650b to a 700c frame).

So, one could find an older frame that fit well and take it into a builder and say replicate with lighter steel tubing/components or - accept a little more weight at a far cheaper price.


Last edited by Happy Feet; 06-15-20 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 06-15-20, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Sure, but it'll be over 20 lbs when you add in bar tape.

not if you remove all the brake pads.....
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Old 06-15-20, 12:02 PM
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Light Steel Frame

Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
How light can a steel frame bike get and who makes the lightest? What I would like is a 58cm steel frame road bike 700c wheels that is around 20 lbs and can accept tires from 23mm to about 42mm. Does one exist or can one be built from an older classic triple butted frame? I'm not experienced enough to know what to look for so thanks for any suggestions.
This wouldn't even be the lightest, I'd think you likely could get something to fit the bill from Breadwinner, or Waterford, however, just for comparison sake, you can get a 55cm Macho King from All-city, stock comes in at 21. I'd suspect if you swapped out bars/seatpost, or wheels and tires you be at or under 20lb for a commercial build that will run 700x42s right off the shelf. This one is already a 1x11.
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Old 06-15-20, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
Are you looking to have one built or building off an old frame?

If you are getting one built I'd go Speedvagen first
This.

The problem with vintage road is finding one that'll accept even something like 25's. Good luck with the 42's.

Maybe an old Schwinn balloon tire paperboy style.
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Old 06-15-20, 05:03 PM
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The other night I was perusing Rodriguez Cycles site. https://www.rodbikes.com/index.html

If you would consider a custom, they might be a good place to start.

I do not own one, and have not ridden one.
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