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Has the "golden age" of custom steel bikes passed?

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Has the "golden age" of custom steel bikes passed?

Old 07-22-20, 07:54 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by vespasianus
Here is a good example of how steel can still be a viable option in the peloton:

https://cyclingtips.com/2018/11/bike...ife-in-girona/
That guy might sometimes be in a peloton -- but if you actually read the article, you'll see that he's not a pro cyclist.
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Old 07-22-20, 08:03 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Koyote
That guy might sometimes be in a peloton -- but if you actually read the article, you'll see that he's not a pro cyclist.
Oy, this guy was annoying - when he was having his steel frame built, it seems like his biggest concern was the color scheme ""However, not everything was an easy choice, and as is proven time and time again in going custom, the paint is often the hardest part. “When you’ve got all the options, none of them ever seem like the right one,” Tristan says. “I spent countless nights flicking through Instagram for inspiration, and colour wheels for combinations that might work, but in the end I went something pretty simple, almost conservative, but I think it looks pretty stylish.

“The beauty of steel is, if I change my mind down the track, I can strip the bike and have it repainted with ease."

Yeah Buddy - you nailed the beauty of steel right on the head.....
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Old 07-22-20, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
You are correct that carbon fiber frames now dominate the racing scene… But there are still plenty of custom builders who are producing relatively light steel frames targeted toward racers. As a mature technology, any decent builder, who is interested in doing so, can build such a frame.
I'm not saying that a decent steel frame builder couldn't build a frame that would technically be competitive weight-wise, but no high-level racers are coming looking for steel frames - referencing the "golden age of steel", I imagine the OP was talking about the likes of Merckx working with De Rosa and Colnago, even Pantani with Bianchi, where the racer and the builder worked together to build state-of-the-art steel racing bikes. That doesn't happen any more.
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Old 07-22-20, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Litespud
I'm not saying that a decent steel frame builder couldn't build a frame that would technically be competitive weight-wise, but no high-level racers are coming looking for steel frames - referencing the "golden age of steel", I imagine the OP was talking about the likes of Merckx working with De Rosa and Colnago, even Pantani with Bianchi, where the racer and the builder worked together to build state-of-the-art steel racing bikes. That doesn't happen any more.
Unless the OP is a "high-level" racer, the question seems rather pointless.
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Old 07-22-20, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
I like Waterford, but that is a fugly bike.
they will paint it any color you are willing to pay for... just ask and put down a deposit.
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Old 07-22-20, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
they will paint it any color you are willing to pay for... just ask and put down a deposit.
I'm aware:

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Old 07-22-20, 09:10 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by noimagination
No Richard Sachs, no Tom Kellog, no Dario Pegoretti, no Ben Serotta, no Brent Steelman ...
Not sure about Sacha White, Kelly Bradford...
Uhhhh what? Ben Serrota just bought back Serrota and is making frames again granted I do think he is working in Titanium these days. Tom Kellogg is not building bikes but is still advising in the industry and making his mark. Richard Sachs is not taking new orders but might still be building. Dario, R.I.P. but Officina Peggoretti is still building bikes in his honor. Steelman I am unsure of

However you still have:
Rodriguez
Independent Fabrications
Sklar
Stinner
Bishop
Waterford
Breadwinner
Co-Motion
English
Hampsten
Caletti
Yamaguchi (you can also take classes if you want to do it yourself)
Ted Wojick
Winter (on a brief pause)
Tomii
DeSalvo
333Fab
Frank The Welder (not steel but FRANK THE F'ING WELDER legend)
Bilenky
Rock Lobster
Pedalino
SoulCraft
Don Walker
Hunter
Nobilette
Just to name a few*

*just in the U.S., in steel or still makes steel (or FTW because he is FTFW)

There are tons of custom Ti builders and even some aluminum and wood heads and plenty all over the freakin' world. Custom bikes are not dead or passed some golden age. Yeah sure Dario, Bruce Gordon, Albert Eisentraut and some other legends have passed and certainly there have been some folks who have stepped away from the game but custom bikes and steel bikes aren't going anywhere.

My problem is who to pick? Seriously I see so many awesome frames and builders and I am like crap I want them all. There is a ton of talent from old grizzled builders to younger or newer folks to the game who are absolutely slaying it. Look at Adam Sklar he is not even 30 yet, and look at what he does with tubes.
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Old 07-23-20, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination
No Richard Sachs, no Tom Kellog, no Dario Pegoretti, no Ben Serotta, no Brent Steelman ...
Not sure about Sacha White, Kelly Bradford...

Huh?
Heh!
I work full time making bicycles.
Always have.
For the record.
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Old 07-23-20, 11:16 AM
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Guru is also gone but Indy Fab exists, no?

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Old 07-23-20, 11:23 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Koyote
That guy might sometimes be in a peloton -- but if you actually read the article, you'll see that he's not a pro cyclist.
Oh, not implying that he is a pro racer or that a steel bike could be raced at the pro level but here was a guy who is clearly racing his steel bike. Not to mention, a builder making a steel bike specifically to race.
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Old 07-23-20, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus
Oh, not implying that he is a pro racer or that a steel bike could be raced at the pro level but here was a guy who is clearly racing his steel bike. Not to mention, a builder making a steel bike specifically to race.
Well, shoot, I'm a guy racing a steel bike made by a builder who makes steel racing bikes. Nothing unusual about that.
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Old 07-23-20, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by noimagination
No Richard Sachs, no Tom Kellog, no Dario Pegoretti, no Ben Serotta, no Brent Steelman ...
Not sure about Sacha White, Kelly Bradford...
You must be joking.

2020 Strawberry by Dave Levy at TiCycles.

531 main tubes, rides like a dream, we have at least a couple dozen world class builders here in PDX.

Levy, Joseph Ahearne, Chris Igleheart, Tony Periera, Ira Ryan, Bob Kamzelski, Jon Littleford, masters all to name a few.

Vanilla/Sacha White still going strong as ever here also.

DiNucci, CoMotion, Argonaut, Land Shark, are in Oregon as well.

The old and the new, the ying and the yang, the good, bad and the ugly, you decide.


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Old 07-23-20, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Litespud
I'm not saying that a decent steel frame builder couldn't build a frame that would technically be competitive weight-wise, but no high-level racers are coming looking for steel frames - referencing the "golden age of steel", I imagine the OP was talking about the likes of Merckx working with De Rosa and Colnago, even Pantani with Bianchi, where the racer and the builder worked together to build state-of-the-art steel racing bikes. That doesn't happen any more.
Isn't there a UCI rule that bikes ridden in their events have to be available to the public? OK, so that's sort of like NASCAR is racing stock cars straight off the dealer's lot, but it tends to limit what pros can ride.

Doesn't mean a good custom builder can't still build one heck of a great bicycle, though.
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Old 07-23-20, 07:05 PM
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[/QUOTE]

Is that your bike? And if so, may I ask about your height and inseam? Could be the angle, but that bike looks like it has a huge stack and a relatively short reach.
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Old 07-23-20, 07:58 PM
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The seat cluster on the Strawberry is beautiful! The massive headtube extension and stem and the unique bar angle and shifter placement point to some unfortunate body issues, for sure. You have to wonder if a builder less invested in classic style might have been able to come up with a more elegant solution.
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Old 07-23-20, 08:04 PM
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Old 07-23-20, 08:57 PM
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Isn’t it an Iron Age?
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Old 07-23-20, 10:06 PM
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A few more steel builders:
https://www.rexcycles.com
Chapman Cycles ? Custom bicycles hand built in Rhode Island

A newbie making super cool bikes:
Winged Victory | Porter Cycles LLC
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Old 07-23-20, 10:27 PM
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Oh man, if I could have a Rex
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Old 07-23-20, 11:12 PM
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I like this guy's work: https://caletticycles.com/bikes/
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Old 07-23-20, 11:23 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
The seat cluster on the Strawberry is beautiful! The massive headtube extension and stem and the unique bar angle and shifter placement point to some unfortunate body issues, for sure. You have to wonder if a builder less invested in classic style might have been able to come up with a more elegant solution.
This was very politely worded. Geniunely impressive and better than I could do, so I just don't directly respond each time I see it.
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Old 07-23-20, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by noimagination
But how many of the current generation of steel frame builders have had the opportunity to work closely with professional/olympic-class racers and have had their designs tested in races, as the "old guard" did? Does that affect the quality of the design and the skill of the builder?
19.83% of current builders have their bikes tested in races.
0% affected rate when it comes to quality of design.

This thread hasn't turned out too well.
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Old 07-23-20, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Is that your bike? And if so, may I ask about your height and inseam? Could be the angle, but that bike looks like it has a huge stack and a relatively short reach.[/QUOTE]

No worries, you are correct, all by design and came out perfect for me.

Here's the story with all the answers.

The old and the new, the ying and the yang, the good, bad and the ugly, you decide.
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Old 07-23-20, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jade408
I was just about to post how Chapman doesn't seem to get much attention. His bikes are beautiful, I've had the opportunity to see them up close. He's also a very good Instagram follow if you're into that sort of thing.
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Old 07-24-20, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
The seat cluster on the Strawberry is beautiful! The massive headtube extension and stem and the unique bar angle and shifter placement point to some unfortunate body issues, for sure. You have to wonder if a builder less invested in classic style might have been able to come up with a more elegant solution.
Tx? So that bar, shifter, stem setup is my go to. Dave made the exact frame we wanted, there were constraints imposed by me and the the build I wanted.

The only body issues are being too lazy to lean over, never raced, don't ride that hard and that kind of setup allows me to ride every day and as far as I want.

This rides like a dream and came out exactly the way I wanted, more modern build was discussed at length and was vetoed by me, I was the one invested in classic style, Dave will, can and does build anything you want, all you have to do is tell him or let him loose on it.

This was the result of my very odd fit and proportions from me and 2 of my other bikes that are 6cm difference in size and both ride great for me despite that.

Here's the build thread with the details if you want.

The old and the new, the ying and the yang, the good, bad and the ugly, you decide.
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