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Suggestions for lightweight, steel road bikes

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Suggestions for lightweight, steel road bikes

Old 02-13-21, 04:55 PM
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PoeCo
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Suggestions for lightweight, steel road bikes

I have had the wonderful opportunity to try a lot of bikes (as I know many have), but I am always on the hunt for the ONE road bike that I will hang on to for more than a season or two. I've had titanium, carbon, aluminum and steel but my preference is to have a lightweight, steel road bike. After trying and parting with so many bikes over the years, I've decided that it's just what I prefer/want... but I want it lightweight (e.g. not a Surly, Soma, All-City, etc -- I've had those, and they're fine, but not generally light enough for my purposes - though my Soma wasn't to bad weight-wise).

Currently, I have a carbon gravel bike that works perfectly for those types of rides or that can be used as a sort-of road bike in a pinch, but it's a little heavy to truly be used as a whip when I really want to move. Temporarily, I've been using a 6 year old, rim-brake, Ritchey Road Logic, but it's a little more leaned over than I prefer. There are custom makers out in the universe who can make just about anything as well, but I'm curious what I may be missing and/or if others have suggestions for places to look for lightweight steel road bikes in a $3k price point. I prefer compact geometry (though I'm flexible on this piece of it) and disc brakes as well (though I know the brakes will add to the weight). Additionally, due to some physical issues, I'd prefer clearance for at least a 30mm tire. I am able to build the bike up myself as well, so it doesn't have to be a full-build (though I still need to keep roughly in the price range mentioned).

I've looked at Torelli, IndyFab, Breadwinner, Ritchey, Enigma (in the UK), but I know there must be others I'm missing, so if you have thoughts, I would be grateful. Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-13-21, 05:04 PM
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LesterOfPuppets
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Rodriguez Outlaws are pretty light steel.

https://www.rodbikes.com/catalog/out...tlaw-main.html
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Old 02-13-21, 05:13 PM
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even with exotic tubing it is unlikely the steel frame can be made lighter than your carbon gravel frame
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Old 02-13-21, 05:15 PM
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Some of us would be thrilled to own a 6-year-old Ritchey Logic bike as the "ONE bike." If the only problem with it is that you'd prefer not to be leaning over so far, consider buying a new stem that brings the bars up higher.
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Old 02-13-21, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Some of us would be thrilled to own a 6-year-old Ritchey Logic bike as the "ONE bike." If the only problem with it is that you'd prefer not to be leaning over so far, consider buying a new stem that brings the bars up higher.
This.

Though if you really want a lightweight steel road bike, Speedvagen prides themselves on building them. Also, Indy Fab has an extra-light option on their bikes. You'll pay for either brand.
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Old 02-13-21, 05:40 PM
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Gunnar Roadie and Sport are both available with discs and clearance for 32+. Sport Disc
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Old 02-13-21, 06:14 PM
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what if

There are so many very fine frame makers now that will make you what ever you want......most will listen to what you want.......if you can decide what you want.....if what you want can truly exists... .I know Ive been through over 200 bikes.......I tried everything........some contemporary frame builders have become legendary .......Vanilla.....Weigle.....Sachs...White.....Pegoretti.....I dont know how many years you have to wait to get a frame .....but it will be artwork........the Toyo frame shop in Japan seem to be the go to place.......Hincape.....Naked ....Strong.....Bishop.........I think I would get that Vanilla guy to build a bike for me if I could just decide what it is that I really want.
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Old 02-13-21, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Some of us would be thrilled to own a 6-year-old Ritchey Logic bike as the "ONE bike." If the only problem with it is that you'd prefer not to be leaning over so far, consider buying a new stem that brings the bars up higher.
I have no doubt. For me, I'd like to have the ability for a slightly wider tire and hydraulic brakes because of hand issues. I already have a high rise on the stem... any higher and I think it will affect the handling. It's a very nice bike, just not quite what I want/need... but totally get what you're saying.
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Old 02-13-21, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Rodriguez Outlaws are pretty light steel.

https://www.rodbikes.com/catalog/out...tlaw-main.html
Thank you, yes. I forgot about Rod... I've had one of theirs as well... not an Outlaw, but a custom in the past and currently own one of their tandems.
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Old 02-13-21, 10:40 PM
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Man, $3k complete does not leave much opportunity to get any of the things which make a bike light, but then, maybe light does not mean the same to you as it does to me. What weight are we talking about?
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Old 02-13-21, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Man, $3k complete does not leave much opportunity to get any of the things which make a bike light, but then, maybe light does not mean the same to you as it does to me. What weight are we talking about?
Ooh yeah, probably looking at about 20 lbs I'd guess for steel at $3k.

Could get a 2000-ish Lemond Maillot Jaune in good shape for $900-sh, and they come in at about 19lbs.
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Old 02-14-21, 01:04 AM
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Wraith? Can’t find their website, maybe they packed it in?

Waterford/Gunnar will surely help you spend any amount of money you care to send them.

And yeah, $3000 is about enough to buy the new frame and a Walmart bike to strip for components.

My cost no object bike would be a Steve Rex. He’s local. Maybe I’ll get around to ordering a custom bike before he retires.




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Old 02-14-21, 05:25 AM
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Stelbel maybe? Or Black Cat?
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Old 02-14-21, 08:21 AM
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There’s a guy in my town with a ‘17 or ‘18 Kona Roadhouse in a 56-58cm-ish size who’s built it to darned close to 17lbs with the stock fork, but carbon everything. Only the frame, bearings, and the bolts are steel. No idea what he’s spent. My ‘16 Roadhouse fits 32mm tires on the stock (wiiide) rims but it is a seriously stiff frame with a seriously stiff fork- it needs those tires. I imagine a skinny set of rims could fit 35mm tires in there.

Another guy around here has a ‘19 or ‘20 A-C Nature Boy ACE that is also stupid light. Also a carbon everything build. Unlike the Roadhouses, it is super springy like a vintage lightweight steel bike. I was completely surprised by how much I freaking loved climbing on that flimsy thing.

———
Being that A-C’s Zig Zag comes with that same springy ACE tubing, if I had to have disc brakes, 32mm tires, and road geo under $3K, that bike would definitely be on the list.
———

FWIW, I nearly never ride my RH and mostly ride an old 531c Trek or an SS 531 Lejeune.

I don’t know how else you’ll build a light steel bike under $3K without the frameset being from a eastern labor colony.

Rodriguez, Waterford, Toyo, etc. ...you’d better be having a killer parts bin to draw from to build at a pretend $3K.

Seems like you haven’t yet tried a different stem on the Ritchey because you are scared that you’d waste $40 and a half hour? But are willing to blow $3K on something “maybe better” that is both compact geo (I think that just means it’s intentionally too small and you make up for it with a long stem?) yet isn’t as compact as your Ritchey.

Good luck with the search. I do hope you bring yourself to bring your pedals and shoes to an All City dealer as I think it could be a surprisingly good experience.
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Old 02-14-21, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by PoeCo View Post

I've looked at Torelli, IndyFab, Breadwinner, Ritchey, Enigma (in the UK), but I know there must be others I'm missing, so if you have thoughts, I would be grateful. Thanks in advance!
Do a search for British steel bikes. Condor makes the Fratello (https://road.cc/content/review/condo...rameset-277287) and Mason makes the Resolution (https://masoncycles.cc/products/resolution-frameset) There are others too.
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Old 02-14-21, 08:29 AM
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There are also some used Guru Sideros out there. Mine is set up with SRAM Red 10 sp mechanical and Mavic USTs. It weighs about 17 lb 10 oz or thereabouts. That's w/Speedplay Zeros.

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Old 02-14-21, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Ooh yeah, probably looking at about 20 lbs I'd guess for steel at $3k.
If 20lbs-ish is acceptable— and I suppose that would be a couple of pounds less than All-City options, which the OP referenced— then perhaps a Genesis Equilibrium with the carbon fiber fork option, would fit the bill. I don’t know what shipping might cost from UK, but rim brake, 105 groupset bike (and CF fork) prices out just under USD$3k.
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Old 02-14-21, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Do a search for British steel bikes. Condor makes the Fratello (https://road.cc/content/review/condo...rameset-277287) and Mason makes the Resolution (https://masoncycles.cc/products/resolution-frameset) There are others too.
I’ve been wanting a Resolution since they came out! Sweet rides, but probably well beyond a $3k build (figuring $800 gruppo, $600 wheels, and $400 finishing kit).
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Old 02-14-21, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by PoeCo View Post
Currently, I have a carbon gravel bike that works perfectly for those types of rides or that can be used as a sort-of road bike in a pinch, but it's a little heavy to truly be used as a whip when I really want to move. Temporarily, I've been using a 6 year old, rim-brake, Ritchey Road Logic, but it's a little more leaned over than I prefer. There are custom makers out in the universe who can make just about anything as well, but I'm curious what I may be missing and/or if others have suggestions for places to look for lightweight steel road bikes in a $3k price point. I prefer compact geometry (though I'm flexible on this piece of it) and disc brakes as well (though I know the brakes will add to the weight). Additionally, due to some physical issues, I'd prefer clearance for at least a 30mm tire. I am able to build the bike up myself as well, so it doesn't have to be a full-build (though I still need to keep roughly in the price range mentioned).
Thanks in advance!
Fairlight Strael 2.0

- Sizing is available in a wide range that allows for 2 different fits(endurance or race, to make it simple).
- You can fit a 32mm tire.
- The frame is a mix of shaped 853 main tubes and 631 plus 725 stays. Main triangle has 7/5/7 and 7/4/7 butting. 631 chainstays are 8/6 butted. 725 heat treated seat stays are 14mm .6 and not tapered.
- 105 hydraulic build is $2700usd and an Ultegra hydraulic build is $3225usd. The frame, fork, headset, and thru axles are $1500.
- Frame geometry is built for spirited riding. 418mm chainstays and heat tube as well as seat tube angles that are more traditional(vs trendy relaxed hta).
- Frames are built in Europe with a mix of clean tig welding on the main triangle and brass brazed rear triangle plus brazeons.
- Ports for di2 or hub generated lighting. External cables for easy setup and maintenance.
https://fairlightcycles.com/product/deposit/?v=79cba1185463
https://fairlightcycles.com/strael-c...v=79cba1185463

Fairlight's frames are ISO tested, so just like all production frames they will not be as light as custom builders who don't have ISO tested frames. But based on tube selection, this frame will be among the lightest production frames you can find. A 56 frame was designed to weight 1900g. You can email them and ask for size specific weight- they were very willing to talk with me about design decisions and details when I bought a Secan gravel frame from them.


The only downside is lead time since they do production batches. But it may not be any longer than some custom builders.

Look at the lookbook pdf for build options and frame details.
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Old 02-14-21, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Man, $3k complete does not leave much opportunity to get any of the things which make a bike light, but then, maybe light does not mean the same to you as it does to me. What weight are we talking about?
It's a rough number for a budget, not exact, but I do own new Rolf wheels (they are disc, which is another reason I'd prefer the bike take disc brakes), so that helps with getting things built too. We also have quite a large parts bin, so there are a lot of bits that can be pulled from that. Primarily, I'd need the frameset and brifters (maybe a derailleur too). I'd like sub-20 lbs, but it doesn't need to be something insanely light... I don't need a 14 lb bike... 18-19 lbs would be perfectly acceptable. The current Ritchey steel bike comes in at 19 lbs with saddle, pedals and bottle cages (though I know the rim brakes make it lighter), but it doesn't have the lightest parts on it either.
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Old 02-14-21, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Do a search for British steel bikes. Condor makes the Fratello (https://road.cc/content/review/condo...rameset-277287) and Mason makes the Resolution (https://masoncycles.cc/products/resolution-frameset) There are others too.
I have read some about the Resolution... it seems like a pretty sweet ride. I could always get the frameset and build it, since I do have parts, so that could be a possibility. I'll have to check out the Condor suggestion too.

Thank you
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Old 02-14-21, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
There are also some used Guru Sideros out there. Mine is set up with SRAM Red 10 sp mechanical and Mavic USTs. It weighs about 17 lb 10 oz or thereabouts. That's w/Speedplay Zeros.

Definitely open to used possibilities as well. Sometimes, for me, the difficult bit is sizing. I'm under 5'4, so that always presents a challenge as most used bikes are larger sized than I need... but, they do pop up on occasion.
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Old 02-14-21, 08:20 PM
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Disc brakes, 30mm tires, more upright position.......

Personally, given a $3K budget and above preferences = I'd worry less about frame weight and buy better wheels/tires.

If you need/want custom: www.curtlo.com - frameset or complete with build.
Co-Motion builds nice bikes.

I did a Columbus lugged steel 'endurance bike' years back, with Jon Tallerico. He's in central CA.
Done right.... there's just something about a custom bike and your chosen component preferences.
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Old 02-17-21, 11:04 AM
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Old 02-17-21, 03:18 PM
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I paid $5000 plus for this frame and and it has been one of my biggest regrets. While waiting for this to be built I purchased a Trek Domane and it rides like a dream. I built this steel frame up, rode it for 26 miles and knew it wasn't for me. I have been trying to off load it but the best offer I have gotten is $680. (American dollars). Even during a pandemic I can't give this away. Not saying steel bikes are bad, just pick the right builder if you go custom.

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