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Maybe Steel IS Real (or I'm crazy).

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Maybe Steel IS Real (or I'm crazy).

Old 03-16-10, 09:20 PM
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liquefied
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Maybe Steel IS Real (or I'm crazy).

I'll just get this out of the way right now. I'm going to sell my CAAD9 and replace it with what is now my commuter bike; a Bridgestone RB-1. Maybe I'm crazy. I know the CAAD9 is godly here but I'm in love with the RB-1. I drank the CAAD9 Koolaid and it really was good for the past year but it may have worn off.

I can only have one nice bike that gets to live in the apartment (as opposed to in the depths of the building basement where it gets dinged and scratched with all the other bikes).

I never really believed the whole 'steel is real' philosophy. I'd previously owned a Lemond Zurich 853 frame with a carbon fork as a side-kick to my CAAD9 and I really couldn't tell a difference in ride comfort between the two. I ended up getting rid of the Lemond and replacing it with a beat-to-hell but structurally sound RB-1 frame and the difference is huge. I love the RB-1. I've been riding it on the weekend which is usually reserved for the Cannondale.

Yesterday I took the CAAD9 out for a nice little 30-miler in the Marin Headlands and the ride was just so harsh compared to the Bridgestone. I see now what a full steel frame and fork will do. Sure, the RB-1 weighs a couple pounds more than the Cannondale but I don't race so that doesn't really matter. The geometry feels a lot better too. They're both 52cm but the RB-1 just feels right.

So the plan is to hopefully get around $1k for the Cannondale (anyone in the Bay Area interested?) then sink some of that into completing the 7700 group on the Bridgestone. Am I crazy?

Of course, here are pics:

The new baby. (a paint job may be in order somewhere down the road)


The old baby. I'll probably miss it.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:27 PM
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Not crazy at all. You've found what you like, and you're going with it.

Then again, I'm in the same boat as you (thinking of replacing a aluminum Cinelli Xperience frame with something steel), so maybe I'm trying to justifying my insanity.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:33 PM
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Not crazy. Both of my bikes are steel, and I wouldn't trade them for another material. I have not ever owned a bike made from a different material, but I have ridden them some and found a noticeable difference in the ride quality IMO. Get the group upgraded to what you want and enjoy it.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:34 PM
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Bridgestones were always well regarded. I had a 1993 RB-1, very sweet ride and that year's model had a terrific Tom Ritchey designed fork crown. The mtb Bridgestones (MB-0 and MB-1) were great mountain bikes, too.

Steel is a great material, and it is still the most popular choice of material for custom builders (go to the NAHBS website and see some fantastic steel from Vanilla, Kelly Bedford and of course, Richard Sachs).
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Old 03-16-10, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by veloduffer View Post
Bridgestones were always well regarded. I had a 1993 RB-1, very sweet ride and that year's model had a terrific Tom Ritchey designed fork crown. The mtb Bridgestones (MB-0 and MB-1) were great mountain bikes, too.

Steel is a great material, and it is still the most popular choice of material for custom builders (go to the NAHBS website and see some fantastic steel from Vanilla, Kelly Bedford and of course, Richard Sachs).
Luckily mine came with the Ritchey fork as well.

I knew RB-1's were sought after but I never really knew why. I figured it was just the Rivendell fanatics being crazy like they are. I found this one on craigslist for $150 and figured what-the-hell.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:48 PM
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Just to add to the steel lust, I ride a SOMA Smoothie Road Race, and even with the tighter geometry than the ES, the steel still makes my ride pleasant. I love my bike, and you'll love yours too!
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Old 03-17-10, 12:41 AM
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Perhaps what you feel is real.

I have other steel bikes in my stable, but I just pulled out my oldest friend and am reminded what a difference classic geometry and tubing can make. This bike still rides like a dream after more than thirty years. With modern drivetrain components and brakes it would be amazing.
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Old 03-17-10, 10:33 AM
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Well I'm just gonna go for it. There are plenty of CAAD9's out there so if I regret it too much I can always buy another one.

Now I need to decide if I want to get STI's for the RB-1 or stick with the DA downtube shifters.
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Old 03-17-10, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by liquefied View Post
Well I'm just gonna go for it. There are plenty of CAAD9's out there so if I regret it too much I can always buy another one.

Now I need to decide if I want to get STI's for the RB-1 or stick with the DA downtube shifters.
Downtube.
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Old 03-17-10, 10:45 AM
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It's no secret that steel is making a comeback or maybe it's being re-discovered. Anyway, major manufacturers, Specialized, Fuji, Raleigh are offering steel bikes. I have quite a few vintage rides and have found the really nice stuff like Tange 1 or Reynolds 531 are selling for high bucks. Yesterday's garage sale Centurion Ironman is today's $300 Craigslist bike that sells in 48 hours.
My current favorite is a 1986 Nishiki Prestige Tange 2 refitted with 8 speed Ultegra Brifters and rear DR along with an Alex A 320 wheel set. If I get a chance I'll post pics when I get home.
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Old 03-17-10, 11:12 AM
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Not crazy, steel is real. My 1987 Trek 400d with a Reynolds 531 frame is a superb bike to ride.

If you get a chance, try Titanium. Damp-but-firm without being harsh.
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Old 03-17-10, 11:18 AM
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All my bikes are steel, I just haven't grown up.

Randochap, I have a Woodrup that looks very similar to that Shields Nishiki of yours.

How does that Nishiki handle a front rack and bag?
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Old 03-17-10, 11:27 AM
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I've mentioned it here before on these boards -- I have a Merlin Ti and an RB-1. I love my Merlin, but the ride and handling of the RB-1 is superior. BY FAR!!
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Old 03-17-10, 12:30 PM
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Some people will never get it.

It's like trying to explain my new Trek 520. It's steel, 20+ pounds, and no STI shifters, MSRP $1200 to other cyclists. No point.

They think I got ripped off while they ride their aluminum /carbon fiber bikes. I give up trying to explain the comfort of steel and touring bikes. I finally tell them it's a modified hybrid, but they still don't understand.
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Old 03-17-10, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jollysnowman View Post
Downtube.
Ugh. If you like downtube shifters for the nostalgia, take a picture and frame it, then replace them with STI.
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Old 03-17-10, 12:34 PM
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The shifters would be a big issue for me.
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Old 03-17-10, 12:50 PM
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You're RB-1 is setup very similarly to the Univega that I commute to work on every day. Same Tektro (or are they cane creek) brake levers, DT shifters, sporty looking saddle, nice dual pivot calipers. I have nothing but good feelings when I ride that bike. It's heavy, and my gearing options are slim...but I enjoy riding it, and would love to do a DA 10 with DT shifters conversion to it. Won't happen for a while. I think yours looks too good with DT shifters to get rid of them. The Tektro's are SO comfortable anyway. Upgrading to brifters might be a good idea to replace old shimano or suntour levers, but since you already have comfort, I say just upgrade the drivetrain and enjoy.

-Jeremy
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Old 03-17-10, 01:13 PM
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my current project is to repaint my 83 Trek 770 and replace the entire drivetrain with campy 10 speed.
If you're not racing, ride what you enjoy, the extra 2 or 4 pounds won't make that much difference.

Marty
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Old 03-17-10, 01:24 PM
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The RB1 has a longer top tube so its probably more comfy. It also has a longer wheelbase. I'd take the RB1 over a Cannondale any day of the week.
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Old 03-17-10, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tunnelrat81 View Post
You're RB-1 is setup very similarly to the Univega that I commute to work on every day. Same Tektro (or are they cane creek) brake levers, DT shifters, sporty looking saddle, nice dual pivot calipers. I have nothing but good feelings when I ride that bike. It's heavy, and my gearing options are slim...but I enjoy riding it, and would love to do a DA 10 with DT shifters conversion to it. Won't happen for a while. I think yours looks too good with DT shifters to get rid of them. The Tektro's are SO comfortable anyway. Upgrading to brifters might be a good idea to replace old shimano or suntour levers, but since you already have comfort, I say just upgrade the drivetrain and enjoy.

-Jeremy
Yeah, usually the DT shifters are no problem. For commuting and solo riding they work great but occasionally I do fast group rides with my friends with a lot of grade changes so STI's help a lot there. It's a tough call. The levers I have are actually Cane Creek but they're probably identical to the Tektro ones. I'd be putting DA 9-speed STI's on it if I went that route but I've never used some so I'm not sure how they compare comfort-wise.
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Old 03-17-10, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Ugh. If you like downtube shifters for the nostalgia, take a picture and frame it, then replace them with STI.
It's a matter of simplicity and neccessity to me. No, I don't race, and I'm only 21, so for me nostalgia is last night's Taco Bell.

Oh, and OP, nice bike lol. An RB-1 is on my list, just after old Treks and Miyatas.

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Old 03-17-10, 02:09 PM
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Some would argue about keeping it in a more stock form. Me, I think you should make it how you want it and go ride. If you can live with the DT shifters, keep them, but if you need STI for your group rides, go that route. I think either way you will end up with a pretty cool ride.
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Old 03-17-10, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Big_Red View Post
Some would argue about keeping it in a more stock form. Me, I think you should make it how you want it and go ride. If you can live with the DT shifters, keep them, but if you need STI for your group rides, go that route. I think either way you will end up with a pretty cool ride.
This is a 1994 RB-1, the last one made so keeping it in stock form actually calls for STI's since it came with 8-speed 105's.
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Old 03-17-10, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jollysnowman View Post
An RB-1 is on my list, just after old Treks and Miyatas.
You get the RB-1 first you may not even want the Trek & Miyata.

Don't say nobody told 'ya.
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Old 03-17-10, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
You get the RB-1 first you may not even want the Trek & Miyata.

Don't say nobody told 'ya.
Availability plays a role in the rankings
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