Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

Best Frame Ever

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Old 03-06-18, 12:29 PM
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rEVOLVED
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Best Frame Ever

Hey, guys! I've been long wanting a Wabi classic, which I believe is now the Wabi Road. I was thinking it was the gold standard for my price range. As I read and look more, I'm curious about the really high end stuff. Hypothetically, with an unlimited budget, what is the best steel frame for fixed riding (besides something custom)?

I'm not interested in anything made specifically for the velodrome. I'm looking more for road geo. What else is out there? I've only heard a lot about steamrollers, wabi and some all-city options. From what I can tell, soma and cinelli seem more track specific.
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Old 03-06-18, 12:39 PM
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What would a "gold standard" for a road fixed-gear be trying to attain? "Best" in what sense? The reason there isn't really high-end fixed gear bikes with road geometry is that their primary use case is getting from your studio apartment to campus. Most of the people wanting to do this also want to impress the ladies with their sick skids and thus prefer track geometry. This is especially true of people wanting to spend a lot of money on the bike. Many of the people who like riding fixed, like it for the sensation of speed that it imparts, which also entails track geometry.

KiloTT!

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Old 03-06-18, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
What would a "gold standard" for a road fixed-gear be trying to attain? "Best" in what sense? The reason there isn't really high-end fixed gear bikes with road geometry is that their primary use case is getting from your studio apartment to campus. Most of the people wanting to do this also want to impress the ladies with their sick skids and thus prefer track geometry. This is especially true of people are wanting to spend a lot of money on the bike.

KiloTT!
I totally see what you are saying. It's not like I'm dying to spend $3,000 on a frame. But am I limiting myself if I assume a wabi vs. steamroller mentality?
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Old 03-06-18, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rEVOLVED View Post
I totally see what you are saying. It's not like I'm dying to spend $3,000 on a frame. But am I limiting myself if I assume a wabi vs. steamroller mentality?

What are you trying to achieve?

What do you want?

Is weight your concern? Looks? Geometry? Forget price, Decide what features are critical and then go shopping.
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Old 03-06-18, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rEVOLVED View Post
I totally see what you are saying. It's not like I'm dying to spend $3,000 on a frame. But am I limiting myself if I assume a wabi vs. steamroller mentality?
But you COULD spend that much on a frame.

(and it's an AWESOME frame, too.)
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Old 03-06-18, 02:41 PM
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@rEVOLVED asks a relevant question. Many of us are interested in fixed gear road riding and looking for fixed gear road bikes, not converted track bikes, something a step up from the standard offerings.

Rodriquez Cycles in Seattle came up in a recent thread.
Custom Bicycles | Rodriguez Bicycles and Tandems in Seattle
$999 + shipping for the fixed gear frame. You get butted Reynolds 721 tubes hand made to order and four color choices. They have several stock sizes with track-ish geometry and 20 stock sizes with "more relaxed geometry suitable for road riding." $200 more gets you a complete custom based on your measurements with any geometry you care to specify.

They sell better/lighter tubesets and can do anything you want in terms of cable bosses, dropouts, cage mounts, level vs sloping top tube, fork choice, paint, travel couplers, etc. You can spend over $3k for a frame if you want.

I'm considering a custom fixed gear frame from them - Vari-Wall THERMLX tubes with a sporty road geometry, ENVE 2.0 fork painted to match and a couple other minor details. I will ride it like any other geared road bike - group and charity rides, Saturday morning solo metrics and that sort of thing.


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Old 03-06-18, 03:17 PM
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what about one of the higher end Wabi's?
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Old 03-06-18, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
What are you trying to achieve?

What do you want?

Is weight your concern? Looks? Geometry? Forget price, Decide what features are critical and then go shopping.
I appreciate your questions. I meant this thread to be more of a "dream frame" type situation. From what I've researched, I think a Wabi Road will fit my needs and budget quite nicely. But I wanted some feedback on brands/frames that are way above and beyond the $850 range just so I could look around.

There was one brand that came up a while ago that had a bunch of crazy classic looking lugged frames. They were toting a bunch of stats about their fit method, and how they are opposed to the idea of compact frames that's going around the cycling world. I think I read about them in a French Fit thread. The company started with R, I think... But I can't seem to remember. Anyway, it's stuff like that that I'm looking at. More for fun and for me to see what's out there than for realistic purchases.
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Old 03-06-18, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
what about one of the higher end Wabi's?
It might be off topic but I tried to buy a Lightning frame and was not entirely thrilled with the experience. Others may have had a different experience but I felt like I might have been pushed toward what they had in stock as opposed to getting the right fit.

I asked about a 55 and none were in stock. They asked for measurements which I sent and said a 52 would be the best fit for me. Later they informed me that there were no 52's in stock, told me something about the owner recently going to a smaller frame and recommended a size 49 which they had in stock.

I'm 5' 9" and pretty sure a size 49 isn't right for me but I could be wrong and I've never seen their frames in person nor ridden one. Qualified buyer with cash in hand ready to purchase but it was enough that my gut told me to walk away.


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Old 03-06-18, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
It might be off topic but I tried to buy a Lightning frame and was not entirely thrilled with the experience. Others may have had a different experience but I felt like I might have been pushed toward what they had in stock as opposed to getting the right fit.

I asked about a 55 and none were in stock. They asked for measurements which I sent and said a 52 would be the best fit for me. Later they informed me that there were no 52's in stock, told me something about the owner recently going to a smaller frame and recommended a size 49 which they had in stock.

I'm 5' 9" and pretty sure a size 49 isn't right for me but I could be wrong and I've never seen their frames in person nor ridden one. Qualified buyer with cash in hand ready to purchase but it was enough that my gut told me to walk away.


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While Richard was still in charge or post-Richard?
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Old 03-06-18, 06:05 PM
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If you don't need it to be SS/FG specific, there's about a million road frames to choose from. Conversions are cool (2008 is spinning in its grave right now).
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Old 03-06-18, 06:05 PM
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that's shady. I'm 5'9" and on a 55 Wabi and it fits perfect - no way a 49 would work for either of us.

I would have not responded to the body dimensions Q and been more pushy about my product inquiry. Are you going to quote me for a 55 or not? If not, cya later. I'm an experienced enough rider to not need anyone fitting me to their product. In regards to frame dimensions all I pay attention to is TT and HT length anywho.

I recently purchased a 55 Classic and fortunately didn't have to deal with any of that nonsense
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Old 03-06-18, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rEVOLVED View Post
I appreciate your questions. I meant this thread to be more of a "dream frame" type situation. From what I've researched, I think a Wabi Road will fit my needs and budget quite nicely. But I wanted some feedback on brands/frames that are way above and beyond the $850 range
Maybe I'm the odd man out here. $850.00 is way too much money for me to spend on a cloned shelf frame. Spending even more than that seems even less logical. I can't get passionate or emotionally invested in a dime-a-dozen rack item.

When you say "Dream Frame" I think of my choice of tubing, every angle, diameter, taper and length chosen by me. Drop outs, fork crowns, braze ons, all exactly what I want. Beautiful construction like filet brazed or the snazzy lugs of my choosing. I dream it and a custom frame builder produces it. I just can't see spending $1,500.00 bucks on a factory assembly line frame when some of the best frame builders in the US will build me a full custom, no compromise frame for $2K.
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Old 03-06-18, 09:19 PM
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Not trying to turn this into a Wabi thread so I'll hit it and quit.

Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
While Richard was still in charge or post-Richard?
It was last month.

Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
that's shady. I'm 5'9" and on a 55 Wabi and it fits perfect - no way a 49 would work for either of us.

I would have not responded to the body dimensions Q and been more pushy about my product inquiry. Are you going to quote me for a 55 or not? If not, cya later. I'm an experienced enough rider to not need anyone fitting me to their product. In regards to frame dimensions all I pay attention to is TT and HT length anywho.

I recently purchased a 55 Classic and fortunately didn't have to deal with any of that nonsense
I wanted a 55. A 52 is actually has a 54 TT, hence my interest. My hope was that some were on order or that they would get some in soon so I let the drama play out.


-Tim-

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Old 03-06-18, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rEVOLVED View Post
The company started with R, I think... But I can't seem to remember.
Rivendell?

The best frame is the one that fits you best and works for the kind of riding you do. Custom built frames are obviously just that, custom, but you can get the same success in fit/function with any mass produced frame.
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Old 03-06-18, 10:25 PM
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My good fix gear comes very close to perfect for a true road fix gear. Yes, over $3000. Yes, custom. (But one of its key features isn't offered by anyone I know currently in business. Pluses (besides the fit; stock bikes rarely have better than either a class B fit or class B weight balance):

A road style dropout a full 2" long that opens at the front and down so even wheels with tires as big as I can fit in the frame can be pulled out with the tires inflated using a maximum size cog - easily with clean hands.

A chain peg, peg for top tube mounted frame pump, (3) sets of WB bosses.

Stiff ti frame, sweet 531 fork. The ti goes a long ways to making chip seal, etc. not an issue. Good steel forks on ti bikes feel "right". (Carbon isn't an option for me. Separate issue.)

Highish BB so I have touched pedals maybe two or three times in 7 years but low enough that this feels like a true road bike. (175 cranks like my knees love.)

1" steerer, quill stem.

Bike rides like a high end early '80s racing bike. Fits like a dream. I've done 130+ miles on it, Cycle Oregon 4 times, done a 10,000 feet of climbing day. Using a traditional steerer opened up an option I really like. I can swap "cockpits" in 5 minutes right before a ride and I do often. Normally I have traditional Nitto road handlebars, road brake levers and some nice SunTour Superbe sidepull brakes. Straight classic road. But if I want to do serious climbing, I swap to deep and wide pista bars with road V-brake levers. The hand position on the hoods when seated is compromised but come the climbs, those huge levers rule for those miles out of the saddle. When I do sit, it's power climbing and the pista bend of the tops is as good as I always thought it should be. (And throws the elbows out for better breathing.) Downhill? Wide drops are wonderful. Very steady bike, even on poor roads. (And remember, fix gear. On mountain descents, aero is not your friend.)

I pair the cockpits with their own calipers. Front stays hooked up. So the only adjust is the rear cable. With both a barrel and a good release, that is easy. No headset bearings to mess with. For the downhill setup I use Shimano DP calipers. Plenty of power with the V-brake levers and on a panic grab of the brakes when I see a turn my pedals won't remotely clear, the bike just slows really rapidly. No lockup, no excitement.

I'm glad I waited 30 years to get this bike. It took me that long to "get" what it should have. (The dropout I never saw or even heard about until after I had mine made. After, I heard that it had been done in the 1930s. Last year I saw a bike with a much shorter version of mine that apparently was part of a run done by a Bay Area builder in the late '90s.)

Best of all, when I ride it, it is a bike that is just like I have dreamed of for decades. I get to do what I have wanted to do since I stopped racing and joined the real world (and aged). I can ride this fix gear anywhere there is pavement. In my 60s. Probably my 70s. (The time will come when I have to sacrifice the really sweet Sugino 75 cranks to go with a BCD lower than 144. Hopefully PAUL or someone else will have a 175 crankset of smaller BCD and that precision by then.

Ben
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Old 03-07-18, 08:49 AM
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If you're talking road fixed-gear, consider getting a frame built by a company that was building them back during the golden age of road fixed-gear cycling - Mercian. They will build you anything you want, though their offerings include a box-stock Super Vigorelli with options suitable for zippy road cycling.

They also do full custom. You mentioned Rivendell, a company that has championed more traditional approaches to cycling and bike fit than the industry does. Their fitting methods are pretty much what was the norm in just about every cycling manual I have ever seen published before, say, 1975, and especially for people who are riding on the road for purposes other than competition or pretending to be competitive, but who still desire to move along at paces that can easily include brisk, and who can ride all day long comfortably on varying road surfaces. I have owned both a Rivendell Road Custom and a Rivendell Quickbeam, and you might enjoy seeking one of those out, depending on whether you like the ride of bikes built with oversized-diameter tubing. I don't, which is why I have since sold both of mine. Here's a pic of the Quickbeam I had for a while -

[IMG]IMG_2292_zpschsmoq9p by Russ Fitzgerald, on Flickr[/IMG]

- and here is a pic of my current nice road fixed-gear, a custom Mercian Vincitore built to replicate British club bikes c.1935-1955, but dimensioned for modern parts. If I had it to do over again, I would specify long forward-opening rear dropouts (like the long Cyclo/Stallard ends used on British bikes for many years, or maybe a pair of LEFT side Campagnolo 1010s or Simplex ends), and maybe cantilevers.

[IMG]Mid-October, 2017 by Russ Fitzgerald, on Flickr[/IMG]

I love this bike, and it is my very favorite bike of all time, period. It is absolutely NOT a cookie-cutter, but has what was considered standard sport-touring geometry for a couple of decades and is suitable for all sorts of road surfaces and all sorts of rides.

Way off-topic, but if you want to get into a nice road fixed-gear experience that is not the modern norm, go poke around old British cycling manuals and magazines from before, say, 1965 or so.
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Old 03-07-18, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Maybe I'm the odd man out here. $850.00 is way too much money for me to spend on a cloned shelf frame. Spending even more than that seems even less logical. I can't get passionate or emotionally invested in a dime-a-dozen rack item.

When you say "Dream Frame" I think of my choice of tubing, every angle, diameter, taper and length chosen by me. Drop outs, fork crowns, braze ons, all exactly what I want. Beautiful construction like filet brazed or the snazzy lugs of my choosing. I dream it and a custom frame builder produces it. I just can't see spending $1,500.00 bucks on a factory assembly line frame when some of the best frame builders in the US will build me a full custom, no compromise frame for $2K.
I see what you mean. Overall, I just don't have enough riding experience to speak to most of this. I just wanted to see what kind of responses this thread produced. I'm riding a $200 craigslist bianchi pista as my first FG. For me, I need to ride a bunch more on that bike, and maybe throw on nicer tires and some new drop bars since I hate my bullhorns. I'm not dying to throw too much money into this bike, but new bars, routing drop brakes, and the tires won't add up to be all that much. I need to see what kind of rider I am over the next few months. My longest to date is 20 miles. I'm still new. Hoping to do a 30 or 40 mile ride next week.
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Old 03-07-18, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
If you're talking road fixed-gear, consider getting a frame built by a company that was building them back during the golden age of road fixed-gear cycling - Mercian. They will build you anything you want, though their offerings include a box-stock Super Vigorelli with options suitable for zippy road cycling.

They also do full custom. You mentioned Rivendell, a company that has championed more traditional approaches to cycling and bike fit than the industry does. Their fitting methods are pretty much what was the norm in just about every cycling manual I have ever seen published before, say, 1975, and especially for people who are riding on the road for purposes other than competition or pretending to be competitive, but who still desire to move along at paces that can easily include brisk, and who can ride all day long comfortably on varying road surfaces. I have owned both a Rivendell Road Custom and a Rivendell Quickbeam, and you might enjoy seeking one of those out, depending on whether you like the ride of bikes built with oversized-diameter tubing. I don't, which is why I have since sold both of mine. Here's a pic of the Quickbeam I had for a while -

[IMG]IMG_2292_zpschsmoq9p by Russ Fitzgerald, on Flickr[/IMG]

- and here is a pic of my current nice road fixed-gear, a custom Mercian Vincitore built to replicate British club bikes c.1935-1955, but dimensioned for modern parts. If I had it to do over again, I would specify long forward-opening rear dropouts (like the long Cyclo/Stallard ends used on British bikes for many years, or maybe a pair of LEFT side Campagnolo 1010s or Simplex ends), and maybe cantilevers.

[IMG]Mid-October, 2017 by Russ Fitzgerald, on Flickr[/IMG]

I love this bike, and it is my very favorite bike of all time, period. It is absolutely NOT a cookie-cutter, but has what was considered standard sport-touring geometry for a couple of decades and is suitable for all sorts of road surfaces and all sorts of rides.

Way off-topic, but if you want to get into a nice road fixed-gear experience that is not the modern norm, go poke around old British cycling manuals and magazines from before, say, 1965 or so.
We might have to talk more. I love that Mercian you posted. Great looking bike. And this is exactly what I wanted from this thread. Just super cool steel frame bikes that a newer rider like myself might not even know about.
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Old 03-07-18, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rEVOLVED View Post
I need to see what kind of rider I am over the next few months. My longest to date is 20 miles. I'm still new. Hoping to do a 30 or 40 mile ride next week.
IMO, that is the prescription for success. Just keep riding and experimenting with little changes. Your comfort (or lack of) and enjoyment level will tell you everything you need to know.
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Old 03-07-18, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
IMO, that is the prescription for success. Just keep riding and experimenting with little changes. Your comfort (or lack of) and enjoyment level will tell you everything you need to know.
Thanks, Squid. I will definitely have several more questions when it comes time to do a realistic upgrade. In the meantime, I'm open see to anyone else's awesome steel fixed gears.
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Old 03-07-18, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post

[IMG]IMG_2292_zpschsmoq9p by Russ Fitzgerald, on Flickr[/IMG]


[IMG]Mid-October, 2017 by Russ Fitzgerald, on Flickr[/IMG]

.
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Old 03-07-18, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rEVOLVED View Post
Thanks, Squid. I will definitely have several more questions when it comes time to do a realistic upgrade. In the meantime, I'm open see to anyone else's awesome steel fixed gears.
Yep. With more miles you'll discover what matters most to you. For some folks, speed and aerodynamics are critical. I get that. Some people love the feeling of a featherweight bike. Some people like geometry that suits out-of-the-saddle climbing because they dig hills, hills, and more hills. Some folks want to go camping over the weekend or travel the globe, so obviously their needs are totally different. Crazy crowded urban insanity of the big city? Needs a different bike again.

My rides are are from five miles to fifty miles at a mellow pace, with lots of stops for sight seeing, photos, and snacking. Play time. Exercise time. No serious goals other than to clear my head and enjoy being outside. I've discovered that a relaxed, comfortable riding position and big soft tires are more important than anything else to me.
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Old 03-07-18, 02:30 PM
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TMonk
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Bikes: road, track, mtb

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...and that about sums it up. Ride as much (or as little) as you want for 6-12 months before making a big purchase like the one you're planning on. It will ensure that your frame is optimized to your riding style and that you get maximum enjoyment out of it .
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Old 03-07-18, 03:01 PM
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veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
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Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Pink Klein MTB, Phil Wood VeloXS Frame (that will soon have DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame

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My dream frame would certainly be custom. If I was going steel it would probably be made by Chris Bishop and would be lugged with a similar geometry to my Foundry Chilkoot. However if I was not going custom I would probably go with Rodriguez or Gunnar.

If full on dream mode I would probably have a Sugino Super75/Zen drivetrain with EAI Gold Medal cog and eeBrakes, Ti stem and seatpost and a Thomson or ZIPP flat top drop bar and SRAM S900 levers.
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