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High-end Chromoly Frame Makers of the 90s

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High-end Chromoly Frame Makers of the 90s

Old 01-19-21, 10:29 AM
  #51  
bruce19
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I think your memory is a bit off. Campy Athena came out in 1988, and it had downtube indexed shifters. I had in on a Schwinn Paramount OS I bought in 1989. It was supposed to be the first Campy group to get indexing right. It didn’t, and I replaced it with Dura Ace.

You may be referring to the shifters as friction because they were downtube shifters as opposed to grifters, but they were indexed, just poorly so.
I actually bought those Athena indexed shifters and they were, as you said, useless. I was going to replace the original friction shifters with them. But, my original friction shifters were labeled Athena. I had Branford Bike in Branford, CT put it all together for me. It was all Campy including the wheels. I even had those weird Campy water bottles that had a handle. And, yes, it was around '88-89. Oh, FWIW, those friction shifters were the smoothest shifters I've ever had on a bike.
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Old 01-19-21, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
The smooth ride on rough roads from your steel bikes is the result of the fact that they are flexy. That “live” steel is real feeling is also because they are flexy.

Conversely, you can make CF as stiff as you want it. More importantly, you make it stiff where you want, and compliant where you want, and also manage the direction in which it is compliant.

Ive had a number of high end steel bikes, including a Paramount OS which is pretty similar to a Serotta Colorado in the use of oversized shaped tubes. All of those bikes were dramatically more flexy than my Willier Zero 7. I haven’t ridden a steel bike that I couldn’t make ghost shift by torquing the bb and chainstays.

Also, the front end on the Willier is dramatically stiffer laterally than the front end on any steel bike I’ve had, which inspires more precise and confident handling at speed. And yet the Willier is more comfortable, not to mention 7 pounds lighter, because compliance is built in the places and direction you want, such as vertically in the seat stays.

Its simple to confirm what I’m saying, just by pushing on the bike. Press your steel bike into the ground, and push on the bb with your foot . The lateral flex will be inches further than putting the same pressure on any good modern CF frame. Same thing with the amount of flex if you press laterally on the front end.

Time does March on, and if Modern CF frames weren’t better, then they wouldn’t outsell steel by a factor of 1000 or so.
No worries, some of us are just mere mortals and can't flex all our steel bikes enough to make them ghost shift. Most of us aren't cycling demi-gods. Just average joe's that can enjoy steel bikes and see no benefit to C.F.

And of course marketing and wanting to race what the pro's or gods like you ride have nothing to do with the sales numbers.

Teasing of course but you and I can go have this same old tired conversation over and over again.
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Old 01-19-21, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I actually bought those Athena indexed shifters and they were, as you said, useless. I was going to replace the original friction shifters with them. But, my original friction shifters were labeled Athena. I had Branford Bike in Branford, CT put it all together for me. It was all Campy including the wheels. I even had those weird Campy water bottles that had a handle. And, yes, it was around '88-89. Oh, FWIW, those friction shifters were the smoothest shifters I've ever had on a bike.
I picked up a mid 80's Colnago last year with the original Victory friction shifting groupset. Found it balky, dead feeling and poor shifting. The classic over-shift and then adjust back. Stripped the whole bike down and serviced everything. New cables, modern housings, etc. I even took the DT shifters apart, cleaned them all up and metal polished everything. Those parts went from one of my worse working setups to pretty much the best. Every bit as precise, smooth feeling and tactile as my Superbe Pro setup on the Opus III. I think a good service and proper setup goes a long way on the Campagnolo stuff.

I had fought a RD ghost shifting problem on my one Lemond that has a indexing shifting Campagnolo 8 speed Record setup. Turned out to be nothing but the wrong g springs someone had put in the shifters. I originally replaced them with the new wrong g springs as the majority on the various forums were saying the g springs were the same as used in the Ergo Levers. Once a true Campagnolo expert spoke up and provided the right part number for the correct G springs all ghost shifting problems disappeared. Now it works as well as any of the Shimano indexing setups I have although the fell is "heavier". Never lets me down though, just click, shift.
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Old 01-20-21, 12:33 AM
  #54  
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Thanks for the post and the support...

Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
All the Serotta catalogs are here.

Serotta Catalogs

And don't listen to all the silly nonsense about how superior today's C.F. bikes are. I've test ridden Trek Domane's twice now to feel that magical ride. I have at least a dozen old steel bikes in my stable that ride better on the rough roads than it easily.

That said, so much goes into ride quality beyond a brand or what it is made of. My two Serotta's are a prime example.

The CSI is a magical ride, super fast and very comfortable on chip seal.


That is one sweet Serotta you have there, jamesdak . The paint scheme reminds me of the Colnago Super I wrote about back when I quoted canyoneagle on 01-15-21. Can I trouble you for a shot of the other side of the bike and one showing the cabling for the rear derailleur?

I'm also very glad to see that some of us still feel good about steel. Considering that no less than Richard Sachs is still working with steel, who am I to argue? Once again, very nice bike, sir!
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Old 01-20-21, 12:21 PM
  #55  
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Here's another thread in C&V that might help in the grail search. https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...eel-rides.html
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Old 01-20-21, 12:57 PM
  #56  
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I don’t think that Sachs has ever worked in anything other than steel, so you could argue he wouldn’t know what other materials can do.

You wouldn’t need to argue that with me, however, as I’m a steel lover. I definitely don’t like carbon fiber frames because they feel like plastic, which is not to say anything about their performance prowess when ridden, only that I don’t like the tactile sensation and the sense of fragility it imparts.

I’ve also not had a brilliant CF experience yet; I like my Dedacciai Gladiatore 2, which was designed as a comfortable, endurance bike, but I don’t find it particularly comfortable or inspiring to ride. I greatly prefer my steel Breezer Lightning in terms of comfort and ride quality. Both wear the same rims and tires.
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Old 01-20-21, 01:00 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Serotta was a custom builder from Colorado. Late 80’s early 90’s, Serotta, and Schwinn with the OS Paramount were the leaders building with oversized steel tubes.

If you want a cool, now retro, very nice riding bike, you would not go wrong with a Waterford built Paramount OS, or a Colorado 2 from Serotta.
Serrota was in upstate NY as I recall
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Old 01-20-21, 09:15 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by LaVieClaire86 View Post
That is one sweet Serotta you have there, jamesdak . The paint scheme reminds me of the Colnago Super I wrote about back when I quoted canyoneagle on 01-15-21. Can I trouble you for a shot of the other side of the bike and one showing the cabling for the rear derailleur?

I'm also very glad to see that some of us still feel good about steel. Considering that no less than Richard Sachs is still working with steel, who am I to argue? Once again, very nice bike, sir!
All the pics I have of the Serotta are in this gallery:

https://pbase.com/jhuddle/serotta&page=all
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Old 01-21-21, 12:16 AM
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Serotta

Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
All the pics I have of the Serotta are in this gallery:

https://pbase.com/jhuddle/serotta&page=all
Please forgive the rookie questions, @jamesdak, but is that a CF fork on your beautiful Serotta CSI? I'd also like to know if and why you employ Campy components?

As brand loyal as some folks get, I don't want to start some kind of flame war, but I'd really like to know something about the modern componentry options out there. I was happy with my Shimano stuff, but that was also a long time ago.
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Old 01-21-21, 01:34 AM
  #60  
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It’s funny, LaVieClaire86 , that you aak about Campagnolo, which I run on my three roadies, and I certainly do not mean to speak for jamesdak , but until the very latest offerings from Shimano, I preferred the aesthetics of Campagnolo. It was also cool that it was the less common and more historic option, but I am just now bringing in SRAM Force AXS electronic as the first, modern challenger to Shimano, too, so I’m not hung up on Camapag as the be-all-end-all. yet I definitely appreciate what the brand delivers.

For example, when I spec’d Athena Carbon for a ‘13 build, it was the last of the highly polished, aluminum silver derailleurs in the market, and it absolutely made, IMO, the spec on my Breezer Venturi. Two and three years later, I chose Campagnolo purely for the groupset aesthetics and scarcity, so call me superficial or extroverted if you want, but I don’t think I gave up anything, mechanically speaking, to Shimano in doing so, and saved weight as well.
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Old 01-21-21, 07:10 AM
  #61  
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Another possibility is Peter Weigle.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/46124473021/
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Old 01-21-21, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by LaVieClaire86 View Post
Please forgive the rookie questions, @jamesdak, but is that a CF fork on your beautiful Serotta CSI? I'd also like to know if and why you employ Campy components?

As brand loyal as some folks get, I don't want to start some kind of flame war, but I'd really like to know something about the modern componentry options out there. I was happy with my Shimano stuff, but that was also a long time ago.
It is a carbon fiber fork. A very over-engineered one according to David Kirk, one of Serotta's premier builders back in the day. This has Campagnolo on it simply because that's what it had when I bought it. I'm not a brand elitist but do prefer Campagnolo over Shimano. That said, it's all good stuff and I run all brands on my bikes. Well except SRAM. I've never had a SRAM equipped bike of any sort in all my years.

In fact I just did a quick count of my current stable and what each bike has. I currently have 34 bikes up and running. 20 are Shimano, 12 are Campagnolo, 1 is Suntour, and 1 is Huret, Dia Compe, Stronglight.

Off the top of my head I have two 10 speed Campagnolo groups, an Ultegra 9 speed triple group, two Shimano 7400 8 speed groups and a Dura Ace 9 Speed group on hand right now for the last couple of frames I have to build up. I will also say that I have bought around 8 or so brand new Campagnolo group sets over the recent years that ranged from Athena to Super Record. I have not bought any brand new Shimano Groupsets. That may tell you where my preferences lay also.
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Old 01-21-21, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
It’s funny, LaVieClaire86 , that you aak about Campagnolo, which I run on my three roadies, and I certainly do not mean to speak for jamesdak , but until the very latest offerings from Shimano, I preferred the aesthetics of Campagnolo. It was also cool that it was the less common and more historic option, but I am just now bringing in SRAM Force AXS electronic as the first, modern challenger to Shimano, too, so I’m not hung up on Camapag as the be-all-end-all. yet I definitely appreciate what the brand delivers.

For example, when I spec’d Athena Carbon for a ‘13 build, it was the last of the highly polished, aluminum silver derailleurs in the market, and it absolutely made, IMO, the spec on my Breezer Venturi. Two and three years later, I chose Campagnolo purely for the groupset aesthetics and scarcity, so call me superficial or extroverted if you want, but I don’t think I gave up anything, mechanically speaking, to Shimano in doing so, and saved weight as well.
Nice post, Chaadster. This is the kind of information I'm after. As I haven't been in the "road bike loop" for quite some time now, I've lost touch with most of the advancements. Yes, I'm still trying to find the frame that I had such a great experience with, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I have to stick with the older componentry...or does it? Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts on the big component makers.
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Old 01-21-21, 11:56 AM
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More rookie questions

Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
It is a carbon fiber fork. A very over-engineered one according to David Kirk, one of Serotta's premier builders back in the day. This has Campagnolo on it simply because that's what it had when I bought it. I'm not a brand elitist but do prefer Campagnolo over Shimano. That said, it's all good stuff and I run all brands on my bikes. Well except SRAM. I've never had a SRAM equipped bike of any sort in all my years.

In fact I just did a quick count of my current stable and what each bike has. I currently have 34 bikes up and running. 20 are Shimano, 12 are Campagnolo, 1 is Suntour, and 1 is Huret, Dia Compe, Stronglight.

Off the top of my head I have two 10 speed Campagnolo groups, an Ultegra 9 speed triple group, two Shimano 7400 8 speed groups and a Dura Ace 9 Speed group on hand right now for the last couple of frames I have to build up. I will also say that I have bought around 8 or so brand new Campagnolo group sets over the recent years that ranged from Athena to Super Record. I have not bought any brand new Shimano Groupsets. That may tell you where my preferences lay also.
Jamesdak ~ It seems obvious to me that you're pretty heavy into building up bikes. Are you strictly into vintage bikes? Based on some of what I've read/seen lately, it would seem that one would have to have a "modern" frame to employ advancements such as disc brakes. If I'm correct, are there other changes to frame design that were developed due to advancements in componentry? I'm sure that this will come off as a real greenhorn question, but is it possible to base a build on an older steel frame and still get the benefits of modern mechanical features like disc brakes?
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Old 01-21-21, 11:59 AM
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Weigle

Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Another possibility is Peter Weigle.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/46124473021/
Thank you, Bruce. I will definitely add his name to my research list.

Last edited by LaVieClaire86; 01-22-21 at 01:26 AM. Reason: Misspelling
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Old 01-21-21, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by LaVieClaire86 View Post
Nice post, Chaadster. This is the kind of information I'm after. As I haven't been in the "road bike loop" for quite some time now, I've lost touch with most of the advancements. Yes, I'm still trying to find the frame that I had such a great experience with, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I have to stick with the older componentry...or does it? Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts on the big component makers.
There will probably be some parts constraints, but nothing insurmountable. Depending on how old the bike is, you may need a quill-to-threadless stem adapter or perhaps shims (if it’s 1” threadless) to be able to run modern, oversize, lightweight bar and stem. If older, narrower rear frame spacing, that can be fixed by spreading the stays. New wheels will almost certainly be needed (for modern cassettes). You can replace a front fork to get disk brake mounts, and can even have disc mounts welded to the frame for the rear. You’ll probably want to replace front chainrings for best shifting performance.

Whether it makes sense to bother with any of that is another question altogether.
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Old 01-22-21, 03:36 PM
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Okay, so I just spoke to the [long time] owner of the bike shop I tested out of back in the 90s. The answer to the question about which high-end steel frame maker made that wonderful bike I tested is: Ben Serotta.

I've gone through this and other threads featuring old steel frame road bikes, and I have to admit that the photos of the Serotta bikes have been right up there on my list of Sweet Bikes. The CSI that Jamesdak owns, in particular, is one of the sweetest steel bikes I've seen in a quite some time...


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Old 01-22-21, 03:52 PM
  #68  
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Glad you were able to ID the bike. Always good when a thread has a happy ending!
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Old 01-22-21, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by LaVieClaire86 View Post
Okay, so I just spoke to the [long time] owner of the bike shop I tested out of back in the 90s. The answer to the question about which high-end steel frame maker made that wonderful bike I tested is: Ben Serotta.

I've gone through this and other threads featuring old steel frame road bikes, and I have to admit that the photos of the Serotta bikes have been right up there on my list of Sweet Bikes. The CSI that Jamesdak owns, in particular, is one of the sweetest steel bikes I've seen in a quite some time...


Well.....don't limit yourself to just Serotta. I love mine but it doesn't even make it into the top 3 of my favorite riding bikes.

That would most likely be these:


Giordana XL Super - Just pure sex out on the road.

Davidson Impulse - Something magical about how this rides too that I can't put my finger on.

Lemond Maillot Jaune - Carries speed so well, handles the rough roads surfaces, and just reacts to my meager power like a rocket ship.

Honorable Mention:


Duell Vienna, the front can feel soft at times yet it's posted my fastest paces this year. I had an off year due to health but I think next year it may move into the top three once I get a better feel for what it can do.
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Old 01-23-21, 12:06 AM
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Jamesdak ~ Those are some very nice bikes, but I've never ridden any of those brands. I entered my first mini triathlon in circa '84 and rode the mystery Serotta in about '99. Fifteen years on Aluminum made the steel seem all the better and, having spent most of my years in uniform stationed overseas, I'm sticking with American Made.

On the other hand, my user name should give away that the LeMond in your stable also has a special place on my list. The mental picture I have of GL putting it to Fignon in the final individual time trial, in the '89 TdF, is the one I've used [many times] to get me through the tough rides.
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