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Best steel bike maker

Old 06-14-21, 11:57 AM
  #76  
WilsonKona_Me
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Kona Sutra LTD. best all round bike Iíve found.
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Old 06-14-21, 12:15 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Jburrow View Post
Hello all!

just quickly put: I have a budget of up to $4k. I am looking for a bike to do 60-70% road and 30-40% gravel/trail. I will be doing centuries, charity rides, some gravel events, and club rides on the road mostly.

I am looking for something comfy, light, and able to tackle the road and gravel.

I have looked heavily into CF, and my LbS is a giant dealer. The revolt/defy is an option. However, I have lately been introduced into the world of modern steel bikes. For the price bracket, I can get a steel bike at same weight, or even lighter, than the Giant with the wonderful qualities of steel. This would be my one bike to rule them all so to speak.

so far, I have come across speedvagen, ritte, all-city, salsa, Rodriguez, breadwinner. I want something strong, comfy, light, and able to be ridden with gusto.

where else should I look? I am new to the world of steel bikes, and it is a huge world.
Jamis offers a few all-road bikes made with steel. They're reasonably priced. The Renegade S2, S3, and S4 are all steel. https://www.jamisbikes.com/bikes/adv...ture/renegade/
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Old 06-14-21, 12:39 PM
  #78  
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Bishop, MAP and Royal H produce beautiful steel frames. I've been drooling over their work for years. I also love Firefly's ti frames.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:16 PM
  #79  
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Here's an option at 4K - https://www.pioneerframeworks.com/hi...-all-road.html
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Old 06-14-21, 01:19 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by MassCommuter View Post
i appreciate all of the feedback! I have heard great things about Bishop. However, we are fairly set on the Gunnar/Waterford line. The Rivs look cool, but something feels off whenever I delve into them. I hear amazing things about Black Mountain Cycles, too. For me, it is coming down to Gunnar, Black Mountain, and Breadwinner (pipe dream) lol
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Old 06-14-21, 01:19 PM
  #81  
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When I bought my INdependent Fabrication steel frame bike, it cost just under $4000. More now, I would guess, but worht looking into. I can't claim to know what the best steel frame is, but I've sure like this one.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:24 PM
  #82  
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IF used to be in Somerville Ma...when my frame got built in 2007 I was able to there and see it in progress.Then they moved to New hampshire, I think, but since: for some reason, I think they moved to Canada. Still nice frames.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:55 PM
  #83  
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Soma.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:56 PM
  #84  
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Cicli Barco XCr custom stainless steel

Originally Posted by Jburrow View Post
Hello all!

just quickly put: I have a budget of up to $4k. I am looking for a bike to do 60-70% road and 30-40% gravel/trail. I will be doing centuries, charity rides, some gravel events, and club rides on the road mostly.

I am looking for something comfy, light, and able to tackle the road and gravel.

I have looked heavily into CF, and my LbS is a giant dealer. The revolt/defy is an option. However, I have lately been introduced into the world of modern steel bikes. For the price bracket, I can get a steel bike at same weight, or even lighter, than the Giant with the wonderful qualities of steel. This would be my one bike to rule them all so to speak.

so far, I have come across speedvagen, ritte, all-city, salsa, Rodriguez, breadwinner. I want something strong, comfy, light, and able to be ridden with gusto.

where else should I look? I am new to the world of steel bikes, and it is a huge world.
Cicli Barco is a small family business and one of the best steel bike builders in Europe. They have won numerous awards, including Best of Italy at Bespoke, the English handmade bike show. They also make bikes for a lot of other companies that just put their name on it such as the Cinelli XCr (which costs almost $1,500 more for an equivalent frame and only has 5 sizes). The Barco XCr is a stainless steel TIG welded frame that is available with either a carbon fork or a stainless fork. It is totally custom in size, design, paint, etc. Barco also makes custom non-stainless bikes that would allow you to get a total bike for your $4,000 cap. Their work is incredible and prices are very reasonable especially compared with noted US steel builders. And, very important, they made my frame and delivered it in less than 6 months even during the pandemic. Check out their Facebook or Instagram pages for photos of how diverse their work is, you can get a lot of ideas for a truly unique bike, the only one like it in the world. Gianluca Barco is very fluent in English and very detail oriented. In designing and fitting my bike, we had almost 150 emails. This frame cost me about $3,700 with shipping but that was a year ago. It has a lot of costly extras such as a stainless steel fork with a carbon fiber steering tube, direct mount brakes, name plate, Italian shield, dark nickel head badge and Chris King headset. This bike weighs 18,7 lbs for a 58.5 cm seattube. For other Columbus steel tubing with lugs, they will use polished stainless steel lugs that are lighter than chrome plate and don't rust.



Carbon fiber steering tube, direct mount brakes, stainless steel fork. Very high tech.

steel name plate

Last edited by Johnk3; 06-14-21 at 02:11 PM. Reason: correct and add.
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Old 06-14-21, 02:04 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Johnk3 View Post
Cicli Barco is one of the best steel bike builders in Europe and have won numerous awards. They also make bikes for a lot of other companies that just put their name on it such as the Cinelli XCr (which costs almost $1,500 more for an equivalent frame and only has 5 sizes). The Barco XCr is a stainless steel TIG welded frame that is available with either a carbon fork or a stainless fork. It is totally custom in size, design, paint, etc. Barco also makes custom non-stainless bikes that would allow you to get a total bike for your $4,000 cap. Their work is incredible and prices are very reasonable especially compared with noted US steel builders. Check out their Facebook page. Gianluca Barco is very fluent in English and very detail oriented. In designing and fitting my bike, we had almost 150 emails. This frame cost me about $3,700 with shipping but that was a year ago. It has a lot of costly extras such as a stainless steel fork with a carbon fiber steering tube, direct mount brakes, name plate, Italian shield, dark nickel head badge and Chris King headset. This bike weighs 18,7 lbs for a 58.5 cm seattube. For other Columbus steel tubing with lugs, they will use polished stainless steel lugs that are lighter and don't rust.

That is certainly a beautiful bike! I will look into this option. Right now, we are comfortable from what we see out of Gunnar/Waterford. I hear nothing but praise about the Gunnar/Waterford quality and service. Thank you for providing feedback!
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Old 06-14-21, 02:14 PM
  #86  
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Pick up a Lemond Poprad for $600 +/- and spend the rest on some upgrades and a nice trip. It'll run 38mm tires.

853 main triangle, 525 stays, carbon or aluminum fork depending on year. Disk or rim brakes, depending on year. Wonderful bike for the uses you've described.
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Old 06-14-21, 02:46 PM
  #87  
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Be sure to check out their Facebook page and Instagram pages for lots of photos. Barco has been in business since 1947.
Also: https://www.cyclist.co.uk/reviews/66...rco-xcr-review which is the same bike as mine except for the seat and wheels.
Gunnar/Waterford makes very nice bikes. I gave them a hard look, but there are a lot of costs and as I recall the production time was lengthy.
When I first started looking at Barco I was looking at an old style lugged frame bike, but then I already have two of those, a Simoncini and a Cinelli. I wanted this to be the most modern high tech steel frame. It is made from Columbus XCr which is very expensive, the tube set retails for almost $1,000, and is the most modern high tech metallurgy in the steel bike industry. Also it has direct mount Campy brakes which are new. They look a lot better than disc brakes and never need adjusting. If you want an old school lugged frame, I just bought a new old stock 1986 Cinelli Supercorsa frame for about $1,000. I love how it rides. I outfitted it with a new 12 sp Campy Super Record group set. I note that Campy now has a 13 sp cassette that uses a single chainring.
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Old 06-14-21, 02:54 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Johnk3 View Post
Be sure to check out their Facebook page and Instagram pages for lots of photos. Barco has been in business since 1947.
Also: https://www.cyclist.co.uk/reviews/66...rco-xcr-review which is the same bike as mine except for the seat and wheels.
Gunnar/Waterford makes very nice bikes. I gave them a hard look, but there are a lot of costs and as I recall the production time was lengthy.
When I first started looking at Barco I was looking at an old style lugged frame bike, but then I already have two of those, a Simoncini and a Cinelli. I wanted this to be the most modern high tech steel frame. It is made from Columbus XCr which is very expensive, the tube set retails for almost $1,000, and is the most modern high tech metallurgy in the steel bike industry. Also it has direct mount Campy brakes which are new. They look a lot better than disc brakes and never need adjusting. If you want an old school lugged frame, I just bought a new old stock 1986 Cinelli Supercorsa frame for about $1,000. I love how it rides. I outfitted it with a new 12 sp Campy Super Record group set. I note that Campy now has a 13 sp cassette that uses a single chainring.

I really appreciate the response! I will most definitely check out the social media of Barco. I browsed their website - very nice stuff!
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Old 06-15-21, 08:46 AM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Johnk3 View Post
Cicli Barco is a small family business and one of the best steel bike builders in Europe. They have won numerous awards, including Best of Italy at Bespoke, the English handmade bike show. They also make bikes for a lot of other companies that just put their name on it such as the Cinelli XCr (which costs almost $1,500 more for an equivalent frame and only has 5 sizes). The Barco XCr is a stainless steel TIG welded frame that is available with either a carbon fork or a stainless fork. It is totally custom in size, design, paint, etc. Barco also makes custom non-stainless bikes that would allow you to get a total bike for your $4,000 cap. Their work is incredible and prices are very reasonable especially compared with noted US steel builders. And, very important, they made my frame and delivered it in less than 6 months even during the pandemic. Check out their Facebook or Instagram pages for photos of how diverse their work is, you can get a lot of ideas for a truly unique bike, the only one like it in the world. Gianluca Barco is very fluent in English and very detail oriented. In designing and fitting my bike, we had almost 150 emails. This frame cost me about $3,700 with shipping but that was a year ago. It has a lot of costly extras such as a stainless steel fork with a carbon fiber steering tube, direct mount brakes, name plate, Italian shield, dark nickel head badge and Chris King headset. This bike weighs 18,7 lbs for a 58.5 cm seattube. For other Columbus steel tubing with lugs, they will use polished stainless steel lugs that are lighter than chrome plate and don't rust.
It looks very nice, but I can't help be curious as to why you painted stainless steel? Not into the raw look?
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Old 06-16-21, 07:10 AM
  #90  
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Cicli Barco XCr custom stainless steel

Originally Posted by capt_velo View Post
It looks very nice, but I can't help be curious as to why you painted stainless steel? Not into the raw look?
The fork and stays are raw brushed stainless steel. I had the option or brushed or polished. It's a look you can't get with chrome.
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Old 06-16-21, 09:02 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
When it comes to bike frames, steel is a very mature technology - so, there is no "best" builder. Rather, there are lots and lots of equally good builders.

Oh, and if you think you're getting a Speedvagen with a $4k budget, I've got news for you.
agree here, I have a custom SV and although itís easily the best bike Iíve ever had, tough to get a complete bike in that price range. You should look at their ready made, disc and maybe a rugged road which would probably fit the bill. You can generally get a ready made with all the best features of their custom bikes for around $6-$7k
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Old 06-16-21, 09:07 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by robbyville View Post
agree here, I have a custom SV and although itís easily the best bike Iíve ever had, tough to get a complete bike in that price range. You should look at their ready made, disc and maybe a rugged road which would probably fit the bill. You can generally get a ready made with all the best features of their custom bikes for around $6-$7k
Yep. I'll bet that, performance-wise, those Speedvagens would give up very little to their carbon fiber counterparts -- and they will be much prettier.

Oh, and if a steel bike is crashed or accidentally tips over in a garage, we won't have to endure the "Does this crack look serious?" thread.
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Old 06-16-21, 09:32 AM
  #93  
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No, but we could look forward to "does this dent compromise the integrity of my frame" thread. LOL

Funny you say this. I leaned my BMC against the garage and then mistakenly opened the door form the inside. Man...it crashed hard!! I was terrified but I see no cracks yet. Close call!
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Old 06-17-21, 02:01 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Yep. I'll bet that, performance-wise, those Speedvagens would give up very little to their carbon fiber counterparts -- and they will be much prettier.

Oh, and if a steel bike is crashed or accidentally tips over in a garage, we won't have to endure the "Does this crack look serious?" thread.
Yep, I was pleasantly surprised, I knew what I was getting into when I bought my SV and flew to Portland for the fitting with Sasha. I figured that the geometry would be much more aggressive since I was going from a Trek Domane to the SV. I did upgrade with the Enve made carbon seat tube, but expected a much harsher ride. In fact the SV is easily as comfortable as the Domane was even with the more aggressive geo. Pre Covid I did a ride from Mexicali Mexico to San Felipe, 122 miles, basically flat. I only stopped once for a quick nature break since we had someone driving with us with extra water and such. In the end I felt as good after 122 miles as I did after 10. Maybe it's the fitting and combo of how they bend the seat stays and such but dang it's pretty darn comfy!

Of course, to point #2... I've dropped the bike in the garage a time or two, and while I no longer suffer panic attacks about cracking carbon, I sure to come close to fainting when I pick it up and check the paint lol!
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Old 06-17-21, 02:23 PM
  #95  
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Colnago hasn't made the cut yet?



Might as well throw in a trip to Italy to go with it.
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Old 06-17-21, 04:42 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Colnago hasn't made the cut yet?



Might as well throw in a trip to Italy to go with it.

I know nothing of Colnago, but that bike is gorgeous!
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Old 06-17-21, 05:37 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by Jburrow View Post
I know nothing of Colnago, but that bike is gorgeous!
Colnago is a classic Italian brand. Making racing frames since the 50's or early 60's, but really started going mainstream around 1968 or so. They are a strong sponsor of professional racing, and have been a team sponsor for decades.

Back in the 80's, they started both experimenting with different frame tubing shapes, including the "Master", as well as developing their own unique paint schemes.

They have moved into different frame materials, but have continued to make their lugged steel frames.

I'm not sure how "custom" their current frames are. Some smaller manufacturers may well be far more custom in the design and sizing. But, the Colnago will be an extremely recognizable frame to the point that repainted fakes are often easy to spot.
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Old 06-28-21, 05:14 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by Jburrow View Post
Hello all!

just quickly put: I have a budget of up to $4k. I am looking for a bike to do 60-70% road and 30-40% gravel/trail. I will be doing centuries, charity rides, some gravel events, and club rides on the road mostly.

I am looking for something comfy, light, and able to tackle the road and gravel.

I have looked heavily into CF, and my LbS is a giant dealer. The revolt/defy is an option. However, I have lately been introduced into the world of modern steel bikes. For the price bracket, I can get a steel bike at same weight, or even lighter, than the Giant with the wonderful qualities of steel. This would be my one bike to rule them all so to speak.

so far, I have come across speedvagen, ritte, all-city, salsa, Rodriguez, breadwinner. I want something strong, comfy, light, and able to be ridden with gusto.

where else should I look? I am new to the world of steel bikes, and it is a huge world.
Well I have had excellent luck with Rivendell, a very well respected boutique steel frame builder in Walnut Creek California. Check em out. Not cheap but extremely well built and beautiful. Just finishing a build of a new model (Platypus 60cm). Iím guessing it is around $4K when all said and done. So you can hit your budget number with them. If you wanna discuss more, private message me. Good luck!
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Old 06-28-21, 06:00 PM
  #99  
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Originally Posted by Jburrow View Post
I appreciate the comments so far. I see Gunnar and Waterford recommended frequently as others have mentioned. My wife and I would ideally love to find a one-stop shop for both of us. She is hard to fit, and I am a bit more normal in terms of geo. That said, having something custom must be nice which is why I am considering also. But, is it worth the $$ if you are of average proportions? Looking at Ritchey and Jamis/Giant/Specialized/RodeoLabs for off-the-shelf-esque stuff. Breadwinner, Speedvagen, Stinner, Gunnar, Waterford have me intrigued if I go the custom route. I just can’t decide if there are pros-cons I am missing between the two sects of bike, CF/High end steel, and between the custom shops. I basically want something that is well made, fits me well, and can do everything from the gravel/road event, centuries, and leisure cruises.

I think she likes the look of Breadwinner, Speedvagen, and Gunnar/Waterford the best. I have actually emailed with Ira at Breadwinner - very friendly and willing to talk to a total stranger about what they do and what they make. Leaning Breadwinner.



Thanks everyone so far!
"She is hard to fit" My warning flags went right up when I saw that. This changes the whole game. If you go with one builder for the two of you, it has to be one that will serve her well. It might actually turn out to be easier to go to two different builders. A thought I had was seeing about Sweetpea for your wife. Sweetpea here in Portland, OR. Owners Natalie and Austin Ramsland. Natalie is the heart of the company and a quality framebuilder. She started out building in the quarters of one of the nation's finest traditional builders and what I've seen is very clean work. I haven't seen her work recently but the variety of what I have seen is impressive. Her goal is to provide the women who come to her with the bike that's is truly "their's". (Sweetpea works closely with Gladys Bikes, also in Portland. Gladys Bikes has a full fitting setup and the owner will work closely with Sweatpea.

An idea I just had - I'll bet the Gladys founder and owner (a woman not named Gladys) would be willing to talk to the builder of your bike to work out paint and details to make your two bikes look like a pair together. (Or possibly Austin of Sweetpea to face the reality that a man talking to the almost certainly male builder of your bike might go better. Sucks but that is what way too often is.)

Edit: if you went with Sweetpea, it might make sense for you also to go to a Portland builder. That would be kinda rough. So few to choose from! I'll bet TiCycles could make you a TIG'd steel frame and work closely with Natalie to get the matching details.

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Old 06-28-21, 06:09 PM
  #100  
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Y'all can cool your jets. OP has moved on to carbon.
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