custom steel frame advice for big rider

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Concept2
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:08 am

by Concept2

Dear all,
After looking at the many options that are out there for a custom steel frame my mind is spinning a bit. Brand names that I've looked at include Tommasini, Pellizoli, Somec, Torelli, Pogliaghi, Zullo.
My main concern is whether or not any tube sets are off limit for me, I weight 85-90 kg and am 1,97m tall. I've got a steel frameset already (my first roadbike), which has a ST of 61cm measured center to center. Also I do like to ride hard and live in a mountainous area, so the frame will be worked a bit. No racing will be done on it though.

For instance, some of the frames that use Spirit tubes look great, but I hear that they can be a bit fragile. Should I go all the way to Zona tubes (hear they are more robust) or would SL niobium still be a good option?
I realize that it's a vague question but it would be very helpful to get some guidance by the people that have experience with this.

LionelB
Posts: 1440
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:09 pm
Location: Aix en Provence

by LionelB

1,96m tall and 85kg here. Pick the right builder and he can build you a steel bike you will enjoy. Columbus has a great selection of tubes to pick from, as a starting point the Life series is very good. The builder can mix and match to get the bike you want. XCr is also super nice if stainless is your thing.

by Weenie


Concept2
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:08 am

by Concept2

Thanks for the response LionelB, perfect advice from someone with pretty much the same dimensions as myself.
The question now changes a bit of course. Often the frames have the tubes specified (e.g. Pelizzoli and Torelli has this), do builders show flexibility in this? Or am I looking in the wrong places, if so could someone recommend a few framebuilders that do such sort of work?

LionelB
Posts: 1440
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:09 pm
Location: Aix en Provence

by LionelB

For a steel frame you have to first decide if you want a lugged frame, fillet brazed or TIG frame. This narrows down the choice. I recommend this piece from Carl Strong on how to select your builder it covers it pretty well:

http://www.strongframes.com/more/how-to ... mebuilder/

Concept2
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:08 am

by Concept2

Thanks, good article that helps a lot. Pretty much dead set on a lugged frame, so I'll start asking questions to the builders that I found. Will let you know when an order is placed and what the final decision was.
In the meantime any advice is very welcome.

LionelB
Posts: 1440
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:09 pm
Location: Aix en Provence

by LionelB

Lugged is a great choice (I think!) but limits your options. The best tubing IMO for a lugged set is the Spirit for lugs set. In the hands of the right builder it delivers a great ride.

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Stolichnaya
Posts: 2607
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:55 pm
Location: Vienna, AUT

by Stolichnaya

As Lionel mentioned, lugged does limit the builder's ability to refine the tube choices more. As a guy who has a bunch of steel bikes and am at a similar weight (but on a 59 frame) I would encourage you to consider TIG. You'll get a lighter frame and one that can be really tailored from a ride feel standpoint - fatter head tubes, downtubes will produce a pretty stiff bike for your power while optimizing weight for those climbs.

Concept2
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:08 am

by Concept2

Thanks for the tip Stolichnaya, do you recommend any builder that uses TIG welding? I could search the internet for this but I would appreciate the advice of someone with more experience. So far I found a Torelli frame that could be interesting and stuff made by Rourke (don't have a click with the Torelli though, Roark seems nice)

jpanspac
Posts: 160
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:21 pm

by jpanspac

You should also consider Zinn. He specializes in bikes for big riders.
My favorite components are the ones I never have to think about.

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Stolichnaya
Posts: 2607
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:55 pm
Location: Vienna, AUT

by Stolichnaya

Part of the complete experience is working with a builder who is local. Not sure where you are located but let us know general area and we can narrow it down a bit more.

Concept2
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:08 am

by Concept2

That's a great idea Stolichnaya, this crossed my mind today but no idea what builders are close to me. I live in Bern, Switzerland. If you (or anyone else) knows of any local builders I would be greatful.

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Stolichnaya
Posts: 2607
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:55 pm
Location: Vienna, AUT

by Stolichnaya

Not sure about custom steel builders in and around Bern or even in Switzerland, but you are dangerously close to some nice italian builders... dangerous for your wallet.
Do you ever get across the border for a long weekend? I know, "why bother with the Dolomites when you have easy access to the Swiss Alps", but they are a wonderful place to ride and visit and they are within striking dsstance of a bunch of Italian builders:
I recall Pegoretti is near Trento.
Somec is East of Bologna.
DeRosa is north of Milan, etc.

LionelB
Posts: 1440
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:09 pm
Location: Aix en Provence

by LionelB

Dario can certainly build you a very nice lugged bike !

Concept2
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:08 am

by Concept2

Yes I am very aware of this danger for my wallet.. Pegoretti for one is far out of budget. Got in touch with Pelizzoli which has a good deal, really considering to order from him. Otherwise I spoke with Zullo and Somec. Somec only goes through dealers, Zullo is an option although it's almost twice the price as a Pelizzoli frame. And of course there is Gios Torino.. but you need to go to the store to get one, they don't ship.
I think that the final decision will land somewhere in this region yes. I've been looking around with UK builders and people in the states (e.g. speedvagen, looks incredibly nice) but their prices are often higher (the price of a speedvagen frame is more than what i had in mind for the entire bike), and they are further away.
A De Rosa primato and Corum are also in my price range.. another interesting option. In any case I will need to save some money for a few months before I can buy any one of these so I've got some time to think about it.

by Weenie


Concept2
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:08 am

by Concept2

By the way, if anyone knows about any other custom steel frames from this region that around the 1000-1300 euro price mark I would be interested to know about them.

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