Calfee Dragonfly experience here? I want to love mine but...

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

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AJS914
Posts: 4929
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I've had a thing for Calfees back since they were called Carbonframes. I had a chance to pick up a nice used Dragonfly for $1000 so I went for it. I want to love this bike but I'm finding it too uncomfortable. Rough roads beat me up and I find that I'm doing the whole ride avoiding cracks in the road to the point that it's distracting rather than relaxing.

The upside to the Calfee is that it feels lively. I don't even know how to properly describe it but it has a magical feeling going down a glass smooth road. It just feels like you can pedals 1-2mph faster. It climbs nicely too. I tried 25mm tires and it made a small difference in the right direction but not enough.

A few months after I got the Calfee a too-good-to-be true deal came through on a Parlee Z4. The Parlee is great. I like the looks of the Calfee a little better (more traditional, slightly sloping top tube, plus the whole batman look). The Z4 is just as competent overall, doesn't beat me up on rough roads, and seems to come up with a little fraction of the Calfee's lively magical feeling. I've kind of decided that I will just have to sell the Calfee and go with the Parlee as my main bike.

Just to add some compare and contrast, my other ride is a Time VXS. The VXS was the Tom Boonen Paris-Roubaix bike with vectran in the layup. It works. This bike soaks up the road like no other while still remaining out of the saddle stiff. It actually handles a little better than both of the other bikes. Maybe this is a Time trait? It feels twitchy until you get used to it and then you just point it into any turn and it tracks and inspires cornering confidence like no other bike I've ever had. (Maybe a newer, higher end time would be my ultimate bike?)

Weight-wise, the Parlee builds up the lightest (15.75lbs) with a stock Campy Chorus/Record mix. The Calfee comes in second at +.4 pounds and the Time VXS adds maybe another .4 pounds.

Questions:

I guess I'm curious if others have had a Dragonfly or other Calfees and found them too uncomfortable? Is this a Calfee trait? My other thought was that maybe the previous owner ordered this Calfee with the extra stiff tube set? I was thinking of contacting Calfee to see if they had that information. At least it would explain it so I wouldn't have to wonder about this frame for the rest of my life. :-)

by Weenie


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mike
Resident Pro
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 9:42 pm

by mike

Perhaps change the fork? Those gussets are supposed to make the bike stiffer as well, so that could be main reason. Also try changing to wider tires

AJS914
Posts: 4929
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

It actually feels like most of the road vibration comes through the rear. As I said, I did try 25mm tires which did help a little.

AJS914
Posts: 4929
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

Parlee:
Image

Calfee:
Image
another
Image

CP
Posts: 580
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 12:49 pm
Location: Arbaz, Switzerland

by CP

Wow!!! 2 very sweet bikes. I bet you go to your garage often!!

sharkman
Posts: 1419
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2004 8:32 pm
Location: the Netherlands

by sharkman

Nice bikes!

Had a dragonfly years ago and it is defenitely not a harsch bike (then again at the same time I used a kinesis for competition).
Might want to try a more fexilble fork and or a tubular set with slightly less pressure.
Looking at the Calfee if you don't have neck or back problems I wouldn't want to rird it with so little drop! in the end I was at approx. 8-9 cm and
found out that it became very twitchy with much less than that.

AJS914
Posts: 4929
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I don't find the bike twitchy at all. I'm running about 5cm of drop now. I'm up a couple of centimeters from where I used to be a couple of decades ago ... pushing 50 now. :-) To get to 9cm of drop I'd probably need a smaller frame or be willing to ride a very short stem. I do occasionally get a stiff neck and in any case I'm not sure that any of that would solve the stiffness problem. Tubulars are not realistic for me. I did try 25mm tires and they helped a little.

I think I should contact Calfee next and see if this Dragonfly was spec'd with extra stiff tubes or something. That would at least explain it to me and I'd know why I couldn't love this particular Calfee.

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djconnel
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by djconnel

Tour tested Dragonfly and it was, I think, the most flexible in that test (I don't have access to my copy of the article right now). Flex helps give a "lively feel" if tuned right. But I'm surprised the bumps would be strongly transmitted.

velomane
Posts: 227
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2004 1:44 am
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

by velomane

AJS914 wrote:Questions:

I guess I'm curious if others have had a Dragonfly or other Calfees and found them too uncomfortable? Is this a Calfee trait? My other thought was that maybe the previous owner ordered this Calfee with the extra stiff tube set? I was thinking of contacting Calfee to see if they had that information. At least it would explain it so I wouldn't have to wonder about this frame for the rest of my life. :-)

I've been riding a Tetra Pro for six or seven years, and even now, I can't help but smile when I get her going (no, really, I do!). I've never felt this to be a harsh bike nor have I felt beat up, even after a four hour ride. I weigh 67 kilos, tires are 23mm clinchers with 110 pounds of air. By all means, contact Calfee to get details on your frame. They've always been very responsive to my querys.

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vejnemojnen
Posts: 407
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by vejnemojnen

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5lv3q5412958d ... e.pdf?dl=0

The test for custom carbon frames by tour. Just use google translate plugin, does a great job. The higher the score the worse the result. THe comfort of the frame came out at the bottom of the tested pack, whereas the fork is reasonably comfy according to their results..

IMHO the dragonfly is a very nice frame, and I'd take it any day, due to it's design&tube junction solution. I'd probably start with either plushier-wider tyres, another seatpost, wheelset, saddle.. :noidea:

ironman1
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 5:51 pm

by ironman1

I have mixed reviews on Calfee. Purchased an Tetra Pro in 98 or 99, 54 cm. with 1 1/2 cm. head tube extension and really liked the bike. At the time one of the lightest available and although not super stiff, stiff enough for me (150 pounds) , very smooth ride. When they came out with the Dragonfly I had to have the lightest frame at the time. Purchased same size from Calfee direct. From day 1 the bike rode fine until descending around 33 /34 MPH. I would get bad high speed shimmy, if you had the balls to hang on it would ease out about 37/38 mph. I contacted Craig and got the run around. As the bickering went back and forth while racing I got the shimmy while on a big descent, rather than taking the pack out I took the ditch, cracked helmet, concussion and 2 broken ribs. At this point Calfee told me to send the frame in and he would check it out. Was told he somehow had put the wrong tube set in, Tubes for a luna and he would replace the tubes. He stated he did not know how it happened and it had only happened 1 other time in his career. When I got the frame back it weighed about 200 grams more than when I sent it in. I x-rayed the frame and instead of replacing the tubes, he put another smaller tube inside the existing tube in the head tube and part way down the top tube and down tube. I was pissed, after going back and forth in heated e-mails, as I explained I had paid for his superlight uber frame NOT a modified frame that weighed the same as my old Tetra. He finally replaced it with a brand new frame which he should have done to start with. I still have it have a set of powercranks on it which I use for my spring training. Frame is 10 years old now and compared to newer frames I would say it about average in all respects, not bad but not great . For comparision since then I 've had a Kuota KOM, Extreme C, M10 and now V!-r, I definitely don't have the balls I use to have descending and really like the stable fell of the Colnago's.

velomane
Posts: 227
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2004 1:44 am
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

by velomane

Interesting story, ironman1, thanks for sharing.

Delorre
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by Delorre

djconnel wrote:Tour tested Dragonfly and it was, I think, the most flexible in that test (I don't have access to my copy of the article right now). Flex helps give a "lively feel" if tuned right. But I'm surprised the bumps would be strongly transmitted.

The most flexibele laterally at the front, yes, but also, by far, the least compliant at the back! It was tested alongside the Sarto Seta and other custom carbon frames.

AJS914
Posts: 4929
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

Interesting story about Calfee. The least compliant at the back is what I'm feeling. I mean, it's not so horrible and I'd live with it or maybe not even notice if I didn't have other comparison points (Parlee Z4, Time VXS, and Time First before that). It kind of reminds me of my old Litespeed Classic. That frame was a unforgiving on rough roads but I lived with it because in it's day it was a very high performance bike and very light at the time.

I used to get a bad speed wobble on my Litespeed. I could make it go away by redistributing my weight. Eventually, I upgraded the Look fork to a Kestrel EMS because I thought the Look fork was wimpy and flexy plus I went to Ahead set. All the speed wobbles went away.

by Weenie


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AJS914
Posts: 4929
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

What do you guys think about trying a comfort seat post? I saw this on on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/171830865265

I also ran across the Ritchey flexlogic, and a few others. It may not do much for the Calfee as the seat lug extends up showing not much seatpost.

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