I'd like it to be a relaxed fit compared to the dogma, doesn't need to be a sportive frame with a flipped stem though!
There are some brands that are hard to find in the UK, like Litespeed so that is an issue to consider.
Budget is an issue, I'd like to keep the frame under £1500, lower the better.
Sram red or r11 is what I'd use, can get good deals on both and to be honest, I'd like to keep the specs highest as they can move to another frame later etc.
On the vanity front, I really would like something beautiful, love the look of bare ti & black or a passionate steel frame, opposite idea but both beautiful..
Now I don't know enough about titanium/steel to make an informed decision, would be foolish for me not to ask the experts here!
So far, the frames that caught my attention are some of the lynskeys and van nicholas zephyr (the 2013 version looks very nice).
What I'd really like is a firefly, another day..
(have fulcrum racing zeros/lightweights so between the two, they would suit nicely on any frame)
I also prefer the ride quality of *every* steel bike i've ever had to the titanium bikes that I have ridden, including the Moots (which I didn't own). These steel bikes include a $600 kona single speed.
Ultimately, titanium is something that I *want* to like, rather than something that I think is a great material for building bikes out of. Steel is far cheaper, IME works better, lasts just as long or longer, and is only fractionally heavier.
For the kind of money you are looking at spending, I would look at something along the lines of an IF steel crown jewel, or similar...
In your price range you can get 953 handmade from the shop mentioned in Robert Penn's film 'It's about the bike' on youtube.
Like the previous poster, I would be wary of some of the budget Ti frames though. Many I've ridden have been far too flexy for me and I'm aware that some have had a reputation for fragility over the years.
I have a couple of Sevens which were built specifically to not be too flexy in the BB. Many build Ti to be light - that's not where it's strengths lie IME. The problem really is knowing the frame's ride characteristics before buying when you don't have the luxury of speccing it.
I can't praise the Sevens too highly but finding one at the right price will not be easy. I would definitely chat to Chas Roberts before buying a Van Nicholas - the fit and finish of the framesets coming out of Croydon are a league apart from the mass produced Ti that can be bought mail order these days.
Good luck with your purchase. As I say, if I rode in the UK all the time, I would ride nothing other than Ti or Steel.
If you're considering steel and want something classic and boutique, have a look at http://www.tommasini.com/eng/frames.php
I visited their factory last week. Impecable attention to detail and quality. They work in steel, stainless steel, Ti (plus Al and carbon), custom or off-the-peg.
I don't know what they sell for though.
Edit: Barbara speaks perfect English and will be able to help with any questions you have: email@example.com
Another option on your budget would be burls.co.uk
You deal direct with the person who will design the geometry for you and he responded to all my emails. By going custom you could also tweak the angles to fit mudgurads for a year round frame. As I recall he could also fit a press fit bottom bracket to bring things up to date.
-Amount of time you can (or are reasonably willing to) wait for the frame
-Custom geometry or custom tube lengths with stock geometry
-Full Custom? (Tube diameter, structure and length, cable routing, mixing multiple materials, etc.)
I have been working on a road project for a month or so now. The head mechanic at our shop has built around 100 steel frames now and has been welding cars parts, bike racks, trailers, vehicle engine mods, etc., since he was young. The great thing about working with a mechanic with 30+ years of shop and welding experience is the ability to do almost anything. You can decide where a cable stop goes, which tubes to use for each part of the frame, and just about everything you can imagine can be done. Stainless is no problem and is highly favored, while other steels and blends are possible as well. This is the best option for our shop employees to buy inexpensive road bikes of superb craftsmanship.
That being said, it takes a few months to get projects like this rolling sometimes and the ordering of materials, time spent at a full time job while working on frames as a hobby, and the fact that your coworker and friend is building you a frame and not a company with a reputation and deadline to maintain means that you can sometimes have quite the wait for a frame. I have never seen work from him that hasn't impressed me, but due to time constraints of my own and his own personal timetables I ordered a stock aluminum frame this year instead of going deep custom. Next winter will be more viable for us to work together on a project, but I had to settle for a stock frame while I build a nice parts package because I didn't have the time or focus to build a bike with the attention that I think a custom rig deserves.
All that being said, my vote is on steel. KVA stainless is favored in our part of the country due to it being a US manufacturer (though you may consider reynolds as another option in your region) and its availability at a reasonable price.
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There are lots of good options out there. Good luck.
I believe Condor Cycles also do custom geometry/paint. Quite a few steel options there.
And custom. This way I can get the best of steel rather than the worst of titanium. Test rode a indy steel today, I must say, quite impressed but indeed there are many others to consider. It was build with campy record, so thats at least decided, I'm going campy with this one.
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