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  1. #1
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    And the award for best steel frame goes to...Who?

    Hey Folks Ė
    Trolling for some considered responses/opinions as to which US-based small manufacture currently builds good quality, well respected steel mountain bike frames. In the past (i.e., 10 years ago), people might have readily shouted out Independent Fabrication, Willits, Gunnar, or LandShark, but where do those (and similar companies) stand today?

    Looking to buy a nice steel hardtail single speed frame in the near future and need some suggestions. Strong preference (dare say requirement) that itís a US made frame...donít care about the price per frame Ė ride quality matters more since this is something Iíll build up and retain for years. Currently own an older Kona Unit (OX Platinum frameset) which Iíve completely enjoyed. Having owned an IF Deluxe in the past, Iím incline to return to them, but the company has changed hands (more than once it seems) since 2002 and I question how those changes have influenced the end product. Had a Gunnar Crosshair once, but the frame build quality fell short of what I expected given their price, so Iím skeptical of the Rock Hound. Incline to stay with the 26er set-up, but open minded.

    Any takers on suggestions? Or am Iím too old-school and just need to go searching for an old Ritchey or Yo Eddy?

    Thanks for the responses.
    BSD

  2. #2
    CS2
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    Gunnar gets my vote.
    A garage full of steel frames means happiness.

  3. #3
    workin' it Administrator
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    if you want cutting edge 29er go with Bi:Stickel. I wouldn't say no to a gunnar as you mentioned nor a Siren John Henry, but again a 29er.
    Try this: HTFU

  4. #4
    dru
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    Why don't you check out the guys in the frame building forum. There's a ton of pros there who do very very nice work.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestion...i'll review that specific forum. Still interested in hearing from the riders.

  6. #6
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    Hey guys,
    I'm not positive on the material but Jeff Jones makes a beautiful bike. And you said you don't care about price. check it out.

  7. #7
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    The one thing I found with the Gunnar that I had was it was a little too springy. I love steel for its flex but it was actually excessive on the Gunnar to the point that I felt I was bobbing on it when really cranking, especially up hill. They may have stiffened them a bit over the years though as this was one from the late 90s/early 2ks. One not on your list that I am super interested in riding is a Soulcraft. Well worth checking them out...... FYI too, Ritchey did a small run of 26" frames this year which are able to be ordered through Ritchey dealers so you don't necessarily need to go with an old one. Good luck.

  8. #8
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    And the award for best steel frame goes to...Who?

    There are so many good choices. Tops on my list would be Soulcraft, Waltworks, or Carl Strong.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  9. #9
    T.W.O.
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    Yeah, Soulcraft, Wolfhound, Seven, RetroTec, Waltworks, I'm sure there are many more but these are my top choices and it's hard enough to narrow down the list

  10. #10
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    Anyone have an opinion on what Independent Fabrication is producing these days?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeshopdreamer View Post
    Anyone have an opinion on what Independent Fabrication is producing these days?
    No clue about their current frames, but I can say I bought a used IF frame last July and when I contact them to get information about the frame, they were very helpful and provided the original drawings. So at least from my experience, they are still a class act.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  12. #12
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    Sycip makes nice frames.

  13. #13
    650b me
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    Coconino for the prettiest fillet-brazed steel hardtails anywhere.

  14. #14
    the catalan connection
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    "Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordly evidence of the fact." George Elliot

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