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  1. #1
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    Custom steel IF Deluxe - is it worth it ?

    Hello,
    I'm having a hard time justifying the purchase of a new IF steel Deluxe frame.
    I realize these guys make some of the best bikes out there, but still, a steel frame would cost me almost 2K$ (including sliding dropouts, badge, etc...) .
    For this price I can get a Ti Lynskey , a Dean, or actually almost any other HT frame I want.
    As for the custom sizing - I am an avarage size guy, so sure it would be a nice treat but not a must for me .
    I always have read about the magic ride of steel frames, I have never tried out a really good steel bike, only cheap heavy 4130 frames and was not too impressed .
    I don't have a lot of money, so this is a one shot for me, I will be selling my AM bike to finance my new frame, and will built it from parts of my GF Paragon.
    What I am asking actually, is the IF Deluxe really that good or should I look at other stuff like I mentioned from Lynskey, Dean , etc... ?
    Last edited by as is; 12-20-2009 at 01:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: moishlashen's Avatar
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    Tough call and value is always a highly individual decision. I've been fortunate-read lucky as hell- to buy used and save about 75% over new and have perfect fits on the 2 steel and 1 Ti frame I have. At least what I think is a perfect fit anyway as I've never had a custom frame made for me so for now ignorance is bliss. I've never had any issues with off the rack frames either for that matter so for me personally a fully custom frame has been a little out of my league $$$ wise the last couple of years. When the time comes to pull the trigger on a fully custom frame I will because along with a killer bike I also like to support the smaller outfits where the frames are all handmade by a craftsman-like Soulcraft, Dean, IF, Lynskey etc.

    Theres a lot of good deals out there on used and yeah I would definately look at the other brands out there.

  3. #3
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    Based on your post, I'd say not for you.

    But, I would point out that the turn around on an IF is 6-8 weeks. On a Dean, 6-8 months- if you're lucky.
    Don't underestimate custom fit. I'm 6' with a 32 inseam- pretty average
    But, as it turns out, I have very short arms proportionately- who knew?
    My IF rides the best.

    Yes, I'm a syncophant.

  4. #4
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    Reputation: subliminalshiver's Avatar
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    My steel Deluxe is currently in build phase. Just got the frame last week. The frame is flawless, the paint is immaculate. I am not disappointed.

  5. #5
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    Check out Sycip. They make custom frames for less than IF and in terms of quality I'd be hard pressed to choose one over the other (except the Sycip is cheaper)

  6. #6
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    I have two IFs (steel Deluxe & titanium Crown Jewel) and think they did a great job designing a bike explicitly for me. They excel in the personalization arena. Although, if I had to do it all over again, I'd go with Circle A for the steel frame. They're also quite talented, though you'll get more of a one-on-one relationship not having to deal with a bike shop.

  7. #7
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    like @misterdangerpants, I've seen the Circle A stuff and met the guys at the shop down in Providence, RI. They do the best paint jobs around N.E., and when it comes time do a custom 29r, I'm probably going to have them build me one. They're a little cheaper, too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by as is
    Hello,
    cost me almost 2K$ (including sliding dropouts, badge, etc...) .

    I don't have a lot of money,

    and will built it from parts of my GF Paragon.
    You just answered you own question IMO.

    These are very nice frames, and suitably expensive, and as you say, you don't have a lot of money...

    You'd be better off getting an off the shelf bike/frame and spending the extra money on some nice parts.

    There are plenty of nice steel bikes available, cheaper, and both off the sheld and custom, if steel is what you want. If you want a custom bike, there are many cheaper options. In fact, nearly all the other options are cheaper. IF represents paying extra for lovely paint, a good brand, and to a certain extent, things like brand name and marketing.

    I hate to be rude, but if you don't have much money and you are having to sell things to buy a new frame, you should probably just take a step back and re-evaluate your financial circumstances. What is wrong with the bikes you have now? What about them is preventing you from enjoying your riding? What is the most financially sensible way to change this? A $2000 frame, nice as it is, is probably not the answer. In my experience, often the cheapest way to make it feel like you are riding something nice and new can be as simple as a visit to the powdercoaters, or even a nice new stem or saddle or grips.

    The fact that you have asked this question here tells me that you have some doubt. Quite honestly, you should not go buying a $2000 frame if you are on a strict budget and if you don't have much money.

  9. #9
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    jus curious..

    a big IF.. but had the pricing of quality steel n ti(custom or not) been closer or even the same, would there be any obvious reason to choose one over the other?
    Riders here fortunate to hv owned or ridden both, whataya think? steel being slightly heavier but stiffer, ti being lighter but a bit more flexy, which make the same trail more enjoyable? which connects more to the rider? assuming the bike fit n components is the same of course..

    cheers

  10. #10
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    Steel plugs you into the ride the best IMO. It has a slight whippy/snappy effect to it when you get on the pedals to accelerate where you feel a tiny bit of flex but then it snaps back. Ti is a little flexy with out the snap back effect. To me Ti has a smoother ride overall-not dead like Carbon but it soaks up some of the buzz.
    Last edited by moishlashen; 12-29-2009 at 07:06 PM.

  11. #11
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    Proper tyres and tyre pressure for the terrain, as well as contact points (grips and saddle) make more of a difference to ride quality that frame material, IMO.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Dunlop
    Proper tyres and tyre pressure for the terrain, as well as contact points (grips and saddle) make more of a difference to ride quality that frame material, IMO.


    Thread Jack alert:

    So then if you have the same tires, pressure, and "contact" points on differant frame materials what is the differance? I almost completely disagree with your statement BTW.

  13. #13
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    Then there will be a difference, however, a 'harsh' alloy frame set up well will be better to ride than a 'comfortable' frame made from steel or titanium, IMO. The OP seems to be willing to spend big money on a nice frame, while neglecting the parts attached to it (transfering them over from an old bike), and he is concerned about finance. My point is that if he is worried about the money/ride quality equation, he should make sure that everything is completely dialled in on his current bike, before spending big on a new frame. If there is a comfort issue with his old bike, he may find that is can be fixed with a professional bike fit and experimenting with grips, tyres and saddles.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Dunlop
    Then there will be a difference, however, a 'harsh' alloy frame set up well will be better to ride than a 'comfortable' frame made from steel or titanium, IMO. The OP seems to be willing to spend big money on a nice frame, while neglecting the parts attached to it (transfering them over from an old bike), and he is concerned about finance. My point is that if he is worried about the money/ride quality equation, he should make sure that everything is completely dialled in on his current bike, before spending big on a new frame. If there is a comfort issue with his old bike, he may find that is can be fixed with a professional bike fit and experimenting with grips, tyres and saddles.

    OK. Lets clarify some things.
    My parts are not old. They are about 5 months old. I also dont see a reason to get better parts, the Paragon (it's a 2009) came with some good parts, more than enough for me.
    As far as set up goes - yes, I will dare say I am an experianced rider, and know how to set up my ride.
    The whole thing came up becuase I have realized I don't ride my AM bike anymore. And since I became a one bike guy, and I'm pretty sure my one bike is gonna be a 29er HT I started looking around.
    The question is not should I go steel or Ti. It's also not about upgrading the Paragon frame. The answer to those is - Yes.
    The question is specifically about steel IF bikes. Are they really that good, or will a Niner MCR , Lynskey ridgeline etc... give me the same ride quality (if we take in account I'm an avarage size person and the stock geo is good enough). These are all cheaper options, and in these days every $$ counts...

    edited because cordless keyboard skipped some letters......
    Last edited by as is; 12-31-2009 at 01:49 AM.

  15. #15
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    I've had all sorts of frames in the past, I spent a lot of time and a lot of cash trying to find what was just right, I got my IF Steel Delxe in February this year it's been ridden harder and longer than any other bike I've ever owned. I ride 26" wheels fully rigid with gears and at the end of the day I get home with sore legs, not a single twinge from any other part of my body.
    I really can't express how great it is just to ride something that fits so perfecly and works exactly how I wanted it too.
    Oh you can't underestimate the pleasure of owning something so beautifully made, it makes me smile evrytime I look at it, and reminds me of a summer of dusty trails and long rides with good friends.
    The problem is I like it so much I think I may need to treat myself to a Ti version for my 40th.
    I'm still slightly annoyed that I delayed buying one for so long!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Dunlop
    Then there will be a difference, however, a 'harsh' alloy frame set up well will be better to ride than a 'comfortable' frame made from steel or titanium, IMO. The OP seems to be willing to spend big money on a nice frame, while neglecting the parts attached to it (transfering them over from an old bike), and he is concerned about finance. My point is that if he is worried about the money/ride quality equation, he should make sure that everything is completely dialled in on his current bike, before spending big on a new frame. If there is a comfort issue with his old bike, he may find that is can be fixed with a professional bike fit and experimenting with grips, tyres and saddles.

    Not to be a jack ass but dude I can picture you patting OP gently on top of the head while giving him/her financial, component, and set up advice. Basically you've been zero help in this thread.

  17. #17
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    Is it worth it?
    It will be if you can fall in love with one bike. If you can become a fanboy and forgive it its faults and love it for what it is.... a sweet steel bike that will be prettier than any other you've ever built. It will have custom geometry and so it will fit you like a glove. The ride of steel is ethereal, gorgeous, and has subtleties like a fine wine. You may have no palate for these flavors and be ignorant to their merits. It may depend on what you're experience is like and what you've ridden in the past. But it may be your soul mate. That's the gamble with going with a high-end custom steel frame. You have no way of knowing that until you ride it. You put your faith in a builder and hope the understand what you're looking for. And it helps to be looking for something.
    IF seems to have understood me.
    If your question is whether steel is good in its own right or if its an economical second place to ti.... I think its worth it on it's own even if ti were the same price. Steel sings. It has soul. It has a very distinct feel for those that dig it. But like I said.... depends on the palate.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by subliminalshiver
    Is it worth it?
    It will be if you can fall in love with one bike. If you can become a fanboy and forgive it its faults and love it for what it is.... a sweet steel bike that will be prettier than any other you've ever built. It will have custom geometry and so it will fit you like a glove. The ride of steel is ethereal, gorgeous, and has subtleties like a fine wine. You may have no palate for these flavors and be ignorant to their merits. It may depend on what you're experience is like and what you've ridden in the past. But it may be your soul mate. That's the gamble with going with a high-end custom steel frame. You have no way of knowing that until you ride it. You put your faith in a builder and hope the understand what you're looking for. And it helps to be looking for something.
    IF seems to have understood me.
    If your question is whether steel is good in its own right or if its an economical second place to ti.... I think its worth it on it's own even if ti were the same price. Steel sings. It has soul. It has a very distinct feel for those that dig it. But like I said.... depends on the palate.
    Excuse me while I mop up my vomit. Bikes are bikes, there are nice bikes and less-than-nice bikes. None of them sing opera or fart angel breath.

  19. #19
    holding back the darkness
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Dunlop
    Excuse me while I mop up my vomit. Bikes are bikes, there are nice bikes and less-than-nice bikes. None of them sing opera or fart angel breath.
    Wow. Graphic. Vomit and Fart in the same post. So eloquent. And six rolly-eyes. That must mean you're extra smart.
    Why are you such a killjoy?
    You know absolutely nothing about it. I will never understand why people like you feel the need to take time out of your life, minutes off your clock, to post up on sites like this with negative drivel.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by as is
    Hello,
    I'm having a hard time justifying the purchase of a new IF steel Deluxe frame.
    I realize these guys make some of the best bikes out there, but still, a steel frame would cost me almost 2K$ (including sliding dropouts, badge, etc...) .
    For this price I can get a Ti Lynskey , a Dean, or actually almost any other HT frame I want.
    As for the custom sizing - I am an avarage size guy, so sure it would be a nice treat but not a must for me .
    I always have read about the magic ride of steel frames, I have never tried out a really good steel bike, only cheap heavy 4130 frames and was not too impressed .
    I don't have a lot of money, so this is a one shot for me, I will be selling my AM bike to finance my new frame, and will built it from parts of my GF Paragon.
    What I am asking actually, is the IF Deluxe really that good or should I look at other stuff like I mentioned from Lynskey, Dean , etc... ?
    Well, you have received all types of advice in this thread, but to answer your question:

    The IF Deluxe really is that good, and if you are want it, you should go for it. I've not met many people who own one that have regretted it purchase. In fact, I don't think I've met anyone.

    Best bet, see if someone has an IF, as close to your size as possible, that you can take for a spin on a trail you ride frequently. This should be all the convincing you need. Also, look on ebay first, since you don't feel you need a custom size, you might find a great deal on someone elses IF. Good luck!

  21. #21
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    There are other options...

    IF makes a great bike, but there are plenty of other builders that can do the same thing. It's not like IF has a magic wand that makes their bikes ride any different than another builder. I just put a deposit on a new frame with another builder. I considered IF. What swayed me to another builder is their paint jobs. Powder coat is more resilient and better for the environment. Just my two cents.

  22. #22
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    That's something I actually did not really stop to think about.
    But while were at it , I have seen IF frames, the paint job looks good but I have no idea how durable IF's paint is and if they still look good after the bike is ridden for a year or two.

  23. #23
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    Wet paint jobs do not hold up as well as powder coat. I don't think anyone could argue that. You can do more with wet paint if you want panels, painted lugs, flames, or other options. However, your frame will chip and scratch more easily with wet paint. I don't know where you're located, but if you can, check out the NAHBS in Richmond, VA and then make your choice.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by onegeargood
    Wet paint jobs do not hold up as well as powder coat. I don't think anyone could argue that.
    Yes, they could argue that.

    It is simply not true. Well applied paint will be as durable to scratches and have as good (or better) rust prevention qualities than most powdercoats. Once powder is breached (which happens when BBs are faced/chased) then rust can start to creep under the coat. The same is not true for paint. Rody at Groovy cycles has discussed this on his blog and it is in any auto paints textbook you care to look at. Paint can be touched up, once rust is under powder, it is there until you blast and strip it. Quality auto paint is very nearly as hard as powder coats, and will tend to scratch, rather than chip, resulting in less rust damage.

    It is basically a wash. Well applied paint is harder to do, but IF do it. Well applied paint is better than cheap, rushed powder coating.

    Regardless, type of coating is just not a deal breaker. You need to maintain a steel bike with bi-annual (or so) application of a wax-based rust proofer (or "frame saver" if you want something from a bike shop, or boiled linseed oil, if you want something natural and earth friendly) and as long as you keep it under shelter, clean and wipe it down soon enough after a wet or muddy ride, rust will not be what ends the frames usable life. Nearly all steel frame makers have some kind of guide on rust prevention.

  25. #25
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    You do have a point about it being better for the environment. But really, the environment has bigger problems than the type of paint on a bike. The amount of damage done by a few litres of solvents and paint is probably about the same as the damage done by driving your car to pick the frame up from the shop. Meh.

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