Which steel frame?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Which steel frame?

    I am thinking that I am going to treat myself next year for my 40th b-day with a new bike. I have been riding a RL 'Cog for the last year or so and have really enjoyed the rigid 29er SS "thing". I sold my '97 Homegrown after getting the SS buzz but am looking for another geared/front suspension bike to add to my stable - there are times when the gears would be nice, especially riding with a group or traveling. I want to go steel or titanium (but I doubt I can afford Ti). I do not want a "jack of all trades" frame that can be run geared or SS - just geared for this bike. I would like to spend less than $1000 on the frame and will likely put a nice parts kit on it including full SLX, Reba, Stan's wheelset, Thomson, BB7s, yadda yadda yadda. Nothing fancy, just a solid bike. I ride in the mid-Atlantic on technical singletrack with mostly roots, sometimes rocks. I like riding fast, I don't jump, and I like to climb. I would describe my riding style as "single track surfing". Honestly, the 'Cog's geo works awesome for my riding style. I am 5'6" and 165 lbs. What are some frame suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by TiGeo; 06-28-2011 at 06:50 PM.
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  2. #2
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    If your not afraid of mail order, you can pick up a Ti frame with a Reba for $1099


  3. #3
    Jacob 34:19
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    There's a few that would fit that description; Niner MCR, Vassago Bandersnatch, Jamis Dragon. And if you can live with a frame that isn't geared specific; Salsa El Mariachi, Singular Swift, Jones diamond frame, OS Bikes Blackbuck, Surly Karate Monkey, Quiring Q-ball, and many more.

    However, at $1k you're right at the cusp of a custom frame. I would suggest contacting Waltworks, Ted Wojcik, Groovy Cycleworks, Coconino, True Fabrication, Sycip, Blackcat, or any of the MANY custom steel builders you find on this forum. They all make great steel frames that should last you a lifetime and wouldn't cost much more than an off the shelf brand. You'll wait a little longer but you get a frame built for you.

    I'm coming up on 40 as well in few months and thinking the same thing. Not sure if I'm going to go custom or production yet but it will definitely be steel and will definitely be single speed.

  4. #4
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    I agree with the custom route. At least worth looking into.
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  5. #5
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    I'm looking at the same thing...I'll be 50 next year and am going to have a custom steel SS built.
    Still not sure by whom, I've been spending some time at the various builder's websites.
    I love my Jabber, but want something special to celebrate my half centennial...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rzims View Post
    I'm looking at the same thing...I'll be 50 next year and am going to have a custom steel SS built.
    Still not sure by whom, I've been spending some time at the various builder's websites.
    I love my Jabber, but want something special to celebrate my half centennial...
    Hey rzims, heres another to consider: http://www.formcycles.com/FORM_cycles/HOME.html

    They are local here in No AZ. not cheap but great guys to work with.

    Still loving my Jabber

  7. #7
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    Gunnar makes some nice frames, too. But at $1,000, custom is what I'd do. Walt has been very good about communication and his prices are pretty good.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by going29AZ View Post
    Hey rzims, heres another to consider: http://www.formcycles.com/FORM_cycles/HOME.html

    They are local here in No AZ. not cheap but great guys to work with.

    Still loving my Jabber
    i was going to check them out while i was visiting family in az next month, until i saw the prices.

  9. #9
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    i kind of like those gunnar or curtlo frames. i'm looking to grab a used steel frame by one of them off ebay, but no luck yet.

  10. #10
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    give Richie Moore a call at http://cyscocycles.com/..gorgeous frames.
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  11. #11
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    got ot add Quiring if you want custom, or look at his Q ball frame if you want to keep to the budget

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    If your not afraid of mail order, you can pick up a Ti frame with a Reba for $1099

    Minus the cost of the fork and that's a great deal.
    A garage full of steel frames means happiness.

  13. #13
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    Niner MCR steel frame. That's my vote! Less than a grand. Reynolds 853 steel from triangle. Superb geometry. And unbeatable customer service and satisfaction.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rzims View Post
    I'm looking at the same thing...I'll be 50 next year and am going to have a custom steel SS built.
    Still not sure by whom, I've been spending some time at the various builder's websites.
    I love my Jabber, but want something special to celebrate my half centennial...
    I am in the same boat. I am wondering what a custom builder will say if I ask them to duplicate a jabber geo?

  15. #15
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    I really have to second (and third) the Niner MCR9 suggestions. I rode one for about a year while waiting for my Jet9 recall frame. I am 6'-2" and 240 lb and rode the XL 21" frame. It did not seem to flex but was noticeably smoother than a GF Superfly I briefly owned.

    With my size and preference for endurance events I have to stick with full suspension. But at your size an MCR, or any steel/Ti frame, would rip.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I am in the same boat. I am wondering what a custom builder will say if I ask them to duplicate a jabber geo?
    I would hope they would say, "Go buy a Jabberwocky." If all you want is a name on the down tube, I'm sure you could get some stickers made up quite readily for far less than the cost of a custom frame build. Just think of the exclusivity of being the only person in the world to own a gjenkins mountain bike.

    But seriously, why would you have a custom builder duplicate the geometry of an off the shelf frame? If I were you, I would approach the custom builder with my Jabber and say to him, "This is a graet bike and these are the things that I love about it and these are the things that I would like to improve upon." Then he has some idea of where to start, what your goals are with the custom build, and what type of tweaks he can make to your custom frame to give you the optimum ride for you.

    At least that's what I would do.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  17. #17
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    customs are cool, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes View Post
    I would hope they would say, "Go buy a Jabberwocky." ...
    This is what I was thinking as soon as I saw this thread go off into another custom builder popularity contest.

    Good reasons to order a custom:

    1) you have personal proportions that make it hard for you to fit a stock frame
    2) you can't find a stock frame that has the handling properties you want
    3) you want a custom from some particular builder because it's unique, has collector value, etc. (Vanilla, Don McClung, Charlie Cunningham, etc)
    4) you want to burn up some extra money, wait an extra long time, and then have something admittedly cool and unique

    Not so good reasons:

    1) you want a bike that is exactly like an available stock frame, but maybe just marginally lighter, maybe more precisely built, and with a more prestigious name on the downtube

    This is all just my opinion, of course. I love customs and the idea of customs. I have ordered two. One of them was something unique that I could not have found available as a stock frame, the other was pretty much just a #4 situation. I have never and would never ask a custom frame builder to make an exact copy of some existing stock frame. That would be insulting.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    This is what I was thinking as soon as I saw this thread go off into another custom builder popularity contest.

    Good reasons to order a custom:

    1) you have personal proportions that make it hard for you to fit a stock frame
    2) you can't find a stock frame that has the handling properties you want
    3) you want a custom from some particular builder because it's unique, has collector value, etc. (Vanilla, Don McClung, Charlie Cunningham, etc)
    4) you want to burn up some extra money, wait an extra long time, and then have something admittedly cool and unique

    Not so good reasons:

    1) you want a bike that is exactly like an available stock frame, but maybe just marginally lighter, maybe more precisely built, and with a more prestigious name on the downtube

    This is all just my opinion, of course. I love customs and the idea of customs. I have ordered two. One of them was something unique that I could not have found available as a stock frame, the other was pretty much just a #4 situation. I have never and would never ask a custom frame builder to make an exact copy of some existing stock frame. That would be insulting.
    + 1

    the guy who built my frame simply asked for my other bike measurements...my measurements...where and how i like to ride..

    i trusted his judgment....

    and now i have a rig that handles better than anything i have ever pedaled...

    my stoke is so hard it can cut diamonds.....
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Good reasons to order a custom:

    1) you have personal proportions that make it hard for you to fit a stock frame
    2) you can't find a stock frame that has the handling properties you want
    3) you want a custom from some particular builder because it's unique, has collector value, etc. (Vanilla, Don McClung, Charlie Cunningham, etc)
    4) you want to burn up some extra money, wait an extra long time, and then have something admittedly cool and unique

    Not so good reasons:

    1) you want a bike that is exactly like an available stock frame, but maybe just marginally lighter, maybe more precisely built, and with a more prestigious name on the downtube
    I would argue that Good#4 and Bad#1 should be switched, but in reality they are all valid reasons. My motivation would be to get a swoopy tubed Ti bike with the Jabber geo. In a nutshell, esthetics and maybe a little lighter frame. I have heard some builders have their own immutable ideas about geometry, so they might not be willing to do it.

    In reality, I would also be willing to investigate shorter chain stays, but I would want to ride it first. As it is, I love my Jabber, and I will probably ride it till it dies.

  20. #20
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    ...I would also be willing to investigate shorter chain stays..
    shorter CS is hella nice...

    my rig's are 16.375"...

    and handles like a wet dream.....

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    shorter CS is hella nice ... my rig's are 16.375"... and handles like a wet dream.....
    Hey I saw that the other day. Sweet frame! I have a sneaky suspicion that the long stays are what I really like about the Jabber. I thought the longer stays actually help on climbs ... like this pic suggests ...



    On further reflection, I suspect that works for seated climbing, but standing may benefit from shorter CS. I find myself shifting weight back for standing climbs.

    Question: What is the open hole in the Seat tube?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    ....

    Question: What is the open hole in the Seat tube?
    hides my stash....

    actually it's a design element where the straight meets the curved....


    srsly though....it's still where i hide my stash...
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    shorter CS is hella nice...

    my rig's are 16.375"...

    and handles like a wet dream.....

    May I ask how much that set you back? It is a super sweet looking ride. One I could only dream of ever owning....

  24. #24
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    Jamis Dragon Race is 853 and Sport is 520 Race
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  25. #25
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    Niner MCR is amazing!
    I cant put the smile off my face when riding this thing
    But I guess other quality steel 29ers will be comparable in perfomance.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I would argue that Good#4 and Bad#1 should be switched, but in reality they are all valid reasons. My motivation would be to get a swoopy tubed Ti bike with the Jabber geo. In a nutshell, esthetics and maybe a little lighter frame. I have heard some builders have their own immutable ideas about geometry, so they might not be willing to do it.

    In reality, I would also be willing to investigate shorter chain stays, but I would want to ride it first. As it is, I love my Jabber, and I will probably ride it till it dies.
    If you ride a 16" I have a frame that is EXACTLY the same GEO as a jabber with 1" shorter stays you can ride - and I am in AZ. You might be surprised at the difference in the handling - I have let several jabber owners take the bike for a ride and non of them have come away liking it more than their jabber... which kind of surprised me!!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by tamen00 View Post
    If you ride a 16" I have a frame that is EXACTLY the same GEO as a jabber with 1" shorter stays you can ride - and I am in AZ. You might be surprised at the difference in the handling - I have let several jabber owners take the bike for a ride and non of them have come away liking it more than their jabber... which kind of surprised me!!
    Dang! I wish I was in AZ. That kinda confirms what I was thinking. I think the longer stays "stabilize" the bike ... especially at speed. For a non-hucker like me, that is good. I am super confident on the Jabber.

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