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Deciding on my ultimate fixie (long)

nashcomnashcom Posts: 255
edited June 2007 in Road general
I really like my bike - it's a 1950's or 1960's track bike. I use it for different types of riding (not in winter - I have a fixed cyclo-cross bike for then), including general training/exercise, ultra-lightweight touring, and more recently some audaxing. I think it looks fab as well, with its skinny white tubes. I don't have much experience of riding loads of different bikes, so I'm not sure how it compares with others. It may not be as stiff as newer designs, and it's probably a wee bit heavier than some. The front end sometimes feels a wee bit harsh on longer rides, despite Marsas bar cushioning, but then I'm using 20mm tubs at 220psi!

Maybe I just want something the same, but 'better'.

And that's where my problem lies - I haven't a clue as to how to choose a new frame! There are so many options, from material to design.

I sometimes wonder about a carbon frame, but I don't know that I'd look after it particularly well, and those Parlee fixed frames are expensive. There's the Colnago C50 Pista with a Star fork, but I'm not sure that it'd be okay for road use.

Titanium sometimes appeals, but I don't really like the look of titanium frames, and painting one would feel like a crime.

So, maybe another classic steel one, but with modern tubing, would be the best solution. A British custom job could be had fairly reasonably (from Bob Jackson, Mercian, Villiers-Velo, Robin Mathers, Brian Rourke, Roberts etc, etc). However, there are things about most builders that mean I probably wouldn't commit to one. Maybe one frame is very much like another, but some builders seem full of themselves, and that puts me off.

(I've been having a bad experience with a couple of custom guitars I ordered four and a half years ago, and which I probably won't see this side of Christmas!)

I'm also looking at Nagasawa and Pegoretti. They have the lines I really like, but perhaps they're not ideal for hilly road riding. Are they too heavy? In the case of the former, there's also a fairly long waiting list.

I suppose the problem is that it's nigh-on impossible to take one out for a test-ride, so you're really trusting the builder to come up with something suitable, and that means tube selection, sizing, geometry, and even aesthetics, to a certain extent.

I just wondered how others went about deciding on their new bike...

Recommendations also welcome...

Posts

  • Usually just a whim - looks mainly I guess! But then I never expect to keep one very long (record was my Ti fixed which I only sold to finnce return to m'cycling). And there is the clue: for a fixed custom build it'd have to be ti for me if, as it appears, money no or little object. And there is no harm in painting 'em!
    Second would be carbon, but I guess a bit difficult to find carbon with suitable rear end other than in a pure track mode - and like you I'm not sure that that would be entirely suitable.
    That leaves steel then and as you muse the world is your bike...

    Have fun!

    d.j.
    "Like a true nature's child,
    We were born,
    Born to drink mild"
  • Robin Mather custom with Eccentric Bottom Bracket and vertical dropouts.

    Robin is a thoroughly decent chap, a very fine craftsman, and uses the best EBB, the Bushnell.
  • Mather's frames do look superb. But why the surely over-engineered eccentric b/b solution when suitable drop outs are a much easier answer to the "problem" (genuine question, Nick!)?

    d.j.
    "Like a true nature's child,
    We were born,
    Born to drink mild"
  • <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by nashcom</i>

    I'm also looking at Nagasawa and Pegoretti. They have the lines I really like, but perhaps they're not ideal for hilly road riding. Are they too heavy? In the case of the former, there's also a fairly long waiting list.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Sadly Dario Pegoretti has been diagnosed with lymphona so he isn't taking any new orders for the time being.

    More info is available here on the US importer's website.
  • knuckleheadknucklehead Posts: 243
    A custom fitted steel frame would be my choice in your position, matched with a carbon fork if you want to pimp it some. It's hard to find a lugged bike that looks right with a carbon fork though and frame builders seem to prefer lugs as it hides the joins where the tubes meet.
    Carbon frames don't have a long enough shelf life for the money as a recreational cyclist IMHO. Ti is too expensive at the moment to be worth experimenting with, for me anyway.
    Thats my 2p anyway[:D]
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Always wear a helmet when cycling. If this makes you uncomfortable, think of the helmet as a crown and yourself as King Dorko.
  • <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by davej</i>

    ...why the surely over-engineered eccentric b/b solution when suitable drop outs are a much easier answer to the "problem" (genuine question, Nick!)?<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Simply because the rear wheel goes back in exactly the right place every time. No faffing around with chain tension every time you take it out, no need for tiresome chaintugs, and no axle creep.

    And you can use a quick-release (if you can find a 120mm hub that will take one - Royce would probably do a one-off). Then you wouldn't need to lug a spanner around.

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by knucklehead</i>

    A custom fitted steel frame would be my choice in your position, matched with a carbon fork if you want to pimp it some. It's hard to find a lugged bike that looks right with a carbon fork though...<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">But Robin Mather does <i>very</i> nice fillets.

    Oh, and I'd want stainless dropouts.
  • "frame builders seem to prefer lugs as it hides the joins where the tubes meet."

    Well,yes, but also a question of strength: some opinion has it for example that 853 in larger size frames is best lugged.

    Point taken, Nick, but I think I'd sooner just put up with the extra few seconds it takes to get the wheel correctly positioned!

    d.j.
    "Like a true nature's child,
    We were born,
    Born to drink mild"
  • knuckleheadknucklehead Posts: 243
    This is from the Bob Jackson site:
    "LUG CONSTRUCTION IS THE PREFERRED METHOD OF JOINING 853. It allows a much larger area to be heated than tig welding which concentrates the heat to a very small area at the weld. This completely goes against the "AIR HARDENING" building philosophy of the material and <b>adds nothing to the strength of the joint</b>. It is however a much cheaper joining method, requiring less time and skill to perform."

    My reading is that lugs are cheaper in 853 than without so its just adding weight.
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Always wear a helmet when cycling. If this makes you uncomfortable, think of the helmet as a crown and yourself as King Dorko.
  • nashcomnashcom Posts: 255
    If I go for a classic steel frame, it would have to have a matching steel fork. As you say, carbon forks don't look right.

    A full carbon frame appeals because of its minimal weight, and vibration control. However I tend to carry my bike in the back of my van, and there's always the risk that I knock it against the door catch, or perhaps something will fall against it. I don't know if they're anecdotal, but you hear stories of catastrophic failure with carbon, and people advise of binning carbon components if they're slightly damaged. Maybe I should try a carbon frame and be prepared to replace it sooner than I would a steel frame. Having said that, I'm sure a well-designed and well-built carbon frame will last for years in 'normal' use (notwithstanding damage).

    Titanium is good for longevity, but apart from that aspect, I'm not sure if they're any better than steel (okay, they may be slightly lighter)- some reviews talk about 'soft, flexible' titanium frames, although I'm sure they can be built to handle differently.

    I love the look of classic steel frames (lugged or fillet brazed) but maybe I'd be missing out (in terms of ride performance) by not going for carbon or titanium.

    Davej, what was your titanium fixed frame, and did you prefer it to the steel ones you've owned?

    That's sad news about Dario Pegoretti.
  • nashcom, it was badged as an On One, one of the very few (2 I think) of their Ti cross frames that they had built with track ends. I THINK that it was built by XACD, China. And yes I did!

    I sold it to fixedphil, late of this Forum. He also has the BEST ti fixed, built for him in the USA (maker escapes me, but he waited months and months for it) adding mine as the 2ND BEST (well, that's what I think).

    You can probably find him for his expert views on ACF (posts as Mal Volio).

    d.j.
    "Like a true nature's child,
    We were born,
    Born to drink mild"
  • nashcomnashcom Posts: 255
    Thanks, Davej. I think I'm sliding down the slippery slope behind Mal Volio - I've joined Audax UK, and recently managed 300K on my fixie! I'll ask Phil his opinion. I seem to recall that his frame is a Matt Chester, but Matt has given up frame building - I think he worried about letting customers down due to the volume of orders etc. I wish my guitar builder felt a wee bit guilty (after his initial estimate of around nine months!) I was sorely tempted by those On-One frames at the time, but thought they'd be a bit close in style to my aluminium cyclo-cross-style fixie.
  • Your memory better than mine (I plead age) - yes, it's an MC.

    DO NOT let Phil lead you down that particular decline (sic)...oh alright, good luck (and my respect and envy of your prowess).

    d.j.
    "Like a true nature's child,
    We were born,
    Born to drink mild"
  • herohirstherohirst Posts: 12
    [/quote]Sadly Dario Pegoretti has been diagnosed with lymphona so he isn't taking any new orders for the time being.

    Hi there,

    from what I know from a version of Darios open letter and from speaking to Mosquito Bikes in London, the UK importers, Dario IS still taking orders. It's typical of the man that he will keep fighting and will keep on building whenever his treatment / energy levels allow. He also promises not to compromise quality to finish frames, just asks people to be patient, so if anyone wants one (I do!) then contact Mosquito.

    There are already far too few people with Pegorettis spirit and passion in this safe, bland, focus grouped world of ours. Our thoughts and best wishes for the future - Forza Dario! Cordiali Saluti.


    Drivers laugh at me because I'm different,
    I laugh at them because they're all the same.
    Drivers laugh at me because I\'m different,
    I laugh at them because they\'re all the same.
  • alexBalexB Posts: 2,199
    Have you considered going to the Dave Yates frame building class and building your own?
  • graham_ggraham_g Posts: 651
    going completely OT - who's making your guitar?
  • nashcomnashcom Posts: 255
    It would be good to be able to make your own frames, wouldn't it? You could try out different tubing and angles, and really get a feel for what diference they make, as opposed to taking someone else's word for it. However, I'm self-employed and can't really get the time off to travel to the other end of the country for a few days. I wish there was a local frame builder near Inverness. I think there used to be Alves framesets, but I've not heard anything of them for years.

    My guitar man is a certain Michael DeTemple from California. I ordered a Strat and Tele from him in Feb 2003! I can email you the saga... He makes nice guitars, but I've been too patient with him!
  • graham_ggraham_g Posts: 651
    Ah, dealing with a foreigner'll be the problem there then! Shame the US dominates the custom guitar market really.
  • bloatercpbloatercp Posts: 18
    I'd go for a Burls fillet braised frame with Reynolds carbon forks if you wanted a steel frame. They're well priced and the service is great. He did a fixed conversion (old road frame) for me and it was so good some scum bag stole it from me...

    I've now got a Titanium frame of his instead now, but the steel ones are very nicely done - I just fancied a change. Have a look at www.burls.co.uk. He's a small independent so I'm happy to shout his praises for him.
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