Help - Steel Sportive / long ride bike

chris217 Posts: 217
edited May 2012 in Road buying advice
looking to replace my current carbon frame with steel. two reasons:

want to increase comfort and versatility i.e. more robust , can use it for commuting and not worry about fragility of carbon.

use wise mostly Sportives / long distance stuff amd commuting

not quite at an Audax age yet ( only joking ) but want something steel but competatively light as well.

considering Enigma Ethos - absolute top of budget or at a much lower level Genesis 725 frame, Dawes Audax LE 631, etc the Ethos ok for Sportives ?

anyway wanting to hear from steel converts who are preferably under 60 !!! another joke , albeit a not very funny one.



  • wheezee
    wheezee Posts: 461
    Bob Jackson do off the peg frames.
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I'm not a convert, I never left! I love steel.

    Enigma makes lovely bikes and they are great to deal with. I had a bespoke bike from them and I love it! As for weight, Columbus spirit and XCR, or Reynolds 853 or 953 are all pretty light and wonderful materials that give great rides.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    That Ethos looks lovely, and I've heard nothing but good things about Enigma.

    I'd throw the Condor Fratello into the ring - ... e.tpl.html

    Supremely comfy and robust. Fits 28mm tyres with mudguards - plus full rear rack mounts etc. It's a decent weight and looks lovely. Condor are good to deal with - though avoid going in at the weekend if you can - it's manic.

    Plenty of sub-60 steel riders out there!
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    The Enigma Ethos came second in this months Cycling Plus Buyer's Guide 'Top 10 Steel Bikes' after the £3500 Cherubim Piuma, so it can't be too bad :D
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • arlowood
    arlowood Posts: 2,561
    Not sure if you just want a frame to build up or a complete bike.

    However for the cost of an Enigma Ethos you could get a Mercian custom built frame or opt for one of their complete bikes

    Also have a play on their online frame builder

    Hours of fun for the prospective purchaser
  • nathancom
    nathancom Posts: 1,567
    I would go with the Enigma, they make fantastic bikes and I can't see you being unhappy at going to the top of your budget. I did and am very happy.
  • Gunnar or the Fixie Betty Leeds are quite nice. Or an Argos of Bristol.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Chris217 wrote:
    want to increase comfort and versatility i.e. more robust , can use it for commuting and not worry about fragility of carbon.

    FWIW, I use an old Dawes Horizon (501 steel) and a Ribble Gran Fondo (carbon) for commuting - nearly 8000 miles last year. I don't worry about the fragility of one anymore than the other. TBH, I suspect the carbon frame is the tougher.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • bigpikle
    bigpikle Posts: 1,690
    I have an Ethos - 2010 version, in fact the bike built for the Bike of the Year tests and review that year :D

    Its a great frame, and certainly does what you want in terms of comfort and longevity. Done plenty of long rides, sportives etc and used it in all weathers, through winter etc and its a great bike.

    Give them a call and then go and try one. Te other option that might tick your boxes is a titanium frame of course...
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • Bobbinogs
    Bobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    You could do a lot worse than a nice Mercian. Lots of different steel options and frame geos and they even do full custom. I inherited a lovely Strada Speciale '97 in Reynolds 653 and it is very light and lovely to ride even for 200km+ lumpy ones. The geo on my model does mean a relatively steep angle on the seat tube (which is fine by me) so it is worth chatting to them about what suits, etc.
  • rowman
    rowman Posts: 111
    I got my steel bike from Brian Rourke 21 years ago. Still an absolute joy to ride.
  • jordan_217
    jordan_217 Posts: 2,580
    I can't comment on their steel frames but I can say this - Enigma customer service is impeccable. Jim and his team are an extremely knowledgeable and friendly bunch. IIRC Mark Reilly is the person who deals with steel builds:


    I have a Ti Enigma Echo and love it! If you can, go and visit them at their Westham HQ. Well worth it!
    “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”
  • graham_g
    graham_g Posts: 652
    edited May 2012
    I think you're right to go with a 'modern' steel frame - i.e. OS tubing, welded, compact, carbon forks etc. - as that will tend to give you a lighter bike but still have the steel comfort factor and versatility in terms of braze-ons for all-round use. I got a custom frame from Paul Hewitt but they're all much of a muchness and you couldn't go wrong with the Enigma, Condor or any such similar offering. I'd avoid the like of Mecian and Bob Jackson - the traditional lugged build just isn't going to float your boat (tends to be steel fork to boot) and Mecian are so backwards they still use 1" threaded headsets as standard; yes they will do all options as custom but that starts getting a bit silly price-wise (£100 surcharge for 1 1/8" head tube anyone?).

    Sounds like you lust after the Enigma.... follow your loins or you could end up regretting it.
  • graham_g
    graham_g Posts: 652
    ...oh, and just as a mention, and it's one thing I'd change on my bike, is that you want to make sure that the rear brake bridge is set set at a height which requires deep-drop calipers to be used near their full extension (57mm). That way you will definitely have ample clearance for a 28mm tyre plus mudguard (majority of carbon forks with eyelets are fine in this respect) - mine is set at the halfway point and I can't get more than a 25 in, which isn't a massive deal but for the sake of having the brake bridge 3-5mm higher, I'd at least have had the option. Oh, and get a pump pip put on the rear left chain-stay too, great to have a zefal hpx wedged in there.

    Oh, and suck my balls re. audax age, I'm only 32 :mrgreen:
  • on-yer-bike
    on-yer-bike Posts: 2,974
    Condor Super Acciaio as raced by Rapha Condor Sharp. £1200.00 hand made in Italy. No good if you want mudguards and panniers though.
  • styxd
    styxd Posts: 3,234
    I dont think you'd go far wrong with a Genesis Equilibrium frame
  • chris217
    chris217 Posts: 217
    thanks guys and graham i think you have talked me into the Ethos !!!