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Thread: Deciding on N+1

  1. #1
    Bobonli is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Deciding on N+1

    Back in April, I started bouncing around ideas for my next bike. I wanted (and still want) something that will provide a spirited ride on both pavement and gravel. My initial thoughts were something along the line of a Ti (for weight and corrosion resistance) frame. That quickly morphed into a cross frame when the LBS heard I was interested in riding off-pavement. I tried a couple of cross events this year and Iím quite awful so thereís no need to do a dedicated cross frame. As GSmith suggested to me in another thread, I probably need a road bike with capability for larger tires. After months of ruminating, hereís where my current thinking is:

    Roadie with capability for larger tires when needed.
    Disc brakes
    Cable routing for Di2
    Frame material????

    I thought I had the material sorted out, but more and more people are suggesting I take a second look at steel. What are your thoughts on this?

    My initial consideration was that Ti would be significantly lighter. Iím basing this on my commuter, a steel CoMotion Americano that weighs in at over 30 lbs with components. But that sucker is built for loaded touring. Can I have light-weight and comfort in steel? The last thing I want to do is spec out a duplicate of what I have now, a heavy-ish frame that handles like an SUV.

    Help me finalize the characteristics of N=1.

  2. #2
    maunahaole's Avatar
    maunahaole is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    I bet that G Smith & co., among a number of other good folks who hang here can make you something that fits the bill and will exceed your expectations. You know what you want, you just have not articulated it yet.

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    classtimesailer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    A steel roadie will weigh in at 2/3 of your current ride. If there is room for 32s it is a CX bike. Fenders? Are you committed to Di2? And Disks? Think about saving that for next time.
    Jeff

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    Bobonli is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Quote Originally Posted by classtimesailer View Post
    Are you committed to Di2? And Disks? Think about saving that for next time.
    Jeff
    Next time will probably be 2023, since I buy a new bike about every 11 years.

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    Eric Estlund's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    If you are not sold on a particular material, my suggestion is to find a builder who's work you respond to, and let them source their choice to best serve your needs. A Di2/ disc all roads bike could be a very capable bike for lots of situations. The specifics within that will be based on you and the builder.

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    Oregonic is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    "Can I have light-weight and comfort with steel?"

    Certainly. My steel CX DeSalvo comes in around 19lb, with not particularly light parts. My road build is lighter than that, again, with a mix of parts chosen more for durability and availability than weight. Both ride very nicely.

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    Lionel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Just looking at weight, Ti would be something like 250g to 300g lighter than steel for the frame. So you have to see if it matters to you or not.

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    christian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Pssst. Hampsten Strada Bianca in Ti.

  9. #9
    dang is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    I think you want to find your builder. Ti can be a great material for a cross bike or an all-rounder, and I suspect that, under a given set of design parameters, it will come out a bit lighter than steel. My only custom Ti bike ever came from Spectrum and I'd certainly recommend Tom and Spectrum again. Other bikes look right and get great reports -- probably hard to go wrong with Hampsten, as suggested above. Maybe Strong? Others will have other names -- Moots, the refugees at Firefly, Davidson, I dunno.

    But your Comotion doesn't top 30 pounds because it's a steel frame -- I think you know that it's mostly to do with the build . . . the bits, the touring-appropriate wheels, etc. I mean, maybe you never weighed the frame before you built it up, because it didn't much matter, and maybe you don't want to take it all apart now just to get the frame weight, but there are plenty of posts on this board or that from folks weighing modern steel frames in various sizes -- photos with hi-tech scales, etc. Maybe you add up to a pound for the frame, depending on the size -- maybe less -- and maybe a bit more for a touring-stout and longer build? Maybe again for the fork, or a little less? Even if they used an old set of Columbus SP, or one of those old cheaper tre-tubi sets, either of which seems unlikely, that didn't add 10 pounds to the bike relative to Ti, or Aluminum, or even a CF wonderbike. I mean even something like a Surly, which is a budget, bang-around bike using budget pipes, and is kind of a pig, and not what Comotion or any of the folks touted on this board builds -- won't add THAT much. I'm not pushing steel over Ti -- my cross bike is Ti and I might well go for Ti looking for your cross-ish all-rounder (or just a variation on the road bike for rough/dirt roads). I'm just saying that steel is suitable too, if that's what you otherwise want, or that's the material of choice for the builder you want.

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    Default

    Electronic shifting and disc brakes won't affect how the bike rides, but they will complicate the build and limit the resale market for the bike.

    So before you commit I'd suggest getting a bike with the geometry you're considering and spend some time on it. I say this not because I went through three CXish bikes before settling on a gravel road rocket that doubles as a CX race bike. NOT because i happen have a gorgeous Ti all-rounder for sale (Kish 57x57).

    Yes the builder may already know the answer, like Hampco. But trying for a while, even if it's outside where you think you want to be, may learn you something.

    Material choice, Ti vs steel, I see as more builder dependent. But Ti is the love-you-long-time material, able to shrug off scratches and dings and still shine like new after a rubdown with Nevr-Dull. That said, a close friend has a gorgeous steel frame that gets a new paint jibe every few years and looks like a new and different bike.

  11. #11
    Craven Moorehead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    If I were going to ride the thing on messy gravel roads where it will get pelted with pebbles and debris, I'd go with unpainted Ti. Ti is the just ride and don't think about it material. The only downside to Ti is it will be more expensive. And I'd say yes to electric shifting but no to discs (but you didn't ask).

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    Matthew J is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    Material choice, Ti vs steel, I see as more builder dependent. But Ti is the love-you-long-time material, able to shrug off scratches and dings and still shine like new after a rubdown with Nevr-Dull. That said, a close friend has a gorgeous steel frame that gets a new paint jibe every few years and looks like a new and different bike.
    Stainless steel tubing should also be in consideration/

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    Craven Moorehead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew J View Post
    Stainless steel tubing should also be in consideration/
    wouldn't that be the least dent-proof choice? might be a consideration for a semi-rugged gravel bike

  14. #14
    sparky33 is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    If you could let go of Di2, the the Salsa ti Warbird would be fine right off the shelf, but Di2 looks really nice.

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    Matthew J is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Quote Originally Posted by shoney View Post
    wouldn't that be the least dent-proof choice? might be a consideration for a semi-rugged gravel bike
    I'll leave the final answer on dent-proof to the frame builders here, but so far I am real pleased with my Clockwork KVA. The bike is lighter than my other steel bikes, has wonderful road manners, and SS does appear to be plenty tough.

    I went unpolished. After a ride I rub it down with a 3M scour pad Clockwork provided. Looks as good as new.

  16. #16
    rphetteplace is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    I'm in N+1 mode myself right now. Ti DeSalvo cross bike with rear rack/fender mounts is where I'm headed.

  17. #17
    Bobonli is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    I'm committed to Di2 and discs. I have discs on the mtn bike and in terms of braking and maintenance I'm just happier with them compared to rim brakes.

    I guess my basic question is answered: it is possible to get "light" with steel. Yes, I know my CoMo is not 31 lbs solely because of the tubes (though they are oversized to carry loads). I get that, I just wanted a little input since my last steel frame was 12 years before the CoMo! I keep stuff a really long time. Does anyone remember a the Stowe bicycle company?!

    As for the builder, I have 2-3 in mind. One seems to prefer Ti, the other steel though both would build whatever I ask for. Advantage to Ti is weight and I'd probably go naked for the reason mentioned above (riding on crappy roads). Steel would save me some $$--extra wheels perhaps--and I'd probably make it beautiful, nicks and scratches be damned. Yes, I'm schizophrenic about the finish.

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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Zanconato.

    And I hear he's been staring at stainless tubes lately.
    GO!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Estlund View Post
    If you are not sold on a particular material, my suggestion is to find a builder who's work you respond to, and let them source their choice to best serve your needs. A Di2/ disc all roads bike could be a very capable bike for lots of situations. The specifics within that will be based on you and the builder.
    This is right on. Find a builder whose aesthetic and bike handling philosophy speaks to you. The good builders out there will take your preferences and turn them into the numbers, tubing, etc. that you need.

    @tholllandpe also has a good suggestion in trying out different bikes. What I did when I had my last bike built (very similar to your spec minus the disc brakes) is that I spent a lot of time riding my existing bikes in the conditions that I wanted the new bike to excel in (off-road on swoopy singletrack and fire roads). Since I already knew exactly how my other bikes handled (and what their specs were), when I went to Mike Zanconato, he turned my feelings about the shortcomings of the existing bikes into a bike that addressed all the changes I wanted.

    But the most important advantage of an experienced builder is that they will address many things that you probably won't think about, like the importance of front end tracking in rough stuff or fender lines and mounting. The result is spot on perfect.

  20. #20
    72gmc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deciding on N+1

    Quote Originally Posted by christian View Post
    Pssst. Hampsten Strada Bianca in Ti.
    Yes, or this: IF disc road bike
    a one bike believer

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