For the love of steel

Here is my Ritte Phantom.


Yes, that’s it.

I have a couple contributions to this thread. A 1984 Pinarello Montello (nearly all original, w/ Campy Nuevo Record and pantographed parts), a late-90s/early-00s Eddy Merckx Corsa-01, and a late-80s Pinarello Veneto. The Pinarellos were a bit small for me, unfortunately, but the Eddy Merckx, which was in great shape, was the right size, and it road wonderfully. Nice spring, smooth on slight bumps, pleasant to climb with.


And is the 1984 Pinarello Montello in all its Campy NR and pantographed glory.


And here is the late-80s Pinarello Veneto.


Le vrai, le Greg, Lemond. TIG Reynolds 853, Ultegra+DA, Rolls, Cinelli XA + No. 66 “Campione del Mundo” - comme il faut.


That is seriously nice, comme il faut indeed :slight_smile:

I’ve been a longtime fan of steel bikes and what they’re capable of so I built this one up as a test bike for myself a few years ago. It has since been recently retired to reuse the parts for a revised frame. It saw quite a few miles and was ridden on trails it had no business being on but kept on going!

CXP-01 Project


Fun thread. My highest mileage unit in its 4th decade of service. Cramerotti built late 80s w/ custom 60s geo (72deg seat): SLX/Cinelli lugs/Campy drop outs. Campy group, Cinelli stem/bar, Rolls, Belgium+ rims on Superlogic hubs.


That looks quite … cool, actually.
How did those ultra-dropped seat stays affect the ride?

It was designed to be a CX frame and having those ultra-dropped seatstays helped smooth out the ride to the point that the 33/35mm tires felt like 45’s or 50’s. More importantly the extra flex helped to improve the traction on “chattery” terrain when you’re trying to put down the power.

This is a very clever and interesting experiment. It’s effectively a dual cantilever frame. Another way to experiment might be going back to 1" steerers, or smaller. For me at least (mostly road), the 1 1/8" standard is too big, too stiff.

My contribution. Saddle tilt has been adjusted since :slight_smile:
1985 Moser, re grouped in 2008 with Campagnolo Veloce.


A few regulars of mine.

  • Light blue is an '88 Schwinn Premis that I brazed new cable guide to and powdercoated.
  • Dark blue is a Fairlight Secan gravel frame.
  • Purple is a slightly too small Tange 1 frame from '89 that was powdercoated. An innicycle headset conversion makes it threadless.
  • Orange and white is a Columbus Zona frame I built in a local class a handful of years ago taught by Jeff Bock.

How tall are you? Those frames are huge!

1 Like

And then there were four. At the Palazzo Rossin.


Yeah, they are 63.5-65cm frames.
I am 6’5

Serotta Colorado lll with full Campagnolo Record 10 sp.


It’s very interesting (to me, at least), that there is now a growing recognition that there is such a thing as too much stiffness in bikes, and I think that’s part of the renewed interest in steel. I noted that Peak Torque’s review of the Giant TCR Pro SL points out that it’s not a terribly comfortable bike on ordinary roads, that his non-SL version is a better descender, and both of those things are related to the bike’s striking stiffness. It makes it (apparently) a superb climber and very responsive, but a bit hard and chattery. Personally, it’s definitely the case that the best descending bikes I’ve ever ridden have all been steel and not super-light.

For most riders and most riding, a bit more flex than a lot of carbon racing frames provide is, IMO, no bad thing.


Looking at older racing footage from, say, 1980s, they climbed with bigger gears and lower cadences. I think this is possible without fatigue only on a flexible frame. There is more frame flex, even when seated, than most ppl imagine. For example, I can easily induce FD rub when cross-chained. The new stiffer frames won’t store power in the same way. I get the same sensation when riding my non-suspension MTB. I can’t hammer it without burning up the legs the same way that I can with a flexy racing frame. It requires an entirely different technique.

1 Like