Ordered the frame on 2000 (red) 48 cm. Rigged it with ITM bars 42mm, Shimano brake levers,Dura-ace drop bar shifters, King headset,salsa steel stem, salsa seatpost,specialized pro saddle,avid ti brakes with wrangler pads,ultegra cranks 165mm, Time ATAC pedals, Ringle cx wheelset, xtr rear, ultegra front derr, Michelin Mud tires winter, Conti tires on summer. I set this bike up more for off-road rather than road. On the road it is good for touring especially century rides. Very comfortable and forgiving. Light enough to accelarate fast at 30 mph and stable on high speeds ( I am 135 lbs). Offroad is where it really shines. Anything my S-works mt. bike can do this bike do it even better. I can ride this bike through logs, downhills, mud, rocks, roots, and even freeride stuntridign like teeter totter and skinny log bridges. I tried using it for jumps but the tires always bottoms out. I once rode it down some real steep stairs here in downtown Chicago by the Museum and it was awesome although I had a flat tire. I like it a lot.
Favorite Ride: anywhere I can ride my bike (not picky)
Purchased At: pro-deal (bike store
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: February 19, 2002
Strengths: strength of frame
slightly sloping top tube
Weaknesses: frame alignment?
I'm happy with it. I have crashed it many times and there is no obvious damage but it does seem to knock it out of alignment. The sloping top tube is nice in technical terrain. I weighted it once with heavy 'cross tires and pump/pedal/tubes and it was 25.5 lbs which seems a bit heavy even for a steel bike but that may be some of the components. The paint comes off at the slightest provocation, it is already sorely in need of a paint job. Handling for my 140lb body is great; very stable and tracks well. I have raced some criteriums and it is a bit slow in reacting but the pay off there is in the dirt. I suspect after all the abuse I have given it that it will last a long time if I keep it from rusting.
a Recreational Rider
from Chicago, Illinois USA
Date Reviewed: March 20, 2001
Strengths: semi-custom, made of (853)steel, handcrafted in Waterford, WI, USA, (trying asking to talk to the boss at Trek, Specialized, etc.!!!!), long top tube, low (for CX) bottom bracket, mine's snow yellow!
Weaknesses: 531 steel fork "chatters" when braking isn't perfectly balanced.
I set this bike up to be an extra stout "road" bike for my Clydesdale frame (220 lbs.). The 36 hole Open Pro's w/ Top Touring tires seem to be very durable for training in Chicago's potholed streets after winter (the fenders are GREAT!). For summer, I'll lose the fenders, switch to 25mm road racing tires and lose over 1 lb. of rotating weight. It may not be as light as an aluminum frame, but for all-around, all-day use, I think I'll be happy with this bike for a long, long time.
Similar Products Used: Klein Mantra Race (just kidding), Rigid Specialized Stumpjumper, now just catching dust in the basement, but good for running errands when you have to lock 'er up in the Big City.
Bike Setup: Gunnar's steel fork, Ultegra triple w/ 12-23 cassette, Mavic Open Pro's w/ 36 spokes, 32mm Conti Top Touring tires, WTB SST 98 saddle, & Frog pedals, and SKS fenders.
Date Reviewed: January 25, 2001
Strengths: 853, compliant(yup...steel is real), functional, durable, reasonable cost
Weaknesses: not canty friendly , paint, stickers...but if they are going to cheap somewhere I rather it be there than on the welds...maybe upgrade the fork to a Woundup to further dampin vibrations.
This is my favorite ride... I also own a klein attitude pro with XT and a trek 5200 rd with ULT... yea they are sweet rigs but for the money I paid I just have to laugh at myself every time I get on this thing. It's the balls...on rds/trails ..in rain and snow as well. I've tried the IF cross frame and I can't really tell the difference though I'm sure that others may tell you different...what do you expect they paid 3 times what I did. buy it for commuting, light touring and local CX (c-b)races... step up only when you can smoke the pack and get a sweet sponsorship deal...
Bike Setup: leftovers...rx100/salsa bar/times/ritchey/icon stem etc...nothing special
a Road Racer
from Las Vegas
Date Reviewed: October 25, 2000
Strengths: Price. Traditional steel geometry. Made in USA by people who care. Customer Support a phone call away.
Weaknesses: Waterford fork buckles under hard braking. No cable stops for brakes an major, unforgivable oversight. Unstable at high speed (>30 mph). Not very springy off the line (flexing rear end)
I am writting an admitedly unfair review. I traded in my road race bike for this machine, and have been disappointed since. It is not tight or peppy. There is a lot of fork flex and chainstay sway. I have been riding primarly road, and the bike is downright scary at high speed decents. I expect it may shine at lower speed riding such as offroad (cyclocross) or touring/commuting. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you will be using this on the weekend for road races, though. My mistake.