Strengths: Build quality, attention to detail, quality of material, stunning paint job, customer service, level of customization, and you get something completely unique
Weaknesses: Price? they dont mess around. just look at the options list (yikes). But I'd pay it again in a heartbeat
Simply beautiful, incredible, and amazing. The first thing you notice is the attention to detail and quality of construction. The weld lines are PERFECT. All the tubes and bottle mounts are sealed so this is as corrosion resistant as steel gets. I love how they leave a circle of different colored paint on the dropouts so it does not ever chip the frame's main paint color, and the circle is perfect and sits perfectly flush with the quick release ends. In my opinion this is the highest quality tig welded custom steel frame you can buy.
As far as the ride characteristics, they are perfect. All I did was describe a vague and general feeling of how I wanted my steel frame to feel. I said I wanted a very aggressive position with steep angles and as much stiffness as possible. The masters at IF dialed it in perfectly. I asked for it to be stiff and oh my did they deliver. It feels like a high end aluminum frame in terms of stiffness, but simutainously glides over pot hole ridden streets. Even better is that my 53cm frame weighed in at 1530g! For a steel frame with all that sealing, thick and high quality paint job, and my request to make lightness the bottom priority, thats simply incredible.
The final fit is beyond anything I can really explain, but I'll try. Its perfect. plain and simple. there's nothing that can prepare you for the feeling of a frameset that is built around you. Admittedly most people (myself included) can get a very nice bike fit around a standard frame, but its a completely different feeling. The frame is fitted to your body and riding style, not the reverse. and the effect of that is almost beyond words.
Dealing with the people at IF was a joy as well. Customer service was unbelievable and OMG do these people know bicycle frames. If you can dream it they will create it. I'll admit that this is as expensive as steel gets, but I'm convinced that it is as good as it gets too.
Bottom line is this....What you pay for is the attention to detail, custom geometry, at quality of materials/construction. If you are looking for a custom steel frame I would recommend these guys a thousand times over.
Strengths: Stiff and extremely responsive. Great custom paint. Feels solid on the road.
Weighs a pound more than my carbon setup which I don't ride anymore.
Weaknesses: Can't think of any. It might be the waiting for a custom build, but after your first ride you'll forget about the wait.
I have ridden many different bikes including titanium, aluminum, and carbon, but steel remains the best frame material available. There's really no way to compare the custom geometry and ride of a handmade (in America) steel bicycle. A fine steel frame gives something back to the rider that is hard to describe.
(Review for Crown Jewel Titanium.) Amazing bike. Bought it used on eBay from someone who used it more as an around town bike (Nitto Mustache bars, etc.). Put drops, more aggressive stem, and took it out. Handles so well. I've ridden Carbon before, which is nice, but Titanium is all by itself. And it looks so clean.
Beautiful Bike with performance and comfort characteristics that make me look better than I really am! Bike weight (without pedals) is under 17 pounds, amazing for a steel bike. Roy at Grace Bicycles helped guide me through the selection of components and we wound up with what I consider to be the most perfect bike I have ever ridden (Until I get my next IF!).
Bike Setup: Dura Ace, Richey, Fizik, Speedplay, Topolino.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: November 25, 2008
Strengths: Rides like Cadillac with great handling. Great power transfer with just the right amount of flex. Spot-on cutom fit is all day comfortable.
Weaknesses: None at all.
Indy Fab steel CJ SE: Fabulous bike. After 3 different stock geometry bikes I finally realized that I needed a custom rig. It makes a huge difference. I no longer have to fight the bike to get comfortable. The ride of steel is sweet. This bike is by far the best I've ridden. It feels solid and steady but at the same time acts a like spring underneath you, giving just the right amount of feedback from bumps and undulations in the road. And the paint and welds are beautiful. My bike measures at around 58.5 cm, and weighs exactly 19 lbs fully dressed with pedals and computer. Perhaps a bit heavy for some folks taste, but after riding this bike I no longer care about weight.
Similar Products Used: Cervelo Soloist (harsh aluminum), Giant TCR (too light Carbon with wasted energy transfer), Giant Trinity with Alliiance tech (carbon-aluminum tri bike that was actually nice but was an aweful fit for me).
Bike Setup: Full DA except for Ultrega level compact crank. Ksyrium SLs, with Conti tires. Tompson seatpost and stem, Easton aluminum bars, Speedplay pedals with + 1/2 inch axle extensions recommended by Dr. Andy Pruitt (I did the 3-D medical bike fit at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine to tweak my fit due to misaligned knees - highly recomended this ultimate fit if you have physical problems).
The Indy Fab Ti Crown Jewel I ordered 5 or 6 weeks ago is finished. It's all built up and ready to ride. I can pick it up tomorrow. I feel like a kid on the night before Christmas.
Just thought I would put that out there.Read More »
Indy fab owners, i'm pretty close to pulling the trigger on a ti crown jewel. I love what IF does and love some of the custom paint schemes they come up with. I know there are multiple TI custom options but IF is the direction Im going. I have a stock carbon cross bike that I ride on the road to ... Read More »
I am looking at buying an Independent Fabrication bike soon and was hoping that someone could help me understand why someone would choose the SSR over the Titanium Crown Jewel and vice versa. I know that traditionally, steel is less expensive and heavier than titanium, and titanium bikes have a rep ... Read More »
I was patiently waiting to receive my bike until I composed my first posting, so here goes...
So, I hung up my road biking hat (or, err, helmet) back in 1986 and focused all my energy on mountain biking. All was going well until 2007 when I caught the bug again. Several of my friends are avid roa ... Read More »