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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For starters, I have no experience as an owner of a carbon frame. Rode a few but never owned.

I am thinking about picking up a new frame for my long day in the saddle rides (not the after work hammerfest before dinner rides!). Two possibilities would be something like a Cervelo RS or having a custom steel frame made with some fairly light tubes. I'm still fairly fit at 50 yrs of age but after 60+ miles my back and neck start to hurt on my current ride, a Merlin TR. I love the ride of the ti frame but the short headtube and fairly steep seat tube angle feel a little rough after 3 hrs. A custom ti frame is more than I want to spend.

So what do you think? A custom steel frame (Strong, IF, etc.) or a frame in the category of the RS?
 

· Adorable Furry Hombre
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Have you looked into Habanero Cycles? They can cook up a custom sized Ti frame for a little over $1k...and you'll have a name/warranty you can trust.

Otherwise I'd go with custom steel. Nothing beats a bike where you get everything the way you want it, rather than having to pick from what someone cubicle dweller chooses to offer in a given year.
 

· old school drop out
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I'd go custom steel, just because I'd opt for that over just about anything. However, the bike's fit should matter most, and is way more important than what the frame is made from. Go with what fits you the best, which is almost always custom. ;)
 

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The material does not matter much - it is mostly about the geometry/fit for you. I am 50 also. I have a custom Titanium, fits me almost like a glove. The hard part is to find the cycle-fitter who will design custom geometry your body will like.
I have 2 off-the-shelf carbon bikes and now 1 custom titanium. All bikes ride well, differently but still well. The titanium bike is most comfortable - due custom size/geometry more than material. But if the fitter gets custom geometry wrong then you wont be happy, this is the biggest risk, IMO. Cervelo RS is a good bike and tall head-tube and medium/relaxed seat tune angles (73.0) should work well for most riders. My personal preference would be custom Ti and them custom steel, in that order - if your fitter knows his stuff.
 

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I'm never one to discourage anyone from buying a new bike but there might be a better solution to your problem. I had the same problem as you do on long rides, particularly ones that involved long (5 miles plus) climbs. I decided to concentrate on improving my core strength. I do a one-hour Pilates session with a trainer once a week with some Gyrotonics thrown in to improve my flexibility.

It's done wonders for my riding. At the age of 56, I was actually able to lower the bars relative to the saddle and I experience no discomfort at all. Assuming that you otherwise like your Merlin, go to a personal trainer for a couple of months. It doesn't have to be Pilates but you want somebody who concentrates on core strength, not general fitness. You might get better (and cheaper) results than from a new frame.
 

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acid_rider said:
...I have 2 off-the-shelf carbon bikes and now 1 custom titanium. All bikes ride well, differently but still well. The titanium bike is most comfortable - due custom size/geometry more than material. B....
What is customized that you weren't able to do with normal fitting changes on the other frames?
 

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TiBike said:
For starters, I have no experience as an owner of a carbon frame. Rode a few but never owned.

I am thinking about picking up a new frame for my long day in the saddle rides (not the after work hammerfest before dinner rides!). Two possibilities would be something like a Cervelo RS or having a custom steel frame made with some fairly light tubes. I'm still fairly fit at 50 yrs of age but after 60+ miles my back and neck start to hurt on my current ride, a Merlin TR. I love the ride of the ti frame but the short headtube and fairly steep seat tube angle feel a little rough after 3 hrs. A custom ti frame is more than I want to spend.

So what do you think? A custom steel frame (Strong, IF, etc.) or a frame in the category of the RS?
If you go custom, the most important thing is finding a builder who understands what you want. That might not be IF or strong.

If you want a builder who can make a bike that's comfortable for you for 60+ miles, you need to look around. Custom builders all have their own niches- You wouldn't go to Richard Sachs for a fendered city bike, you wouldn't go to the guy who built mine for a mountain bike.

You might look at A.N.T.- http://antbikemike.wordpress.com/fireants/ he's got a decent understanding of a bike that's comfortable...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
buck-50 said:
If you go custom, the most important thing is finding a builder who understands what you want. That might not be IF or strong.

If you want a builder who can make a bike that's comfortable for you for 60+ miles, you need to look around. Custom builders all have their own niches- You wouldn't go to Richard Sachs for a fendered city bike, you wouldn't go to the guy who built mine for a mountain bike.

You might look at A.N.T.- http://antbikemike.wordpress.com/fireants/ he's got a decent understanding of a bike that's comfortable...

Very good thoughts and very true. FWIW I have had a few conversations with Carl Strong in the past but the time was just not right to pull the trigger. Suffice to say, I am 100% impressed with his willingness to understand a rider's needs and regularly refer others who are looking for a frame builder. He is very :thumbsup:
 

· eminence grease
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TiBike said:
Very good thoughts and very true. FWIW I have had a few conversations with Carl Strong in the past but the time was just not right to pull the trigger. Suffice to say, I am 100% impressed with his willingness to understand a rider's needs and regularly refer others who are looking for a frame builder. He is very :thumbsup:
Carl's a great guy. He has built two pretty aggressive bikes for me and a "dirt road bike" that I now pretty much live on while on an overseas assignment.

I think material is immaterial, you need to pick a set up that works precisely for the needs of your body. That can be made in any material.
 

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I would go for the custom steel, but the geometry of the Cervelo RS is fine if you crave carbon. A taller headtube will likely alleviate the neck pain you experience. The back pain well; there could be many causes for that. And I wouldn't go for superlight tubes either, unless you have no problem with a limited lifespan or low degrees of durability. The weight savings isn't worth the worry.
 

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custom

Camilo said:
What is customized that you weren't able to do with normal fitting changes on the other frames?
in my case comparing my custom titanium Baum versus off-the-shelf Time Edge the differences were not major: (STA and HTA were identical as was top tube length).

on Custom Baum I have: ~15 mm taller head tube (i.e. 15mm fewer spacers under stem), ~10mm longer chain stays and a top tube slope of 8 degrees to suit my (relatively low) seat height. It is a semi-compact frame. Or you can choose traditional horizontal top tube if you like. Plus the small fork rake difference and my choice of fork (WoundUp carbon road). Plus choice of my own colour too. Plus ability to repaint it in future for about $400 for a brand new look. Plus, of course, titanium's low maintenance, high crash-worthiness and very smooth ride. Having said all that - I also love my Time Edge. It just happens to fit me well, just not as well as custom Baum Ti.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ah the back pain

Peter P. said:
I would go for the custom steel, but the geometry of the Cervelo RS is fine if you crave carbon. A taller headtube will likely alleviate the neck pain you experience. The back pain well; there could be many causes for that. And I wouldn't go for superlight tubes either, unless you have no problem with a limited lifespan or low degrees of durability. The weight savings isn't worth the worry.

The back pain is osteoarthritis in the mid thoracic area. A mix of car accidents, carrying heavy packs for many years, and some less than ideal genetics. The more activity in my life, the better I feel. Get trapped behind the desk for a while and the back flairs up. If I would just stretch and loosen my back before rides I would probably feel a degree better.

Crave carbon? No, not really. Just carbon curious, that's all. And yes I guess I would be wise to avoid the superlight tubes. I ride a small frame anyway so the difference would be small. Frankly, I'd just get what the builder recommends.
 

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New to the forum but just came across this thread.

OP if you liked your Merlin I just got a 57cm aspen that I'm going to be selling. It's Ti which I loved but the frame just isn't aggressive enough for me. It is a dream to ride and would make a great commuter or touring bike. It's feels perfect and really stable once you get going. I will probably sell the frame for ~$2000. Still trying to decide if I'm gonna use the parts on another bike or not. If interested PM me.

Links to look at.

http://www.bikyle.com/MerlinRd.asp

http://www.merlinbike.com/bike.aspx?content=RD-aspen
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
TeamZissou said:
New to the forum but just came across this thread.

OP if you liked your Merlin I just got a 57cm aspen that I'm going to be selling. It's Ti which I loved but the frame just isn't aggressive enough for me. It is a dream to ride and would make a great commuter or touring bike. It's feels perfect and really stable once you get going. I will probably sell the frame for ~$2000. Still trying to decide if I'm gonna use the parts on another bike or not. If interested PM me.

Links to look at.

http://www.bikyle.com/MerlinRd.asp

http://www.merlinbike.com/bike.aspx?content=RD-aspen

Thanks for the offer but I ride a 51cm Merlin...bit of size gap!!
 
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