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Hi Guys,

I have previously posted on this site in relation to the US Ti builders and that resulted in quite a bit of feedback.

I would like to ask about US steel builders. I want a steel build for fast club rides, training rides and the other stuff we all do. I am based in the Uk so I can't just catch a train to visit a builder.

I would love another custom steel bike but I am 6-2 tall and a lot of the steel builds look a bit spindly with skinny tubing. However, I have been glued to the Speedvagen webpage. Those bikes look great but they are expensive (compared to other builds). I also like the Breadwinner bikes but they look like they have quite skinny tubing, although I have a soft spot for the company and I would think they are very very well made.

So, is the Speedvagen worth the extra dollars? The steel they use is said to be very thin and light, would that cause issues years down the line perhaps?

Also, are the Breadwinner bikes as good as the reviews? Any taller riders out there got one of their bikes?

All views greatly received plus any views on any other cool US builders. (Please don't ask me why I don't go for a UK builder!!!)

Regards

J
 

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I checked out the site. Pretty bikes and it looks like they pay a lot of attention to small details. Kind of short on details though. No mention of which Columbus or True Temper tubes they're using. I don't think their prices are out of line with most other custom steel manufacturers out there. Vanilla bikes are real pieces of art.

You might check out Hampsten -- they've got bikes specific to riders (bigger or smaller people)

Hampsten Cycles | Unique custom road frames and whole bikes
 

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Thin tubing isn't problem that you have to worry about 'down the road'. Denting is always a concern and ultra thin tubing isn't good idea unless you're willing to trade durability for grams.

The whole point of getting a steel bike from a custom builder, I think, is to get custom geometry and custom tube selection.

I'm pretty sure Speedvagen only offers stock not custom and it sounds like breadwinner uses light/thin tubing only. So why bother unless the geo and tube selection happens to be exactly what's best for you.

Indy Fab, Spectrum and Seven would be my short list to select from.
 

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Plus three, one steel and one Ti.Carl is also about your height. Give him an email and set up a skype call.

If you like the look of bigger fillet joints David Kirk does good steel work.
 

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All the above American choices are stellar and I second the recommendations.

As far as your aesthetic concern regarding taller frames, that's why you would choose a custom builder rather than something more production such as the Speedvagen. A custom builder could use larger diameter tubes just to please your sense of taste. If you're concerned about the durability of the Speedvagen, why not e-mail the company and talk to them about it. I've heard their customer service is excellent.

I agree with you about the Speedvagens. They're much more expensive than say, the above recommended builders. But they are "feature-rich" and according to the brochure, a lot more man-hours go into a frame than is typical, and they have to account for it. Personally, I think their shaped seatstays are the coolest in the business, and the upcharge for the paint jobs, while necessary, is worth it.

When I was in the market for a new frame I was seriously tempted to buy a Speedvagen but while I could afford it, I am cheap, so I ordered something else. I still pine for a Speedvagen though...

The Breadwinners (can't type that backwards "n"!) don't do anything for me. They seem like just another frame.
 
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