/ Condor v Ribble steel ?
Well, if you're in the Northwest, you aught to consider the Hewitt steel bikes (http://www.hewittcycles.co.uk/) as well. You will have a limitless choice (series production, semi custom and made to measure if you want, in race / audax / light touring / full touring / expedition configurations) plus a bike from him will come with a proper fitting session, and that will do more for comfort than any particular frame material or joining method. The aftersales will also be second to none.
After that I would also recommend thinking about traditional wheels. A three cross spoked wheel is more compliant than radially, blade spoked 'modern' wheels which translates to more comfort and durability. With something like OpenPro rims and a reasonable set of hubs, there's no weight penalty either.
Whatever frame you get, make sure it's capable of easily taking 25c tyres and ideally 28c (for lightweight touring) with proper mudguards. Even when fitness riding, a good quality 25c tyre again does wonders for soaking up lumps, bumps and pot holes. Also make sure you've got enough braze-on fittings to fit any combination of racks you think you might need.
Thanks Jim - very helpful
I can't see the attraction of steel myself... Anyway, Ribble bikes are fine but I wouldn't expect anything in the way of after sales service. Not their strongest card :)
I collected my (carbon) Ribble personally -- easy as I only live about 6 miles from their warehouse.
7000 miles later and I've not needed any after sales service.
I have bought a number of components and accessories from them - and they've always been very prompt with deliveries.
For steel I'd second the Hewitt suggestion. He's a fine frame and wheel builder.
I don't race apart from the odd club 10 and my bike is used mostly for clubruns round the north Lancs area. Mine has the Campag Veloce groupset, and Campag Khamsin wheels and I'm on the original chain and cassette - and have not needed to replace brake blocks! I doubt whether you'd get that degree of longevity from the cheaper Shimano groupsets (Sora / Tiagra) - though 105 is supposedly fine but a bit pricier than the Veloce!
To be fair I think they turned that around years ago. Not heard owt bad for ages. Always had good service from them myself.
The idea was that steel would be more forgiving on these roads. I could use my mtb but it's slow and heavy on the road. But I'm open to suggestions.
A nice steel frame will be great for riding round the Dales and the Lakes.
I've no idea how the Condor and Ribble will compare in terms of ride but i know Condor will cost you hundreds more just for the paint job and the fact that you're buying from a famous London shop..
Friend of mine bought a 953 frame from Rourkes in stoke, lovely frame, but the waiting time and after sales made him wish he hadn't bothered.
As said above - Hewitts would be good. If I lived up north I'd buy up north.
I'm a Dolan aficionado, I've been riding his frames for about 10 years. Have you seen this http://www.dolan-bikes.com/Titanium%20Road%20FrameSets/Titanium%20ADX%20FrameSet
Could tick all your boxes and would last you forever. Not bad for a grand.
IMHO the "Steel is real" "softer ride" thing is not going to give you the comfort your after.
Tyres and pressure is the key.
I recently went for an Aluminium frame with Carbon fork multifunction bike. Like cyclocross but not a full race geometry. But does have tyre clearance and rack mounts.
Dolan Multicross is the name £750.00
Its my go anywhere bike.
Road/Dis Rail Lines/ Non technical Trail.
Interesting - thanks for the Dolan tip
So Multicross is halfway between mtb and a tourer / road bike?
Lots to think about
from experience on condor bikes (unfortunately never owned one but have the pleasure to ride a few) they are heaven but they don't come cheap, condor do steel and they do it very well
I don't do much commuting - and don't go in for hard braking even on long descents. I'm not all that light and have been known to go downhill quite quickly. Years of road racing in my youth improved my bike handling skills - though after my near miss with a milk tanker last year, I'm a bit more circumspect when there's not a clear view of the road ahead and the surface is less than perfect! Much to the dismay of some of the 'bigger' guys in our club who have even more of a natural advantage when it comes to going downhill, I even managed to win our Downhill (freewheeling) Championship last year!
Thanks for the link. Looks like you get through a pile of beer!
What groupset / wheels /tyres did you put on the Multicross frame?
I saw a photo of the Ribble steel and thought it looked quite nice and did some digging.
They use 520 steel
However, Genesis make a lovely 725 steel frame for not too many pounds
And the Condor uses Dedacciai SAT tubing.
I think a bike is a long term investment and i'd definitely put and extra couple of hundred in to a better tube set.
The Multicross is an off the peg complete bike £750.00.
Its difficult to recommend a bike for comfort etc as riders expect/tolerate different aspects of a bike or a type of riding. Especially if one is young and im older and less expecting of a bike for bleading edge performance??.
I must say I am a little disappointed in SRAM gear change under pressure. Would Shim be slicker? maybe.
Other than that the bike does put a smile on my face when I do a transition from road to dirt without a worry. Ive a Strava segment containing mixed terrain, the idea being the mud section puts roadies off and the road section too inefficient for mtb thus me staying on pole for longer;-)
You can opt for SRAM or Shim groupset, many choices of wheels and tyres.
It is however imperative you replace the front canti brake with a mini v brake like.
to eliminate brake judder.(£20.00)
A fellow club rider has a 29er, the extreme outer dia of his tyre is greater than those on my 700c smart sams tyres.
You could almost say the multicross is like a rigid 29er ok not as strong but much lighter.
Call it what you like, it goes most places but excels in none.
Touring the gear range is to hard, no bail out gears.
Road, does a canny job
Against a rigid mtb you would be not far behind on trail
Descending Technical trail at high speed aint gonna work.
Local Microbrewery , mighty fine if you like a pint
Thanks for those details. Since you mention age, I'm recently retired and much more interested in comfort than speed. I currently ride a Trek 7.5 FX, and I'd like to be able to cover 50+ miles in a day on less-than-perfect tarmac and occasional challenging hills, with the minimum of effort.
> Thanks for those details. Since you mention age, I'm recently retired and much more interested in comfort than speed. I currently ride a Trek 7.5 FX, and I'd like to be able to cover 50+ miles in a day on less-than-perfect tarmac and occasional challenging hills, with the minimum of effort.
I'm a fellow pensioner and got back in to cycling about 6 years ago when I bought a S/H Bill Nickson Audax ( Ribble / Dolan clone) with alu frame and carbon forks. - I still use it as my winter 'hack'
A couple of years ago I went down the Carbon route and bought a Ribble Gran Fondo and ride it whenever the roads are not too manky. If anything the carbon bike is more comfortable than the Aluminium one, but that may be due to being able to specify things like bar width and stem length. You have that option with Ribble, but not necessarily with other budget suppliers.
Similarly Ribble give you a choice of gearing, whereas with many other similarly priced and specced bikes you have to take what is supplied as standard. I plumped for the Campag option with compact chainset and a 13-29 cassette. It lets me ride up most things in Lancashire - though I've not tackled any of the lakeland passes yet! If I was riding in the lakes a lot, I'd be tempted to get a triple complete with granny ring.
I remember my old 531 steel steeds of the 60's with fondness -- particularly my Flying Scot, and Viking Severn Valley. I raced on both of them - yet they both had clearance for mudguards!
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