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Metal Education

In the last month after making a decision to correct a 4 year old bad decision. I began researching into a more useful frame for road riding. Sure I loved my old Centurion Ironman but the problem is that the fork is dead and it’s hard to replace.

After consideration I have decided on a Cyclocross frame. Simple frame to do it all on. I’m not aiming to win a World Cup or keep up with Dave Scott. So I won’t be requiring weight weenie light or aero dynamics. But of course with the various materiels available it can be a bit of a mine field. Fortunately I had a source of real world info on frames and materiels. I would ask my Croation boss Jay.

Jay learned everything about bikes and frames the hard way in Europe. Doing his own repairs, racing, and working for various teams. Add to that add in a education on machining and metals to go with it. The guy is a walking library of info you will never see in a book. So over the last few weeks I have been picking Jay’s mind about frame material. And it has been a bit of an education. It would surprise most to know that in Europe riders don’t flip their bikes like we do here in North America. They will buy one frame and ride it until it breaks. Sounds so much like what we where like in the 80’s. But what he told me confirmed what I was thinking when it came to frame materiel.

The only choice for a frame that was to be bought once was…. Chromoly steel. Because once the inside of the frame has been sprayed with oil to inhibit rust. A steel frame would keep going. And knowing my destructive habits towards aluminum frames. Well my only option was steel. Plus for me having seen how much abuse my Chromag steel frame has taken in the last 4 and a half years. Well… why go different and tempt fate? Have the same chain stay failure in 4 years? No thank you very much.

Well when I consider that I’m a father and married I have to put aside my “want” and focus on what frame and material will meet my needs. Sure in an ideal world I would have multiple bikes… DH, 29er, Cross bike, road bike, and a tri bike. but in reality my needs require one bike able to ride road, do a group ride, race occasionally, and a little off road fun. Plus add in the fact I prefer to bash my way through winter riding outside. So when all things are considered a steel cyclocross frame is what is needed.

Plus there is one other consideration not usually mentioned. Steel frames have a bit of give meaning they absorb road shock. This doesn’t seem significant but when I have a tendency to large volumes of bike mileage. Then add in a permamently messed up lower back from a bad ski racing crash. Steel doesn’t aggravate it… while aluminum has done it every time. And aggravated backs take away from the fun.

Of course I readily admit I do take pleasure during races at beating other athletes on the appropriate bike while I’m not. I raced in the early 2000’s on a 1988 Centurion Ironman..Dave Scott edition against guy’s on the latest Cervelo’s. It’s kind of a Tom Warrenesque thing. But that is another story. Though it’s really about the fact I want to do this once not replace every 3-4 years. And I’d much rather do this once more and have a frame that lasts for a long time. So after much research have arrived at the choice of a Planet X Kaffanback frame and fork. The biggest plus being that it comes with disc and cantilever brake mounts. This is provides me options for brake choices and rim choices in the future. It will be interesting to document how this build goes.

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