Forgive me for boring you with the inner workings of a random mind, but it’s been a while since my last blog post and this is what I’m gnawing over at the moment.
A friend’s Facebook ‘like’ of some photos of the French region of Auvergne (lovely area, you should go) led me to click on the link from which it originated; a custom steel bike builder in Clermont Ferrand called Cycles Victoire.
I was immediately taken by the look of this beaut.
Of course, one thing led to another, and suddenly I was seriously considering buying steel for my next bike. I quickly remembered another French builder that some friends of mine use for their tours on the pavé – Cyfac, which have some great-looking custom-made bikes as well (and a long history in racing, which is nice). Then I got onto some forums to see what people were saying about steel these days (it seems it has changed, and ‘modern’ steel is not the same as what made up your 10-speed) and proceeded to get more confused.
I have read many of the pros and cons of steel vs carbon and I know I can’t get a steel bike as light, for one (but I can get it under 7 kg I’ve been assured…and that’s not nothing), and suppose that a steel frame is not going to be as stiff or ‘responsive’ as carbon. Steel aficionados talk of ‘feel’ a lot and both Cycles Victoire and Cyfac will make my frame to order, which everyone says you have to do ‘once in your lifetime’.
I could go on, but I’d prefer you to. Does anyone out there actually ride a steel bike for events such as Gran Fondos? Is steel just something you would buy to ‘ride off into the sunset’, as Rob Penn says in ‘The Ride of My Life’? Or, is it an option for someone who wants to ‘compete’ (or at least not be dropped because of my bike!)?
I eagerly await the wave of wisdom coming my way.