I have been looking around for a steel frame road bike for a while. I think that a Colossi Cycling road frame may be perfect for my needs.
I took up riding after a 25 year break to lose some weight. I am enjoying it so much that I want to upgrade my bike. The components on my Shimano Sora equipped Fuji Absolute 3.0 flat bar road bike are beginning to show signs of wear from 6,000 km combined with being totally submerged in the Brisbane 2011 floods. The bike, with me spinning the pedals, is quite capable of overtaking many of the lycra clad Saturday morning drop bar road bike crowd. I recently rode it in the Brisbane to the Gold Coast Cycle Challenge. According to my GPS, I rode 102 km in 3 hours, 11 minutes at an average speed of 32.1 km/h. My fastest 20 km on the ride was completed in 34 minutes 14 seconds. That’s 35.05 km/h! In my opinion, not bad for an old fella on a flat bar roadie.
As my riding has improved, I have begun to find the limitations of the Fuji Absolute 3.0 cycle. I am now looking for a bike that will reward my fitness improvements, but is distinctive; not your typical carbon fibre plastic fantastic roadie, nor a buzzy aluminium frame road bike. A modern steel frame road bike would be perfect.
I raced a Peugeot steel frame drop bar road bike in the 1980s. I currently have a steel frame Cell Bikes singlespeed bicycle in my stable. The steel frame singlespeed is actually lighter than my aluminium Fuji flat bar road bike. The steel frame bike has a great road feel – lively, without the buzz of the alloy road frame.
I am confident that, if I can find a modern steel road bike frame and build it up with some quality parts, I will have a very distinctive bike that will be quite fast enough for my needs.
With the above in mind, I have been looking for a project bike for a while. Modern steel frame road bikes seem to be very hard to come by in Australia. Options I have considered are:
- Fuji Connoisseur – an old model and too hard to get into Australia from the USA
- Torelli Corsa Strada – too expensive at this stage (I am repairing my home after the Brisbane 2011 floods)
- purchasing an old racing bike off eBay and then building it up with modern components – but the frame’s unknown history holds me back, it could be good, or could be bad
- Surly, Kona, Soma, Masi, Gios, Schwinn and the list goes on, all make steel frame road bikes of some description – but either they are too difficult to get in Australia, or they do not quite match my requirements.
And then I stumbled across Colossi Cycling frames on the Gear Shop Brisbane web site. Gear mostly caters to the fixie crowd, but have said they can get me a Colossi road bike frame. There is not a huge amount written about Colossi bikes on the internet – apart from several interviews with Jan Kole and a few posts about fixed gear cycles. There seems to be no comment about their road bike frames. But rather than seeing a company with over-hyped marketing, I get the feeling that they are a company passionate about their products.
I dropped in to Gear Shop Brisbane to look at the Colossi frames they had in stock. While they mostly carry fixed gear bikes, they did have a beautiful black fillet-brazed Columbus Thron 52 cm Colossi road frame. It really was a work of art.
I think that a Colossi 700C Columbus Thron TIG welded road frame, painted red with white Colossi decals, would be a stunner when built up with some nice, light wheels and a Shimano 105 group set. A lugged frame would be equally nice, but is beyond my limited budget at the moment. The bike is probably a six month build for me as I research and buy various parts, but watch this space for further comments.
Update: I have been to get a professional bike fit (thanks Ben at Cycle Dynamics) and discovered that I have short(ish) arms and legs, and a stiff neck. Apparently a classic steel frame, such as the Colossi production bikes, really will not give me a good fit without have a huge stack of spacers at the front and a riser stem. I am now looking at other bikes that may fit me better.