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There are a bunch of named bicycles, mostly coming out of Europe.  

Let's say you're a professional rider and you win a few prestigious races like the Giro d'Italia or the Vuelta a España or maybe the Tour de France.  After your wins make you famous, some riders get a line of bicycle frames made in their name for a while to capitalize on their fame.  

I used to ride an Ernesto Fiorelli which no one has ever heard of, but it had high end components and was a great bike.  Google them - they had tiny frame tubes that looked very delicate but were very strong (and light).  

Eddie Merckx (a Belgian and the most decorated bicycle rider in History (1960's - 1970's)) took it one step further and created his own bicycle company which is still in business today with a number of Merckx bikes in the latest Tour de Framce.  Greg LeMond from America did the same, although he's leaning toward mountain bikes, now.

In America, there are more bike companies founded by engineers than riders, like Robert Vandermark (Seven Cycles), Gary Klein or Tom Kellogg (I had one of Tom's, too, but it got stolen).  Klein Bikes was bought by Trek around 2006, I think.  

@Safety Jim Buffalo NY..  Jim used to be a bike racer and was in the Ontario race circuit at a time.   Giuseppe Marinoni is an Italian racer who immigrated to Montréal and set up shop there building custom bikes with of course campy everything. I had one made there years ago to my body measurements…. Long torso in any case … it’s the rider that counts. Bikes have come a long way, it is and always was who is riding it

Eddie Merckx (a Belgian and the most decorated bicycle rider in History (1960's - 1970's)) took it one step further and created his own bicycle company which is still in business today with a number of Merckx bikes in the latest Tour de Framce.  Greg LeMond from America did the same, although he's leaning toward mountain bikes, now.

I've got a Merckx titanium frameset (with Campagnolo parts), but it was built by Lightspeed in this country. There's always been slight variations in geometry, which has ebbed and flowed over the years. In the 90s when I bought the frame, most road-bike builders were deep into criterium geometry with stupid-steep head-tube and seat-tube angles, and short chain-stays. It was the beginning of the super hunched-over posture, where the seat is 4" above the top-tube of the handlebar, making the entire experience an uncomfortable, twitchy mess. Lightspeed's own titanium framesets were set up like this.

I was a die-hard steel guy ("steel is real!") and always found aluminum frames to be like riding a dead-blow hammer. The builders were still figuring out how to make carbon-fiber compliant vertically, and stiff horizontally (the holy-grail of frame building), but they were coming on hard (Trek especially). There were the aluminum guys riding super-uncomfortable very lightweight bikes with straight-up criterium geometry. There were the engineers riding carbon. There were the wool shorts retro-grouches riding Reynolds or Columbus steel frames built by boutique builders in Europe of America

... and then there were the titanium guys riding a frameset that at the time combined all of the liveliness of steel with the light weight of aluminum. Lightspeed had the corner on the market, but they built bikes built to be ridden fast and hard for a hour or two by 19 year old guys who weighed a buck fourty.

I was already in my middle 30s at the time and taking on the physical attributes of a gorilla. I had no desire to be hunched over on a nike for hours at a time. I had Waterford make me a custom frameset based on a "fit kit" measurement, but it was still too cramped.

When I started the business and started making some money, the first thing I bought was the Merckx frame. For about 20 minutes in the late 90s, Lightspeed made 2 frame-styles for Merckx, with his geometry. One was straight Ti, and one was butted. Double butted titanium - I thought it was the stuff of the gods.

When the deal fell apart, there was a mail-order place that had several frames they started marking down. By this point, I knew that I was most comfortable on a frame at least one size bigger than any shop would put me on. I stared at the measurements of the frames, and realized that the Merckx geometry was considerably more relaxed than the standard of the time, and that if I got a 61 cm frame, it was likely to fit me better than the custom 59 cm Waterford frame.

I finally decided to pull the trigger on the straight Ti frame. When I explained what I was doing to my wife, she said, "why don't you buy the better one?"

When your wife tells you to buy a bigger TV, or a faster car, or a nicer bike, it's best to not ask any questions or to delay in any manner. I did not. I ordered and received my holy grail, and built it using the Campy gruppo I'd scrimped and saved for with the Waterford. I loved it from the first time I threw a leg over it.

I don't ride it like I used to, which is a pity. It's an odd thing, but as I worked my way up the bicycle food chain in the 90s, I rode every successive (and better) bike a bit less.

I've always told myself that when I retire I'll get into it again.

I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

Gary Klein was the MIT engineer who developed the overlay patterns of carbon fiber cloth that give you a bike that is as stiff as a board while climbing (it just plain doesn't flex) and yet is soft as a marshmallow when riding over train tracks ( from my experience).  He sold his company and his band of merry engineers to Trek and that became the design basis for their carbon fiber Madone and Domane bikes.  They're designed in the 'states but nowadays the frames are manufactured overseas (Kind of like pleasure boats made in the Far East or sails made in Turkey, I guess) while some of the final assembly is done here (on some bikes).  They usually arrive with the Shimano Ultegra groupo which, in my experience, has become as good and often better (and much cheaper) than Campagnolo stuff.

As an aside, Rick Muhr was riding a Titanium Seven when he was hit and the Sutton Police collected it, broken in two at the headset, and held it until Andy and I picked it up a few days later.  Andy's been on the phone with Robert VanderMark at Seven cycles in Boston and he'll be delivering it to him next week for an assessment and refurbishment - all at no charge from Robert, who has ridden with Rick from time to time in the past.  He's a true craftsman and wants to do his part to help.  Rick is hoping to make it home next week, once his family and several others of us are trained to help get him in and out of his exocast breast and back braces so we can get over there and help in addition to the hired nurses.  It's gonna take a village to get him through this - way more than his wife and daughter can handle.

Stan, I totally agree. I have always hated the hunched-over fitment. It just hurts my neck to look up after about 15 minutes.

I have a 2000-something GT aluminum road bike. I got it for FREE, so it's pretty cool. The frame is a little long for my arms, so I put a shorter and taller stem on it and it fits better.


My other ride is a Felt 29er single speed. I got it on craigslist for a few hundred. It has a Surly steel solid fork and mechanical disc brakes. As I got older, a single speed MTB became impossible to ride. I bought a Nuvinci stepless internal hub and some new 1x spokes, then laced it up using the old rim. It adds about 4 pounds to the bike, but it's now a pleasure to ride.


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