After a good 6 months of riding, I thought it might be time for a long term test thought.
So far the frame has performed admirably. I should mention that I removed the integrated seat post concept a few months back. I can actually notice a bit of ride difference. I think I preferred the ride feel of the integrated seat post over the carbon post I have now. However, the integrated seat post idea has many drawbacks, including: adjustability, weight (in the case of a steel frame) and packing the frame for travel. I do like the look when it is done correctly, although in my case it didn’t turn out too well and I prefer the bike without the “triple triangle” option. I don’t know that I will be doing the integrated seat post again.
How is the frame holding up? That is a pretty important question. True Temper S3 tubing is extremely light and thin. It is not necessarily made for fillet brazing (there is quite a debate about this amongst builders). I ride a lot of dirt roads and the road quality in general in Colorado is poor from the freeze-thaw extremes. I think I have put the frame through its paces for sure. I’ve hit a pothole so hard that my handlebars moved in my stem, I’ve descended through rough, washboard dirt at 40 mph and I’ve jumped the bike off of curbs. So far it has held up just fine. I’ll just keep inspecting the frame after rides and seeing if anything pops up, but so far, so good.
Ride quality is still fantastic. I really enjoy riding a modern day steel bike. The combination of stiffness and flow are pretty close to what I would want. The only negative I have is the sprinting stiffness of the bike is a bit lacking for a bigger rider. Climbing it seems fine and very snappy. It is only in an all out big wattage (1500 watts+ based on my previous numbers with an SRM) sprint that I can really fit it whip around a bit. I am a pretty big guy (180 lbs.) and I am more of a power sprinter, so this bike is OK but not perfect for a guy looking for performance in a crit racing environment.
The one big complaint I have is the semi-horizontal dropouts. I simply cannot get a quick release to tighten enough not to have the rear wheel slip during hard efforts (see sprint wattage above). So I have had to go to locking skewers, which have completely stopped this issue. But that also means that I have to carry an allen wrench around in my flat kit and also that I have some concerns about swapping out a wheel during a race. This may be the only reason that I end up building another road bike for myself in the near term. I have a bunch of bikes stacked up, so I will have to wait a while to get to it. But when I do, it won’t have these troublesome dropouts.