In today’s edition of Bikes of the Bunch we feature Lew Targett’s steel-framed Cinelli XCr, with photos from Mal Jones.
I got interested in steel bikes after deciding to go to Italy last year to do L’Eroica. As you might know, you need the following if you want to take part in the ride: a steel-frame bike older than 1987 with downtube shifters, platform pedals, and external brake cables. I got Andy White at FYXO to build up a Rossin frame for me.
It didn’t take long to realise that the Rossin wasn’t an everyday ride. I started looking around for a contemporary steel bike with some slightly more modern features. The Cinelli XCr ticked all the boxes.
A fabulous-looking stainless steel frame, BB30 bottom bracket, an integrated headset, completely hand-built in Italy … As my kids would say, it was a no-brainer.
Given my Italian is pretty shabby I didn’t think I could negotiate getting the frame made in Italy then built up to my specifications. So after looking around I found a great bike shop in Berkeley, California called Wrench Science. They are a big Cinelli dealer in the States.
We went through the process of getting the frame size correct … although that took about a month, with lots of to-ing and fro-ing using their ‘Fit System’. The size large frame was almost the same measurements as the bike Darren Baum built for me about three years ago.
It was then just a matter of deciding on the running gear. That actually took a while as I wanted the 2015 Campagnolo Super Record which didn’t arrive till November. I ended up with mechanical Super Record as the Cinelli frame doesn’t fit Campagnolo EPS version 2, but I was OK with that as mechanical made for a more traditional-looking bike anyway.
I choose an Enve seatpost, stem and compact bars (initially FSA). The wheels are the current generation Meilenstein clinchers. It comes in at 6.6kg which was pretty amazing for a steel frame I thought.
Most importantly, the ride is fantastic. It’s incredibly comfortable, goes up hills OK as it’s pretty light, and so far it’s predictable on descents. It’s not as ‘springy’ as my titanium-frame bike but not as stiff and as uncomfortable as my Stork Fenomalist. That bike is super stiff, which really gets to me a bit.
Enjoy the photos!