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May 15, 2012
In a day when many frame makers have moved to carbon, titanium and retro steel, aluminium has taken a backseat with most high-end bikes. It was the alloy of choice ten to twenty years ago but is now relegated to inexpensive cyclocross and mountain bike frames. Fortunatley aluminium still has a place in my mate Roger’s heart and he managed to find a framebuilder in Springfield, Oregon who still specialises in using it.
Stoemper is Flemish for “mashing a big gear”, in English, or “Big Dog” in Aussie, or probably more literally, “Stomper”. It’s an Oregon-based custom bike builder that was started with the help of David Alvarez, former marketing manager for Ridley Bikes, who owns half of Stoemper. The other half is owned by the framebuilder himself, Todd Gardner. My mate Roger first noticed these bikes because he followed an Belgian cyclocrosser named Ben Berden who was riding a Stoemper on the US scene (Berden was busted for EPO in Belgium in 2005, suspended, then resumed racing in the US). Stoemper is better known for their cyclocross bikes but will build anything out of aluminium or steel.
I took this Stoemper out for a short ride and I can tell you that it doesn’t ride the way I remember an aluminium bike riding. Fast and stiff, but not uncomfortable and harsh like aluminium bikes are known for. This one is built up with some beautiful Ambrosia 32h box-section tubular rims with C-4 hubs, ENVE fork, Dura-ace, and FSA bars, stem, seatpost and crankset. It’s nothing that most people on Beach Road will turn their heads at, but those who know what they’re looking for will appreciate the simplicity and beauty of this bike. The bike weighs in at 7.2kgs built up the way you see it here. The only concession that was made for the sake of weight were the titanium spokes.
Visit Stoemper’swebsite and facebook page,
Handmade by Todd Gardner