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  1. #1
    eminence grease
    Reputation: terry b's Avatar
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    Fondriest Top Level rebuilt

    Several years ago I bought a Top Level from P4 in Denver. It was a price-reduced frame that had been an Interbike demo. I built it up with alloy Chorus as was the fashion in those days and found that for an aluminum bike it was a treat to ride. Quick and smooth.

    Recently, I stripped the alloy parts off of it for another project and was about to hang it from the rafters when I realized I had enough DA 9-speed lying around to put it back together. Shimano on an Italian frame - can it be? Well, rather than let it collect dust I decided to do it.

    Interestingly for me, the last two bikes in my annual ride rotation were both built from Deda V107 aluminum tubing. What I found in riding those bikes more or less confirms a feeling I've had for a number of years - a well designed, top shelf frame with good components is going to give you an enjoyable ride regardless of material. Suffice it to say, for me, these two aluminum babies (the other a Casati Dardo) don't give anything back to any bike I own, steel, CF or titanium. I wasn't shocked, but I was reminded.

    Here's the bike -

    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

    My travel blog: http://tbaroundtheworld.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    A Canadian in Sweden
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    As usual Terry, another lovely bicycle from your collection. I like the blue pedals - they match perfectly with the Fondriest logo and bar tape.
    Albert (5 years old) to Uncle Peter (family friend): "Why don't we play another card game, something you can win at."

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I don't have nearly the experience that you have, Terry, but I agree with you. On frame material. I think it can be a largely irrelevant factor, providing that it fits and is constructed well.

    Beautiful bike!

  4. #4
    n00bsauce
    Reputation: Mel Erickson's Avatar
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    Blue's not my favorite color on a bike but this one pulls it off with panache. Gotta do something with the wheels. Good job.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

    There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said.

    "We are all ignorant about most things."
    Mel Erickson

  5. #5
    EuroCrash
    Reputation: 52-16SS's Avatar
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    Reminds me that I have a Fondy Status frameset hanging from the ceiling with nothing to do, one of my favourite frames but since moving to Europe I've had to find a full fender frame for winter training - I'm so ashamed.

  6. #6
    Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat
    Reputation: Antonio_B's Avatar
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    Terry, you have exquisite taste in bikes.

    That one is a true beauty.

    Looks familiar, too.

    Fondriest Top Level rebuilt-img_0280.jpg
    hang out in Podium Girls - the desperation there is way funny - terry b
    I don't get either but that is irrelevant to the comedic impact and it's resulting effect on the male centric hegemony contained therein... - svendo
    when I was a n00b there were no message boards to clutter up with trolling posts. I had to do it the hard way....standing at the mall making fun of people loudly - Platy
    ...in short, antonio_b ... it's time to embrace your inner Travis Bickle - spirito

  7. #7
    eminence grease
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    Hmmm - a doppelgänger!
    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

    My travel blog: http://tbaroundtheworld.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Very nice. I don't think Maurizio will mind if you use DA on the frame. Just make sure you wear a nice wool jersey when you ride to make up for the blasphemy.

  9. #9
    Climbin' Clyde
    Reputation: Sablotny's Avatar
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    Just not fair

    That you can build up a ride like that from spare bits. Very sweet. I love high end aluminum, though I've never ridden any Deda. I'd like to see more Fondriests around.

  10. #10
    The Wanderer
    Reputation: kyler2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry b
    Interestingly for me, the last two bikes in my annual ride rotation were both built from Deda V107 aluminum tubing. What I found in riding those bikes more or less confirms a feeling I've had for a number of years - a well designed, top shelf frame with good components is going to give you an enjoyable ride regardless of material. Suffice it to say, for me, these two aluminum babies (the other a Casati Dardo) don't give anything back to any bike I own, steel, CF or titanium.
    Rightly said...I have come to the same conclusion regarding Fondriests' design and use of aluminium. It's top notch. I put it up against my other bikes as well. If my Carb Level was built up lighter (not that it's a beast the way it is), I'd have no problems with it being my go-to racer. As of now, it's my century rig and it's still the best descending bike I've ever owned!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fondriest Top Level rebuilt-fondy.jpg  
    Last edited by kyler2001; 10-17-2007 at 03:26 AM.

  11. #11
    eminence grease
    Reputation: terry b's Avatar
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    You're spot on about the handling - there is just something unique about that frame's ability to inspire confidence. It was apparent to me the first time I rode it. Sometimes bikes just impart a special feeling when you get on them. No doubt oddball combination of angles, lengths and tubing.

    Which is weird for a $1100 aluminum frame, at least in my book.

    Pretty cool you consider it your century bike, I think the general mindset around these parts would be that few aluminum frames would be considered as such.
    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

    My travel blog: http://tbaroundtheworld.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry b
    You're spot on about the handling - there is just something unique about that frame's ability to inspire confidence. It was apparent to me the first time I rode it. Sometimes bikes just impart a special feeling when you get on them. No doubt oddball combination of angles, lengths and tubing.
    Thanks all for confiming my almost fanatical conviction that my fondriest handles much better than any other bike I've ridden. I'm curious if the new fondriest frames measure up...anyone have any experience?

    wayne

  13. #13
    n00bsauce
    Reputation: Mel Erickson's Avatar
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    What's that seatbag you've got hanging there?
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

    There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said.

    "We are all ignorant about most things."
    Mel Erickson

  14. #14
    The Wanderer
    Reputation: kyler2001's Avatar
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    Bingo!

    Quote Originally Posted by terry b
    few aluminum frames would be considered as such.
    You are exactly right. I was actually surprised myself. I was having issues with another bike and one day moved the spacers from on top of the stem to under and gave the Fondriest a try on a century. I never switched back. To my surprise it was comfortable even after long hours in the saddle. I would be crazy to try a century with my Cannondale CAAD. That thing is brutal and kicks like a bronco ...
    Last edited by kyler2001; 10-17-2007 at 07:49 AM.

  15. #15
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    rocket sled

    That's how my Fondriest Top Level feels to me. I love how stable it is at low speeds and yet still very predictable on descents. Comfort seems to be very related to wheels and tires. With some, this frame feels too stiff, with others it's very smooth. Cool paint.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  16. #16
    The Wanderer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Erickson
    What's that seatbag you've got hanging there?
    It's a SCICON. Not sure what model. might be the Soft 350 or Compact 430 without all the trimmings. A LBS had some custom made pure black and no SCICON emblems (except one on the plastic attaching piece that grasps the saddle rails). Only the shop name was embroidered on them (blacked out).

  17. #17
    The Wanderer
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    From what I can tell from the pictures, all of the Fondriests' have an Arione saddle...weird!

  18. #18
    Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat
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    I noticed that too, Kyler.

    As far as it being comfortable on a long ride, you're damn right. I took mine on the Ride Across INdiana (165 miles) and wouldn't hesitate doing it again.
    hang out in Podium Girls - the desperation there is way funny - terry b
    I don't get either but that is irrelevant to the comedic impact and it's resulting effect on the male centric hegemony contained therein... - svendo
    when I was a n00b there were no message boards to clutter up with trolling posts. I had to do it the hard way....standing at the mall making fun of people loudly - Platy
    ...in short, antonio_b ... it's time to embrace your inner Travis Bickle - spirito

  19. #19
    banned
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    I approve of this thread.

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Fondy's have something different about their geometry, which allows for quick, yet comfy and stable, even for aluminum.
    I think its a very tight chainstay, moderately low bb, and 45mm trail albeit a steeper HTA. Its different than "standard" geometry you see in many frames these days. I'm considering a custom Ti frameset with identical geometry.

  21. #21
    eminence grease
    Reputation: terry b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhamlin38
    I'm considering a custom Ti frameset with identical geometry.
    Having just done my turn on this bike I am thinking the same thing too. That bike has been sitting in my closet for a year, ignored. It was surprising to have such a positive response to a bike I've owned for 4 years.
    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

    My travel blog: http://tbaroundtheworld.blogspot.com

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