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Dave Arthur takes a quick gander at Stoemper’s all-new disc-equipped alloy road bike

This is the Stoemper Darrell, a handbuilt aluminium frame from the same Oregon-based builder that produced the steel Taylor that I reviewed last year. This one has been built up with Shimano's latest Ultegra Di2 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes. 

The Darrell, like all Stoemper frames in the range (and that includes one steel road bike and two cyclo-cross bikes) are hand built to order, and one of the latest options they're offering on the aluminum Darrell are disc brakes. Because disc brakes are all the rage right now, and as we saw at Bespoked recently it's many of the smaller framebuilders that are really leading the disc brake charge. I’ll be riding the Darrell disc version in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege sportive, but before I do here’s a first look at the bike I'll be on.

The frame is handbuilt by framebuilder Todd Gardner in his Oregon workshop. It's made with triple butted 7005 aluminium main tubes with S-bend seatstays and chainstays, providing plenty of tyre and heel clearance. The wiring for the Di2 groupset is very cleanly routed inside the frame, so well done that you really have to look closely to see the entry and exit ports.

Likewise with the rear hydraulic hose, it's routed inside the top tube and runs along the top of the non-driveside seatstay. The disc caliper is mounted to the outside of the chainstay.

There is the customary Godzilla head badge - the giant lizard being famous for stomping around and ripping things up. Up front is an Enve Road Disc carbon fibre fork with a tapered steerer tube. There's still a limited range of road disc forks at present and the Enve is the current carbon disc fork of choice for custom frame builders.

This test bike has been built up with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes, with 160mm rotors on both wheels. Shimano actually recommend 140s as being the ideal set up for all but the heaviest rider, so not sure what the thinking is here. That said the Orbea Avant we've currently got in on test has 160s on the front with 140s on the back, the same mix as on the BMC Dave rode at the Shimano hydraulic brake press camp - the reason there was the lack of bikes with a 140mm post mount. The wheels are Zipp’s latest disc-specific 303 Firecrest Clinchers, fitted with 23mm Schwalbe One tyres. Demonstrating the extra attention to detail Stoemper can provide, the FSA stem and seatpost are painted to match the frame. A PRO handlebar and Fizik saddle complete the bike.  

On the scales without pedals it weighs 8.30kg. That compares well to the Colnago CX-Zero at 8.8kg and Orbea Avant at 8.55kg. Admittedly the Zipp 303 wheels are lighter than the stock wheels on both those bikes. So not bad for an aluminium frame at all really. Weight for the frame is a claimed 1,400g.

Price for a frameset is £2,200 and that includes the Enve fork. Delivery time is about 8 weeks.

So I’m about to give this bike a good thrashing in the LBL sportive, with plenty of hills and descents to test the handling and performance. Everyone thinks they know how aluminium rides, light but oh-so stiff. Well, we’ve seen some very nice aluminium bikes released in the past couple of years, making use of the latest tube manipulation techniques, to create aluminium road bikes that are stiff, light and comfortable. There’s the Cannondale CAAD10 for starters, the excellent Giant TCR SL I reviewed last year, and the Kinesis Aithein as well. The benchmark for aluminium road bikes is set high. I’ll let you know how the Darrel performs.

More at http://stoemper.com/the-bikes/darrell/

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

18 comments

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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That looks fantastic. Stick some King hubs and a mechanical group set on it and it'd be spot on.

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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Have fun at LBL David, which distance are you doing?

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Why is it called Darrell?

I'm hoping it's named after Dimebag.

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cub [86 posts] 2 years ago
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Never knew I was so shallow. With all the arguments about increased cost, pricier amateur racing, change only to sell more bikes...

One look at those clean forks and seat stays and disc brakes don't seem so bad after all.

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David Arthur @d... [691 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

Have fun at LBL David, which distance are you doing?

Thanks Nick. Just the 165km. I say just, I think it could be a long day

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andyspaceman [244 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks beautifully executed, but I do have 'issues' with painted seatposts. They're never going to age well.

I don't know why people don't leave the lower inny-outy-of-frame part of the post unpainted.

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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David Arthur wrote:

Just the 165km. I say just, I think it could be a long day

Hah, the way I see it, 165k is more or less nailed on to be a good day on a bike.

276k can only be either a very good day, or a very, very bad day indeed.

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MrGear [87 posts] 2 years ago
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andyspaceman wrote:

Looks beautifully executed, but I do have 'issues' with painted seatposts. They're never going to age well.

I don't know why people don't leave the lower inny-outy-of-frame part of the post unpainted.

Is it painted or is it anodised? I can't tell just by looking at it, but if it's the latter, it should be fairly hard-wearing.

That said, the seat post on my roadbike has only ever been adjusted once, and that was the day I bought it.

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bikeandy61 [532 posts] 2 years ago
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Lovely bike, not sure about coloured seat post but not for wear reasons. Just don't like the aesthetic. Going slightly ot will the Di2 go up to a 32T sprocket like the mechanical group can?

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barbarus [270 posts] 2 years ago
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cub wrote:

One look at those clean forks and seat stays and disc brakes don't seem so bad after all.

Exactly. Aesthetically the most beautiful bikes are surely the simplest - track bikes or brakeless bmx just look pure and clean. But disc brakes clear the forks and stays even if they do clutter another area.

This is a nice looking bike.

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KiwiMike [1200 posts] 2 years ago
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[Shakes piggybank]

Thinking with mechanical Ultegra (hell, 11sp 105) and the new non-gruppo mech/hydro leavers this could be quite the business...the Di2 box and wires spoils the look for me. Maybe it's 'cos it's a white bike and the rest of it is sooooo clean.

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dodgy [186 posts] 2 years ago
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F&F for £2200?

No wonder Rose, canyon and PX are hoovering up sales.

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Flying Scot [918 posts] 2 years ago
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dodgy wrote:

F&F for £2200?

No wonder Rose, canyon and PX are hoovering up sales.

Some people who have the cash, see value in a hand built, made to measure frame made by some one on a decent wage.

Not sure those guys you mentioned compete with that, but yeah, they certainly do offer excellent value against the 'usual' suspects whose stuff is frankly no better.

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Cyclosis [72 posts] 2 years ago
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bikeandy61 wrote:

Going slightly ot will the Di2 go up to a 32T sprocket like the mechanical group can?

Yup, you'll need the long-cage rear mech though.

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KiwiMike [1200 posts] 2 years ago
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dodgy wrote:

F&F for £2200?

No wonder Rose, canyon and PX are hoovering up sales.

Was looking for a bespoke frame last year, looming 'significant' birthday. Rang 3 or 4 UK places, old and new. Circa £3000 and 6 month wait.

That makes £2200 and 6 weeks look damn sharp.

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jmaccelari [241 posts] 2 years ago
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A thing of beauty. The frame is lovely. Envy...

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Rupert [189 posts] 2 years ago
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The bike looks nice, can't help think that what the cycling manufactures should be looking at is intergrated brakes in the frame.

I know some are starting to do this already but it hasn't been perfected just yet in my humble opinion.

Looking forward to Mr Arthur's report though when he rides this bike around the Liege Bastogne Liege.
Hopefully we will also get the info on just how hard this cyclosportive is in his report.

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice...gone the disc route with a bmc granfondo. Disc....yes I'm converted they work a treat all the time. In time the weight difference will be reduced, we're in the early days at the moment.