First look: Stoemper Taylor

Belgian born, Oregon made, steel road racer arrives in the UK

by David Arthur   February 12, 2013  

This is the Stoemper Taylor, a frame hand built in Oregon and born for the roads of Belgium. Stoemper, by the way, is a Flemish term for someone who mashes a big gear… who'd have thought.

You might not have heard of Stoemper before, but you might have heard of their crazy Stoepid Week last spring? Founders Todd Gardner and David Alvarez and a few buddies, six in tota,l attempted to put their bikes through the ultimate test, of riding the routes of five spring classics (Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, LBL, Amstel Gold and Gent Wevelgem in seven days. That's a distance of 785 miles, in one week, over some of the roughest roads and steepest hills in the area.

Sounds a lot of fun to me and it got a lot of bike media attention. And the bikes? Well they passed with flying colours. And so the brand was launched. A cunning, and impressive way to get yourself noticed you'd have to agree.

That was before my time on roadcc so I first heard of Stoemper when I picked up a copy of Bicycling magazine at an airport on my way home from a product launch in the US last year. I wondered if they would make it to the UK. I didn’t have to wait too long for the answer, they now have a distributor in place. And this is the very first Stoemper to arrive over here, making this an exclusive first look.

The guys behind Stoemper all come from a racing background, so no surprise that each of the four frames they build is made with racing in mind. There’s currently four models, consisting of two cyclocross racers (in steel and aluminium), an aluminium road race frame and this here steel Taylor. The Taylor is designed to be a tough frame built to withstand the abuse of cobbles, poor road surfaces and aggressive riding. to be raced or just ridden hard.

It’s made from True Temper S3 tubes. S3 stands for Super Strength Steel, and uses True Temper's proprietary heat-treating process. With the increased strength of the steel, the tubes can be thinner, resulting in a lighter frame. The tubes are TIG-welded with hand-bent seatstays and a custom machined head tube. And neat cowled dropouts and tapered chainstays.

A frame costs £1,599 and with a custom painted Enve 1.0 fork £1,899. Prices include VAT and delivery from Oregon. They offer a choice of two colours, for the frame and the graphics. They follow tradtitional geometry and offer 11 sizes, and if that isn't good enough they can do custom geometry. And because each and every frame is made by Todd's own hands, they can do extras like an integrated seat mast and internal cable routing. Waiting time for is around  8-10 weeks.

I think it’s fair to say there is an air of excitement around the resurgence of steel over the last couple of years. Granted it’s never really gone away, but more people seem to be considering its virtues for their next build. There's a thriving frame building scene in Oregon, with particular focus in cycling-mad Portland.

And it's steel that the frame builders are working with. They're treated steel not with sepia tinted spectacles but with as a modern material, and challenging to a degree the dominance of carbon and to a lesser extent aluminium. For example, we tested the Tonic Fabrication Vanishing Point, a handmade steel frame from Portland, a couple of years ago and were impressed with the ride. There’s even a professional team built around a steel bike this year.

So I look forward to riding the Taylor. Which I’ll get the chance at the Tour of Flanders this year. More on that at a later point.

www.stoemper.com

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

So building lugged frames is out then? Is it better without them? I always think frames look a bit cheap with plain welds, but then I'm an old git still happily riding his 1998 Condor Squadra

posted by lolol [118 posts]
12th February 2013 - 11:58

7 Likes

lolol wrote:
So building lugged frames is out then? Is it better without them? I always think frames look a bit cheap with plain welds, but then I'm an old git still happily riding his 1998 Condor Squadra

I'm probably way off the mark (I usually am) but one of the issues with building with lugged frames is that your frame geometry is dependent on what angles the lugs are at.

Using fillet brazing you are free to use whatever angles you like.

(Thats what I read here: http://www.thebicycleacademy.org/about/fillet-brazing/ )

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [267 posts]
12th February 2013 - 13:02

5 Likes

Ahh, interesting, thanks for that.

posted by lolol [118 posts]
12th February 2013 - 13:31

9 Likes

I had gone off lugged frames for a long time, preferring the cleaner lines of filet brazing.

UNTIL I SAW THIS!!!

http://www.sevencycles.com/images/622/622-slx-seat-cluster.jpg

_SiD_'s picture

posted by _SiD_ [179 posts]
12th February 2013 - 13:37

7 Likes

Mmmmm, that is a bit special, somewhat out of my league pricewise, but a work of art none the less

posted by lolol [118 posts]
12th February 2013 - 13:42

7 Likes

A good builder can make lugs for any geometry but it's not a cheap option...

posted by FatFreddie [14 posts]
12th February 2013 - 13:53

8 Likes

main reason people don't use lugs any more is because they add unnecessary weight. now you can cut and weld with sufficient strength without them, the lugs (pretty tho they are) aren't needed.

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
12th February 2013 - 13:58

10 Likes

As others have said, not using lugs in this way allows the frame builder more flexibility with geometry and sizing, as you're not limited by your lugs. And of course there's an element of aesthetic behind the decision too

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1548 posts]
12th February 2013 - 16:57

6 Likes

Belgian crosser Ben Berden, who races a very US-centric schedule, was supported by Stoemper last year before getting picked up by Raleigh-Clement

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [223 posts]
12th February 2013 - 17:41

7 Likes

It has a dinosaur on the badge, that's all I need to know.

I am so easily bought... Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8105 posts]
13th February 2013 - 13:46

9 Likes

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
It has a dinosaur on the badge, that's all I need to know.

I am so easily bought... Wink

Dinosaur and a knuckle duster.

If anyone wants to swap one of my kidneys for one of these then I am in.

**Edit** - And lightening bolts = You can harvest any of my internal organs then just set my carcass on the saddle and push me off down the road.

posted by farrell [1452 posts]
13th February 2013 - 14:12

8 Likes

Hey - that's no dinosaur, it's Godzilla! I've seen this bike in the flesh and it's cracking. I love the tagline on the Stoemper website (www.stoemper.com): "Designed to be raced the shit out of. And then built by Todd according to that design."

posted by wellsy [1 posts]
13th February 2013 - 14:43

8 Likes

wellsy wrote:
Hey - that's no dinosaur, it's Godzilla!

Even better Big Grin

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8105 posts]
13th February 2013 - 17:25

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jezzzer wrote:
main reason people don't use lugs any more is because they add unnecessary weight. now you can cut and weld with sufficient strength without them, the lugs (pretty tho they are) aren't needed.

Keith Marshall of Kumo Cycles says that, while he makes both lugged and brazed frames, he prefers lugged, because they are both lighter and cheaper. Although Keith's brazing is chunkier than on the Stoemper and then hand filed back for a smooth finish. His personal ride is lugged. He says to go for brazed if you want the cleaner look but otherwise stick with lugged.

Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram: @cyclosophy

Cyclosophy Simon's picture

posted by Cyclosophy Simon [1 posts]
6th November 2013 - 23:39

3 Likes