I asked for a versatile racing frame suited for both criteriums and road races. I like to climb, so Carl aimed for a stiff frame. It’s tight and turns sharply, but tracks well. I dressed it with Record components, FSA carbon cranks, Kestrel carbon bars and Thomson Masterpiece post and stem. It has a tiny SLR seat, but the steel frame means comfort even in a 2.5 hour race. Did I mention it’s light — 16.7 lbs with Reynolds Stratus carbon wheelset (17.3 with Ksyriums).
Update: after a year of racing I still love this “ultralight” steel frame. It’s carried me from Cat 4 to the 3s and just about to the 2s. The steel is a tad heavy (compared to carbon anyway; it seems about the same weight as the alu bikes I’ve lifted). But the sleight extra weight doesn’t appear to affect acceleration or overall racing performance, at least in these lower categories, and I specialize in crits. The durability benefits of steel are obvious for a weekend warrior on a non-pro budget: after the dropout bent in a criterium wreck this year, the mechanics in the bike store across the street from the race hotel had it straightened out in 10 minutes, for $10, and I was able to compete in the rest of the ominium; and when it’s time to train or go to work on sloppy city streets I throw on an ancient, heavy wheelset and ply the potholes with no fear, even carrying a heavy commuter bag. I might consider a lighter frame if I end up racing many crits as a 2, but I’d still use this bike for group rides and longer road races. It fits like a favorite pair of old bluejeans; I bet I’ll be riding it a decade from now.