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#4679758 - 02/27/18 02:37 PM Thoughts on Tommaso bikes?
DriveHard Offline

Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 1013
Loc: Middle of Iowa
Thanks in advance for the comments...

In my younger years I used to LOTS of cycling. I have done RAGBRAI a few times, and I used to race mountain bikes when I lived in the northeast. I have always ridden higher-end mountain bikes even on long road trips - just switch to skinny tires. I then got more into heavy weight training and competing in North American Strongman events. Well, the heavy competitions have basically destroyed my joints, and that career is done. I am looking for something to keep me active since I can't really lift weights anymore, and would love to get back into cycling. I broke out my old Trek Liquid that I used to race...and it is going to take some work to get it going again. I am thinking of just buying something new to help re-spark this interest. I am also considering changing away from MTB's and going with something more road oriented. I am leaning toward a "gravel bike" or cycle cross bike. This is because I am still about 210 pounds and quite strong...and like to ride hard and not be afraid of some bumps in the road. Right now I have several models in mind...but the brand Tommaso is at the top of my list. Particularly the Illimitate model. Thoughts?
Smile, it increases your face value
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#4679785 - 02/27/18 03:14 PM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DriveHard]
fsdork Offline

Registered: 02/08/11
Posts: 179
Loc: Canadia
I used to spend a lot of time on the forums, and found a lot of good information there. Generally speaking, it is less about the bike brand, and more about the components. I'm sure there are exceptional frames on either end of the spectrum, but on mid-range bikes, if you fit the bike, the frame isn't going to make or break the experience. I see the bike you linked features some Tiagra components. I would suggest you go test-ride some cyclocross bikes, and see what line of components works for you. While doing that, you might find some value in the experience your local bike shop can give you, in particular, making sure the bike fits.
2011 Ford F-150 Lariat S/C 6.2L 4x4 - 76K km
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#4679786 - 02/27/18 03:17 PM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DriveHard]
skyactiv Offline

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4046
Loc: The Midwest
I have a Diamondback cyclocross bike. It has a carbon fiber fork and cantilever brakes. The model with disc brakes was $100 more.
I got a flat the first time I rode it. I took the junk Kenda tires off and replaced them with Michelin Cyclocross Jet tires
in 700X30. A size with little selection but I find it perfect as I can roll fast on pavement and the tires are just wide enough to handle
crushed gravel trails and dirt with ease. Cyclocross bikes should be more popular than they are imo.

Edited by skyactiv (02/27/18 03:17 PM)
Edit Reason: disc brkaes
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#4679797 - 02/27/18 03:43 PM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DriveHard]
cjcride Offline

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 1776
Loc: Ontario Canada
Check out Lots of bike stuff.

#4679921 - 02/27/18 06:47 PM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DriveHard]
DangerousDan Offline

Registered: 06/20/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Fargo, ND
The two thoughts that come to mind are:

1) The most important thing on a bicycle is how well it fits you and your riding style.
2) The next thing is the quality of the components, particularly wheels for people over 200 lbs.

It sounds like you don't have a previous road or cyclocross bike to use to determine fit. I would recommend that you either buy from a shop that includes a bike fit or use an online cycle fit calculator and consider if you are buying from a company that will give you an exchange if the fit is horrible.

If you want to go with an online dealer, the "Tommaso" you linked doesn't look like it gives the most bang for your buck. A quick look at shows that their bikes in the $1000 range are at least one level of components up from the one you linked. I am also fairly large, and I would guess that if I rode that bike I would trash the wheels in one season.

I am not endorsing BD. I have never done business with them. I am just using them to give a point of reference.
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#4681306 - 03/01/18 08:12 AM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DriveHard]
853okg Offline

Registered: 02/28/18
Posts: 2
Loc: USA
It's a fine bike. Tommaso was the brainchild of Tom Eason, a guy who owned a distributorship and retail outlet in Tallahassee named Ten Speed Drive Imports, which was probably best known as the distributor for Guerciotti frames. Guerciotti (started by two brothers, one of whom was a cyclo cross champion) was first made known to Americans as the bike that George Mount rode to a sixth place finish on Mount Royal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. I do not know if Tommasos were built in the same factory but I suspect they were. Anyway, like many famous brands of bicycles (Masi, Schwinn, Mercier, etc. etc.) the name was sold and the current bikes have nothing in common with the originals.
Bicycles are funny, because almost unlike any other product they are almost all the same. I know I just upset a ton of people, but it's true. First, they all use the exact same parts (SRAM, Shimano, Campagnolo) and only a handful of factories build all the frames. Sure there are a handful of small custom builders, and a couple of brands still make their own frames, but for the most part they all come from one of a few huge Chinese or Taiwanese factories. That doesn't mean they're identical, but the name of the game with selling these things is to make mountains out of molehills. Thus, they tend to wind up in one of two camps. Expensive, boutique bikes and mail order brands that can cost less than half as much as a comparable boutique bike, but is devoid of the fancy name (or has a fancy name, such as Tommasini, that has nothing to do with the "real" Tommasini) and likely uses less expensive parts where nobody is looking. The bike you reference is fine. The most important thing is that you buy the right size and have it properly fitted (which might necessitate a change in stem length, for example) and built. Most bikes on dealer's floors have been built with less than loving care. I'm talking about properly tensioning and truing wheels, properly adjusted and lubricated bearings, torquing fasteners the proper amount, etc. If I couldn't buy a bicycle on employee purchase or have one given to me I would not hesitate to buy a Tommaso, a Raleigh USA, etc. Believe me: I've had many of the world's most famous brands made to measure for me, usually by the guy whose name is on the downtube. It doesn't really matter. You still have to pedal them, and even the worst ones are pretty darn good. If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to answer them.

#4681714 - 03/01/18 06:39 PM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DriveHard]
dailydriver Online   content

Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 8897
Loc: Bucks County, Pa.
^^^VERY well stated! thumbsup

I remember Ten Speed Drive (wow, does that ever make me feel ANCIENT!), and I also remember (the ultimately tragic story of) George Mount, and how we were all jumping up and down about ANY male US citizen being able to place THAT high in an Olympics road race, or ANY event for that matter!.

I did not remember that he rode a Guerciotti however, (I AM getting old!) but I DO remember him holding the Mt. Washington cycling hillclimb record for what seemed like forever!

That and Jacques Boyer getting signed to a Euro Pro Team and merely riding the TdF seemed like miracles at the time-little did we know! LOL

Anyway, I am also considering a gravel/cross style bike since there are many canal tow path trails around here on which I don't have to deal with drunken/opioded peckerwoods trying to run me down, like what happens out on the paved roads in this area.
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#4681876 - 03/01/18 10:38 PM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: 853okg]
DangerousDan Offline

Registered: 06/20/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Fargo, ND
You are correct about some things, and very wrong about others. The $1000 bicycle of today is probably a Chinese made economy ride that will be just fine for a 160 lb rider who rides a few hundred miles a year.

And yes, most bicycles today are made in Taiwan or China. My experience has been that there is a world of difference between the QC in Taiwan and the mainland. My wife's bike is a "Raleigh" badge Taiwan bicycle with Tiagra components and cable disc brakes. We paid $700 at a local bike shop. It is comparable to the OP's bike and a good choice for someone who rides a few hundred miles a year (most of her miles are on our tandem).

Beyond that, Shimano Tiagra is not even close to Shimano Dura Ace. Same for SRAM and Campagnolo. The top line components are much better. My new build has Super Record and Record components. All made in Italy with a very high level of QC. They are quite a bit better than Chorus and below. For a huge price difference.

In the land of Shimano, Tiagra is not as good as 105. And not even close to Ultegra. And not on the same planet as Dura Ace or Campagnolo Super Record. You won't get a Titanium cassette for the price of a Tiagra cassette, so on a cost sensitive bike you sacrifice performance to build to a price.

For $1000 you are not getting a bicycle with hand built wheels. And for a 200+ lb rider wheel quality is a very big deal. Hydraulic disc brakes work better than cable brakes. The bike the OP linked uses cable TRP brakes. For the same price there are other web dealers selling bikes with hydraulic brakes, Shimano 105, and an 11 speed cassette.

There are plenty of bikes made outside of China or Taiwan. They are just not $1000 bicycles. The difference between a Colnago C60 or my Lynskey with Campagnolo electronic shifting and the OP's bike will be huge. A lot more than a mole hill. The OP's bike will probably be an OK bike if those 28 spoke machine built wheels don't break apart. He may not need to spend $200 for a lock and chain, but he should do the Shimano wheel upgrade. But now it is a $1200 bicycle.

My biggest concern for a 200 lb strong rider is wheel quality, particularly if he is a grinder and not a spinner. I don't know if $1000 is the top of his price range or just a starting point. Spending a bit more and getting a bike with a higher quality hand built wheel set would be a good idea in my experience. In my foolish youth I broke a lot of wheel sets. A good hand built wheel set is a lot more than taking a finished machine built wheel and checking the spoke tension.

Additionally, proper fit is a lot more than slapping a longer stem on a bike. I would not buy a bike from someone who said that bike fit is a matter of picking a frame size based on rider height and changing the stem length. I rode a Specialized Roubaix and hated it. Correct seat tube and seat height, but I would need a huge stem to come close to fitting. That made the weight distribution all wrong for me. Lots of people love those Roubaix, but they don't happen to fit me.

If the OP is a spinner, he might want shorter cranks. Leg length to arm length ratio will determine if a frame is a good fit. Wide shoulders might mean wider bars, even on a cyclocross bike. I like Campagnolo controls. Others hate them. Some folks swear by Shimano controls. I can't stand them. Some people even love SRAM on road bikes.

And lastly, my new build has only cartridge bearings. Wheels, headset, brake pivots, bottom bracket, freehub, and pedals. All cartridge bearings. Does anyone feel a need to take apart a Super Record crankset to lubricate the bearings? Hmmmm. Maybe "parts are parts" isn't quite right. I didn't buy my bike from a local shop, but the good ones here in Fargo do a lot more than take the bike out of the box and tighten the handlebars.

And by the way, your last few sentences make it sound like you work for Tommaso, which you should clearly state if it is true.
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Peugeot CFX-10 - retired.
Lynskey - 3 of them
Ritchey - 2 of them

#4682116 - 03/02/18 09:50 AM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DangerousDan]
853okg Offline

Registered: 02/28/18
Posts: 2
Loc: USA
I don't work for Tommaso. Not sure where you got that. I have worked for over thirty years in the bike business. I've owned a bike shop (past tense) for over twenty years. I've represented the US in international competition, I've raced my bike over a thousand times and won a number of bike races and raced against a lot of guys whose names would be familiar to you. Thanks for teaching me that Shimano Tiagra components aren't as good as Dura-Ace, but I'm well acquainted with Shimano. I befriended Yoshi when he was here in the late 70s touting Dura-Ace AX and I toured the plant when I was in Japan in 1990 for the World track championships. I don't recall ever saying there is no difference in quality between a thousand dollar bike and a thirty thousand dollar bike. For the record I've had bikes made for me by Ernesto Colnago, by Bianchi's Reparto Corse, Ron Cooper, Yoshi Konno (before his horrible accident), a couple by Nagasawa, by Peter Weigle, heck I couldn't even list them all. You know what bike I ride every day? An old Schwinn LeTour I pulled out of a dumpster once, sold by Alan's in Oceanside in the 80s. It's a real Schwinn, built down south out of True Temper steel. It's a pretty awful sled, to tell the truth, but I like the idea of riding an All-American bike that someone was actually going to throw away. When I was a young man I really thought equipment MATTERED. It does not. That doesn't mean I think it's all the same. At some point, when I was getting race bikes for free, I realized that although some had a magical feel and I never wanted to give them up, and some were kind of wonky, felt dead, or handled funny, it really wasn't going to make any difference. In other words, if I were to finish third on the dead wonky bike I wasn't going to finish second or first on my favorite bike. And, at the end of the day I was going to be pretty tired either way. I've ridden my bicycle over four hundred miles in a day. It was a stiff steel frame. Would I have been fresher had I ridden a specially made distance bike, maybe a vintage Vitus Carbone 9? Who knows? Who cares? Low spoke count wheels are a really, really stupid idea for nearly everyone who has them. I'll grant you that. The OP (and nearly everyone else) should have 36 spoked rims of traditional design (think Mavic MA40) with butted spokes, at least for daily training. Do I implore him to go out and buy a pair? Absolutely not. The bike he referenced is just fine. I have news for you. Around the world, there are folks riding lots and lots of miles on bikes you wouldn't even bother to insult. That lowly Tiagra crank is light years ahead of either the steel cottered crank I started with or vintage Stronglight cranks that were once considered very good. And Fausto Coppi would have LOVED to have had the Tiagra STI levers. I stand by my words. I lament the demise of American manufacturing. But today's ten thousand dollar Pinarello is made in China. And bicycles are really nothing much more than glorified plumbing. This simplicity is their beauty. For a guy like the OP it's nice to have wider tires (again, get those wheels tensioned, trued, and stress-relieved by a good mechanic if you're lucky enough to find one) and indexed shifting. And it's easy to look down upon a lowly thousand dollar bike from China. But there are a million Chinese who probably ride a lot more than you do who would be thrilled to have that bike. And an aside, and apropo of nothing: I am jingoistic. I happen to believe that Ross Perot was right. I work in academia and in the last fifteen years I've seen a quantum shift in exchange students, who now make up about eighty percent of our grad school (100 in fields such as math). They used to ride around on old Huffys with milk crates lashed to the back. Now they drive Bentleys, Ferraris, Lambos, and Aston Martins. In my opinion this is a direct result of the gutting of the US middle class, which we owe in large part to giving up our manufacturing (again, IMO, and I'm not arguing the point). Was that incendiary? Not compared to this: Having said that, about the most consistently horrible bicycle I've ever seen was the PA built Cannondale of the 80s. They rode like buckboards, the plastic top tube cable guides fell off, and the bottom bracket was never square with the dropouts, so that some riders developed knee problems and many bikes could not have the front derailleur adjusted properly. Never mind they were ugly as home made sin. "But I had one and it was great!" Sure it was. Because bikes are simple devices, like shoes or hats. Even large errors in construction often go unnoticed. And Dan, you're not WRONG. And neither am I. We just have different points of view. To me, the bicycle is primarily a tool. One with which I've earned my living for the first forty years of my life. You're an enthusiast. It's like the difference between a brewmaster and a beer snob. The beer snob loves to make fun of Budweiser and tell everyone it's swill not worth drinking. The brewmaster appreciates how consistent the product is. (I owned a home brew supply store for fifteen years.)

#4682141 - 03/02/18 10:13 AM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DriveHard]
IndyIan Offline

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 8779
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I know nothing about the brand but that top tube looks like its built to flex a bit which is pretty unique, and perhaps an issue down the road with metal fatigue. I'd Google it anyways.
Also is there a difference between hand built and machine built wheels after some one adjusts the spokes? I've been over 200lbs for a decade now and just have to check the spoke tension more often. The wheels on it look plenty strong with a reasonable number of spokes.
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#4682338 - 03/02/18 01:40 PM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: 853okg]
cjcride Offline

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 1776
Loc: Ontario Canada
853okg Welcome to BITOG

#4683463 - 03/03/18 06:10 PM Re: Thoughts on Tommaso bikes? [Re: DriveHard]
supton Offline

Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 11532
Loc: NH
I've been lusting after a gravel bike for a few years now. I alternate between wanting a gravel and a CX. Pocketbook keeps me from doing anything.

Back in 2008(?) there was that financial stimulus money that was passed around. I bought a Trek Pilot 1.2 mostly because it had decent clearance between stays and tires--I wanted fenders. Today it's the bike I like to ride: I wound up with fenders and 28mm wide tires, which unfortunately is the max it'll do. But boy do I like it. Some days it'll spend half its time on dirt roads. But otherwise it's a regular old road bike. [Picked up a lightly used 2007 Trek 1500SLR last summer for a "regular" road bike.]

Point being, you don't have to get a gravel-specific bike to veer off the pavement. Find something with generous clearance, and play with tire size. I've never had tires with tread on my bike, and I've taken it off road and through mud patches--won't say it does well, but I haven't been shy either. Dirt roads meant for cars, I don't think twice about taking. [I do use SPD mountain bike shoes, not the SPD-SL, so walking around something is not an issue.]

At 180+ pounds my cheapo rims have managed to hold up too--I figured I'd buy good ones later, but the junk ones must have done 10kmiles before popping a second spoke. I now run a slightly better (yet still cheap) set, as I don't seem to need high zoot wheels.

Speaking of groupsets: my 1500SLR has Ultegra stuff, and my 1.2 has Tiagra, and I don't find a huge difference. Maybe my Ultegra sat too much while my Tiagra has lots of wear, but both seem more equivalent than not. shrug I must not be much of a bike snob, Tiagra gets the job done. But I only do 2k per year, give or take. Almost anything would mange.
2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 156k, hers
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