Weaknesses: None really, but Kinesis 2 fork is a bit harsh. Fitting could be a problem without you and the bike being together.
The bike rides very well, I was looking for a commute vehicle. (60 mile round trip, half mountains roads half city.) I have seen people complaining about the finish compared to Ti bikes, where the frame alone cost more than this bike, and it does suffer a bit on close inspection around the rear drop outs and on the decals. It does however blow away the price competition which is usually a 853 Reynolds frame, and which I usually found to be down right sloppy. None of the workmanship is of functional concern. If you are a true snob, it probably won't work for you. If you want a nice riding Ti bike it probably will.The basic ride is comfortable. The low stays curved stays and long seat tube absorb a lot of road shock and make it an excellent bike for long rides on choppy potholed mountain roads. The frame handles well at speed, (48mph so far), but is a bit more flexy in torsion than my old bike. Not as lively as steel, not as dead as carbon, just right. Tight rear triangle seem to be flex free under pedalling, although I am not much of a sprinter I do have >20% grades on the way home. Rolf wheels seem plenty stiff, and have to bear a fair amount of abuse descending in the dark in the mornings. Ultegra components need no comment.There were some problems with both assembly and delivery, although I think they were exceptional. The bike was ordered with a triple crank which apparently caused them to miss promised dates several times. When the bike arrived, the drive side cup was not torqued down, and the front derrailluer ran into the frame before it shifted to the small ring. This was corrected with the addition of 2mm of spacers and re-adjustment. Not tough for an ex-mechanic, but requiring some time in the shop (that you didn't buy a bike from) if you don't do your own wrenching. There were several other order problems including wrong HB tape, regular instead of light weight tubes, leaky valve extenders, and failure to match the sizing measurements I supplied. This required that I wait several days for a new stem which they sent out quickly. I do think that my problems with the service were unusual. They are a nice bunch of people to work with, and I know they really rushed to ship it after they got the parts. This probably accounts for the errors.One of the things that most people don't noticewhen buying a bike is the cheesy headset, saddle and seatpost that they often end up with and may end up being replaced in short order. On this bike you can spec exactly what you want. With the web page, you know how much each choice costs you in dollars and gramsOveral, the bike is a bargin. The finish is more than acceptable, the ride is excellent, and the price is exceptional. Considering no sales tax, it is the same as for a low end Reynolds frame with an Al fork. If you have long legs and a short torso, you will end up with a very short stem and a zero setback seatpost, but long top tubes seem to be the style these days and you will have a hard time anyway. All said and done, you will end up with an excellent bike, and other than time involved, you run very little risk with the generous return policy. Five chillies for the resulting bike, down to four for the problems getting it there.
a Weekend Warrior
from Houston, Texas
Date Reviewed: May 24, 1999
Strengths: cost/benefit ratio, excellent climber, supple ride, great brushed finish, and beautiful rear triangle
Weaknesses: doesn't cost enough to qualify as high end titanium
I just wrote a review on the Zeppelin a couple of weeks ago but it seems to have disappeared, so here I go again. Great riding bike that I like even better than my favorite Italian steel frame, an Olmo. The Zeppelin climbs as well as my Trek 5500 but is a smoother ride. The hourglass rear end and S-bend stays are every bit as good looking as anything on the high priced competition. This bike is really a ridiculously good deal. Just do it.