We gave you a sneak peek at the Stoemper Taylör last month and now it’s arrived at RoadCyclingUK for review.
Stoemper is a small US company with a four-strong range of road and cyclo-cross frames handbuilt across the pond in Springfield, Oregon, and the Taylör is their steel road racing model.
Todd Gardner and David Alvarez are the brains behind the company. Gardner has been working with steel, aluminium and titanium for more than a decade and, while the frames are handbuilt by him in Oregon, Stoemper’s DNA lies in Belgium, home of marketing man Alvarez. In fact, Stoemper is Flemish for “mashing a big gear” and the brand’s name gives a clue as to its history and ethos.
Stoemper started life as a cyclo-cross brand (and Belgium is the home of ‘cross) with two frames, one made from steel and one from aluminium, before the launch two road models (again, one steel and one aluminium) this time last year. Production remains small-scale, with each frame hand-crafted by Gardner.
The move into the road market prompted Alvarez to round up a group of six riders to tackle the full routes of Gent Wevelgem (230km), the Tour of Flanders (254.4km), Paris-Roubaix (258km), the Amstel Gold race (260.4km) and Liege-Bastogne-Liege (255.5km) in five successive days in what was rightly dubbed Stoepid Week.
Stoemper describe the Taylör as their “wrecking ball” and “torpedo” – it is, they say, a frame designed to be ridden hard and fast. The geometry is traditional and suitably aggressive, with our size 56cm test machine’s horizontal toptube measuring just that, while the straight-through headtube (1-1/8″) is custom machined and a compact unit at 16cm. The headtube angle, meanwhile, is 73.5 degrees, while the 54cm seattube is half-a-degree slacker at 73 degrees.
Steel has long been the material of choice for framebuilders thanks to its springy ride quality and the ease with which it can be worked with, and it still has its place as a material for road racing frames, with the ProContinental-registered Madison-Genesis team recording notable results on a machine built from Reynolds 953.
The Taylör is made from TIG-welded True Temper S3 steel. S3 stands for Super Strength Steel and it’s True Temper’s tubeset for lightweight racing frames thanks to a high strength-to-weight ratio, which means the tube walls can be thinner – and lighter – without sacrificing strength. The tubes are also oversized to boost stiffness. The frame is paired with a full-carbon, 295g Enve 1.0 fork and can take tyres up to 27mm wide.
Neat touches feature across the frame. The hand-bent seatstays follow a gently sweeping curve, while Stoemper’s Godzilla badge sits proudly on the front of the headtube. Gardner ‘signs’ each frame on the inside of the left-hand chainstay and the quality of his work, not least the immaculate welds, is superb.
Each frame is painted in a two-colour combination, chosen by the customer, and our test machine is the personal steed of Stoemper’s UK agent, Scott Purchas – a Kent-based Kiwi, which explains the addition of a silver fern on the toptube. He’s built the frame up with a full Campagnolo Chorus groupset, Reynolds Attack wheels shod with Schwalbe Durano tyres, 3T finishing kit and a Fizik Aliante saddle.
The wheels are the most striking line on the spec sheet. Carbon wheels may not be an obvious partner to a steel frame but these a relatively subtle addition thanks to their shallow depth and all-black finish, which works well with the black and silver frame.
The Attack is a 32mm all-carbon clincher with a claimed weight of just 1,400g for the pair. Heat-induced blowouts are a fair concern when shopping for a full-carbon clincher, especially if you’ll be riding long descents, but the proprietary CTg brake track has been designed to dissipate heat in conjunction with Reynolds’ Cryo-Blue brake pad and, as a result, Reynolds’ UK importer, Upgrade Bikes, claim not to have had a single warranty failure since the technology was introduced.
Back to the Taylör and the frame is available in 11 stock sizes for £1,599, or £1,899 with the Enve 1.0 fork, including delivery from Oregon. Lead time is approximately eight weeks, while custom geometry is available on request. All that’s left now is for us to hit the road.
Sizes: 45cm, 47cm, 50cm, 52cm, 54cm, 55cm, 56cm, 57cm, 58cm, 60cm, 62cm (custom geometry also available)
Price: £1,599 (frame only), £1,899 (frame and fork)