Independent Fabrication Crown Jewel Older Road Bike user reviews : 4.8 out of 5 - 11 reviews - roadbikereview.com (2022)

[Nov 24, 2003]

505Sailor

Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5

VALUE
RATING
5

Strength:

Stiff, strong, durable, pretty light, nice ride over rough roads, workmanship top notch, great paint.

Weakness:

None unless you want a 16 pound bike.

I bought this 56 cm IF Steel Crown Jewel (2000 model) used but with very few miles on it. I got a superior deal from what I can tell. The bike is in perfect condition and is a joy to ride. Material is a personal choice, but I just don't see why a rec rider, or even a racer would overlook steel. The ride is supple and smooth, while also providing great reflexes. The bike feels great at over 40 mph - very stable and sure. There are no rattles or creaking. It might weigh 19 pounds with DA/Ultegra components, but that's plenty light enough for me. Great paint also! My only issue is I wouldn't mind a slightly shorter top tube with same size seat tube.

Similar Products Used:

Trek 660

[Oct 29, 2002]

richardmc

Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4

VALUE
RATING
4

Strength:

Performance, weight, beautiful weld jobs

Weakness:

Expensive (if new); beautifully applied paint chips pretty easily; decals and stickers need a clear coat.

I went into a Waterford dealer to see about a future purchase. I was offered this, Right Now!, for $650. Duh...It replaced my 1971 Raleigh Professional, a sweet ride. I couldn't believe how much better this was. I climbed my favorite 17% grade two gears higher than before, it was smoother on rough chip roads than was the Raleigh. It corners like it's on a string. LOVE IT!

Similar Products Used:

1971 Raleigh Professional, Peugeot PX-10,

[Sep 24, 2002]

Drew Illman

Road Racer

OVERALL
RATING
5

VALUE
RATING
5

Strength:

See above review

Weakness:

HA! What weaknesses?

Sweeeet ride. This bike eclipses all of my previous rides. I actually have the Ti crown jewel, my first ti frame and I absolutely love it. Stiff as aluminum, comfortable as steel. Its cornering prowess allows you to accellerate out of corners others brake through. Gives a killer jump too. All in all, this is the realization of my dream bike.

Similar Products Used:

Several Cannondales, trek 5400, Stowe

[Aug 14, 2002]

muddyramon

Recreational Rider

Strength:

Light weight, beautiful paint and finish, and overall attention to detail. Plus, you don't see them everywhere, and there's something to be said for a little exclusivity.

Weakness:

Steel does rust, so you have to be a little more careful to maintain its appearance. Yeah, it's expensive, but it's worth it.

What a beautiful bike! I wish I had it when I was racing. From the first ride, I was about 2 mph faster on all my favorite loops. The bike is light, stiff when climbing, and VERY comfortable, whether going for a short, fast ride after work, or a Saturday century. It's rock solid on fast descents, and makes climbing a joy. It's hard to believe a steel bike (57 cm) can only weigh 18.5 lbs! It's a little slacker in its angles than most road frames, but the geometry fits my body perfectly. If you want one with more traditional geometry, the guys at IF would be happy to build you one.

Similar Products Used:

Tommaso SLX, Serotta CSi and Legend, Cannondale, Pinnarello, Bianchi, Ritchey, Lemond, among others.

[Feb 18, 2002]

Rafael T

Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5

VALUE
RATING
5

Strength:

Comfy, Comfy, Comfy, but a great platform for climbing. Very light for steel. Beautifully built.

Weakness:

In Miami, rust in the steerer fork, but nothing maintenance can''t solve. The ride more than makes up for the inconvenience.

This is my second steel bike, having been a Cannondale (road)user for 10 years. This bike is Amazing. Not as direct in acceleration as a Cannondale, but climbs better, it''s more stable at speed and on descents, and much, much more comfortable. After a bad accident mountain biking, I thought I could never ride Road bikes again, but thanks to this bike, Now I can. My bad back does not suffer on the road anymore. I don''t know how to describe the ride, really. It is firm and stable, but no vibration comes through. Amazing. The long top tube makes it more aero, and I think helps also with stability. And the construction is beautiful. Nobody builds more beautifully out there except Moots.

Similar Products Used:

Cannondale from ''87 to ''97, Old Eddy Merckx SLX frameset

[Oct 27, 2001]

Neal Barmack

Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5

VALUE
RATING
5

Strength:

The strengths of CJ have already been enumerated by others. They are: 1) Lightness of construction through innovative selection of steel tubing. 2) Security in handling provided by the strength of steel and the unsurpassed execution of the welds. 3) Exact fit of the bike based upon recommendations of both the dealer and a review by the manufacturing team at the factory. 4) The aesthetic appeal of a high quality (custom if you like) paint job. 5) Enthusiastic responses to questions concerning fit and performance by the folks at the factory.

Weakness:

None . . . . cost is not a weakness. You easily get what you pay for.

It is impossible to ride for any distance in metropolitan Portland and not encounter steep climbs. The CJ is not only light on the ups, but more importantly, it is secure on the twists and turns of the downs. I prefer to trust my safety to a bicycle that responds well to a road contingency rather than to my helmet . . . although both are necessary.

Similar Products Used:

Bennotto classic Italian road bike

[Jul 31, 2001]

Anonymous

Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5

VALUE
RATING
4

Strength:

Smooth Ride, Quick handling

Amazing, Super smooth ride. Much more comfortable than the old Cannonwhale.
Rides and accelerates very well for a 19.5Lbs bike.
As Ken stated "it dances up hills". I weigh 245 so climbing has never been a strong point. On the IFCJ I climb faster and don't feel as winded at the top. Handling is fast and takes a little getting used to. However at speed (20+ and decending) I feel stable and enjoy the handling.
My wife just had our 1st child so I got the CJ as my last toy for quite some time. I believe I'll be very happy that I did.

Similar Products Used:

Rode a C-dale for a year. This is my first steel road bike.

[Feb 06, 2001]

Anonymous

Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5

VALUE
RATING
5

Strength:

A stiff but comfortable ride, this bike just felt perfect the moment I hopped on it. The welds are flawless as is the paint. The bike lacks any of the sluggishness that I have felt in some other steel bikes. It feels like a lighter bike than it already is.

Weakness:

The bike is so pretty that I was afraid to ride it at first for fear of scratching it. It was also very difficult to pick a color from such a great pallette. In addition, the bike was on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for.

If's greatest assets are it's employees/owners. I had a few custom dimensions added to my bike and Matt, who helped me, was extremely knowledgable and friendly. He was able to compare the bike I was riding to the Crown Jewel and make suggestions to help me get the right fit. In the end I could not have been happier despite my concerns over getting a custom bike over the phone. Unfortunatly I don't think that most people will be able to order a bike like this because they must go through a dealer. On the upside any IF dealer will probably be more than able to provide the same service. This company does everything right. There are no corners cut anywhere in manufacturing or in customer service and they are employee owned. That goes a long way for me. This is the best bike I have ever ridden and I cannot wait to get a mountain bike from them. I expect this to be my last road bike. They are not the cheapest bikes out there but you can't put a price on this kind of ride.

Similar Products Used:

I work in a shop so I get the chance to ride a lot a bikes. Colnago, OCLV, Schwinn, LeMond, Litespeed, Giant etc. If it's been on the floor or in for service and it was anywhere near my size I have ridden it(sorry).

[Dec 09, 2000]

Anonymous

Road Racer

OVERALL
RATING
5

VALUE
RATING
5

Strength:

Lighter and stiffer than expected for steel, this bike can really sprint and climb. Built up with Dura-Ace, the bike weighs under nineteen pounds. Still, it has a smooth steel ride that makes the miles go by without the noticeable back pain caused by most aluminum bikes after a couple of hours. The manufacturing quality (welds) are top notch and super smooth. Paint quality is also superb. Mine is a slate blue to gray fade that is both attractive and unique.

Weakness:

Although it sprints well, it isn't an aluminum rocket. However, if that's what you want, buy a Canondale.

This is a phenominal bike and needless to say, my Trek 5500 doesn't get many miles on it anymore. The IF carves corners better than any bike I've ever owned yet is perfectly stable at speed. It's descending manners are absolutely impeccable! This is a very suitable machine for both long road races and crits. The longish top tube makes for a good, laid out aero position that is still comfortable. Also, the steel fork may be a bit heavier than the latest all-carbon wonder forks, but it soaks up rough road like nothing else while still tracking true.

Similar Products Used:

Trek 5500
Trek 5500, Canondale R1000, Battaglin SL, Steel (853)GT Edge

[May 13, 2001]

Anonymous

Road Racer

OVERALL
RATING
5

VALUE
RATING
5

Strength:

Extremely lightweight (especially for steel), stiff, lightening quick handling

Weakness:

None (well, maybe a tad bit twitchy for very leisurely riding . . . i.e, Sunday morning cruise to the coffee shop)

Awesome ride. I couldn't believe how light the bike was after it was all assembled. Frame is very well built (or as people like to say, "crafted"). It's amazing how much better I think I climb on this bike -- I don't know if it's the confidence that it gives me or if the weight savings are really that incredible, but I climb faster on this bike. The bike encourages me to get up on the pedals on dance up hills.

It handles very quickly. In fact I had a little trouble riding with no hands when I first got the bike. Not the bike that I usually use to hop over the local coffeeshop (but I've got a old Schwinn for trips like that).

Likely to be my favorite bike for a long time to come.

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