In The Press


The Soul of Steel

Taken from June 1998 issue of Mountain Bike Action, page 87

Doug Curtiss, the man behind the Curtlo brand, builds steel frames. The Curtlo Advanced Mountaineer. Steel hardtails have a unique feel that is both energetic and comfortable. The 23-pound Advanced Mountaineer is a perfect example of the hard-to-find lightweight steel frame. Curtlo frames are available to the public at very affordable prices: $605 gets you a fully custom frame and one color paint. Don't let the price fool you; this is as good as it gets. Contact Curtlo at (805) 251-9582.


Curtlo Mountaineer Highlights

Our test bike's custom components demonstrate how light the Advanced Mountaineer can be. With a bottomless wallet, the Advanced Mountaineer could be even lighter.

Frame: It's a great help that its frame weights only 3.75 pounds. The tubes of choice on the Curtlo are True Temper's new air-hardening OX Gold. The Tennessee metal company specifically designed this new metal for TIG welding and filet brazing, which is a natural choice for a builder such as Doug.

Construction notes: The main tubes are triple-butted and cut down from larger tubesets for additional weight savings. The down tube is ovalized at the bottom bracket for rigidity, and the seat stays are curved to provide what is estimated to be about 3/8" of damping flex at the rear axle.

Numbers game: Our test frame had Curtlo's house brand measurements: 71-degree head angle, 73-degree seat angle, 23.5-inch top tube and 16.8-inch chainstays. Curtlo will customize your frame geometry at no extra cost.

Components: Drivetrain selection is SRAM's ESP 9.0SL twist system with Kooka cranks and chainrings. Accents include a Syncros handlebar, Kooka stem, IRC tires and Mavic hoops with Shimano XTR hubs. The fork is a 60mm-travel, Manitou SX Ti.

Riding The Curtlo Mountaineer

Riders who favor steel like the traditional feel of a forgiving frame that works well on long, punishing rides. These attributes make the Curtlo as much a trail bike as a cross-country racing machine.

Riding Hard: Long, seated grinders are where the Curtlo shines. Get your groove and you will be pleased with how well the bike sticks to its line and follows the contours of the land. Out-of-the-saddle power grunts and uphill attacks won't offend the Curtlo, but if you are used to the rigidity of oversized aluminum, you will feel some frame flex. Steel frame riders learn to dole out power smoothly to compensate for this.

Descending: The ever-so-subtle damping effect of the sloping seat stays combines with the natural resiliency of the steel tubes to make the Curtlo a forgiving descender on semi-rough courses. Racers will appreciate this on the last few laps, and trail riders will appreciate it everywhere.

Handling: The Curtlo is a balanced package and nimble at the bars. The Curtlo is at its best on fast fire roads or sweeping singletrack. In stock form, the Curtlo is a go-fast handler with hunt-and-peck abilities that make it versatile enough for all but the most woodsy locales.

MBA rating: If you are a steel hardtail connoisseur, you will love the Curtlo Advanced Mountaineer. Riders who want light weight, a forgiving ride and the feel of steel can get it all in the Curtlo. If you must have a beefy aluminum hardtail, Curtlo will build one for you, but if you want a bike with a soul, the Advanced Mountaineer is the culmination of one man's entire career of whittling the ultimate performance from ten thin tubes of chromoly tubing.