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  1. #1
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    Trying to decide: LHT vs KHS 747 vs custom Gunnar

    Hi, I'm a total newb trying to find a big bike. I'm 6'7" 240. I've been riding a beat-up 80's Fuji Absolute 68cm and my knees and wrists are starting to ache. Plus the top bar on this bike hits my guys and have to bend over just a tad at stop lights. Normally I commute everyday in heavy city traffic 5mi but I got a new job and am thinking of tackling a 15mi commute. 6mi in dense Chicago and 9mi on our glorious lakefront. I think it's finally time I invest in a bike that really fits well.

    I've been looking at a Surly 64cm LHT. But then I stumbled across all the threads about Zinn and KHS 747 and 200mm cranks. Obviously these would be two vastly different riding experiences - but how different? Is it stupid to put a rack and panniers on a 747? Is there something I could get that lies in between these two bikes? Something that's around 66cm - comfortable like a LHT and fast like a 747? Is that where maybe a custom Gunnar bike would come in? Can you do one of those for under 2k?

    Is there some other option I'm not considering?

    Any help appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I say, go with a SOMA frame and send it to one of the best LBS in Chicago to have it built. Discuss with the lead mechanic exactly what you'd like to do in terms of riding style, wheel set, drivetrain, handlebars, etc..

    SOMA makes several Tange Prestige chromoly frames in your size.

    The ones that I researched are as follows:

    1) The SOMA Double Cross Disc CX @ $450 - Old Gold - 66cm

    2) The SOMA Grand Randonneur (650b) @ $490 - White Ivory - 65cm

    3) The SOMA ES Road Sport @ $430 - Cappuchino - 66cm


    www.somafab.com

    http://store.somafab.com/framesandforks1.html

    * Start the entire process with your selected LBS. Have them correctly size you. Check their numbers with another LBS for confirmation. Then order thru them after you've discussed the styling details and the bottomline.
    Last edited by WestPablo; 06-12-14 at 07:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks so much for the feedback. Yes, I'm definitely going to my LBS. Luckily there's two or three really good ones close. I'm going to see what they can do in terms of building me a road/touring bike. I think I'd like a road frame but with handlebars that come up a bit ... right now my elbows are killling me.

    I'd be interested in what a good ES build would be and how much it would cost.

    Here's an interesting Soma build:
    http://americancyclery.com/products/...-w-shimano-105

    Update: I think this is what I want:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/bells...9aQPjMbcAiskFA
    Last edited by illusiumd; 06-12-14 at 11:45 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by illusiumd View Post
    Thanks so much for the feedback. Yes, I'm definitely going to my LBS. Luckily there's two or three really good ones close. I'm going to see what they can do in terms of building me a road/touring bike. I think I'd like a road frame but with handlebars that come up a bit ... right now my elbows are killling me.

    I'd be interested in what a good ES build would be and how much it would cost.

    Here's an interesting Soma build:
    Soma ES w/ Shimano 105 ? American Cyclery

    Update: I think this is what I want:
    6'7" and want a road bike? No problem! Soma ES custom. | Yelp
    Since you're located in Chicago, I would suggest that you contact the "Working Bikes" co-op. The mechanics there will be able to assist you with all of your questions.

    I'm not quite sure about their shop protocol, but if it's anything like what I'm accustomed to, you should be able to discuss your build with them. Next, have both the frame and fork delivered to your residence, and then have "Working Bikes" assist you with your own build.

    That's right! You can build the bike yourself, under the tutelage of a veteran mechanic. I'm most certain that will save you a bunch of $$$!

    Working Bikes Co-op
    2434 S. Western Avenue
    Chicago, IL., 60608
    (773) 847-5440

    Just ask for:

    Manager: Paul Fitzgerald

    Mechanic: Alan Lloyd

    Mechanic: Aaron Brown

    PS.

    *Since it takes a slow but busy veteran mechanic less than 2 hours to build a bike, it should take a complete novice less than six hours.
    Last edited by WestPablo; 06-14-14 at 06:01 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks WestPablo! I'll have to get in touch with them. I found a Soma build here: Adrenaline Bikes

    So this at least gives me a baseline.

    Shimano 2014 105 build kit $1,299



    Shimano 105: derailleurs, crankset, shifters, brakes, cassette, and chain. FSA Omega black handle bar, FSA OS190 black stem, FSA SL280 black seatpost. Saddle: Selle Italia Q-Bik. Wheelset: Fulcrum-5 1760g black (Or for +$99 Vuelta 1570g black Corsa Lite wheels), Panaracer Stradius 240g kevlar bead tires/tubes. (Or Conti GP 4000S +$79.) Cinelli Cork black tape. (Or white, red, blue, yellow or celeste.) Cane Creek 40 Series headset. (Or Cane Creek 110 for +$99.)


    Lugged paint-matched Smoothie ES fork $129.00
    Total $1,827.00

    So what I'd need to do - correct me if I'm wrong - is order a frame, groupset, and fork - along with some of the items listed above? I just don't know if I have enough time to devote to researching every component and aspect. I start this long-ass commute soon and I don't know if I can swing ordering this stuff myself.

    Also, how much would I save by going to Working Bikes as opposed to having an LBS do it? Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    The soma double cross is a really fine all around bike. It will make an ace commuter and makes for a fine road bike as well. It is one of my all time favorite bikes:

    IMG_0079.jpg

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    I went with a custom Gunnar with collaboration from my LBS and Richard Schwinn from Waterford/Gunnar. Sport with 210mm cranks. Ping me with any ?s I have an extra set of 210 cranks from HSC that could be for sale - compact that could be converted to triple according to Tom from HSC.


    Funnar.jpg

  8. #8
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    my recommendation
    is to figure out why you are uncomfortable on the Fuji

    for instance
    experiment with different stems and bar height and saddle position

    when you have it dialled in for comfort
    take measurements
    and compare to the published geometry for the frames on your short list
    and select the frame and components to match what you need

  9. #9
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    SOMA ES is where I'd look at your height and wanting a rack for a bit of a load, can run good sized tires for the crappy midwest roads

    if you want to ride all year you might consider the surly straggler... the discs would be good for snow/rain and allow you to run largish studded tires in winter if needed.
    mtbr clyd moderator

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    Ugh. Rough day. Settled on a Soma ES. Went to three different bike shops today cause each one seemed not to know what to do or couldn't give me a clear answer on frame size.

    Bike shop #1 seemed to be the most thorough. The guy there was really nice and seemed knowledgeable - although he did say, "Don't read anything on the internet..." but then he tried to gauge my fit by having me ride a 61cm Felt Alum RoadBike with a similar ETT as a 62cm Soma. I did't understand this and was frustrated a bit when at the end of an hour he was positive I need a 62cm Soma ES frame. He was of the opinion that my arms are proportionally too short. (62cm? I'm 6'7" remember). This guy also dismissed out of hand going with cranks longer than 175. Decided to do another LBS. I will say that this is the only shop that actually gave me a quote today.

    Bike shop #2 : Mechanic was real nice - but was clear that he wasn't a sales person. This was the biggest waste of time as he just kept thumbing through the Soma catalog. I should have bailed, but I was trying to be polite. He took my name and number.

    Bike shop #3 : Once again, a sales person who was so nice - but just gave me kind of a run around. This girl was very nice and she seemed to comprehend my impatience at this point. NOTE >> I up front asked her if there was a better time to come back - a time when someone was there who could help me order a Soma ES -- and she talked me out of this. She measured my current bike and we talked forever about this and that ruminating without a clear direction on various measurements. She said I needed to be patient - that these things take days to put together the right order. She seemed not really know what components to order and so I pointed her to some builds I'd seen on Soma's site and on Adreneline bikes. She became convinced that I need a 64cm frame. Another sales girl (this one very nice too) - came over and became convinced that I need a 66cm frame. Everyone was so nice - but after about an hour the original girl said a guy who's built a Soma recently would be in tomorrow and that I should stop by then. I tried not to get riled up - but that's exactly what I asked her in the first place. These folks said it'd be 75 to do a "pro-fitting".

    I think I'm going to go with bike shop #3 simply because they want to put me on a frame that's 64cm or above. Should I at this point just bite the bullet and get a fitting so people stop guessing about what size bike I need?

  11. #11
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by illusiumd View Post
    The guy there was really nice and seemed knowledgeable - although he did say, "Don't read anything on the internet..."

    Bike shop #3 : Once again, a sales person who was so nice - but just gave me kind of a run around. This girl was very nice and she seemed to comprehend my impatience at this point. NOTE >> I up front asked her if there was a better time to come back - a time when someone was there who could help me order a Soma ES -- and she talked me out of this. She measured my current bike and we talked forever about this and that ruminating without a clear direction on various measurements. She said I needed to be patient - that these things take days to put together the right order. She seemed not really know what components to order and so I pointed her to some builds I'd seen on Soma's site and on Adreneline bikes. She became convinced that I need a 64cm frame. Another sales girl (this one very nice too) - came over and became convinced that I need a 66cm frame. Everyone was so nice - but after about an hour the original girl said a guy who's built a Soma recently would be in tomorrow and that I should stop by then. I tried not to get riled up - but that's exactly what I asked her in the first place. These folks said it'd be 75 to do a "pro-fitting".

    I think I'm going to go with bike shop #3 simply because they want to put me on a frame that's 64cm or above. Should I at this point just bite the bullet and get a fitting so people stop guessing about what size bike I need?
    the anti internet thing isn't uncommon, tons of misinformation that he hears day in and day out i'm sure solidify his thoughts on that

    as for sizing... where do you live? I know in a lot of big cities you can get some serious fitters even before you have a bike... they set you on a super adjustable stationary bike, sometimes with little balls and lazers and several cameras to read angles and such, old school shops use angle measuring tools instead... fitting is big enough here in the Houston area that I know of several shops that do this and even one that ONLY does this (doesn't sell bikes) it's $275 for the "I don't have a bike" fit option and the idea is to help you narrow down what bikes would be most ideal for you... when you buy one you take it back to him and he dials in everything based on the measurements he go on the fit machine

    as for the ES... i'm still keen on picking up one myself... they are avl now in complete bikes but only up to 60cm from what I can see...
    mtbr clyd moderator

  12. #12
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    Here's a link to Richard's post on Gunnar's site: Getting Cranky

  13. #13
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    My vote would be for the bike that "fits you" the best.

    To that end, you first need to determine your X,Y fit dimensions. At our size body morphology can vary tremendously. If you're considering spending money on a custom frame or on putting together a bike from a bare frame, and if you don't already know exactly where you want your saddle and bars, a good and thorough fitting is the place to start before you start ordering a frame that may or may not fit you. I don't know the fitters in Chicago. But, getting a good independent fit that determines your X,Y coordinates will be a good starting point from which to identify which frame will fit you best. Or, what dimensions you might want a frame built to.

    Since you don't already know exactly what you want fit wise, a custom frame may be a bit premature. A 747, Soma or Surly may represent a reasonable starting point.

    But. Starting with knowing what dimensions you need and want. Don't expect the average shop employee to get that right by eyeballing you.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    Don't expect the average shop employee to get that right by eyeballing you.
    Yes, I agree whole-heartedly.

    I went in to bike shop #4 and the first thing the guy there did was put me on my current bike and take some measurements. He was the only person to get out the tape measure and jot down numbers!! He showed me the numbers he entered into "Bike-CAD". Turns out my arms are little shorter proportionally speaking. So even though I sort of had my heart set on 66cm frame (and I realize I have no basis for this) - he talked me into a 64cm frame. He argued that with a 66 he'd have to fit it with a very short stem to get it comfy for me - that with a shorter top tube there's a lot more wiggle room as far as adjusting the cockpit - although he's going to have to put spacers on the stem. He really took some time with me. So with this bike shop, I walked in at 10:15 - got measured (not sure if this a "pro fit" or not), talked it over, put down a deposit and left by noon.

    Here's the build:

    Soma Smoothie fork Cappuchino 43mm rake
    SRAM Apex Road Group
    Soma ES Frame Cappuchino 64cm
    Dimension Road Rear Wheel 700c 36h Shimano Tiagra / Mavic Open Sport Silver 1
    Dimension Road Front Wheel 700c Shimano Tiagra / Mavic Open Sport Silver 1
    Continental Ultra Sport Tire 700x28c Black Steel
    Kona Road Bar Blk 31.8 44cm
    Q-Tubes 700c x 28-32mm 32mm Presta Valve Tube 128g
    Velox 17mm Rim Tape roll per wheel
    XLC Cork Gel Handlebar Tape Black
    90mm; 83/97 Degree; 31.8; Black Dimension Threadless Stem
    Kalloy 27.2 x 350mm Black seatpost
    WTB Speed V Comp Black Saddle Steel Rail
    XLC Alloy MTB Pedal

  15. #15
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    I am 6'6'' and 300+ and the LHT 64cm fits me perfectly! Hope it helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lurch0038 View Post
    I am 6'6'' and 300+ and the LHT 64cm fits me perfectly! Hope it helps.
    That does help! Thanks It's good to know that a 64cm bike (even if the LHT is obviously different in some ways) fits us folks. 66cm must be 6'8" and up?

  17. #17
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    Height is not a direct correlation to frame size. I'm 6'8" and have road bikes ranging from 64 to 66 and have comfortably ridden 61's... Stack and reach are where it's at, IMHO.

  18. #18
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laxpatrick View Post
    Height is not a direct correlation to frame size. I'm 6'8" and have road bikes ranging from 64 to 66 and have comfortably ridden 61's... Stack and reach are where it's at, IMHO.
    I agree... if only more companies would move to that as a standard form of measurement :-/
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by illusiumd View Post
    Yes, I agree whole-heartedly.

    I went in to bike shop #4 and the first thing the guy there did was put me on my current bike and take some measurements. He was the only person to get out the tape measure and jot down numbers!! He showed me the numbers he entered into "Bike-CAD". Turns out my arms are little shorter proportionally speaking. So even though I sort of had my heart set on 66cm frame (and I realize I have no basis for this) - he talked me into a 64cm frame. He argued that with a 66 he'd have to fit it with a very short stem to get it comfy for me - that with a shorter top tube there's a lot more wiggle room as far as adjusting the cockpit - although he's going to have to put spacers on the stem. He really took some time with me. So with this bike shop, I walked in at 10:15 - got measured (not sure if this a "pro fit" or not), talked it over, put down a deposit and left by noon.

    Here's the build:

    Soma Smoothie fork Cappuchino 43mm rake
    SRAM Apex Road Group
    Soma ES Frame Cappuchino 64cm
    Dimension Road Rear Wheel 700c 36h Shimano Tiagra / Mavic Open Sport Silver 1
    Dimension Road Front Wheel 700c Shimano Tiagra / Mavic Open Sport Silver 1
    Continental Ultra Sport Tire 700x28c Black Steel
    Kona Road Bar Blk 31.8 44cm
    Q-Tubes 700c x 28-32mm 32mm Presta Valve Tube 128g
    Velox 17mm Rim Tape roll per wheel
    XLC Cork Gel Handlebar Tape Black
    90mm; 83/97 Degree; 31.8; Black Dimension Threadless Stem
    Kalloy 27.2 x 350mm Black seatpost
    WTB Speed V Comp Black Saddle Steel Rail
    XLC Alloy MTB Pedal
    Quote Originally Posted by lurch0038 View Post
    I am 6'6'' and 300+ and the LHT 64cm fits me perfectly! Hope it helps.
    Quote Originally Posted by illusiumd View Post
    That does help! Thanks It's good to know that a 64cm bike (even if the LHT is obviously different in some ways) fits us folks. 66cm must be 6'8" and up?
    Quote Originally Posted by laxpatrick View Post
    Height is not a direct correlation to frame size. I'm 6'8" and have road bikes ranging from 64 to 66 and have comfortably ridden 61's... Stack and reach are where it's at, IMHO.
    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    I agree... if only more companies would move to that as a standard form of measurement :-/
    As everyone is pointing out, height and frame size are not directly related. For example, I have a friend who is less than an inch taller than me and we can't ride each other's bike, at all. His has such long reach that I can't reach his hoods or drops at all and am limited to his tops. While he finds mine way too close and cramped, with so much elbow/knee overlap that he can neither pedal nor steer effectively. At approximately 6'5" I've ridden a "63cm" Cannondale in the past. But, as Surly or Soma measure (BB center to Top of the Seat tube) that bike would be a 66cm. However, it has a 60cm top tube versus the others, which are longer.

    Stack and Reach are gaining momentum as the preferred means of defining frame size. It's taking time, but, it is happening.

    With regard to your build specs, one thing I would recommend is specifying 180mm crank arms for your Sram Apex cranks.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  20. #20
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by illusiumd View Post
    I went in to bike shop #4 and the first thing the guy there did was put me on my current bike and take some measurements. He was the only person to get out the tape measure and jot down numbers!!
    Unbelievable!

    So the first guy that actually listened to you and responded to your stated wants got your business. Hm. Interesting.

    That is not a "pro fit" by the way - that's just measuring you to get an idea of what size bike you need. Ideally, when he gets the bike he'll put you on it with different size stems and fit the bike to your preferred riding style, adjust the saddle to the right spot for you, put the cleats on your shoes in the correct position etc. Another way to do it is to put you on one of those guru fit bikes that has hydraulics to move the contact points around to determine where you make your best power, and then transfer the measurements to your own bike. Either way can be effective.

  21. #21
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    First off thanks all for your help! I'm agreeing now on all the comments concerning height and reach and comfort.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    That is not a "pro fit" by the way - that's just measuring you to get an idea of what size bike you need. Ideally, when he gets the bike he'll put you on it with different size stems and fit the bike to your preferred riding style, adjust the saddle to the right spot for you, put the cleats on your shoes in the correct position etc. Another way to do it is to put you on one of those guru fit bikes that has hydraulics to move the contact points around to determine where you make your best power, and then transfer the measurements to your own bike. Either way can be effective.
    Ugh, that's kind of tough to hear. I'm picking up the bike later today and am wondering if I should have doled out the $ for a pro fit... I'm wondering if maybe I'll just ride it for a couple weeks and then go back in if I'm not feeling comfy. The LBS guys seems really nice and they're giving me a year of service.

  22. #22
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I suggest riding it and getting acclimated. I'm not sure spending tons of money on a pro fit will necessarily benefit you now because you're not used to the activity. Your body and your preferences will change as you start to ride.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    I suggest riding it and getting acclimated. I'm not sure spending tons of money on a pro fit will necessarily benefit you now because you're not used to the activity. Your body and your preferences will change as you start to ride.
    Cool yes I agree. I just picked it up and it seems to fit pretty swell... pleased so far... excited to put it through its paces, def lighter than my old Fuji.

  24. #24
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    I'm 6'6 255 and just put a hold on a 61 All-City Space Horse that fits like a glove. Picking it up this upcoming Thurs. We're all built differently regardless of height and weight - best to find a LBS you trust IMHO....

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