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Old 08-25-10, 07:27 PM   #1
LazurusTaxa
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Frame Recommendation

Hello everyone. I am looking for some frame recommendations for my new commuter build. I would like something road based and moderately aggressive, along the lines of a cross bike. Mostly, this bike will be used for my 13 mile commute via bike paths, but is something I would like to be able to potentially do some short tours on. I have obviously been looking at the CrossCheck, but am wondering if there are some others i am missing. I like the braze ons for fenders and racks, with thick(er) steel tubing, capability of running 32c, and v-brake bosses. I know the LHT is another option, but based on reviews sounds like it might be a little sluggish for me.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 08-25-10, 07:38 PM   #2
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Jamis Aurora sounds like a good fit.
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Old 08-26-10, 01:15 PM   #3
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Soma Doublecross with disc brake mounts.
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Old 08-26-10, 01:47 PM   #4
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Anything will do, , sluggish is not putting the effort into the pedals ..

for wet weather stopping disc or drum brakes are the winners .

Though kool stop salmon pads on rim brakes are close.

zillion bikeshops in portland ... test ride stuff.
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Old 08-26-10, 02:10 PM   #5
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I've been hunting for something similar and have come across a very nice one called the Vassago Fisticuff...substantially lighter than the 4130 cross-check. My 4130 Karate Monkey rides like total garbage...I would NOT buy a 4130 bike again. A few friends in the c and v section recommended it and I looked at one two nights ago...it's fairly light and it rode fantastic.

I'm in love with the Gunnar frames...but it depends on your price limits and what you're looking for. I'm also a big fan of what VO does, and I think the Polyvent is fairly reeasonable.

Have you thought about a used Lemond Poprad?

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Old 08-26-10, 02:44 PM   #6
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The Doublecross, Gunnar, and Propad all sound great. I actually already have one Gunnar, a roadie, and love it... Amazing frame. I am a little worried about the thinwall steel tubes though.. I want something that can take a beating and I wont have to worry about riding in the rain (yea, i know about framesaver). I am really drawn to the crosscheck because of its relatively low cost.. $420 for a frameset is pretty hard to beat, though I would honestly prefer picking up used stuff
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Old 08-26-10, 02:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by LazurusTaxa View Post
The Doublecross, Gunnar, and Propad all sound great. I actually already have one Gunnar, a roadie, and love it... Amazing frame. I am a little worried about the thinwall steel tubes though.. I want something that can take a beating and I wont have to worry about riding in the rain (yea, i know about framesaver). I am really drawn to the crosscheck because of its relatively low cost.. $420 for a frameset is pretty hard to beat, though I would honestly prefer picking up used stuff
The Vassago was in the same price range and the weight was a lot better. Check one out...I think you'll be pleased. Another possibility is an older Bianchi Volpe (there's one currently for sale on the c and v section, not sure if it sold). I almost never buy new and have been very pleased with the results of rehoming better bikes at lower prices. I rode a friend's cross check briefly and liked it...but my Karate Monkey has soured me on Surly. Another guy I know has the Soma...that baby was SWEET!

Have you considered a Raleigh International? I LOVE mine...though they're often pricey. I mean an old one...not the newly released tribute one.

Honestly...I still think the perfect commuter bike (except cost) would be titanium. At some point I'd like to get a Spectrum ti built with clearance for 32c tires, fenders and rack mounts. Essentially I want a modern, titanium version (maybe internally geared) of my Raleigh Intl.

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Old 08-26-10, 06:35 PM   #8
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The Vassago was in the same price range and the weight was a lot better.
Not to quibble, but according to the respective web sites a 54cm Fisticuff (546mm top tube) weighs 4.4 pounds, while a a 52cm Cross Check (545mm top tube) weighs 4.57 pounds. The Fisticuff is lighter, but not a lot lighter.

The weight weenie in me must also note that a 54cm Soma Double Cross DC (567mm top tube) has a claimed weight of 4.2 pounds. No weight is listed for the 50cm Double Cross which is more equivalently sized (548mm top tube) to the above bikes. Of course, it's still less than half a pound lighter.
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Old 08-26-10, 06:38 PM   #9
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Not to quibble, but according to the respective web sites a 54cm Fisticuff (546mm top tube) weighs 4.4 pounds, while a a 52cm Cross Check (545mm top tube) weighs 4.57 pounds. The Fisticuff is lighter, but not a lot lighter.

The weight weenie in me must also note that a 54cm Soma Double Cross DC (567mm top tube) has a claimed weight of 4.2 pounds. No weight is listed for the 50cm Double Cross which is more equivalently sized (548mm top tube) to the above bikes. Of course, it's still less than half a pound lighter.
Not quibbling at all, and I'm NOT a weight weenie. The fisticuff felt and rode lighter...maybe it was my internal and current anti-Surly bias. I think our preconceived attitudes and opinions about bikes and frames changes our view of them a LOT.

If that's true, the weight is certainly not significant. I honestly don't have enough experience with either bike to truly have an opinion...and I don't recall which tires either had, so who knows what differences were the frame anyway. I do have an opinion on the Karate Monkey because I've ridden it enough to say it rides like a cannondale (which is NOT a compliment). I would avoid frames from that material again because of this experience. I also thought the Fisticuff looked a little more polished, and it's not as common as the Cross Check.
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Old 08-26-10, 06:47 PM   #10
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Salsa Casseroll, Soma ES - if you're willing to forego the 32s.

V-brakes? I dunno.
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Old 08-26-10, 08:29 PM   #11
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If that's true, the weight is certainly not significant. I honestly don't have enough experience with either bike to truly have an opinion...and I don't recall which tires either had, so who knows what differences were the frame anyway. I do have an opinion on the Karate Monkey because I've ridden it enough to say it rides like a cannondale (which is NOT a compliment). I would avoid frames from that material again because of this experience. I also thought the Fisticuff looked a little more polished, and it's not as common as the Cross Check.
A surprising number of things can change the way a bike feels. I originally built up my Cross Check as a fixie, and I thought it felt sluggish compared to the '77 Gitane conversion I had been riding. So I rebuilt it 2x10 with a 46-36 crankset. For a while I used mostly the 36T ring and didn't like it like this a lot either. Then I started using the bigger chain ring more and suddenly it felt quick. Recently, I swapped in a 50-39-30 triple, and now I absolutely love it.

I guess I'm ultimately saying the same thing you are, assuming you are essentially saying, "You just never know."

With regard to frame material, my understanding is that 4130 and Reynolds 520 are essentially the same material -- the Reynolds is just a branded tubing. Different bikes made with 4130 can have totally different feel (and weight) depending on how the tubes are butted and shaped, not to mention the geometry. I have a Marin Muirwoods 29er made of 4130 that weighs around 30 pounds and rides like a tank, whereas my Cross Check (also 4130, of course) weighs around 22 pounds and feels pretty snappy (to me).

Of course, you're right that Cross Checks are a bit ubiquitous.
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Old 08-26-10, 09:15 PM   #12
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A surprising number of things can change the way a bike feels. I originally built up my Cross Check as a fixie, and I thought it felt sluggish compared to the '77 Gitane conversion I had been riding. So I rebuilt it 2x10 with a 46-36 crankset. For a while I used mostly the 36T ring and didn't like it like this a lot either. Then I started using the bigger chain ring more and suddenly it felt quick. Recently, I swapped in a 50-39-30 triple, and now I absolutely love it.

I guess I'm ultimately saying the same thing you are, assuming you are essentially saying, "You just never know."

With regard to frame material, my understanding is that 4130 and Reynolds 520 are essentially the same material -- the Reynolds is just a branded tubing. Different bikes made with 4130 can have totally different feel (and weight) depending on how the tubes are butted and shaped, not to mention the geometry. I have a Marin Muirwoods 29er made of 4130 that weighs around 30 pounds and rides like a tank, whereas my Cross Check (also 4130, of course) weighs around 22 pounds and feels pretty snappy (to me).

Of course, you're right that Cross Checks are a bit ubiquitous.
We definitely agree on nearly everything. I know from experience that tires probably make more difference than anything else but frame fit. Everything goes into the ride equation, and it's possible that my different use of the KM is contributing to the harsh ride (it's not really a commuter frame). My gut reaction is that Surlys tend to run heavy...the LHT is a BEAST, it must be double my touring frame...the KM is monstrous too. My memories of the Cross Check were that it was heavy as well...but I only rode one once and I don't remember the build.

I'm much more of a vintage guy. Reynolds 520? It's 11 less than 531, it must not be as good 4130 has two things working against it...I don't know much about it (ARGHHH, it's new and scary! and it's TIG'D! BURN IT!) and the only bike I really know made with it rides poorly.

Whatever my biases and opinions are, it can't hurt to give the OP another less well known option.
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Old 08-26-10, 11:34 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=Andy_K;11361833Of course, you're right that Cross Checks are a bit ubiquitous.[/QUOTE]

For a reason. The Cross-Check is exceptionally versatile and tough as nails.
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