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Old 05-27-13, 07:45 PM   #1
dvald001
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Soma Double Cross 650b w/ Discs



Spent the last week putting together this build. Normally all my bikes are set-up Retrogrouch style, but since I've been in the mood to tinker I decided to try something different. This bike is basically a series of experiments.

First, I wanted to try out 650b, and since I was already rocking a 650b wheel set I figured I might as well toss in some Grand Bois Hetres into the mix and see what all the hype is about. I also thought that going with disc brakes would open up the possibility of running 700cs and 650bs interchangeably, so I wanted to get the feel for that style of brake and with the idea of a bike that can suddenly become specialized through 5 minute wheel set changes. In addition, for the first time I Slimed my tubes and I purchased tire wipers. I'm wondering if that combination (or one alone) is enough to allow me to ride performance tires in an area known for goat head thorns.

My initial impressions about disc brakes have been negative (however, the rotor aren't set up perfectly), but I've been really happy with the tires and wheels. I'll wait a little longer and put in a couple of hundred miles on the bike before I do a follow up on how some of these components fared long term.

Last edited by dvald001; 05-27-13 at 07:47 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-28-13, 10:09 AM   #2
erg79
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Looks nice! You may want to send in some photos to the Soma blog--they often feature photos from builds that people have done.
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Old 05-30-13, 01:43 PM   #3
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That bike is beautiful. Where'd you get the chrome seat post, spacers, stem and brown leather handlebar tape? How much did you pay? I'd like to make those mods to my bike.
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Old 05-30-13, 02:02 PM   #4
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Do make sure you corner with the inside pedal Up since you lowered the BB.
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Old 05-30-13, 08:52 PM   #5
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Nice... tell us about the handlebar tape.
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Old 05-30-13, 09:13 PM   #6
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I got Avid road disks to work pretty well BUT only after I changed to MTB brake levers AND, of course, changing my bar. I had been running Dura Ace STI but I wasn't too impressed. Next up, Deore M596 hydraulic discs, they put cable discs to shame and they are about the same price as BB7s.
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Old 05-31-13, 03:42 PM   #7
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I got Avid road disks to work pretty well BUT only after I changed to MTB brake levers AND, of course, changing my bar.
Are you sure they were road/short pull? I own/have owned 8 bikes with road BB7's,and never had any issues with any of them.
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Old 05-31-13, 04:00 PM   #8
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Hmm I don't really understand the motivation. The usual reason to use 650B wheels is to allow the use of wider tires on a performance frame designed with road components in mind. The Double Cross has lots of tire clearance and is not particularly sporty...I would be surprised if the chain stays limited your crank selection.
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Old 05-31-13, 06:10 PM   #9
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Sweet bike. Please let us know how it works long-term, because I was interested in trying out this type of build for my next bike. SOMA Double-Cross disc with 650B Grand Bois Hetres
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Old 05-31-13, 08:55 PM   #10
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That bike is beautiful. Where'd you get the chrome seat post, spacers, stem and brown leather handlebar tape? How much did you pay? I'd like to make those mods to my bike.
The seatpost is a VO Grand Cru seatpost. I prefer it a lot to their uno seatpost, which is much cheaper and looks great, but keeps giving me problems with the angle of the seat shifting over time. The spacers were just silver spacers I bought off Amazon, and the brown leather bar tape is from Velo Orange as well. The tape still looks great, but it's actually 3 years old and has been used on 2 different bikes and seen 4 thousand miles. I'll always buy leather tape now, not only do I like the looks and the feel, but I like how easy it is to take off and rewrap. I'd also recommend the Adarga bar tape you can get off Amazon. It's not quite as thick, but it feels well made and looks beautiful.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:02 PM   #11
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Hmm I don't really understand the motivation. The usual reason to use 650B wheels is to allow the use of wider tires on a performance frame designed with road components in mind. The Double Cross has lots of tire clearance and is not particularly sporty...I would be surprised if the chain stays limited your crank selection.
The real purpose to go 650b was to use Grand Hetres. The tire is not only wide, but supple, provides low rolling resistance, and is lighter than any 700x42 tire out there by a large margin. There are a lot of great wide 700s if your priorities are durability, but very few that offer performance and comfort. I have a Campeur that's built for durability/reliability--I'm rocking a Marathon Mondial 700x42 and a Maxxis Overdrive (38mm) and I definitely find the Hetres to be much quicker and more comfortable.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:04 PM   #12
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Do make sure you corner with the inside pedal Up since you lowered the BB.
Yeah, I do regardless. However, the diameter of 650x42mm is actually really similar to a 700x23. The Hetres are a very tall tire.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
I got Avid road disks to work pretty well BUT only after I changed to MTB brake levers AND, of course, changing my bar. I had been running Dura Ace STI but I wasn't too impressed. Next up, Deore M596 hydraulic discs, they put cable discs to shame and they are about the same price as BB7s.
It'd be hard for me to give up drop bars. Love em too much. So far I'm not blown away by the disc brakes, but I am glad that they let me run different wheel sizes and use 650b Hetres. To be honest, the CR720s cantilevers I have on my other bike have a ton of stopping power and I'm not really sold on the idea that disc brakes really offer superior performance. My LBS is adjusting my disc brakes right now though, so maybe I'll have a different opinion after a good ride with fully adjusted brakes.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:09 PM   #14
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Nice... tell us about the handlebar tape.
It's VO Leather bar tape. More than 4k miles on em and they're still going strong!
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Old 05-31-13, 10:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by dvald001 View Post
The real purpose to go 650b was to use Grand Hetres. The tire is not only wide, but supple, provides low rolling resistance, and is lighter than any 700x42 tire out there by a large margin. There are a lot of great wide 700s if your priorities are durability, but very few that offer performance and comfort. I have a Campeur that's built for durability/reliability--I'm rocking a Marathon Mondial 700x42 and a Maxxis Overdrive (38mm) and I definitely find the Hetres to be much quicker and more comfortable.
Ah I see. Nice bike
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Old 05-31-13, 10:40 PM   #16
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Wow. That looks awesome! Nice build! I've been curious about 27.5 wheels on a similar bike for a commuter--it's a great "compromise" size on my mountain bike too.
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Old 06-01-13, 09:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by dvald001 View Post
It'd be hard for me to give up drop bars. Love em too much. So far I'm not blown away by the disc brakes, but I am glad that they let me run different wheel sizes and use 650b Hetres. To be honest, the CR720s cantilevers I have on my other bike have a ton of stopping power and I'm not really sold on the idea that disc brakes really offer superior performance. My LBS is adjusting my disc brakes right now though, so maybe I'll have a different opinion after a good ride with fully adjusted brakes.
Road cable disc brakes have more ultimate stopping power than rim brakes. But, they are not as nice to use in less than hard braking applications which is the vast majority of the time. I notice this every time I ride my road bike with dual pivot calipers.

I dumped the drop bar but that doesn't mean I'm using a flat or riser bar. I'm using an upside down Wald #8095 "three speed" bar. I am no stranger to drop bars, I used them for 20 years. The Wald is a better setup, more comfortable, more leverage at the cranks. I have them set up very aggressively, similar to riding the drops. I don't miss the tops or hoods at all. They look freaking cool, a "scorcher" like look.

Another cool thing about the Walds is that they are compatible with MTB controls (22.2 vs. 23.8mm). I see this as a big advantage. MTB brake levers work the road discs better. Shifting with the Dura Ace is vague by comparison, especially in the dirt (my commuter bike is a monstercross).
And, I can use hydraulics. I used to think they had no advantage until I tried the latest Shimano dual piston discs. There has never been brakes like these, Shimano has risen to the top of the heap. They respond to the lightest touch and they are so strong, and smooth. True one finger braking in any situation at a BB7 price.

Last edited by GeoKrpan; 06-01-13 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 06-01-13, 09:27 AM   #18
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I'm pretty grouchy myself, but I have come around to disk brakes (they're on 66.6% of my bikes now). They are pretty sensitive to set up though, so take the time to do it right (I'm sure the park tool website has a decent walkthrough). Be aware that mechanical disks require different pad spacing than hydros do. Also, disk pads do require a decent amount of "break in" time, so if they're brand new, give it a bit, they'll get better.

Nice to hear about your experience with leather bar tape. I'm about to swap bars and re-wrap so I'll keep this in mind. How does leather compare to traditional tape in terms of comfort/cushiness?
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Old 06-01-13, 09:51 AM   #19
dvald001
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I'm pretty grouchy myself, but I have come around to disk brakes (they're on 66.6% of my bikes now). They are pretty sensitive to set up though, so take the time to do it right (I'm sure the park tool website has a decent walkthrough). Be aware that mechanical disks require different pad spacing than hydros do. Also, disk pads do require a decent amount of "break in" time, so if they're brand new, give it a bit, they'll get better.

Nice to hear about your experience with leather bar tape. I'm about to swap bars and re-wrap so I'll keep this in mind. How does leather compare to traditional tape in terms of comfort/cushiness?
It's not nearly as cushy as cork, but better than cloth tape. I'd say it's comparable to Fizik tape. I can ride without gloves for up to 20 miles but after that I like to have some padding in my hands.
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