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  1. #1
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    Gunnar Roadie, Bob Jackson Audax Club, Soma Smoothie ES

    Well,

    You've probably figured this out. I need some input on frame choice. I currently own a 10 year old Gunnar Roadie with carbon fork, a racy little bike built up with a triple and weighing in at 21 lbs ready to roll. It is not the same as the current crop of Gunnars, since they changed their design and tubing the next year. Maximum tire width I can install is some brands of 25's. The longest ride I've done on this bike is 120 miles, but I've put thousands of miles on the bike. In fact, the components are just about shot and and most are in need of replacement.

    At 62 years old doing the randonneuring thing is on my bucket list and there is no time like the present to start. To that end my question to the group is this: In what order would you place the frames I have listed above in terms of suitability for this sport? They all fit me. The Jackson is $800 and the Soma is $500. If I replace the Roadie with one of these, then I'll sell the Roadie. I have a carbon road bike I built up myself that has replaced the Roadie for buzzing around in fast club rides and I have no desire to do any touring.

    Thanks in advance for any and all input. The forum is excellent and and I have been reading it for quite some time and value your input. I plan to make a decision before the end of the week (it is Tuesday) and will post it here.

    Tom
    Marietta, Georgia

  2. #2
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    The Smoothie allows 32s with fenders, so I guess I'd go with that one as most suitable. I like big tires though, not everyone does.

    Really, these bikes are all very similar. What I suggest is just do a few rides with your Roadie. You won't know what you want in a rando bike until you do some randos.

  3. #3
    Senior Member lonesomesteve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    Really, these bikes are all very similar. What I suggest is just do a few rides with your Roadie. You won't know what you want in a rando bike until you do some randos.
    +1 to that. Ride what you've got. After you've finished a few brevets you'll have a much better idea of what you really want to be riding on brevets.

    Four years ago I made the mistake of buying a bike specifically for randonneuring even though I had never ridden a brevet. Three years ago after finishing my first Super Randonneur series, I sold that bike. Now many brevets later I'm still learning about what works and what doesn't, but far more of that learning has come from riding than from the advice of others on internet forums. Not that there aren't nice, smart people here. It's just that we know what works for us, but have no idea of what will work for you.
    "You can buy status, but sucking is immutable. After a certain point, upgrading only makes you suck more ostentatiously."
    -Bike Snob NYC


    My Randonneuring Blog

  4. #4
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    What's wrong with your carbon road bike? You could certainly use it for brevets, especially to start with until you get a better idea what your requirements will be. As others have said, it's best to wait and get what you know you want rather than getting something that we may think will work best for you.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  5. #5
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Milwaukee Bicycle company road frame.

    made by Waterford in the USA, LR brakes, clearance for 32c rubber, 800 bucks, something like that.

    I like the Soma ES and have ridden two successive ES framesets



    with a red one currently in the garage, but the Milwaukee LR road bike frame is very very tempting. Plus, the forks are nicer than the ones Gunnar offers with their bikes. IMO.

    If it's solely between those three framesets -not sure wether these frames are on the hook somewhere near you - I'd say, hands down, buy the ES and don't look back.

    My Soma's built up at around 21 pounds, with 28c Contis and not especially light wheels. But it rides like a Bentley -like butter. Seems I don't have any photos of my red ES on my laptop, this is the old mispainted green Smoothie ES I got for $300.
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    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-30-13 at 06:07 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  6. #6
    Randomhead
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    I've been happy with 25mm tires. My last season including an SR series, 200k's every month and a 1200k grand randonnee was done without physical issue on 700x25mm Gatorskins. My bike was designed to take 28mm tires with fenders, but I've never really felt the need to go to 28mm tires. The only time I've ever wished for bigger tires was at night on a road with potholes. Didn't have any problems, but it caused extra stress.

    Anyway, my suggestion is to try some 200k brevets with your current bike. Probably should start with fresh rubber and make sure the chain doesn't need to be replaced. I rode my first year on a '80s racing bike and it worked fine. If you really get into it, you may want to aim higher than the list in your thread title. But you will not know until you get some experience.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    What's wrong with your carbon road bike? You could certainly use it for brevets, especially to start with until you get a better idea what your requirements will be. As others have said, it's best to wait and get what you know you want rather than getting something that we may think will work best for you.
    Yea, lot sof folks use racing bikes for brevets. It just depends how you like to carry your stuff, and how you feel about big tires.

  8. #8
    Old. Slow. Happy. MileHighMark's Avatar
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    I'm exceptionally pleased with my Black Mountain Cycles frameset. Steel, clearance for 32mm tires (28 with fenders), and priced reasonably ($600).
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  9. #9
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    When anybody gives you absolutes (especially when "anybody" has never ridden more than 120miles on his bike) feel free to take that for what it's worth.

    There is a whole lot of experience on this board and there is good reason that they say to go out and ride some brevets first. You need to figure out what you want out of your riding experience. Different bikes do different things and if you pick a bike based on someone here's recommendation you are going to end up with a bike that meets their requirements not yours.

    You may decide you want a handlebar bag in which case you'll need a bike designed to carry that load. If you decide to use a rear rack then you don't need that. If you ride where it rains a lot fenders are a good idea, if not they are waste of time. There are lots of parameters that you need to decide are important or not important. There is no one bike that is the perfect brevet bike for everyone. There is only the perfect brevet bike for you and it is the one that you can ride for 1200kms, get off of feeling comfortable and can say "that was a great ride!."
    Last edited by Homeyba; 01-30-13 at 02:49 PM.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    OP -- currently 56 1/2 years-old. Started rando in April 2010. In 2009, I did one informal 200k and five other informal 100+ milers, bringing my career total to eight rides of 100 or more miles.

    Didn't get SR in 2010 because of shorts and a certain tender part having a conflict (use more chamois creme / lantisceptic / whatever, esp. when you get rained upon). Done in by HEAT on 2 attempts at 200+ km perms in July-2010. Since then:
    - R-30 as of this month,
    - 22-thousand plus RUSA credit kms, including
    - 10K-Hound last year.
    - 9200 total miles each of the last two years.
    - Oh, and I dropped about 45 pounds.

    ALL on a 2006 carbon Trek Pilot 5.0 with a triple (50/39/30) and 10 cogs in the cassette (11-25), weighing about the same as your bike. Mostly on 23's because available locally cheaper. The bike came with 25's, and I sometimes have 25's on the bike, including Gatorskin 25 on the rear for most of last year.

    I've worn out components and replaced them; ditto all the cables. I replaced the saddle last year when the one purchased Jan-2007 was shot (not a Brooks). Still stock handlebar. Had to replace the right-side brifter due to a crash. In prep for my first 400, I added 2 under-the-seat water-bottle-carriers so I can carry 4 bottles (NOTHING open between the 300-point and the 400 finish by the time I get there).

    I use a (was on-sale) $5 Nashbar handlebar bag, and for 400s & 600s, I'll carry lightweight rain and cold gear in a shoebag looped over my shoulders -- that bothers some, but it has been okay for me. I have a saddle-bag, I think the size is 75 cubic cm, with limited tools and tyre change needs. And a tyre pump attached to the down-tube -- I don't trust CO2 systems.

    The ride has almost always been comfortable. When it is not, it has been because of Bump-ass Rd or I have something else going on.


    My buddy was given a Specialized Roubaix in 2010; he was aged 61 or 62 at the time. He was just coming off doing the Boston Marathon, but hadn't been on a bike since childhood. Within a couple months, I suggested he might like randonneuring. He has switched to a compact double, put a large Carradice bag under the saddle, and whatever ... .

    Since then:
    - he failed at PBP 2011,
    - but succeeded at ToC-1200 in 2012,
    - earned his RUSA Cup in November-2012,
    - has over 14-thousand credited RUSA kms to go along with R-17 (?), and
    - also got 10K-Hound status last year (with a few more kms than me, dang him).

    =========================================================
    So ... get on that bike you've got, and see what happens.
    You've ridden it for thousands of miles, comfortably I assume.

    =========================================================
    I admit it -- put in the links just to see how many will click on them because it is cold and they need something to read, because ... .
    Last edited by skiffrun; 01-30-13 at 04:01 PM.
    Enjoy the ride.

  11. #11
    Randomhead
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    I'm not arguing against the kind of bike that some people might insist is the only suitable bike. I'm just saying that you can be comfortable on a bike that you are actually comfortable on (yes, tautology alert).
    I have an aversion to N+1 just for the sake of something you might take up in the future. I think everyone that has been around for more than a few years has seen people flame out. I think a bike is a fairly decent expense for most of us, I know it is for me. Randonneuring is expensive enough without saying that you need to buy a new bike to enjoy it. Thousands of RUSA members and randonneurs worldwide have demonstrated conclusively that you can be successful on what you currently ride. Not every pursuit needs to be done on the most optimal equipment. Find out if you enjoy it first.

    The way I read Jan Heine, the foremost proponent of traditional, large tired, small tubes, flexible steel bikes, he says that you will be more successful if you follow his example. If you want to do that, I think it's great. He certainly is much faster than I am. I am an admirer, and to some degree, a believer in what he says. Plus I like that kind of bike. I have one that's about 3/4 finished so I can report back.

  12. #12
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    why does the guy have to stick with his existing bikes if he wants to retire the gunnar and perhaps add a new bike to the stable?

    Framesets are cheap, building bikes up is fun for a lot of bicyclists. N+1 is very satisfying.

    Are there tangible differences between the three bikes he's mentioned?

    Sorry to be so off putting with my input about bikes -and the tangible differences in framesets - for long distance riding, sheesh.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-30-13 at 08:46 PM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  13. #13
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    why does the guy have to stick with his existing bikes if he wants to retire the gunnar and perhaps add a new bike to the stable? ...
    Read the post above yours... He doesn't "have to", it's what he should do.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    ...The way I read Jan Heine, the foremost proponent of traditional, large tired, small tubes, flexible steel bikes, he says that you will be more successful if you follow his example. If you want to do that, I think it's great. He certainly is much faster than I am. I am an admirer, and to some degree, a believer in what he says. Plus I like that kind of bike. I have one that's about 3/4 finished so I can report back.
    Jan is going to be faster than the majority of us no matter what he's riding. He certianly has his opinions but I think he's very NorthWest oriented in his thinking. I've had a number of discussions with him over the years. Can't wait to read your ride report and see some pics once you get it out on the road.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  15. #15
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Bekologist, please leave this thread. Thank you
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha
    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  16. #16
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    Okay folks, I'll be sticking with my Gunnar and my carbon bike and riding them. The Gunnar needs new tires and will get some new handlebar tape as well then on to the first self supported 200k in a couple of weeks. I'll follow that in a month with another 200k with more climbing.

    Anyway, if you see a grey beard on a red Gunnar Roadie riding in the Atlanta area, say hello.

    Thanks to all who chimed in.

    Tom

  17. #17
    Senior Member EdgewaterDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    Bekologist, please leave this thread. Thank you

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Jan is going to be faster than the majority of us no matter what he's riding. He certianly has his opinions but I think he's very NorthWest oriented in his thinking. I've had a number of discussions with him over the years. Can't wait to read your ride report and see some pics once you get it out on the road.
    Outside of his strong preference for fenders, it would be interesting to know what you mean by this.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-31-13 at 12:32 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Outside of his strong preference for fenders, it would be interesting to know what you mean by this.
    Don't worry, nothing awful or derogatory. It's just a regional thing. If I may type in generalities it's not just fenders. If you go to a big randonee, one with lots of participants like PBP, it's often easy to determine a region or even country, that someone came from just by the type of bike they are on and the accessories they are using. In the colder regions you often see bikes designed and built to carry more of a load with things like handlebar bags and heavier duty rack/bag combos along and more robust parts. Riders from colder climates have to carry more gear to stay comfortable and keep their bikes going while riding in less than stellar conditions. In warmer regions you see many more riders on sport geometry bikes because they aren't carrying the loads, they don't require quite so robust parts because they aren't riding in as harsh conditions on a regular basis. Riders in different regions tend to use the tool (bike) that best suits their riding environment, that's all.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  20. #20
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    What part of "please leave" was unclear?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Don't worry, nothing awful or derogatory. It's just a regional thing. If I may type in generalities it's not just fenders. If you go to a big randonee, one with lots of participants like PBP, it's often easy to determine a region or even country, that someone came from just by the type of bike they are on and the accessories they are using. In the colder regions you often see bikes designed and built to carry more of a load with things like handlebar bags and heavier duty rack/bag combos along and more robust parts. Riders from colder climates have to carry more gear to stay comfortable and keep their bikes going while riding in less than stellar conditions. In warmer regions you see many more riders on sport geometry bikes because they aren't carrying the loads, they don't require quite so robust parts because they aren't riding in as harsh conditions on a regular basis. Riders in different regions tend to use the tool (bike) that best suits their riding environment, that's all.
    One major difference I've seen lately is folks relying more and more on drop bags and support teams. My image of randonneuring is when you are truly self-sufficient, as in, you carry everything you use. I find myself in the minority, and some of the fastest riders around here use racing bikes with little in the way of cargo space and simply have their spouses or buddies meet them at controls and provide for whatever they need.

    The great thing about rando is there's room for all approaches, which is why when I talk to people about what bike to get I always advise them to consider first how they're going to handle cargo. There's very little advantage to a bike like those Jan suggests, with low trail geometry and an enormous handlebar bag if you just don't need to carry anything! Once you have your own approach figured out, then consider the sorts of roads you ride on, and how important fenders are to you. If you can figure out those things, your bike has pretty well built itself.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    ...The great thing about rando is there's room for all approaches, which is why when I talk to people about what bike to get I always advise them to consider first how they're going to handle cargo. There's very little advantage to a bike like those Jan suggests, with low trail geometry and an enormous handlebar bag if you just don't need to carry anything! Once you have your own approach figured out, then consider the sorts of roads you ride on, and how important fenders are to you. If you can figure out those things, your bike has pretty well built itself.
    Exactly
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  23. #23
    Senior Member EdgewaterDude's Avatar
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    I suppose this isn't pertaining to this thread, but..

    Your observations make an interesting point. If randonneuring is supposed to be about self sufficiency, what does it say for someone who has a crew (well, buddies/wives/husbands/partners) following with drop bags of gear/extra bikes and lots of food? I guess if you're after the fastest personal time, you're going to do what you feel is necessary - but it seems like overkill to me. I don't see much of a difference between super supported brevets on a race bike and a stage in the TDF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    One major difference I've seen lately is folks relying more and more on drop bags and support teams. My image of randonneuring is when you are truly self-sufficient, as in, you carry everything you use. I find myself in the minority, and some of the fastest riders around here use racing bikes with little in the way of cargo space and simply have their spouses or buddies meet them at controls and provide for whatever they need.

    The great thing about rando is there's room for all approaches, which is why when I talk to people about what bike to get I always advise them to consider first how they're going to handle cargo. There's very little advantage to a bike like those Jan suggests, with low trail geometry and an enormous handlebar bag if you just don't need to carry anything! Once you have your own approach figured out, then consider the sorts of roads you ride on, and how important fenders are to you. If you can figure out those things, your bike has pretty well built itself.

  24. #24
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdgewaterDude View Post
    I suppose this isn't pertaining to this thread, but..

    Your observations make an interesting point. If randonneuring is supposed to be about self sufficiency, what does it say for someone who has a crew (well, buddies/wives/husbands/partners) following with drop bags of gear/extra bikes and lots of food?
    I hear this a lot among U.S. randonneurs, and even there it's a minority opinion. The French invented randonneuring, and they are all about the club renting a camper and supporting club members at controles. There is a big line of campers on the approach to most controles on the PBP route with riders stretched out on a lawn chair being tended to. Randonneuring has its roots in racing, so there personal support is a given. I don't have personal support, but I don't see anything wrong with it at all.

    Self-supported means to me that you have to be able to get back to your car without help from the organizer(s)

    One thing I've been thinking about is for brevets with the potential of changeable weather, taking a seatpost rack and a trunk bag. I have a wonderful handlebar bag, but I've never gotten around to using it due to my cables being in the way. I don't miss it. I have a bento bag on the stem instead and a large seat bag, but that bag isn't big enough if I have to shed a lot of clothing during the day.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 02-01-13 at 12:01 PM.

  25. #25
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I have a bento bag on the stem instead and a large seat bag, but that bag isn't big enough if I have to shed a lot of clothing during the day.
    well since this thread is already off topic why don't i just go a little further

    unterhausen have you seen the seatbags styled like this?



    i'll have one i just got made and i'll have it as my main liuggage at this years CtC (where i think you'll be as well so you can take a look if your interested). is is so fuggin big i doubt i'll be filling it more than half way. seems like the perfect solution for a road bike or an mrb without all the touring luggage mounts and whatnot. after this years ride i will finally have some miles on it so i can comment beter but i can't see why i wouldn't like it.
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

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