Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    meaculpa
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    07 Bianchi Volpe
    Posts
    224
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Trying to choose a new frame

    My needs:
    1. A year round commuter:1/2 road + 1/2 gravel; 2. capacity for lightish touring loads (including tent for example) with handlebar bag or wald basket ie low-trail, and good enough for some novice randonneuring.

    My former ride, now broken, was a 2007 Bianchi Volpe. Really loved that bike but then, I thought, maybe I should try other frames. The Volpe had performance but I carried a full camping load Pittsburgh to DC and it handled great. The bike felt better even when I strapped 30% of the load to the handlebars, fit a tent+bag btwn the drops, the bike tracked like a caddy. Unfortunately, I cannot get a volpe frame/fork only...thus...

    The budget for a new frame/fork is @ $1000. Or I could go over to a whole new complete bike, stretch/break my budget. Or I can work towards having two bikes...

    The frames I'm looking at are mostly 700c all-rounder bikes: All-City Space Horse, Novara Randonee, Soma Double-Cross, Rawland, VO Polyvalent...so far...

    The VO would push me into 650b which, I admit, is a fascinating alternative. The Volpe had 38mm tires (Compass Barlow's) and I favor +32 sized tires for comfort and versitility. The Soma GR seems too flexible for light touring as does the (out of budget range) Boulder All-Road and other randonneur style frames.

    The Space-Horse comes as frame/fork for $600 from a local shop, it sits top of my list so far.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Medford, MA
    My Bikes
    Nishiki Bel-Air, Brompton P6L, Seven Resolute SLX
    Posts
    323
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
    My needs:
    1. A year round commuter:1/2 road + 1/2 gravel; 2. capacity for lightish touring loads (including tent for example) with handlebar bag or wald basket ie low-trail, and good enough for some novice randonneuring.

    My former ride, now broken, was a 2007 Bianchi Volpe. Really loved that bike but then, I thought, maybe I should try other frames. The Volpe had performance but I carried a full camping load Pittsburgh to DC and it handled great. The bike felt better even when I strapped 30% of the load to the handlebars, fit a tent+bag btwn the drops, the bike tracked like a caddy. Unfortunately, I cannot get a volpe frame/fork only...thus...

    The budget for a new frame/fork is @ $1000. Or I could go over to a whole new complete bike, stretch/break my budget. Or I can work towards having two bikes...

    The frames I'm looking at are mostly 700c all-rounder bikes: All-City Space Horse, Novara Randonee, Soma Double-Cross, Rawland, VO Polyvalent...so far...

    The VO would push me into 650b which, I admit, is a fascinating alternative. The Volpe had 38mm tires (Compass Barlow's) and I favor +32 sized tires for comfort and versitility. The Soma GR seems too flexible for light touring as does the (out of budget range) Boulder All-Road and other randonneur style frames.

    The Space-Horse comes as frame/fork for $600 from a local shop, it sits top of my list so far.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
    The Gunnar CrossHairs is $900 frame/$300 fork (it was cheaper years ago when I looked at it) and a great frame in that range too. (I will caveat that I have never found Bianchi's to feel comfortable, including the time I test-rode a Volpe, so you may have the opposite reaction to bikes I find comfy.)

  3. #3
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbus, Indiana
    My Bikes
    too many/not enough
    Posts
    1,510
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'd stick with 700c. Fascinating tire sizes are great until you try to buy tires, or need assistance on the road. Plenty of 700c tire options, and on a brevet the chances of someone being able to help with a tube or even tire are best with 700c.

    IMO the rest is so personal it's impossible to provide guidance. For example, I consdier fenders a must but others consider them unnecessary at best.
    What is bicycle touring?
    "So I kept looking and eventually found that a spark plug had same threads. So I cycled next two days until I got to Jackson, MS with a spark plug instead of right pedal." - mev

  4. #4
    meaculpa
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    07 Bianchi Volpe
    Posts
    224
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    I'd stick with 700c. Fascinating tire sizes are great until you try to buy tires, or need assistance on the road. Plenty of 700c tire options, and on a brevet the chances of someone being able to help with a tube or even tire are best with 700c.

    IMO the rest is so personal it's impossible to provide guidance. For example, I consdier fenders a must but others consider them unnecessary at best.
    DwnTb: I agree wholeheartedly on perception of individual experience, it is folly to expect someone to have "the answer" to a personal preference. However, that isn't my expectation, I'm more interested in others experiences. I expect that only experimentation will get me close to satisfaction.

    Also, having clearance for fenders + larger tires is a must in my current search. If someone tried a frame that takes 35 or 38 tires, hauls some gear and still rides fast, that is the direction I'm going.

    The Gunnar CrossHair might come close to the mark. I wonder, does it handle significantly better loaded / unloaded than the Space Horse? It all seems like a leap of faith. Soooo many steel bikes...

  5. #5
    Randomhead
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    12,378
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The space horse is a nice bike, and cheap. If you want to do a lot of long distance, I would probably go with the VO out of that list. My reasoning is that a traditional front bag is nice.

    if you get 650b, you have to bring a spare. Don't go for the Grand Bois extra leger versions and you will be ok. If you use the EL variety, bring two spares. Of course, I have seen an EL blow in such a way that it took out the frame.

    I carry a spare anyway, I don't think it's that big of a deal. I was on a 200k one time and a rider got a couple of flats in quick succession. He said he was going to dnf, because he needed a new tire. Turned out that everyone but him in our group had a spare tire, so he finished
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

  6. #6
    meaculpa
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    07 Bianchi Volpe
    Posts
    224
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Choosing a new frame comes down to practical vs aspirational. I get more inspired by Bike Quarterly's reviews than maybe I should since my needs are best served by a 700c all-rounder like a Double Cross or the Space Horse. VO's Polyvalent seems to serve multiple purposes as its name implies, 650b notwithstanding. I've always carried a spare tire & tube on my mountain bike, my hybrid and my Volpe commuter. So to Unterhausen's suggestion, that would be exactly my backup plan.

  7. #7
    Randomhead
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    12,378
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm trying to decide if I will ride this weekend's 200k on my All City Macho Man. It's a nice bike, maybe a little eyelet-deficient. Worked great on the gravel 200k I did 2 weeks ago

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    My Bikes
    SOMA Grand Randonneur, Gunnar Sport converted to 650B, Rivendell Rambouillet, '82 Trek 728, '84 Trek 610, '85 Trek 500, C'Dale F600, Burley Duet, Lotus Legend
    Posts
    845
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
    Choosing a new frame comes down to practical vs aspirational. I get more inspired by Bike Quarterly's reviews than maybe I should since my needs are best served by a 700c all-rounder like a Double Cross or the Space Horse. VO's Polyvalent seems to serve multiple purposes as its name implies, 650b notwithstanding. I've always carried a spare tire & tube on my mountain bike, my hybrid and my Volpe commuter. So to Unterhausen's suggestion, that would be exactly my backup plan.
    The Soma GR has pretty beefy forks and stays, I think it'd be fine for light touring. The fork has both a rack braze-on and a mid-fork "hole" where you can screw in a bolt for a pannier rack.

    Since switching to 650B in 2010, I have rarely carried a spare tire (I did on PBP in 2011). I've never needed to borrow a tire or inner tubes from anyone. I carry two innertubes and a "real" patch kit with glue, plus some of the "instant" self-glue patches. Maybe I'm just less risk averse than some, but it's my experience that 650B's don't get as many flats and are less susceptible to tread-cuts. I've ridden my 650B's on a total of 25 miles of gravel on this year's brevets. I did decide to carry a spare Pari-Moto during the 300km where we rode 20 miles of gravel, but on the fleche where I rode five miles I just took some tire boots made from a cut-up older Pari-Moto.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Des Moines, Ia
    My Bikes
    Trek 1.5, Fisher HK2
    Posts
    34
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Check out the Surly Straggler. Excellent all around bike. I got mine a week ago and love how it handles gravel and crushed rock trails and yet moves fairly fast on hard surfaces

    Mike

  10. #10
    meaculpa
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    07 Bianchi Volpe
    Posts
    224
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I'm trying to decide if I will ride this weekend's 200k on my All City Macho Man. It's a nice bike, maybe a little eyelet-deficient. Worked great on the gravel 200k I did 2 weeks ago
    Today stopped by the shop to talk frame options/ideas. I pitched the Polyvalent 650b alternative. The mechanic I know there had ridden it once and was very positive, said it was super comfy and not slow. Another person I know there pointed out that I should try the Macho Man as an all-rounder she's really excited about (specifically likes it more than the SpaceHorse frame). But the MM doesn't fit my bill precisely for the lack of eyelets. We discussed a number of other frames like the AWOL, Gunnar Sport, ....

    So... my next project will be putting together a Polyvalent component build list (minus the volpe's handlebars, Tiagra brake/shifter set-up, seat post, carradice bag & b17 saddle) just so the shop can give me an estimate. Not that I've chosen the Polyvalent. I could sub in the Soma GR as the frame for instance. But I feel like I need a number $$$. The 650 option will run me over budget for certain.

    In the meantime, I plan to retest the SpcHorse, the ubiquitous Cross Check (didn't like it in '07 so no expectations), Jamis Aurora (also tested in '07), the Novara Randonee (again) and anything else I can get my hands on. Pittsburgh has a few bike shops but these have some overlap in models.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    The Pearl of the Pacific, Mexico
    My Bikes
    '12 Rodriguez UTB Custom, '83 Miyata 610, '83 Nishiki Century Mixte (Work of Art), '06 Specialized Epic Marathon MTB
    Posts
    1,075
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I am assuming you already have your 700c wheels from your Volpe. The extra expense on a new wheelset (i.e., if you go with a 650b frame set) can be significant, plus I don't believe you will gain much as far the feel/handling of the bike. So, I will suggest that what you're going to spend on new wheels, you should consider spending it on a better frame. It might be difficult to find everything you listed in an off-the-rack frameset. It's likely that a particular model might get really close, but not quite. So, along the lines of a custom Gunnar, I also recommend a Rodriguez (AKA R+E Cycles.) They are based in Seattle so they know a thing or two about frames for long distance, commuting and off-road riding. I think either their Rainier or Adventure models might work for you. These framesets (fork + frame) are between $300 and $500 over your budget. What you gain is tangible in regard to handling and features of the bikes. For instance, the guys at R+E will gladly rake your fork to your liking. I personally prefer fork trail right around 55-57mm which makes for fun handling with or without front bag, but they will do anything you want. Since they will be working on your bike from scratch, you can also ask them to adjust the length of the chainstays, clearance for wider tires and other features to meet your cycling needs. Let's not forget that the entire frame is USA-made from nice Reynolds 725 tubing. This, IMHO, is a better investment than focusing on wheel size or compromising on the frame features.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    northern Deep South
    My Bikes
    Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee
    Posts
    1,741
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    if you get 650b, you have to bring a spare. Don't go for the Grand Bois extra leger versions and you will be ok. If you use the EL variety, bring two spares. Of course, I have seen an EL blow in such a way that it took out the frame.
    Took out the frame?? What do we have to do to persuade you to tell that story?

  13. #13
    Randomhead
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    12,378
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I wish I had pics of that disaster. Lots of things failed other than the tire, so it was hard to tell what went first. Steel frame, repairable, not cheap to fix. It was during a brevet, so after finding out the rider didn't need any help that we could give him, we moved on. I know the rider involved no longer uses the EL tires, but is happy as a clam with the heavier ones. Very fast rider. I don't see any good reason to use anything but robust tires while randonneuring, but I'm going for finishes, not time
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

  14. #14
    meaculpa
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    07 Bianchi Volpe
    Posts
    224
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I wish I had pics of that disaster. Lots of things failed other than the tire, so it was hard to tell what went first. Steel frame, repairable, not cheap to fix. It was during a brevet, so after finding out the rider didn't need any help that we could give him, we moved on. I know the rider involved no longer uses the EL tires, but is happy as a clam with the heavier ones. Very fast rider. I don't see any good reason to use anything but robust tires while randonneuring, but I'm going for finishes, not time
    I bought the GB EL tires, pair of the 30mm (measures 33 actually) and ripped the sidewall on the rear immediately riding through some rail ballast, replaced it months later with the 38 Barlow which appears to be slight different construction, more robust I think. Rode that combination 4-5 months, no problems. Despite the initial failure, I really like those tires, they smoothed out my ride considerably.

  15. #15
    meaculpa
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    07 Bianchi Volpe
    Posts
    224
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Chris - thanks for the suggestion re: Rodriguez and the calculation of expense of the 650b platform. Actually, I spoke with a guy at R+E, Smiley, last Monday and he said the Adventure would be the frame that fit my needs. We had to put the conversation on hold until next week, too busy with work on my end. It was interesting, I have a head full of misconceptions and talking to a frame builder requires some serious homework on my part I realize.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    820
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If there is a local shop that carries the Handsome Cycles Devil, you might give one of those a test ride. The bare frameset is pretty reasonable and it's a fairly sporty yet rugged bike. If I had the funds, I would go with R&E as Chris suggested. In fact, I've communicated a bit with the owner and I was impressed. My problem right now is that I don't know exactly what I want in a bike so I'm taking time to figure that out. Then I'll start saving my pennies and my dimes.
    Currently riding a 2013 Handsome Devil custom build and an 80's Takara Highlander (MTB built in the style of an 82-84 Stumpjumper).

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •