Need advice on steel CX frames (has Soma got around to improving their welds?!)
I'm looking for a decent CX frame, preferably steel. I thought I was set on a Soma Double Cross, but I've seen quite a few reviewers complaining about the welds just snapping (seatstay, chainstay, head tube). One from something as simple as hauling ass up a hill with panniers, another from hitting a large bump. So my question is, has Soma improved their welds on the DC or should I avoid it? If not the Soma, is there a recommendation for a similar frame with light-ish steel? Having a tighter geometry would also be very appreciated. (If at all possible I'd also like to be able to have horizontal dropouts, since I'll be riding single speed until I can afford gears, hehe).
Also, I heard the Surly CrossCheck has a lower bottom bracket and not as tight a geometry, any merit to this?
EDIT: I ride a 58cm frame on my Surly LHT and I have ~34 inseam (all my jeans are 34, anyway).
2013 Kona Jake, 2008 Kona Major Jake, 2013 Kona Jake the Snake, 2006 Kona Kula, 2012 Ridley Excalibur, 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker, 2001 LeMond Buenos Aires
The bottom bracket drop is the same on the Cross Check as it is on the Double Cross. I'm not sure what's meant by "tight" geometry. For a 58 cm seat tube, the Cross Check has the same head tube and seat tube angle, with a shorter top tub (580 mm vs. 592 mm) and a shorter wheelbase (1030 mm vs. 1042 mm). The Cross Check is about 10% heavier than the Double Cross. I suspect the Double Cross is more relaxed/comfortable than the Cross Check, which is itself already well on its way to being a light touring bike.
I think it would be hard to determine if Soma has "fixed" their welds, as this is likely a frame-to-frame variance. I know there's a guy who posts here a lot who loves his Double Cross.
I'm not sure if it's available as a frameset, but the Masi Speciale CX has a shorter top tube than either the Double Cross or the Cross Check and a slightly steeper seat tube angle. If I understand everything correctly, this translates to a more race oriented geometry. The bottom bracket is 1 millimeter higher and the chainstays are about 1 centimeter longer. I'm not sure what effect that has. It's listed as "double butted 4130 chromoly" which doesn't really tell you anything. Based on complete bike weight, I'd guess it's between the Surly and the Soma in weight.
If you're open to other materials, the Kona Jake the Snake is available as a frameset in about the same price range as the Cross Check or the Double Cross and has geometry similar to the Masi, but with a slightly steeper head tube angle. Kona lists bottom bracket height, not drop, but if I've guessed correctly, it seems to be a few millimeters higher than the others, but I may be wrong about that.
Last edited by Andy_K; 02-03-10 at 08:48 AM.
Reason: had my direction wrong on comments about bottom bracket drop (Doh!)
got just over two years on my soma on all conditions road, mtb trails, loaded panniers with several trips to parents, wrecked (more than I can count), bogged down shin deep mud, even raced . My only real complaint has been the paint wish they had made it just a little more durable. Barrett hows the paint on yours holding up I have seen that color on thier mtb bikes and it seems a little more durable than the green I have. I saw similar reviews about the soma welds but at the price point of the frames you really can't go wrong even if it does break in a few years.
I was going to get a Salsa La Cruz. When I heard they were discontinued, I looked at Soma but ordered a Gunnar Crosshairs frame; it's not built yet so I can't really recommend it yet. The crosshairs doesn't have horizontal dropouts, but some of their models do. My frame is True Temper platinum OX. Not sure if all their frames are thoughgunnar_frame.jpg.