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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-21-14, 01:28 PM   #1
ThurberMingus
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Is a Surly Steamroller (frame) a good step up from a Windsor Hour?

Title pretty much says it all. I've got just about enough scratch saved up for a new frame and was wondering if the Steamroller is a worthwhile investment. Part of my reasoning is that I live in North Dakota and don't have a suitable winter bike, it would be nice to be able to throw some 38s on and be set for the season.

I was looking at a Bianchi Super Pista, but even the Windsor is a little rough on tough roads and I don't think the aluminum would help that at all.

Is there any reason not to do the upgrade? Has anyone here owned both?
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Old 07-21-14, 01:44 PM   #2
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If it's just the frame, then it doesn't matter much except for the wheel clearance. If you absolutely need the wheel clearance, then get the steamroller. If not, then just upgrade your components. I've ridden both, but they had totally different components (stock Hour, vs decked out Steamroller), so I can't really make a comparison.
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Old 07-21-14, 01:47 PM   #3
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If you're looking for something that can handle wider tires and deal with the roads of the upper midwest, the Super Pista makes zero sense.

The Steamroller would be a good step up from your Windsor Hour in that it can handle the wider tires you want and is more suited to being a decent winter commuter.

However, if having an all season ss/fg commuter is the goal, I'd look at the Cross Check over the Steamroller, unless track-ish geo is a must have. Also worth considering are the On One Pompino (good value) or All-City Nature Boy (good quality at a decent, not much more than Surly price point).
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Old 07-21-14, 02:10 PM   #4
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Yes
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Old 07-21-14, 03:09 PM   #5
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I know the Pista would be a bad winter bike, it was more for a fair weather fancy bike. I've already upgraded most of the components on my Windsor.

I should mention that I work at an LBS that carries Bianchi, Specialized, Raleigh, and Surly. I would be buying it from there at somewhat of a discount.

I do prefer more trackish geometry to road. This would be my main (or only) bike and I wouldn't run wide tires on it all year, just when there's snow on the ground.

Something about Surly really appeals to me. They make it seem like their bikes can take a beating, and I do like to do some tricks (wheelies, little bunny hops, hardly fgfs) and it seems like the Steamroller can stand up to that.
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Old 07-21-14, 04:20 PM   #6
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It's cool, we all dream of the perfect good weather bike. Reality in the upper midwest is a pain, ain't it?

If you do prefer track geometry and can get one at a discount because of where you work, the Steamroller seems like a really good choice. There's a lot of people out there who love their Surlies (Surly's?) so they have to be doing something right.

Since you mentioned Raleigh, their Furley might be worth considering. If I was in your shoes tho, I'd go with the Steamroller and call it a day.
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Old 07-21-14, 05:23 PM   #7
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The all city big block can take 32's and might be slightly higher quality
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Old 07-21-14, 09:51 PM   #8
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I love my Steamroller. I'm running 32's on it right now and I feel like a kid again. I have a road bike that I had been riding primarily with 23's and 25's on it. I like the wider tires and I can tell that in inclement weather, I will appreciate them. The Steamroller has been a great bike for me. Rough and tough as they come.
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Old 07-21-14, 10:13 PM   #9
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My roomie rides an All City Nature Boy (All City's SS cyclocross bike). Their frames are pretty high quality for the price and if you can get Surly you can probably get them too. Look into them for sure, I know the Nature Boy has "hidden" fender mounts. Dunno about their track frames.
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Old 07-22-14, 07:36 AM   #10
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For some dumb reason we don't carry All City bikes. If we did I would already have a Big Block! Good to hear about the Steamroller being a rough-and-tumbler though, I'm definitely considering it.

There is an interesting development, however. One of my managers overheard me talking with a coworker about ordering a Steamroller and he told me I should hold off "in case we start carrying any other brands." So for now I will keep saving up until I see what new stock we get in this fall.
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Old 07-22-14, 02:11 PM   #11
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I have a Steamroller and I am quite happy with it and I think it would serve you well given your terrain/conditions/riding style. They're definitely sturdy and feel solid on rough terrain. I ride mine as a SS road bike/fair-weather commuter and have been very happy it since I bought it used back in March.


I visited Surly's website today and noticed the new Steamrollers will now have a set of eyelets on the rear for fenders/rack.
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Old 07-22-14, 08:54 PM   #12
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I have had my steam roller for about 5 years
I ride through the winter in Colorado
Great bike a bit heavy but stout.
Love it.
Good luck.
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Old 07-23-14, 12:31 PM   #13
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There's a lot of people out there who love their Surlies (Surly's?)
Surlys. No apostrophe. A proper noun does not take a modified plural form.

Source: My ESL instructor was ruthless and terrifying.
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Old 07-23-14, 01:12 PM   #14
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Surlys. No apostrophe. A proper noun does not take a modified plural form.

Source: My ESL instructor was ruthless and terrifying.
Thank you - humbling when English is my first language, lol. But it's appreciated. My biggest pet peeve is when people get pissy about having their grammar corrected.

Also, I can relate to your feelings about your ESL teacher - back in junior high, I had a shop teacher who freaked me out so much that I stayed home "sick" for three days after screwing something up in his class. May have had something to do with the rumor/totally insane urban legend of 11-year olds that he once got so angry that he put a hole in a kid's hand with a drill press. Yep, I do not miss 7th grade.

Sorry folks, let's get back to Surlys and their relative merit as compared to Windsors.

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Old 07-23-14, 01:34 PM   #15
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Yeah it's an awesome frame. I use mine all year round, for snow and everything.
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Old 07-23-14, 02:34 PM   #16
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Thank you - humbling when English is my first language, lol. But it's appreciated. My biggest pet peeve is when people get pissy about having their grammar corrected.

Also, I can relate to your feelings about your ESL teacher - back in junior high, I had a shop teacher who freaked me out so much that I stayed home "sick" for three days after screwing something up in his class. May have had something to do with the rumor/totally insane urban legend of 11-year olds that he once got so angry that he put a hole in a kid's hand with a drill press. Yep, I do not miss 7th grade.

Sorry folks, let's get back to Surlys and their relative merit as compared to Windsors.
I wasn't even trying to be "that" guy who corrects others, I only did so because it seemed like you were genuinely curious.

I also have the same story regarding shop class. We had to make the most structurally capable bridge out of little pieces of wood and glue. Similar to popsicle sticks but not quite. The pressure was unrelenting. The expectations high. And on the day of the test inside the crushing machine, I somehow found myself sick and at home.

Also, we don't have many Surlys here, though sometimes we see a Cross Check done as an all-purpose bike. I've never seen a Steamroller in person. But looking at them online they seem like awesome, well-built bikes. Are they Chinese or American made? Either way, it has a nice look.

There are also absolutely zero bikesdirect bikes here, and even if there were, I can't imagine someone choosing an Hour over a Steamroller. But that's an uninformed opinion built only from a style and imagined-reliability perspective.
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Old 07-23-14, 10:01 PM   #17
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I wasn't even trying to be "that" guy who corrects others, I only did so because it seemed like you were genuinely curious.

I also have the same story regarding shop class. We had to make the most structurally capable bridge out of little pieces of wood and glue. Similar to popsicle sticks but not quite. The pressure was unrelenting. The expectations high. And on the day of the test inside the crushing machine, I somehow found myself sick and at home.

Also, we don't have many Surlys here, though sometimes we see a Cross Check done as an all-purpose bike. I've never seen a Steamroller in person. But looking at them online they seem like awesome, well-built bikes. Are they Chinese or American made? Either way, it has a nice look.

There are also absolutely zero bikesdirect bikes here, and even if there were, I can't imagine someone choosing an Hour over a Steamroller. But that's an uninformed opinion built only from a style and imagined-reliability perspective.
You'd be surprised.

For the steamroller, I like mine, it does what I need it to do. It's not the highest end frame out there, but it's also not the worst frame out there, there's plenty that are worse. I'd probably put it ahead of the Fuji Track and Feather, the chromoly bianchi pista(had one), anything that trek is offering atm(the kilo tt pro's got a better spec and better fork than the District SS), pake rum runner.

I'd probably put it on par with the Big Block. While the big block is lighter, the steamroller has the better tire clearance, 700x38 without fenders or 700x32 with fenders compared to the Big Block's 700x32 without fenders. Both suffer from the stupid placement of the single set of bottle cage mounts on the seat tube, would make more sense for that bottle cage mount to be somewhere more easily accessible, like the top of the down tube.
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Old 07-23-14, 10:15 PM   #18
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I should clarify some more things: I have a really short commute. I have a clip on fender for rain and it covers me well enough. I don't bring much to work and what I do bring I just pop in my Chrome bag, so I don't care about rack mounts. This isn't gonna be an ultimate commuter or a touring bike, just my go everywhere do everything fixed gear.

I will most definitely be buying one next pay period, I just need to decide if I want a 53 or 56. I'll consult some coworkers about that though!

I'm loving the shop stories. My shop teacher was kind of a joke and the greatest threat I ever encountered was a reduction of "2 points" from whatever project we were working on. If you were caught screwing around he would proclaim "That's two!" and everyone would laugh. Didn't help that I had a huge crush on his daughter, but that's another story for another day.
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Old 07-23-14, 10:18 PM   #19
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I should clarify some more things: I have a really short commute. I have a clip on fender for rain and it covers me well enough. I don't bring much to work and what I do bring I just pop in my Chrome bag, so I don't care about rack mounts. This isn't gonna be an ultimate commuter or a touring bike, just my go everywhere do everything fixed gear.

I will most definitely be buying one next pay period, I just need to decide if I want a 53 or 56. I'll consult some coworkers about that though!

I'm loving the shop stories. My shop teacher was kind of a joke and the greatest threat I ever encountered was a reduction of "2 points" from whatever project we were working on. If you were caught screwing around he would proclaim "That's two!" and everyone would laugh. Didn't help that I had a huge crush on his daughter, but that's another story for another day.
The steamroller will do you well then.
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