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Old 03-07-06, 01:04 PM   #1
Downshift
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Randonneuring/Audax bike suggestions

Okay, I really hate these types of questions, but here goes..

I'm no longer interested in "racing" or "racing" geometry road bikes. I want to get into long distance events. Besides the Surly line, can anyone recommend a frame for this type of riding. Old, new, whatever. I'm looking for frame/fork only, ~$500 or less. Prefer road style bikes to mtn style bikes, and steel. Needs to have rear rack mounts at least. Frames I have already looked at:
Soma Double Cross (I'd buy it if anyone had one in stock)
Urbane Tourist (Website looks good)
Surlys (Cross Check and LHT)
and a mish mash of junk on eBay.
I'd like to use this bike as an all arounder (commute, tour, train).
Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-07-06, 01:10 PM   #2
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In the Soma lineup, the ES seems more of an Audax bike than their doublecross.
See also Gunnar sport
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Old 03-07-06, 01:21 PM   #3
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There's a lot of enthusiasm for Kogswell's new Porteur, and Rivendell/QBP's Bleriot- both supposed to be randonneur-ish in their way. And both $500 +/- for frame and fork.

The big question mark for the buyer is that both are designed for unconventional 650B wheel size, which a lot of people are also excited about.
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Old 03-07-06, 02:14 PM   #4
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The Salsa La Raza might be worth looking at - only one set of eyelets on the rear though, but True Temper tubing and a carbon fork. The Soma Double Cross or Smoothie ES would be another option, or for a little more $$$, Gunnar.

The Cross Check is really versatile frame. It ain't sexy, but it offers a lot of options.
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Old 03-07-06, 02:41 PM   #5
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I agree that the Smoothie ES is the best choice from Soma, but the problem I'm having is that no one has one. Or Somas in general. Availability is a big issue.

I thought the Kogswell and the Rivendell were more expensive than that. What's the big deal with 650B wheels?
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Old 03-07-06, 03:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Downshift
Okay, I really hate these types of questions, but here goes..

I'm no longer interested in "racing" or "racing" geometry road bikes. I want to get into long distance events. Besides the Surly line, can anyone recommend a frame for this type of riding. Old, new, whatever. I'm looking for frame/fork only, ~$500 or less. Prefer road style bikes to mtn style bikes, and steel. Needs to have rear rack mounts at least. Frames I have already looked at:
Soma Double Cross (I'd buy it if anyone had one in stock)
Urbane Tourist (Website looks good)
Surlys (Cross Check and LHT)
and a mish mash of junk on eBay.
I'd like to use this bike as an all arounder (commute, tour, train).
Thanks in advance.
I can wholeheartedly recommend the Soma Smoothie ES. I chose this bike for the very reasons you stated: more relaxed steel road frame with rear rack mounts for long distance riding and light touring. It has 531 Reynolds main triangle, rear rack mounts, room for fenders with 28c tires or 32c without fenders, all for under $500. You can opt for their carbon or steel fork. I went with steel because it was cheaper. You can also chose from two colors: silver and cobalt blue, which to my eye has a purplish hue. I went with silver. I just built it up this weekend so I can't comment too much about ride quality. I took it for its maiden voyage last night before the sun set for a quick 7 mile ride. It seems responsive and holds a decent line. I'll try to post a pic of my bike later this evening. You might also consider Mercian Cycles in England. They have beautiful lugged frames for a reasonable price.
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Old 03-07-06, 04:06 PM   #7
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A good steel touring frame will work, with your favourite saddle and bars, the best hubs you can find and a tough pair of rims. Fenders are essential. Gearing to suit. I like english custom frames- a Mercian, Jackson, Argos, Roberts or the like. Ring or email them with your preferred personal touches.............

A Surly LHT would work fine, by the look of it. Audax is all about comfort; leave aesthetic considerations to posers with deep pockets.
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Old 03-07-06, 04:45 PM   #8
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http://www.merciancycles.co.uk/bikes.asp

There simply isn't a Audax bike even close that you can get so cheaply. The complete bike with all of the upgrades with Centaur stuff would cost you about $2500 delivered.

http://www.merciancycles.co.uk/frame...s/IMG_2089.jpg

You can build your own cheaper but it is hard to get anything near the quality for much cheaper without being a really handy mechanic and gopher.
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Old 03-07-06, 06:09 PM   #9
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For Frame and fork
<$500 Surly Pacer, Soma Smoothie with a cheap fork
< $600 Soma Smoothie with recommeded fork.
$700-$800 Kogswell, Riv Bleriot (when available)
$800-$1000 Gunnar Sport, Mercian, Bob Jackson.
$1000+ Riv Romulus or Ramboulliet, full custom from any one of number of builders. Many options.
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Old 03-08-06, 12:59 AM   #10
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Personally, I like Marinoni's sport touring model ... the Ciclo. That's the one I've done most of my randonneuring events on as well as pretty much all my touring.
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Old 03-08-06, 11:59 AM   #11
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Lots of Uk options, Thorn Audax, Bob Jackson Audax and End to End, Mercian, Roberts, all hand built and either 631 or 853 or a mixture with good geometry, all have websites too..
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Old 03-08-06, 04:35 PM   #12
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I decided on the Surly Cross Check frame. Mainly because of its versatility and local availability. I really wanted the Soma, but they seem impossible to get. I went against the UK bikes because of the cost, even though many are now on my long term list. Same with Rivendell.
When I finish the build, I'll post specs.
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Old 03-09-06, 10:24 PM   #13
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Ah, did you look at the pacer as well? It's a better long ride road bike.
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Old 03-10-06, 05:42 AM   #14
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I did. The Pacer would have been my second choice in the Surly line, but the attraction of a "Swiss Army Bike" was irresistible. The CC is just so versatile. And I didn't feel the ride was too different to change my mind.
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Old 03-10-06, 06:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfspeed
For Frame and fork
<$500 Surly Pacer, Soma Smoothie with a cheap fork
< $600 Soma Smoothie with recommeded fork.
$700-$800 Kogswell, Riv Bleriot (when available)
$800-$1000 Gunnar Sport, Mercian, Bob Jackson.
$1000+ Riv Romulus or Ramboulliet, full custom from any one of number of builders. Many options.

We are playing in the Randonneuring market now, but you have us in the wrong price category...




This is our new Randonneur model built for 650B wheels

TIG'd frame, brazed fork, matching fenders, headset, seat post - under $500

This model was designed by Jan Heine and it's based on a Herse rando bike

Test report in the next VBQ





.
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Old 03-10-06, 09:10 AM   #16
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Hey Matt, It looks like you don't have any drop on the BB. If memory serves the OD of the 650B tires are nearly the same as a 700c so I'd expect some drop.

What's up?

Tom
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Old 03-10-06, 09:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kogswell
We are playing in the Randonneuring market now, but you have us in the wrong price category...




This is our new Randonneur model built for 650B wheels

TIG'd frame, brazed fork, matching fenders, headset, seat post - under $500

This model was designed by Jan Heine and it's based on a Herse rando bike

Test report in the next VBQ





.
The Cross Check could always go to eBay. When are they available?
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Old 03-10-06, 09:48 AM   #18
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That Kogswell is beautiful. Looks like an old French standard.

Last edited by Bekologist; 03-10-06 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 03-10-06, 10:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclintom
Hey Matt, It looks like you don't have any drop on the BB. If memory serves the OD of the 650B tires are nearly the same as a 700c so I'd expect some drop.

What's up?

Tom

No, there's drop.


Check the blueprint:

clck here for a PDF of the blueprint

Jan took the dimensions straight from a Herse randonneur. I think it's in the 65mm range.




.
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Old 03-10-06, 10:31 AM   #20
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The Cross Check could always go to eBay. When are they available?
Mid-May.

We're taking orders starting March 24th.

Check our web site for details and a phone number.
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Old 03-10-06, 10:33 AM   #21
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That Kogswell is beautiful. Looks like an old French standard.
Thanks.

We ask Jan Heine to design it and he pull the geometry straight from and '50s Herse. Then he tested it and the test results will be in the next issue of VBQ.

Everyone who's ridden it has been very happy.
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Old 03-10-06, 11:24 AM   #22
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That's a beauty alrright. Do you have similar PDFs for your other models, The Porteur in particular. I always seem to find more stuff on your site through a Google seach than going in the front door!


For the purposes of gear inches, what is a good number for the diameter of 650B wheels, anyone?
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Old 03-10-06, 12:13 PM   #23
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'Tis a beautiful bike. Certainly may change course.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:51 PM   #24
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That Kogswell looks great and what a deal for <500.

I just built up a soma double cross as the same sort of bike you're looking for and love it, or at least think I do - it has <20 miles on it since finishing it yesterday. Somas are easy to get - my LBS had mine from the distributor the day after we ordered it.
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Old 03-10-06, 06:39 PM   #25
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That Kogswell looks great and what a deal for <500.

I just built up a soma double cross as the same sort of bike you're looking for and love it, or at least think I do - it has <20 miles on it since finishing it yesterday. Somas are easy to get - my LBS had mine from the distributor the day after we ordered it.
Wow, that quick. The Double Cross was the bike I wanted to build. I swear I called everywhere, and talked to everyone from here to Soma, and everyone was out. Well, until I settled on the Surly, and then I got an email that one DC was available. The money was already spent though. I'm going to build it, and if I don't like it, I'll eBay the frame and try again.
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