Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
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Quoted: 162 Post(s)
I wouldn't worry about the serial number if you have to pay Waterford for the information. They have only been making the Grand Tour model for a few years, so it can't be that old. Gunnars are essentially Waterfords with TIG welds rather than lugs, and more budget (but still quality) paint jobs.
Regarding the ride, yes, a touring frame is likely to have a stiffer ride than most sport touring or and road bikes. That's because a frame designed for loaded touring will have stouter tubing to handle the extra weight. That is somewhat offset by the longer wheelbase. On the other hand, most touring bikes are equipped with fatter tires, which should make for a smoother ride. In other words, if you put 23-25 mm tires on the Grand Tour, it would probably feel more harsh than a typical road bike. However, if you put 32-35 mm tires on the Grand Tour, it should ride as smoothly as any road bike.
I experienced this first hand with my Bob Jackson World Tour. When I had 25-28 mm tires on the bike, it rode a little stiffer than I prefer. Since I swapped to 32 mm tires, it rides as nicer or nicer than most of my bikes.