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Looking to build a roadie... Surly Pacer or Soma ES?

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Looking to build a roadie... Surly Pacer or Soma ES?

Old 03-26-12, 08:10 AM
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puckett129
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Looking to build a roadie... Surly Pacer or Soma ES?

More roadie than commuting, but seems like it fits better here...

I have recently been selling off all my aluminum bikes. Some are a little too small and after riding a steel frame I can really tell the difference of the aluminum. The mountain bike had to go because I didn't use it for its intended purpose. I grew up riding a steel Bridgestone RB-4 and am longing to relive those days where I would just go out and ride where the road took me.

Of course, I live by the N+1 rule, so I have been replacing my fleet with steel frames. I have a Gary Fisher cross bike for the trails, a Surly CC with fenders and lights for commuting, and want to build a dedicated road bike. I've got a full 2010 Ultegra group (minus brakes) and an extra set of wheels that is sitting around, so I'll use that for the build. I have been thinking about either a Surly Pacer or a Soma ES. Both seem like great "all day" bikes. I have seen some people on BF come out with "have you ever heard of..." and then talk about some bike that I have never heard of. I don't race and probably never will (or at least care how I place). Even when I was a kid I didn't mind coming in at the back of the pack at the velodrome youth league races I did. I just want a solid, comfortable steel road bike that doesn't break the bank. I'd like to keep it under 23-24lbs which shouldn't be too hard.

Any body have either of these and go through the same decision before?

Both of them score about equal cool points to me too... which is still a little important even if I'm the only one who knows about them. That new blue Pacer paint job, looks nice! I like the seat post wrapping stripe of the Soma.
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Old 03-26-12, 09:31 AM
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I'm in the same boat. My LBS is a Soma dealer, but they'd build anything up for me... I'm still looking. I'm not sure if this is helpful to give you more options but here are some other steel frame roadies.

https://allcitycycles.com/bikes/mr_pink

https://www.traitorcycles.com/Bikes_Exile.cfm

https://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/

https://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya/ - not 100% roadie, but nice

https://leaderbikeusa.com/?page_id=1170 - leader's road frame, scroll down to the 722RS

Heh, just found a real long list - https://urbanvelo.org/steel-road-bikes/

Good luck.
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Old 03-26-12, 10:24 AM
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Not a roadie per se, but that Raleigh Roper might be the perfect all around bike! If I ever look to replace my Gary Fisher... that will be on the short list.

I had seen the Traitor Exile before... looks beautiful, but a tad "tall" for me and for $700 it's hard to put up against the Pacer and ES. If I were going to spend that much, I'd probably be looking at the All-City. Mr. Pink looks awesome. It also looks to be a little higher end in terms of manufacturing; internal cable routing and such.

The Leader frame is interesting. At sub $300 is will definitely go on the short list. Looks like 28mm tires might be a little wide for this frame, but I could suffer with some 25's. I also like no downtube bosses. I don't mind them but have to get those little pieces to route the cables and I don't foresee going to d/t shifters any time in the future.

You just made my decision a little harder, I think...
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Old 03-26-12, 10:29 AM
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Flip a coin .. QBP imports Surly frames, Merry Sales does the same,
Soma is their brand name.

both are OK, may even be from the same TW contract Export builder..
just different Contracts.
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Old 03-26-12, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Flip a coin .. QBP imports Surly frames, Merry Sales does the same,
Soma is their brand name.

both are OK, may even be from the same TW contract Export builder..
just different Contracts.
For those who didn't know (like me!) -

https://www.qbp.com

https://www.merrysales.com
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Old 03-26-12, 11:53 AM
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The Soma uses better steel (Tange Prestige vs. 4130).
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Old 03-26-12, 01:01 PM
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Have you ever heard of Traitor Cycles? They have their lugged road frame on sale to where it is comparable in price to a pacer frameset (and less than an ES frameset).

Any body have either of these and go through the same decision before?
I went through this same decision leaning heavily toward a Soma, but wound up with a Traitor Exile; it was 2nd hand, $700 for the complete bike.

Last edited by HardyWeinberg; 03-26-12 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 03-26-12, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
Have you ever heard of Traitor Cycles?

I went through this same decision leaning heavily toward a Soma, but wound up with a Traitor Exile; it was 2nd hand, $700 for the complete bike.
I did see that bike. They only have it left in yellow in 53, which I like but not as much as the antique frame. The seat tube measurement of almost 55cm seems a little high, no... for a TT length of 53?

How do you like it?

Their Ruben is very much like that Raleigh Roper and would be a great replacement for my cross bike when that time comes. At the rate I'm going that time will come sooner than later.
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Old 03-26-12, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post
I did see that bike. They only have it left in yellow in 53, which I like but not as much as the antique frame. The seat tube measurement of almost 55cm seems a little high, no... for a TT length of 53?
Dang I didn't see the stock was so low. I'm used to other sites where they remove out-of-stock items from the dropdown menu.

I have the yellow. I like the dragon tattoo. I might prefer a 2nd bottle cage mount though.

How do you like it?
I love it. I ride a 54cm crosscheck and I was afraid that the 53 would be too small, but it's not. Rides great, zippy, just wonderful. I put fenders on it but not a rack. I have had it out on a couple of 30 mile rides but intending a couple of centuries this summer. It was about 20# before I put the fenders on, and bottle cage, and toolbag, and lights... I was starting to despair of getting a ~20# steel bike for less than huge dollars. I gotta say, compared to the CC, there is an instant payoff to taking 10# off the bike (vs attempting to take 10# off of me).

Their Ruben is very much like that Raleigh Roper and would be a great replacement for my cross bike when that time comes. At the rate I'm going that time will come sooner than later.
n+2 baby
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Old 03-26-12, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post

Their Ruben is very much like that Raleigh Roper and would be a great replacement for my cross bike when that time comes. At the rate I'm going that time will come sooner than later.
Test rode the Ruben a while back, it's really nice.
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Old 03-26-12, 04:54 PM
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I'm gonna add the Soma Smoothie to my short list. The compact geometry makes it a good choice for me (short legs and 5'7" and ride a 50cm Cross Check). The Traitor is just too tall... even the 53 will be too big. The All-City Mr. Pink looks so nice. It hasn't been around long enough to find used frames, but I may bite the bullet and swing that direction.

I do keep coming back to the Pacer though... it's just the perfect affordable steel road bike.

Hardy - Why were you leaning toward the Soma before you found the Traitor?
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Old 03-26-12, 05:30 PM
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I have a smoothie es, also considered a Pacer. The es was a better fit, head tube is longer and steerer tube also gave me more flexibility in length. My es has a great looking painted finish, however not sure it will stand up as well as powder coated surfaces.
However I must say the es finish has not been a problem for me, third season on the es.
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Old 03-26-12, 10:21 PM
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I have a Pacer, the older one in silver. It rides nice, is comfortable, and is generally a really nice bike. The ONLY complaint I have is clearance is too tight for 28c tires and fenders. You can have one or the other.
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Old 03-27-12, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post
Hardy - Why were you leaning toward the Soma before you found the Traitor?
I had some just unbelievably fun test rides of a smoothie and an es built up to ~$2k sticker price on a gorgeous day while visiting San Francisco, and an AOK test ride on a 2nd hand pacer on a typically rainy day here in the land of wet. I am sure the pacer would have ridden the same way w/ the same kind of build and brand new parts. But yes there is the longer head tube on the Somas also.

While the traitor has goofy wheels with spoke nipples inside the rim(?) the rest of the build is lower end/tech than any of the other 3 that I tried (and the bike cost less than the others too) but it still meets every goal I had for seeking out this kind of bike.
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Old 03-27-12, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
I had some just unbelievably fun test rides of a smoothie and an es built up to ~$2k sticker price on a gorgeous day while visiting San Francisco, and an AOK test ride on a 2nd hand pacer on a typically rainy day here in the land of wet. I am sure the pacer would have ridden the same way w/ the same kind of build and brand new parts. But yes there is the longer head tube on the Somas also.

While the traitor has goofy wheels with spoke nipples inside the rim(?) the rest of the build is lower end/tech than any of the other 3 that I tried (and the bike cost less than the others too) but it still meets every goal I had for seeking out this kind of bike.
The bike I'm building will be all Ultegra (circa 2010) with some Bontrager Race wheels... not super high end but should give a nice ride.

Anybody ride the All-City Mr. Pink yet? I may hold out for one of those...
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Old 03-27-12, 03:35 PM
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I think the new Pacer has a bit more clearance. The Surly site says 32's w/o fenders, 28s with.

Originally Posted by Schwinnrider View Post
I have a Pacer, the older one in silver. It rides nice, is comfortable, and is generally a really nice bike. The ONLY complaint I have is clearance is too tight for 28c tires and fenders. You can have one or the other.
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Old 03-29-12, 08:54 AM
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I have the Smoothie ES with the carbon Mosaic 57 fork. It rides smoothly and has room for most brands of 28s plus SKS P35 fenders. Its chainstays are rather long, probably intended to get rear panniers away from your heels enough that you can run a small-to-medium pannier, and this combines with the soft fork to make it a poor sprinter. So if you expect actual road-bike performance, you might want the non-ES variant, the Smoothie proper. Sprinting is where I really notice this, it's OK in a steady-state scenario.
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Old 03-29-12, 09:04 AM
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As a Singular (brand) owner, I can recommend their frames for value and quality. The Osprey and Peregrine would both fit the bill, with the Peregrine offering the capacity for heftier tires + fenders if desired.
https://www.singularcycles.com/

The US distributor is Marty at the Prairie Peddler - really nice guy. https://www.theprairiepeddler.blogspo.../singular.html
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Old 03-29-12, 10:57 AM
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I was in the same boat a few weeks ago. I have a Crosscheck and was considering a Pacer frame for a roadie build. In the end, I figured the Pacer would feel and ride very similar to my Crosscheck, and I didn't want to have two of the same bikes. So, I went with a frame from UK company called Genesis. It's Reynolds 725 with a carbon fork. Accepts tires up to 32mm (28mm with fenders). Very similar geometry to the Pacer, except with sloping toptube, better steel, and a lighter fork. I built it up with mostly Ultegra parts plus some other stuff I had lying around. Weighs under 20 lbs as shown. Here's the obligatory garage door shot:

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Old 03-29-12, 11:10 AM
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To me, I feel like a lot of the suggested frames would overlap too much with your Cross-Check. The Soma Smoothie (non ES version) and All-City Mr. Pink seem like they would fill the performance road bike niche the best within a decent budget. They have more aggressive geometry than most of the others and use better grades of steel allowing them to be lighter.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jcmkk3 View Post
To me, I feel like a lot of the suggested frames would overlap too much with your Cross-Check. The Soma Smoothie (non ES version) and All-City Mr. Pink seem like they would fill the performance road bike niche the best within a decent budget. They have more aggressive geometry than most of the others and use better grades of steel allowing them to be lighter.
I think you're right. I decided to order a Soma Smoothie, not the ES version. My reasons were: great reviews, quality construction, cost, slightly sloping geometry (for my relatively short legs), and the ability to use the short reach brake calipers I already have. I also like the way the bike looks.

I could have waited and looked around some more, but who am I kidding, right? I'll let you all know how it goes.

Jeff - I like that Genesis... nice work.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post
I think you're right. I decided to order a Soma Smoothie, not the ES version. My reasons were: great reviews, quality construction, cost, slightly sloping geometry (for my relatively short legs), and the ability to use the short reach brake calipers I already have. I also like the way the bike looks.

I could have waited and looked around some more, but who am I kidding, right? I'll let you all know how it goes.

Jeff - I like that Genesis... nice work.
Post some pics when you get it built up and a review when you've taken it out for a spin... Like a I said, I really am in the same boat!
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Old 03-30-12, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SlowCrank View Post
Post some pics when you get it built up and a review when you've taken it out for a spin... Like a I said, I really am in the same boat!
Will do. The frame is supposed to be here on the 5th of April.
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Old 04-10-12, 09:53 PM
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Looking forward to updates- I went and looked at the Soma Smoothie, the ES and the Stanyan this past weekend. I'm thinking of doing a similar project.
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Old 04-12-12, 08:11 AM
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I got the frame. The paint looks nice. There's a little chip on the rear derailleur hanger, but nothing serious. I have to get the steerer cut and the headset pressed in before I can build it up. I'll definitely post some updates... could be a week or so.
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