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Planning a new bike

Old 08-21-21, 12:41 PM
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Planning a new bike

I've decided to get a fancy new bike, my first. I've ridden a few different bikes in the past several years, which has given me some ideas about the pros & cons of different geometries/materials/bike setups. Now, after much deliberation, I have a sense of what I want.
...
  • Steel or titanium, mid-reach rim brake, at least 28mm+fenders, 32mm+fenders ideal (I'd consider disc but prefer rim)
  • All-rounder--something that's good on fast short rides and slower long rides alike (or at least can be outfitted for the latter)
  • Not BQ style, low-trail, 650b--I tried one of those for a week, thought I'd love it, I didn't
  • High trail, 700c, stiffer frame than my current Reynolds 531 Austro Daimler, but with great ride quality
  • Classic-ish style, but modern parts
  • Unique/fancy/custom builder (rationally I can't justify this, but life is short)
  • Not too too expensive
In the short term, I'd be using this bike mainly for shorter rides--harder-effort 30 or 40 mile rides, and the occasional 100k or century. We have some big life changes going on--a brand new addition to the family--so I won't be doing long brevets for a while. But I have an eye on PBP 2023 and envision this as something for that, too, if I'm able to do it.

Any recommendations? So far I've found the Hampsten Strada Bianca and the Indy Fab Club Racer. The Seven Red Sky caught my eye, too, but it's really pricy. (Granted I've never ridden titanium, maybe it's worth it?) Hard to find detailed reviews on any of them, however.

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Old 08-21-21, 04:59 PM
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iTrod seems happy with his bike. He just switched to 650b
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Old 08-22-21, 12:46 PM
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I adore my Seven. They are expensive but I would absolutely get one again. (I would add that with any custom, your local fitter is an important part of the equations.)

Mine is steel from when they still did both, but itís basically the redsky configuration. If I was doing it again I might get an Evergreen-style because when I got it I said I wasnít going to do gravel much and then I started.

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Old 08-22-21, 08:49 PM
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FWIW, I would recommend getting something that can fit, say, 700c x 38mm tires. One does not need to get something from the BQ school for this to be worthwhile; see, e.g., all current Trek Domane bikes. I canít imagine any downside to having the clearance. (Ok, rim brakes. Maybe consider something like Paul Minimoto, which are designed for road levers, are very effective, and certainly have enough clearance for 38mm tires.)
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Old 08-23-21, 04:24 AM
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The options for a good frame that has rim brakes and clearance for 32mm (or more) and fenders is getting harder to find. And with the whole world going to through axles at lightning speed, they are getting quite rare.

A couple months ago one of my neighbors that is a bike mechanic was admiring one of my bikes. It has steel frame, quick release, canti brakes. 32mm tires and fenders, dyno powered lighting. I commented it was one of the last ones from that manufacturer before they went to disc and through axle for everything, he said he wished he had bought a few more frames back then.

And a couple weeks ago I was in a local bike coop, one of their staff was admiring that same bike, I suspect for the same reasons.

With the busted supply chains right now, you might be out of luck getting exactly what you want. So, if you see a good frame that you like in a size that fits, new or used, grab it quickly. The other components can be added later when supply chains get better again.
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Old 08-23-21, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
  • Not BQ style, low-trail, 650b--I tried one of those for a week, thought I'd love it, I didn't
Which part didn't you like, the low trail or the 650B (assuming it was the wide-tire aspect of that)? Or was it both?

As I was crossing the finish line in 2015, it occurred to me that 32mm tires would have been plenty for PBP. The roads were pretty good.
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Old 08-23-21, 10:49 AM
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When I got back from PBP in 2019, I was thinking maybe I would want to go with 28mm tires if I do it again. There was one stretch between St Nick and Carhaix where Jan Heine was much happier than I was on my 32mm tires, but otherwise 28mm would have been fine.

You can always put smaller tires on, but bigger can be a problem.
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Old 08-23-21, 11:51 AM
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Funny, I had a similar bike building idea many years ago when I was building my long distance bike.
I did not want a 650b or low trail geo bikes, but I wanted a race or enduro geometry fast bike, relatively light and be able to fit tires up to 32mm and rack mounts. I ended up getting a carbon Jamis Endura, that is no longer made.
Another option is to look at Motobecane Century bikes.
According to the spec you can fit up to 40 mm tires:
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...oadbike-xx.htm
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Old 08-23-21, 01:53 PM
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If I were going custom I think I'd go with a Kirk frame, there's a few different models in the gallery that I caught my eye. The frames start at 4100$ so for me that falls into the expensive category. I have a real soft spot for stainless bikes.
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Old 08-23-21, 04:31 PM
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I love everything about my seven. There's a reason 4 out of 5 of our club officers ride one, but that probably gets you into the too too expensive range. What about the Roadeo? I know how much you like Rivendells . Or maybe a Waterford? They're right up the road and can make you whatever you want.
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Old 08-24-21, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
What about the Roadeo? I know how much you like Rivendells
Ha, I lol'd. But really, 4 out of 5 GLUCs ride Sevens? Maybe I should keep saving up...
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Old 08-24-21, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Which part didn't you like, the low trail or the 650B (assuming it was the wide-tire aspect of that)? Or was it both?
I was surprised by how slow and mushy it was. I took it on 4 or 5 rides of 35-40 miles, and I was always 2-4 mph slower than on my Austro Daimler. I could get used to the steering, but the bike would shimmy above 18mph. It was really hard to get the bike above 20mph on the flats. The 42mm tires didn't feel much more comfortable than 32s. I liked the front bag though.

Point is, I get why this kind of bike is such an obscure niche. I do love reading BQ though.
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Old 08-24-21, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
I was surprised by how slow and mushy it was. I took it on 4 or 5 rides of 35-40 miles, and I was always 2-4 mph slower than on my Austro Daimler. I could get used to the steering, but the bike would shimmy above 18mph. It was really hard to get the bike above 20mph on the flats. The 42mm tires didn't feel much more comfortable than 32s. I liked the front bag though.

Point is, I get why this kind of bike is such an obscure niche. I do love reading BQ though.
Gotcha. I hope it didn't sound like I was challenging you on your preferences, just wanted to draw out a little more detail that might help in the discussion.
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Old 08-24-21, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Gotcha. I hope it didn't sound like I was challenging you on your preferences, just wanted to draw out a little more detail that might help in the discussion.
Ha, I didn't mean to sound so negative. I get why people with a different riding style might like them, and they're beautiful, and maybe the frame was underbuilt for my weight... but not for me!
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Old 08-24-21, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
Ha, I lol'd. But really, 4 out of 5 GLUCs ride Sevens? Maybe I should keep saving up...
It's true. Astonishingly, Seven was the most common brand of bike on the Iron Porcupine last year. They could build you one for wide tires and medium reach rim brakes if that's what you wanted. A Waltly could be a viable less expensive alternative.
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Old 08-24-21, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
Ha, I didn't mean to sound so negative. I get why people with a different riding style might like them, and they're beautiful, and maybe the frame was underbuilt for my weight... but not for me!
It didn't sound negative, just honest. I think medium-to-high trail and wheels in the ballpark of 700x28 are probably better suited for most people, anyway.
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Old 08-24-21, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
I was surprised by how slow and mushy it was.
What bike was it? I know some people that ride low-end soma 650b bikes with 40+mm tires and do it quite rapidly.

And I know some slower people that do pretty well on them too.

Not trying to talk into buying something you don't want, of course. My rando bikes are 700x32mm with different amounts of trail. The one I rode on PBP is very low trail and I had no problems with shimmy even when going too fast on the way back to Carhaix. The next one is going to have more trail, but not that much more.
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Old 08-24-21, 05:31 PM
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Low trail requires a soft hand. A nervous or tight hand>>> not good. It isn't like I can't do it but I know my limits and when wet and cold, I don't want to fight my bike. .....I'd rather be behind a sled in adverse conditions. I'll take maneuvering slow speed wonkiness sawing the bars back and forth at 3 mph in exchange. An honest tradeoff but understandably, nobody wants to struggle at 3 mph with their tongue out sucking air
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Old 08-24-21, 05:44 PM
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I don't remember ever riding my low trail bike without at least something in the front bag. I don't recommend it. I'm not sure I could make it to the first traffic light.
It doesn't take much weight though, spare tire is enough.

High trail and a rando front bag is scary like an overweight truck. I also had trouble with forced shimmy if I ever shivered from being cold. I rode a bike like that for quite a while and kept wondering why I didn't make a lower trail fork.
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Old 08-24-21, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
What bike was it? I know some people that ride low-end soma 650b bikes with 40+mm tires and do it quite rapidly.

And I know some slower people that do pretty well on them too.

Not trying to talk into buying something you don't want, of course. My rando bikes are 700x32mm with different amounts of trail. The one I rode on PBP is very low trail and I had no problems with shimmy even when going too fast on the way back to Carhaix. The next one is going to have more trail, but not that much more.
This was a custom frame by a well-regarded builder, and made for someone probably 20lbs lighter and a few inches shorter than me. So Iím sure that contributed to the ride (and the shimmy). Iím also kind of a masher so my style probably isnít suited to the fat tires + ultra flexy frame formula.

Iím glad it works for you and others, because it contributes to the variety of beautiful and wacky bikes out there in the world!
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Old 08-24-21, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I don't remember ever riding my low trail bike without at least something in the front bag. I don't recommend it. I'm not sure I could make it to the first traffic light.
It doesn't take much weight though, spare tire is enough.

High trail and a rando front bag is scary like an overweight truck. I also had trouble with forced shimmy if I ever shivered from being cold. I rode a bike like that for quite a while and kept wondering why I didn't make a lower trail fork.
I had a bag on the front with tools etc, and it did handle pretty well with itóbetter than my AD with a handlebar bag. But everything has a trade off, so I guess it comes down to what things bother you moreÖ
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Old 08-24-21, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
High trail and a rando front bag is scary like an overweight truck. I also had trouble with forced shimmy if I ever shivered from being cold. I rode a bike like that for quite a while and kept wondering why I didn't make a lower trail fork.
That describes my rando riding up to and including PBP 2015. Trail figure of about 66mm with perhaps too much weight in the bag, and the shimmy could be violent when I took my hands off the bars (or if I got cold!) So instead of a really stable bike that took care of itself, I had to keep a hand on the bars at all times, and that got tiring. I didn't have anything to lose by going to low-trail, really.
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Old 08-25-21, 07:34 AM
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If that bike had ever shimmied without my input, I would have retired it immediately. Or at least made a new fork.
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Old 08-25-21, 09:31 AM
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Maybe take a look at Rodriguez Cycles. For custom bikes, their prices seem pretty reasonable, and the company has been around for a long time. Possibly the Ranier, although they're speccing that with Tektro long-reach caliper brakes (I had a bike with these…just say no), but I think you'd really want cantis for a bike like that. Or discs.
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Old 08-25-21, 07:09 PM
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You basically described my Surly Cross Check. My favorite for long distance rides.
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