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Versatile Road Bike Recommendations

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Versatile Road Bike Recommendations

Old 05-03-17, 04:13 PM
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nstone
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Versatile Road Bike Recommendations

I'm thinking of retiring my current road bike for something a more versatile, ideally that can handle some light touring and rougher roads. Looking for a frameset or complete that takes wider tires, fenders and has a bit more of a forgiving geometry without getting too close to touring rigs. Willing to get a little creative in what counts as a "road bike" as long as it's relatively speedy, I'm thinking about some gravelgrinders and all-road set-ups. Also hoping not to break the bank (maybe around $2000). Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

For reference, my list of considerations so far. Would be great to hear from anyone with experience on any of these:
All City Mr. Pink (currently top choice)
All City Space Horse
Milwaukee Orange One
Black Mountain Cycles Road
Soma ES
Gunnar Sport (most likely would need to purchase used)
Twin Six Rando (very interested if anyone has experience with this bike)
New Specialized Sequoia (maybe too much of an off-road focus)
Maybe Rodriguez Rainier



(Disclaimer: I know that this topic gets discussed a lot and I raised a similar question here a couple of years ago, but still looking for some up-to-date feedback. Sorry for any redundancy!)
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Old 05-03-17, 04:39 PM
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Jamis Renegade (Carbon or Steel)
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Old 05-03-17, 06:05 PM
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I would add in the salsa vaya.
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Old 05-03-17, 06:18 PM
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Great list already. Of those a Gunnar would be my choice, but I would buy one new if I were to get one.
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Old 05-04-17, 01:02 PM
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I recently bought a new Gunnar Sport and highly recommend it. I've owned a Waterford RST-22 for many years and it's the best riding bike I've ever owned. The Gunnar Sport in my size (58) has a geometry very close to my Waterford, so I was reasonably certain it would fit perfect-- and it does. It also rides and handles equally nice.

The Sport will easily fit 32 mm tires without fenders and 28s with them.

If you don't want to spend as much as the Gunnar, the All City Mr Pink or Soma ES are good options. For the extra money, Gunnar will offer better tubing, a range of color and decal choices, and possibly a better fit (definitely true in my case).

You might also consider a cyclocross bike. My Ritchey Breakaway Cross rides like a road bike with the proper tires, and it will fit larger tires and a rear rack. It is a very nice riding bike. The Ritchey Swiss Cross would offer a similar ride with more style and lighter weight, but no mounts for fenders and racks.
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Old 05-04-17, 02:20 PM
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I'd be giving Mike Varley (Black Mountain Cycles) a call to see if he has any road frames in stock in my size.

For "light touring" the Mr Pink probably isn't what you want, because it doesn't have any rack mounting points on the frame. The latest version even has a CF fork, it's really a straight road bike, other than the fact it can take up to 700x32 tires.
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Old 05-05-17, 06:08 PM
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Thanks for the feedback! For what it's worth, my "light" touring will be very light, like bikepacking bags and a backpack. This is mostly going be used for road riding. I've finally gotten tired of my current setup, the geometry's just too tight for me. Any extra weight or rough roads really throws it off. I have heard that some places still have the old steel-fork mr.pinks floating around (for a bit cheaper too).
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Old 05-05-17, 06:40 PM
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Nothing wrong with a carbon fiber fork for light touring. Do get a frame with real rack mounts, though. I don't think the company is in business any more and there are probably a bunch of better options now, but my Pedal Force CX1 carbon fiber cyclocross frame made a great lightweight commuter and light tourer. I believe the specs were that it can fit up to 44mm tires so the 28s on it have a ton of room even with fenders. I've hauled an 80+ lb. (loaded with kid and kid's bike) Burley kid trailer with it quite a bit, too.
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Old 05-09-17, 07:16 PM
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nstone
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Anyone have experience with the Twin Six? Kinda new, but intriguing. Might be a little concerned about the press-fit bottom bracket (I've only ever used threaded).
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Old 05-09-17, 07:49 PM
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+1 on the Jamis. Another one is the Niner RLT. Like the Jamis, it comes in alu, steel or carbon.
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Old 05-09-17, 08:19 PM
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Marin Gestalt?
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Old 05-09-17, 09:09 PM
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Jamis Renegade and Niner RLT 9 are my picks.

I will be using Apidura packs on my Niner RLT 9 RDO so no need for racks.



Originally Posted by nstone View Post
Anyone have experience with the Twin Six? Kinda new, but intriguing. Might be a little concerned about the press-fit bottom bracket (I've only ever used threaded).
There are plenty of screw in replacements for press fit. I'm not talking about adapters but actual replacement bottom brackets that screw together and do away with pressed bearings. Enduro Torqtite and Praxis come to mind.

Last edited by TimothyH; 05-09-17 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 05-19-17, 06:56 AM
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What about randonneur bikes? I see used framesets come up on ebay once in a while and there are a few stock options. Too event-specific? Slow handling? To be clear, I don't do brevets, my riding is pretty modest.
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Old 05-19-17, 07:54 AM
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Lots of great options already mentioned. I'd go with a steel frame, disc brakes, room for fenders and 45mm tires and bunch of rack mounts. I'll throw in the Raleigh Tamland, Salsa Fargo (a bit more offroady) and Surly Straggler.
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Old 12-16-17, 11:41 AM
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Hey, know this thread is pretty much dead, but figured I'd update if anyone is interested. I ended up coming across a second-hand terraferma frameset built for wide tires and just moved the parts over. Lucky break, big improvement. Thanks for the input!
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Old 12-16-17, 07:58 PM
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If you want cheap, planet X has several holdsworths on sale right now. You can also get the new albion homebrew, it's the same geometry as the Soma ES, costs about half the price. I own one, it's nice.
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Old 12-16-17, 09:15 PM
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I'll throw a motobecane century titanium into the mix.
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Old 12-16-17, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by nstone View Post
I'm thinking of retiring my current road bike for something a more versatile, ideally that can handle some light touring and rougher roads. Looking for a frameset or complete that takes wider tires, fenders and has a bit more of a forgiving geometry without getting too close to touring rigs. Willing to get a little creative in what counts as a "road bike" as long as it's relatively speedy, I'm thinking about some gravelgrinders and all-road set-ups. Also hoping not to break the bank (maybe around $2000). Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

For reference, my list of considerations so far. Would be great to hear from anyone with experience on any of these:
All City Mr. Pink (currently top choice)
All City Space Horse
Milwaukee Orange One
Black Mountain Cycles Road
Soma ES
Gunnar Sport (most likely would need to purchase used)
Twin Six Rando (very interested if anyone has experience with this bike)
New Specialized Sequoia (maybe too much of an off-road focus)
Maybe Rodriguez Rainier

(Disclaimer: I know that this topic gets discussed a lot and I raised a similar question here a couple of years ago, but still looking for some up-to-date feedback. Sorry for any redundancy!)
Good enough list, not sure what you can find at the LBS if riding it as try out I say important.

My criteria would be disc brakes if only to gain you clearance for 32mm tires with fenders. Then fender mounts front and rear as well as rack mounts rear. Probably a 34/50crank with 11-34 cassette. I’d be building around a second set of lightweight wheels with 25mm tires for fast road rides, so 32 or 36 spoke wheels for off road, 20-24 for on.

I’m a Soma user so would say look at the Wolverine as well and can do disc or V brake.

Last edited by Steve B.; 12-16-17 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 12-27-17, 06:09 AM
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Black Mountain Road

I have one with 32mm tires

I am 215lb and use it all the time it is a nice frame for the money. However if you want a light touring bike then it is not for you. It does not have rack mounts. One dropout for a rear fender not for a rack per Mike at BM. I used the fender dropouts to mount a light day rack but had to use a aftermarket seat clamp with a bolt on back to attach the front rack braces. Works great but I don't have more than 10lb in the rack bag and contents. So I am not really stressing the dropout.

It is a great all purpose road frame but not a touring frame
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