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Old 10-21-12, 11:00 PM   #1
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Off Pavement with a Saga

OK, first the bad: I tried to build this bike around a pair of Bruce Gordon Rock N Road 700 x 43 tires. After getting the tires and bike together in one place I was disappointed to find out that the rear tire has about 2 mm clearance... a No-Go. The tires are EXACTLY 43 mm at their widest point. So I substitute a Bontrager 38mm cyclocross racing tire, this has adequate clearance. Since I wanted a little more dirt capability, this is a big negative. Also, the rear wheel needs "a little help" to sit squarely between the chainstays.
Now the good: As far as I can tell the frame tubing is perfect for my intended use: light (verylight? ultralight??!!) touring on roads of all types in the western U.S. I am a big fan of Pestige tubing, and I think that Soma has a great design here. I have no doubt this frame can handle some modestly rough terrane thrown into the mix with a light load on it. I like low bottom brackets, and this one is plenty low! 10 5/8ths inches with the big bomber tires on it. At 27 pounds this bike is a huge leap in performance from my 32 pound 1985 Miyata rigid mountain bike I used for mixed surface touring/dog adventures. When the road levels out or gets a little smooth this thing just wants to roll! The bike doesn't have the same "snap" of my heavier touring MTB with the 26 inch wheels, but almost, and I rarely put out those explosive kind of efforts.
More good: I love the front tire on this bike. I am thinking I might get a custom Bruce Gordon just to use a pair of them and have a perfect fit, I don't know just yet... The bike is a great blend of float and performance, I want to ride it tomorrow but we're getting rain. I have Honjo fenders and 32 mm street tires for it, but I will wait until winter to put them on.
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Old 10-22-12, 12:29 AM   #2
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Frankenbike...People come up with some amazing combinations.

You're happy with it now, and have some ideas for the future... good to look ahead.

Now get out and ride it. Don't wait too long to put the winter tires and fenders on it.
I don't like it when my bikes stay clean and pristine too long. That means I'm not riding.
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Old 10-22-12, 11:05 AM   #3
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I have ridden on Schwalbe Duremes 35f/40r for the last three tours (0 flats in 6,000+ K and lots of tread life left). I keep a set of Schwalbe 40mm Extremes in the bottom of my pannier for when the going gets tough. But the reality is on most USFS gravel and dirt roads there is no noticeable difference in handling between the two tires, and I have toured on dirt a lot. The Duremes are much nicer on paved roads. I mostly put the Extremes on when touring on single track or no track at all. They are also much better in mud and very soft dirt. I tour on an aluminum cyclocross bike with a high clearance bottom bracket and carbon fork, and love it.
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Old 10-22-12, 11:08 AM   #4
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I found that the sweet spot for my Saga was 32-35mm tires.
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Old 10-22-12, 12:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by venturi95 View Post
OK, first the bad
Your links (attachments) are invalid - no one can see them.
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Old 10-27-12, 12:36 PM   #6
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I run 32s on the front and a 35 on the rear. There are times when a 38 would be tempting but the extra rolling resistance wouldn't be worth it.
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