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Old 11-11-13, 07:18 PM   #1
Ridefreemc
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Salsa Vaya to straight top tube bike - suggestions needed.

I have a Salsa Vaya in 56cm, with Mavic disc rims and Schwalbe Supreme tires (35mm) that rides very well and is quite comfortable. However, I would like to swap my parts over to a bike with a straight top tube, mainly for looks, but there are other reasons for my contemplated switch.

I'd like a bike with all braze-ons that you typically see, room for wider tires and fenders, and a lively, but comfortable ride. I've been researching cross bikes that are not quite cross bikes, like the Surly Straggler, but I'm having a hard time with the purple and lack of availability. Also, I wouldn't mind upgrading the steel just a bit from the Surly, Soma, Salsa type bikes. For example, I really like the Singular Peregrine http://www.singularcycles.com/shop/i...peregrine.html a versatile bike with good looks. So does this http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applica...cat_grp=road_9

On the other end are true touring bikes, but I'm afraid that since I'd only be doing full touring once or twice a year that I really might not like it the rest of the time. I looked at the LHT and did not like the ride at all. Also, most touring bikes seem to only handle 32mm tires with fenders (not the LHT of course). What would really be icing on the cake is to have a kickstand mount too (but let's not start the kickstand war).

Can any of you suggest something that is a light to medium tourer, straight top tube, disc ready, decent quality frame material, fit wider tires, and for maybe around $1,200 (or less) for frame and fork?

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Old 11-13-13, 06:43 PM   #2
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Am I writing in invisible type I would have thought there would be a few good suggestions on a straight top tubed, disc specific bike that fits the bill between a true cross bike and a dedicated tourer. I looked further into the Aurora and I like it, but can't help to think there might be a nicer frame and fork only out there that I haven't seen. Also, the Singular is hard to get. The current importer is involved in another business at the moment.
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Old 11-13-13, 07:24 PM   #3
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only 3 days, are we itchy?


Ask Co-Motion , a US Builder in Oregon, about the perfect bike .. or one of many Custom Builders..

rather than wonder which Taiwan made Imported frame has everything you want..

the reverse.. say what you want and some one will build it for you.

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Old 11-13-13, 07:28 PM   #4
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The Straggler is also available in black. You could probably also get a Gunnar for around that budget.
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Old 11-13-13, 07:38 PM   #5
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Maybe the Trek Crossrip or Kona H-o-n-k-y Tonk?
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Old 11-13-13, 08:56 PM   #6
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Old 11-14-13, 06:31 AM   #7
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Thanks all - I have looked at many of these suggestions in the past, but will give them another look.

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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
only 3 days, are we itchy?


Ask Co-Motion , a US Builder in Oregon, about the perfect bike .. or one of many Custom Builders..

rather than wonder which Taiwan made Imported frame has everything you want..

the reverse.. say what you want and some one will build it for you.
This is a fast moving world and sometimes I get cought up in the "instantness" of it all

The Co Motion bikes are very nice, but sloping top tubes. I'm thinking of going back to the idea of custom for about $2,000.

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Originally Posted by seat_boy View Post
The Straggler is also available in black. You could probably also get a Gunnar for around that budget.
I now see that their custom frames are a very nice price. I'll study those. I like that Fastlane disc and will see if they will do straight top tube. That is a nice bike and has room for larger tires + fenders.

The Straggler will probably get a new paint job if I went that way (powder coat), but that adds $200 right off the top.

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Maybe the Trek Crossrip or Kona H-o-n-k-y Tonk?
Sloping top tubes. I really like the off the shelf Kona Rove too, but sloping. Have always liked Trek.

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all-city spacehorse
Another sloping top tube.

Looks like Gunnar is a nice option.

Thanks all.
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Old 11-14-13, 07:25 AM   #8
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Oops, I didn't look well enough. Those bikes take 32 and 35mm tires.
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Old 11-14-13, 09:48 AM   #9
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straight top tubes, you mentioned it mostly for looks, but do you want more room to put bottles and frame bags and such?

whatever you get, I agree that if riding fully loaded is very infrequent, you will get more enjoyment out of a more lively bike for the rest of the riding season. This is exactly what I like about my 4 yr old Tricross, its not a true tourer but does a fine job with a reasonable load, but isnt a truck to ride the rest of the time.

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Old 11-14-13, 10:31 AM   #10
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Another vote for the All-City Space Horse. A friend of mine has one and it is very nice looking bike with lots of practical features -- mounts for fenders and racks, clearance for larger tires and fenders. Excellent value for the money as well.

Also check out the Jamis Aurora, Soma Smoothie ES and San Marcos. If you don't mind ordering from overseas and waiting a few months, Mercian and Bob Jackson both have audax and touring/sport touring frames that are really nice. I ordered a BJ World Tour a few years ago and it has been a great bike. One nice thing about the British bikes is they will paint them in just about any color or design scheme at no additional or nominal costs.

Also, you might want to consider some of the cyclocross bikes, such as the Soma Double Cross, Gunnar Crosshairs and All-City Nature Boy.
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Old 11-14-13, 11:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
The Co Motion bikes are very nice, but sloping top tubes.
only the one in the web picture example, you want a horizontal top tube, just say, "make it so"..

that is the benefit of a smaller on-shore builder.


Bruce Gordon in Petaluma makes his own racks there, and the frames too.

I have long flawless service from my BG racks , none better.

(others just different features , maybe equal at best)

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Old 11-14-13, 07:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
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straight top tubes, you mentioned it mostly for looks, but do you want more room to put bottles and frame bags and such?

whatever you get, I agree that if riding fully loaded is very infrequent, you will get more enjoyment out of a more lively bike for the rest of the riding season. This is exactly what I like about my 4 yr old Tricross, its not a true tourer but does a fine job with a reasonable load, but isnt a truck to ride the rest of the time.
No to frame bags and yes to two bottles (and possible a third on multi-day trips.

The real long trips won't happen often and again I pack light so that is accurate I don't really want a full fledged touring bike.
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Old 11-14-13, 08:07 PM   #13
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Another vote for the All-City Space Horse. A friend of mine has one and it is very nice looking bike with lots of practical features -- mounts for fenders and racks, clearance for larger tires and fenders. Excellent value for the money as well.

Also check out the Jamis Aurora, Soma Smoothie ES and San Marcos. If you don't mind ordering from overseas and waiting a few months, Mercian and Bob Jackson both have audax and touring/sport touring frames that are really nice. I ordered a BJ World Tour a few years ago and it has been a great bike. One nice thing about the British bikes is they will paint them in just about any color or design scheme at no additional or nominal costs.

Also, you might want to consider some of the cyclocross bikes, such as the Soma Double Cross, Gunnar Crosshairs and All-City Nature Boy.
Is the Space Horse a straight top tube?

The Soma Double Cross is very nice, but they had an issue with this batch of frames that limits the size tire to 38 w/o fenders. The Nature Boy looks like a sloping top tube. So is the Macho Man Disc.

I have an email into Gunnar, as their prebuilt bike is sloping (Fast Lane), but possible that the custom could be flat. Also, I don't know what steel they use (cannot find on the website). Do you know?
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Old 11-14-13, 11:26 PM   #14
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What are your thoughts on this http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...eur-frame.html ? I know I'd need to get away from disc brakes, but that's not much of an issue. I don't brake very often here in Florida, but seriously I don't need the power of the discs. I got them because I don't like grinding on rims.
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Old 11-15-13, 07:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Is the Space Horse a straight top tube?

The Soma Double Cross is very nice, but they had an issue with this batch of frames that limits the size tire to 38 w/o fenders. The Nature Boy looks like a sloping top tube. So is the Macho Man Disc.

I have an email into Gunnar, as their prebuilt bike is sloping (Fast Lane), but possible that the custom could be flat. Also, I don't know what steel they use (cannot find on the website). Do you know?
The Space Horse has a sloping top tube, altho not extreme. I am pretty sure that Gunnar could build you a frame with a level top tube because they will do customs for an extra charge. Here is how Gunnar describes the tubing:

"We rely on heat treated air-hardening steels for every Gunnar – mainly True Temper OX Platinum but also Reynolds 853. We order these alloys custom drawn to our rigorous specifications. We thoughtfully select the diameter and wall thickness of each tube to provide the right balance of strength, light weight, durability, and performance, according to the specific requirements of the style and size of your Gunnar. ...We didn’t stop there. We took advantage of these properties to develop a whole new system of tubes we call “OS2″. These tubes let us tune the ride the way we like at frame weights not possible with regular chromoly. It performs even better than the traditional tube dimensions using our air-hardening alloys."

I have a Gunnar Sport that I've been using for commuting, but just replaced it with a Crosshairs. The Sport definitely has a sloping top tube, but I can't say enough about the quality of construction on Gunnars and Waterfords. Gunnars are essentially Waterfords with TIG welds. If you would like to use the bike for commuting as well as recreational rides, fast group rides and light touring, you should really consider the Sport. You would be giving up nothing with the Sport compared to Roadie but gaining versatility.

Also, have you looked into the frames that Velo-Orange sells? I think they have level top tubes.
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Old 11-15-13, 07:41 AM   #16
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Thanks tarwheel. I didn't see that on their site. Looks like they have a nice selection of tubing.

Yes to the Velo Orange. They are good looking bikes and the one write up on their website was impressive. For $500 it would be hard to go wrong.
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Old 11-15-13, 08:32 AM   #17
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FYI, here are photos of my Bob Jackson World Tour and my Gunnar Crosshairs. The Crosshairs is an older model (2000), from back when they still had level top tubes. The newer ones are sloping but improved in other ways (better tubing, larger head tube, etc.) The BJ was a real bargain when I bought it because the dollar had increased a lot in value against the Pound at the time. I got the frame and fork, painted to my color choice, for about $600 shipped from England. It was an off-the-peg model, that is, non-custom.
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Old 11-16-13, 08:04 PM   #18
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Should you go custom, check out R+E Cycles (AKA Rodriguez Bikes) in Seattle. They can build something really nice with a horizontal top tube and other classic features of your liking.

The one below is a rando bike that's also good for light touring. It features wider 26" wheels. The geometry makes it really agile and fun while the tires make the ride super comfy virtually on any road condition.

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Old 11-16-13, 08:25 PM   #19
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I have a Co-Motion Cascadia and if you go Co-motion, for what you want I'd say look at the Nor'wester or one of their lighter bikes. I like mine very much but it is heavier than what it sounds like you want. My other suggestion is to definitely look at the Bob Jackson touring and Audax frames. They are right in your price range, are lively and ride beautifully. They also are made in England, not Taiwan if that matters tp you. I have an older Bob Jackson touring bike from early 80's and absolutely love it for general purpose, club and distance riding.
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Old 11-17-13, 05:02 PM   #20
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I have a Co-Motion Cascadia and if you go Co-motion, for what you want I'd say look at the Nor'wester or one of their lighter bikes. I like mine very much but it is heavier than what it sounds like you want. My other suggestion is to definitely look at the Bob Jackson touring and Audax frames. They are right in your price range, are lively and ride beautifully. They also are made in England, not Taiwan if that matters tp you. I have an older Bob Jackson touring bike from early 80's and absolutely love it for general purpose, club and distance riding.
So not much trouble getting a frame shipped across the pond? I guess i rules out some from there because of the potential trouble.
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Old 11-17-13, 09:43 PM   #21
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you would certainly want to get concrete answers regarding shipping costs AND duty fees that will have to be paid, noone wants a surprise fee of X dollars that is not expected.
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Old 11-17-13, 10:25 PM   #22
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I buy things from overseas all of the time and have never had a problem. You do not pay VAT so sometimes price drops if they have price listed including VAT. Bob Jackson has been shipping hundreds of bikes a year to the states and has been doing it for decades; I'd feel confident they have it figured out and can give you a proper guaranteed quote. The frames are an outstanding value and nicely within the price target you set. Many styles are less than 500 pounds (~$800). http://www.bobjacksoncycles.co.uk/pr...products_id=44 I have to tell you that I like riding my 1983 Bob Jackson more than my $3800 Co-Motion...
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Old 11-18-13, 09:10 AM   #23
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The man from Pittsburgh is correct. When ordering a Bob Jackson (or Mercian) the cost of the shipping/insurance is pretty much cancelled out by the discount by not having to pay the VAT (which is about 15%).

With Mercians, the price includes custom geometry, but you will probably receive the frame sooner if you go with standard measurements. With Bob Jackson, you can order non-custom (off-the-peg) or full custom, which takes a lot longer and costs more. I received my off-the-peg BJ about 6 weeks after ordering it. It still takes a few weeks to receive non-custom because they paint each frame to order, and you can pick any color, lug linings and decal choice that you want for no extra charge. They do charge extra, however, for special effects such as panels, fades, stripes, etc.

I also have ordered many, many items from British bike shops and never had a problem with deliveries, extra fees, taxes, etc. In fact, I often receive items ordered from England quicker than from US bike shops.

The only problems I had with Bob Jackson were communication related. They did not respond to emails very promptly. I then called them on the phone but had trouble understanding their accents. Also, BJ does not post bike geometries on their website, and it is hard getting that information from them. Mine showed up with a headtube about 1.5 cm shorter than I was told it would be, but all of the other specs were as described. It was great picking out a color, but that can be a problem if you are indecisive. Lots of great color options for both BJ and Mercian.
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Old 11-18-13, 08:00 PM   #24
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And most importantly, BJ & Mercian ride extremely comfortably and are still reasonably light... You will be getting a really nice bike, cult status, at a great deal compared to most others of similar quality...
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Old 11-18-13, 08:08 PM   #25
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Should you go custom, check out R+E Cycles (AKA Rodriguez Bikes) in Seattle. They can build something really nice with a horizontal top tube and other classic features of your liking.

The one below is a rando bike that's also good for light touring. It features wider 26" wheels. The geometry makes it really agile and fun while the tires make the ride super comfy virtually on any road condition.

I haven't had a frameset built by R&E but when I contacted the owner to discuss my options I was impressed enough to decide R&E will do my custom bike when the time comes. Shoot them an e-mail if you are interested and they will take the time to answer all of your questions.
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