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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting my F4C frame replaced by Felt for some cracking occuring at the chainstays near the bottom bracket. Felt will likely send an F4 as a replacement but in the back of my mind I can't help but wonder if a carbon frame is just not a good daily use bike. Bike shop says they've never warrantied one and that all should be well but I just can't shake the feeling that a decent steel frame would be a better all round choice and more durable.

A little bit on my riding habits:

I'm 5'10" and about 175 pounds with the backpack (weighed 161 lbs the other day :thumbsup: )

I commute several times a week (10 miles each way) on OK roads with some rough spots (worst is bad 1 to 2" pavement gaps down a 1/2 mile 8% grade at high speed with some other minor bumps here and there). I ride in the dead of winter when there is NO ice/snow as well. It's hard to baby a frame on this commute but I don't hit any curbs or big holes and take good care to dodge any major obstacles.

I also ride more competitively with small groups and family where speed and climbing ability is key. I'd say 60-70% commuting with the balance being more aggressive fast riding. I don't race now but would like to be able to.

The way I see it I have two options:

1. Keep and build up the replacement carbon frame and hope that all is well. Felt has been good to us but they've already replaced my wife's F55 frame so I'm a little hesitant.

2. Order a Soma Smoothie or similar steel frame and trust that it will be stronger and ride nearly as well (both have very similar geometries although the Soma only has a three year warranty). If I do this I'll sell the brand new replacement frame to pay for it and build it up with the F4C components.

What would you do? Advice?

I've considered other inexpensive steel frames but most of the choices seem to have lots of compromises (Surly's frame geometries are not as agressive and they are heavier) and I can't afford a Waterford or anything really spendy. Are there other options in the Soma's price range? Or is the Smoothie really that good for the money?


HELP!!!!

Thanks.
 

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For a commuter or touring bike, if it were me, I'd go with steel.

But I'd likely take steel in any situation really, unless I could afford Ti. :wink5:

I dunno, the material just has a good track record with me. I have a 20-year-old steel Bridgestone road bike that's never ever had a frame or fork problem of any kind, and unless I get rid of it, will likely outlive me. I like that.

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For an extra $275 over the Soma you can get a Gunnar Sport. The Gunnar uses a superior tubing that is 1/2 lb lighter and less lilely to crack than the Soma Tange 4130 steel tubes. The Gunnar is American made with True Temper OX Platinum American made tubing. The True Temper OX tubing is air hardening so does not require extra heat processes. 4130 tube is crack prone if not correctly pre-heated and post-heated and I think the Soma frame suffers from this ailment.
 

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babylou said:
For an extra $275 over the Soma you can get a Gunnar Sport. The Gunnar uses a superior tubing that is 1/2 lb lighter and less lilely to crack than the Soma Tange 4130 steel tubes. The Gunnar is American made with True Temper OX Platinum American made tubing. The True Temper OX tubing is air hardening so does not require extra heat processes. 4130 tube is crack prone if not correctly pre-heated and post-heated and I think the Soma frame suffers from this ailment.
Huh? Tange Prestige (what the Soma uses) isn't good enough? Hasn't Tange tubing been used on oh, about a zillion bikes for well over 25 years?

I'm sure Gunnar is a fine brand, but homering for them by unfairly trying to FUD Soma and Tange is pretty silly. :lol:

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SystemShock said:
Huh? Tange Prestige (what the Soma uses) isn't good enough? Hasn't Tange tubing been used on oh, about a zillion bikes for well over 20 years?

I'm sure Gunnar is a fine brand, but homering for them by unfairly trying to FUD Soma and Tange is pretty silly. :lol:

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Well then I guess I will tell my welders that they stop wasting all that time pre and post heating. How about you study a bit of metallurgy then repost...or you can study the reviews and see that many Smoothies have cracked.
 

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babylou said:
Well then I guess I will tell my welders that they stop wasting all that time pre and post heating. How about you study a bit of metallurgy then repost...or you can study the reviews and see that many Smoothies have cracked.
Yeah, I'm sure I'll stay up all night worrying about it, Mr. 2 posts at RBR.

You joined up just to shill for Gunnar? Is biz that slow over there? Wow. Sad. :(

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SystemShock said:
Yeah, I'm sure I'll stay up all night worrying about it, Mr. 2 posts at RBR.

You joined up just to shill for Gunnar? Is biz that slow over there? Wow. Sad. :(

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Fine stay ignorant. You've been a member of this forum for a bit more than a month and you are poppin off like you are a grisled vet.
 

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babylou said:
Fine stay ignorant. You've been a member of this forum for a bit more than a month and you are poppin off like you are a grisled vet.
Uh-huh. I've been involved in the sport since the early '80s, sparky.

Oh, and congrats... I'm up for a new bike in the next few months. Soma's on the short list, Gunnar's now off. If this is how they promote their product, then bah. :frown2:

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I built a Soma Smoothie up for commuting here in Zurich this past winter...it's kind of my Swiss Army knife of bikes...great on tough weather days (there are a lot of those here), fun riding the smooth trails with the kids (32mm tires help) and I built it with Campy Veloce and an super light set of Velomax Accent II wheels. While it's a lot heavier than my Colnago C50...man is it SMOOTH...long wheel base and supple steel...it's a Cadillac, baby. The guys at BikeTiresDirect.com were a huge help in me getting the parts and frame in time before my move here last February...they're a great place to buy the frame!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Gunnar Roadie looks very nice, similar geometry, less weight, lifetime warranty but it's $400 more (over twice the price). The Sport is the same price on the website. I don't know that I can justify or afford this.

babylou, can you direct me to the "reviews" regarding cracked Smoothie Tange Prestige frames? I know there is one individuall who had his non-Tange frame crack who posted on RBR but I'd be interested to know of others. Please advise - feel free to PM me as well.

I've got to make my mind up this week. Maybe I should just ride the Felt replacement and start saving for something a little nicer. It just seems like a good time to sell off the new Felt carbon frame (which is really a nice ride) and go for steel (which is what I really want).

Keep the comments and opinions coming.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dctrofspin,

Thanks for your comments. How often do you ride and how much do you weigh (if you don't mind me asking)? Sounds like you are not limiting your riding on the Smoothie to just smooth streets?
 
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