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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's time to treat myself to a new ride. Why? Because I can. :) I'm hoping some of you can help me out with my frame choice…

My requirements: This bike is going to be my main ride and will cover evening training rides, long weekend fun rides, and commuting. I live in the Seattle area, so it has to have clearance for fenders along with some slightly beefy tires for wintertime riding. I'm not crazy about cantilever brakes, so it has to work with long reach calipers. It's gotta be steel, just cuz. I'll probably have it built out with an Ultegra drive train and other similar quality components. My budget is about $2,500. I'm not obsessed with weight, but it would be nice if it could come in under 20 lbs.

What kind of rider am I: I currently ride about 150 - 200 miles a week in the summer time, a combination of commuting, an evening ride or two, and a weekend ride of 70 - 100 miles. During the winter it's just commuting about 50 - 60 miles/week. No plans to race, I ride for fun and fitness only, but I push myself pretty hard and try to work a lot of climbing into my weekend rides. I'm 5' 9" and 155 lbs.

So, without getting into custom frames which I think would blow my budget, I've narrowed it down to the Gunnar Sport, Soma Smoothie ES and the Surly Pacer. I'm interested in hearing opinions from anyone who has experience with any or all of these. Also let me know if you think I'm overlooking another bike that meets my requirements.

Thanks
 

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i was looking at those three models as well. i think the gunnar is the top, the soma next (if in green), and then the surly. but as far as pricing, surly and soma are close. gunnar? more, but supposedly better frame build quality.

i ended up getting a salsa la razza from bikeman.com. sweet color, easy build, smooth ride.
 

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Surly thoughts.

A Pacer's going to be difficult to get under 20 lbs, unless you go the weight-weenie route with the components—which seems sort of out of character with the cheap, bread-and-butter frame. One way (which I have no interest in pursuing) might be to replace the 2.1 lb (950 gram) steel fork with a sub-400 gram carbon fork, which would take off almost a full pound right there.

On the other hand, I love my 22-lb. black Pacer. It handles as nicely with 23 mm skinnies as it does with 32 mm winter balloons. It also climbs much better than I thought it would, although one of my riding friends tells me that this is because of "low expectations." A pox on him! :D
 

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I've had a Sport and a Smoothie ES. Given your budget I'd go with the Sport; it's much nicer. You can fit fenders and 28mm tires.
 

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I'm not sure what sort of tube set the Soma uses, but the Sport uses a top level tube set. I'm not sure if the Surley even uses DB tubes.
Check out the prices and look at the tubesets. Factor in your weight and make the call.
Check out he Gunnar web-site, if you haven't already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yep, I've been to the Gunnar web site (still cleaning drool out of my keyboard) and have to agree that on paper the Gunnar looks like a superior frame. Of course the price is definitely "superior" as well. I'm leaning toward the Gunnar but wanted to see if people's experience here matches my expectations based on specs.

Thanks to all for your input, and keep it coming.
 

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I commuted on a Smoothie ES for a couple of years but I broke it at the drive side dropout. Soma eventually owned up to their warranty and replaced it. The replacement frame is still in the box (60cm) on a shelf in my garage. I had to wait almost three months for various warranty issues so in the meantime I bought a Gunnar Crosshairs. Gunnars cost more but are a higher quality product than Soma. Nothing at all wrong with Soma, Gunnar is just better.

I live over in Poulsbo so I experience the same weather that you do in Seattle. I prefer the utility of a cyclocross bike for commuting. With the Smoothie ES, I could only run a 25mm tire on the front with fenders. A clean 28mm tire will fit, but any dirt or debris will drag the fender. A 28mm fits on the rear with clearance to spare. With the cyclocross frame I can run a 32 mm tire with fenders.

Gunnar offers a custom option. Maybe you could get a cross bike with road bike geometry (lower bottom bracket).
 

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Since your thinking about the Gunnar...you should consider the Soma Speedster. More money than the Smoothie ES (but less than the Gunnar), but the chrome lugs and fork crown is just soooo damn sexy.
 

· eminence grease
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Gunnar for sure. For me there is just something special about a frame coming out of the Waterford factory in Wisconsin as opposed to another generic Asian product. And I own a Soma, so it's not a specific bias. On a tight budget, you can't beat Soma or Surly.

But if you're willing to go the extra couple of hundred bucks, I think a True Temper Ox Platinum tubeset is going to be a bit nicer and a bit lighter. I have a Roadie that I converted to single speed and liked well enough to invest in a custom powder coat job.

Gunnar simply makes nice stuff.
 

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Vote for Gunnar - had a Street Dog that did not fit me correctly, a bit to small. Sold it and I still miss it - go figure. Have a Salsa Casseroll that I built into a fixie commuter with fenders and a rack, running Pasella tour guard 28's no clearance issues. Bought this frame and fork on closeout for something like 3 or 400, nice rig but would not think the ride quality close to a Gunnar.
 

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immerle said:
How would the Milwaukee Orange One, which is also made by Waterford, figure into this conversion?
The Milwaukees have rear facing rear dropouts for single speed/fixed gear use, whereas the Gunnars (and the other bike models being mentioned) have forward facing rear dropouts set up for derailleurs.
 

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Another +1 for Gunnar

I have two Gunnar Crosshairs, and I love them both. I use one for commuting and cx and the other has s&s couplers and is my travel bike. Nothing but positive experiences with both.
 
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