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As I get older, I'm realizing that my go-fast bike (58cm Specialized Allez steel with Ultegra triple STI) isn't the right bike for me anymore. I'm looking for a more mellow, laid-back, and sedate ride that can handle a tire as wide as a Rivendell Jack Brown 700x33 (though more likely I'll go with a Roll-y Pol-y 700x27). My riding style is "get out on the bike for a couple of hours and see where my wheels take me"...no loaded touring, SOME commuting. As much as I would love to get something like a Rivendell A. Homer HIlson, at $1600 for the frame alone, that ain't going to happen.

So, my alternatives look a bit like this:


My preference is for a lugged steel frame with normal caliper brakes. The downside of the Bleriot (which would be my first choice otherwise) is the 650b wheel size. I know there are fans of that size, but I have a couple of sets of nice 700c wheels (Mavic tubulars with Clement Campionato del Mondo and DT clinchers, both sets on Mavic 571/2 hubs) that I want to keep.

Anyway, is there anyone here with experience with any of these frames that cares to comment on the suitability/value/etc. of any of these frames?

Thanks

Pete
 

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If you want a nice lugged steel sport touring frame a very good option is to find a an upper level Japanese import from the early to mid 1980's. Miyata, Panasonic, Centurion, Shogun, Univega all had some very nice lugged frames made with very high quality Miyata, Tange, or Ishiwata chrome moly tubing. (They also made some pretty modest entry level carbon steel stuff). Frequently you'll find these bikes in near new condition on ebay or craig list for under $200. I modernized a Shogun and a Centurion for myself and a Panasonic for my son--basically added indexed barcons, a good wheel set, and brooks saddle.

All of the frames you listed will be very good, but recycling a cycle and ending up with an equal or better bike might be fun for you.
 

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I came very close to buying a Smoothie ES as my new weekend ride, but at the last minute I decided to get another cross bike simply b/c I am comfortable with canti brakes. The Soma is a really nice frame- would you get the steel fork or carbon one? Both materials are nice, but I was leaning towards carbon just to lighten up the front end a bit.
 

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I'm pretty happy with my pacer. I've been a Surly fanboy for years and this is my 4th or 5th surly so I'm a bit biased but it's been an excellent value for my use. Provided you don't intend to run fat tires <i>and</i> fenders at the same time or a rear rack and aren't a weight weenie I doubt it would disappoint. My only complaints are the relatively short chainstays (415mm) and the rear brake bridge is mounted such that fender installation requires creativity. Also, Surly tried to split the baby with brake reach so either long reach or short reach will work but that sort of defeats the purpose. if you can get past those trivialities it's the best value on your list. you can run 650B's with it if you get the urge too.
 

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Reynolds531 said:
If you want a nice lugged steel sport touring frame a very good option is to find a an upper level Japanese import from the early to mid 1980's. Miyata, Panasonic, Centurion, Shogun, Univega all had some very nice lugged frames made with very high quality Miyata, Tange, or Ishiwata chrome moly tubing. (They also made some pretty modest entry level carbon steel stuff). Frequently you'll find these bikes in near new condition on ebay or craig list for under $200. I modernized a Shogun and a Centurion for myself and a Panasonic for my son--basically added indexed barcons, a good wheel set, and brooks saddle.

All of the frames you listed will be very good, but recycling a cycle and ending up with an equal or better bike might be fun for you.

I agree. use and reuse the 80's!
 

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Well, I've owned the Bleriot, so I can tell you it's perfect for the kind of riding you're describing. But, if you've already got a set of 700c wheels you'd like to use, I'd say the best value of the bunch would be the Surly Pacer. Why the hell not? You can get 700x32s on it, it's steel, uses caliper brakes (Nashbar's long reach brakes work great), builds up into a nice ride. I'd say the Crosscheck as well, but you don't like canti brakes. They're not my favorite either, but I just inherited an old Trek MTB with 'em, and they're emminently servicable. Not my 1st choice, but they're OK. Look again at the Crosscheck. If you can get past the canti's, it'll take your Jack Brown 700x33.33's with ease, at least in the rear, and probably the front as well.
 

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Doggity said:
Look again at the Crosscheck. If you can get past the canti's, it'll take your Jack Brown 700x33.33's with ease, at least in the rear, and probably the front as well.
the CC definitely will accommodate 33's. I've had up to 48's in mine. the pacer should take 33's too, I've had 36c cx tires in mine, but I've read varying reports of 32+ tires fitting.
 
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