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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Vermont
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    269

    Need ideas for new bike

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    I'm looking for help finding a cyclocross or touring bike. While I'm not intending to use it for cyclocross- I want something that I can use on dirt roads and is essentially designed like a cyclocross bike. (Currently BF and I are riding on dirt roads quite a bit- my touring bike has wider tires and works well, but the fit isn't perfect and the bike is 17 years old and heavy.)

    I'd like to stick to a steel frame and fork. So here's the question- anyone know of a stock steel frame bike designed to fit a woman 5'5"? I'm picky about fit- my road bike is a custom bike and I'm looking for something that will fit me as well as it does. (The touring bike I'm currently using is designed for someone my height, but the reach is still a bit long, even with a shorter stem.) Are there any WSD cross bikes out there? The Luna Orbit looks appealing, and I know I can get what I want if I get another custom bike, but I'm wondering if anyone knows of anything less expensive that would fit me.

    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    I'm 5'4" and very comfortable on my 19" Trek 520 and my 50 cm Cross Check (both full steel frames). Neither is WSD. Of course, it depends on your proportions.... What tt length do you need?

    CA
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    I've been shopping around a little myself. I'm 5'4" (with short legs) and I want a bike for commuting, country road rides, potential light touring, and eventually maybe a cross race or two (maybe).

    I need a bike that is all steel, fairly light (relatively speaking), fits larger tires and that accepts fenders and a rack. Oh, and it has to come in SMALL sizes.

    So far, I've found 2. The Surly Cross Check and the Soma Double Cross. I believe that both will fit me if I stick to the smallest frame size. They both have slightly longer top tubes than my road bike, but I think I can make it work. Soma also has a road bike that might suit my purposes (except for the cross racing, I think) called the Smoothie ES. It won't take super wide tires, but I believe it'll fit up to a 32mm which would work for me.

    All three of the bikes I've mentioned come in a suprisingly wide range of sizes, so I'm sure they'd have something that would work for you. I like that they are all reasonably priced, too.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    GLC - Too funny. DH is thinking of building up a Smoothie ES - the catch - we've never seen a SOMA frame in person. Kind of a big leap to take, huh

    CA
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    Quote Originally Posted by CA_in_NC View Post
    we've never seen a SOMA frame in person.
    Me neither! There is an LBS not too far from us that carries them, so I want to get down there and check them out this weekend.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Vermont
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    269
    Quote Originally Posted by CA_in_NC View Post
    I'm 5'4" and very comfortable on my 19" Trek 520 and my 50 cm Cross Check (both full steel frames). Neither is WSD. Of course, it depends on your proportions.... What tt length do you need?

    CA
    My current bike is also a 19" Trek 520 (from 1991)- it's a great bike, but again I've gotten rather picky about fit and can tell I'm more stretched out on it than I should be. How is the reach on the Cross Check compared the the 520? (I'm on vacation visiting my parents so I can't access any of my road bike numbers right now.)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    423
    Have you checked out the Salsa Casseroll? It's pretty sweet... (I was >this< close to buying one before I found an older bike on Craigslist that suited my purposes. But I still kind of lust after the Casseroll.)
    http://www.salsacycles.com/casserollComp08.html

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    423
    I meant to add that the Casseroll isn't a 'cross bike, or really even a touring bike. It's meant to be a comfortable, but sporty, versatile all-'rounder. (At least, that's how it was described to me at more than one LBS, and my test rides lived up to the description.)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Quote Originally Posted by anakiwa View Post
    My current bike is also a 19" Trek 520 (from 1991)- it's a great bike, but again I've gotten rather picky about fit and can tell I'm more stretched out on it than I should be. How is the reach on the Cross Check compared the the 520? (I'm on vacation visiting my parents so I can't access any of my road bike numbers right now.)
    I'll try to measure when we get back (we're packing for a weekend away), but as I recall it's about 1cm longer than the 520. Sorry Maybe try the 48?

    CA
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    4

    Steel cross bike

    The Surley bikes are good, and it's a nice company to support. But, they really are not light! They are quite heavy actually. For a good steel frame.. maybe a Lemond Poprad? Not sure if they still make that one. I assume custom is out of the question? You could do a steel frame, coming down from top-of-the-line material and still get something good quality and light from some framebuilders for not too much (that's always relative, isn't it). One of my favorite framebuilders for a low-cost steel frame that is really nice is Curtlo:

    http://www.curtlo.com/

    Take a look there an see if that might be a good option.

    RC
    -----
    Russell Cree, DPT, CSCS
    Upper Echelon Fitness, LLC

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    1,414
    I'm 5'6", and when I was shopping for a commuter (and looking for a cross bike), I rode a Lemond Poprad that I really, really liked. The 49 was a nice fit for me, not stretched out (though I think that term can be a little bit relative). It is steel, and very smooth, but around 20 lbs built up with knobby tires -- not too bad for steel. Much less than, say, the Trek 520 or Bianchi Volpe.

    I should note that I rode the 2007 version (a great orange color) that had cantis, not disc brakes, and I'm sure the disc version is heavier.

    If you can locate one of these in your size, you should be able to get a good deal on it, given the Trek/Lemond situation. I think the 2007 I was looking at was on sale (it was December) for around $1100. It was mostly 105 (not sure about the cranks, and I THINK I remember that it had better brakes, Avid, maybe?).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    bay area, ca
    Posts
    30
    I don't normally see much demand for steel bikes, I'm curious why you guys prefer them. Softer ride? then why not carbon fiber?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    I just don't trust carbon fiber - I know people do, it's personal preference for me. I don't want to worry about if my bike falls over, rubs something on the rack, etc. that it will fail. The aluminum bikes I've ridden were quite harsh. I'd love a Ti bike, but it's not in the budget yet.

    CA
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    3,867
    I like old steel bikes, the ones I had when I was a teenager. That's my affinity to steel. It's not the steel, per se, but the crappy componentry and friction shifters, and it's mostly the adjustable stems that I like a lot! I like the look of the narrower steel tubes over wide aluminum or elliptical carbon fiber, too; I like the aesthetic of steel bikes.

    If I were racing, I'd go with the lightest, highest-tech bike I could find, though! There is a big difference in riding my steel touring bike with friction bar-end shifters and my aluminum road bike with brifters. The bike I ride for any particular occasion depends on who I'm riding with, mostly. If I will need to keep up, I ride the road bike. For pure pleasure, it's the steel tourer.

    Karen
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    insidious ungovernable cardboard

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    996
    Quote Originally Posted by stephanie1129 View Post
    I don't normally see much demand for steel bikes, I'm curious why you guys prefer them. Softer ride? then why not carbon fiber?
    They're more expensive. I have one that's all built up for racing & I love it. Some people worry about frame failure, but honestly, any material can fail just as easily, but the failures happen in different ways- metal can bend or break (welds can break, too). Carbon doesn't bend. If you wreck, etc, then it's either fine or it breaks. There's no in the middle... which is why you hear of "catastrophic failure" of carbon parts. I don't see it as unsafe in the least.

    To the OP- I have a Surly Crosscheck (in addition to my lightweight carbon steed). I LOVE it! I'm about to race CX on it, and once CX season is over, it's getting some fenders & maybe a rack and turning into my new commuter.
    Because not every fast cyclist is a toothpick...

    Brick House Blog

 

 

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