Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:21 am

As much as I love the look and history of Rene Herse, Alex Singer and other French 650B randonneur bikes I will never be able to justify the cost of buying one let alone ride it on a regular basis. Of late there has been a number of 650B randonneur frames that have become available, but none seem to tick all the right boxes. Why is it so hard for someone to get a decent Japanese/Taiwanese manufacturer to build a nice low trail geometry, skinny tube 650B bike with a 1" threaded steerer?

Here's a list of all the frames I could find and my personnel thoughts on them -


Soma Grand Randonneur - $489 USD plus shipping.

Image

I got really excited about these due to the price point, the use of the great Tange Prestige tubing and the imput from the Boulder cycles Mike Kone. However I have since been turned off by the sloping top tube, the curve of the fork and the strange choice of a JIS standard headset race (not huge problem but just limits your choice of sealed bearing headsets to Shimano ultegra or Dura ace). It's interesting to note that Mike Kone's personal Soma (the image above) uses a different fork to the production one;


Velo Orange Polyvalent - $500 USD plu shipping

Image

Not to bad with a horizontal top tube and a 1"threaded steerer but I am not a huge fan of the semi horizontal rear end, they can make getting wheels of with fat tyres a bit of a pain with mud guards. Plus the 60 cm, which is my size has an enormous 61cm top tube. The next size down is the 57cm which would require me to use a riser stem or one of those rediculous looking superlong quill Nitto's, blah :evil: ;


Rawland Stag - $725 USD plus shipping

Image

This ticks a lot of boxes. Nice horizontal top tube and vertical dropouts. I'm not so sure about the threadless steerer though. The other problem for the stag is I would have to look at getting an XL due to my leg length and not wanting a stupid number of spacers under the stem. As such my stem length will be only 60mm due to the super long top tube. I don't know how such a short stem would effect the handling of the bike. It would be nice if they made one with a 58 cm top tube but with a longer seat tube for those of us that are long in the shank but short in the torso;


Box Dog Pelican - $1400 USD plus shipping

Image

This thing is nearly perfect but the price is really starting to get up there. Really ticking all the boxes now including the internally routed generator cabling. I cant really think of any issues other then the price because for the same money I can buy a Boulder All road 650B


Tig welded stock Boulder All road 650B - $1450 plus shipping

Image

Designed by Mike Kone and pretty much in my opinion the best off the peg 650B randonneur you can get. Unfortunately they are designed with oversized tubing and I realy would like standard size tubing but that rquires you paying more.
Image

User avatar
ldrcycles
Posts: 8311
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Kin Kin, Queensland

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:22 am

You are so damn picky! :lol:

Have you looked into DIY? I've seen new lugsets and cromo tubesets on ebay quite cheaply, and then you just need someone with a TIG or oxy set.
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:13 pm

I am, aren't I. But it's not like I'm asking for a rocket ship :lol: the stuff Im after is old hat. 30 years ago it would of been relatively easy for any descent frame manufacturer to produce.

With regards to DIY, I found a site in the US that sells Reynolds tubing sets and I have thought about doing Brett Richardson's frame building TAFE course. It's just hard to fit around my shift roster.
Image

User avatar
spirito
Posts: 1393
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:03 pm

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby spirito » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:53 pm

ldrcycles wrote:You are so damn picky! :lol:


Understatement :mrgreen:

You're fave of those picked about = $1400
Divide that by your year to date kilometers (so far) = $0.16c per km

Or if you rode the frame for 5 years ... of course all the frames would normally last a whole lot longer but say you got bored after 5 years ... that would turn out to be just over $5 per week. Who here couldn't afford that?

We keep going round in circles with this. Perhaps you don't appreciate that such frames need a whole more in terms of resources (cost of materials and high labour hours) compared to mas produced frames made with other materials. Cost per unit on these is massive given the turnover is relatively low. I think all the frames you offer are incredible value and as such it's certainly hard to picky. All of the points you make about each frame are easily refuted given the price and standardized process required to bring them to market (except the 27.0mm crown race thing) including paint and to make some kind of profit for the manufacturer.

I just don't get it .. :?:

Cranky Jim wrote: God did not invent gears. Men invented gears ... because we are not gods.

User avatar
Jean
Posts: 1543
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:26 am
Location: Canberra
Contact:

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby Jean » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:55 pm

With some of these off the peg options going for c.$1500, surely you can't be far off a custom built option dollars wise?

Without worrying about offshore options such as Colossi, custom road frames start at about $1800 so a randonneur can't be too far off? Can it?

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:56 pm

spirito wrote:
ldrcycles wrote:You are so damn picky! :lol:


Understatement :mrgreen:

You're fave of those picked about = $1400
Divide that by your year to date kilometers (so far) = $0.16c per km

Or if you rode the frame for 5 years ... of course all the frames would normally last a whole lot longer but say you got bored after 5 years ... that would turn out to be just over $5 per week. Who here couldn't afford that?

We keep going round in circles with this. Perhaps you don't appreciate that such frames need a whole more in terms of resources (cost of materials and high labour hours) compared to mas produced frames made with other materials.


I know what your saying and it's nice when you break it down to a dollar per week. It's just the upfront cost justification to the family is the hard part.

I'm just wondering why SOMA couldn't produce something similar to the BoxDog or the Boulder? A $500 USD, Tange Prestige frame is an awesome deal. They have manage to produce a frame from Tange prestige and yet they then go and stuff it up by putting an MTB/Rivendell inspired sloping top tube and a fork with the wrong shape bend with a JIS head fitting. Obviously Mike Kone is not happy with the production fork.

In my mind a lot of people who are into this style of bike are also into the aesthetics of them just as much as the ride. Obviously a good quality frame can be produced at an excellent price point with just a few minor changes. I just wish they would do it.
Image

User avatar
silentbutdeadly
Posts: 2294
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:52 am
Location: Somewhere flat...

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby silentbutdeadly » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:20 am

Simple fact is that the economics for a mass market manufacturer of having such a tiny number of frames built each year just isn't there - the fact that SOMA and their manufacturer cut a few corners in their build in order to hit a price point is testament to that. And the fact that they've obviously cut corners leads me to wonder...

Frankly...I'd chase up a local custom maker or accept the financial/build compromises to simply have something that you want.
Ours is not to reason why...merely to point and giggle

User avatar
grantw
Posts: 1792
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:22 am
Location: Wollongong

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby grantw » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:10 am

I really don't think that there's a "cheap" way out of this :-)
Image

dubrat
Posts: 453
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:11 pm

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby dubrat » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:15 am

i know your not asking about whats on the used market but these are both killer


http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/161149788612 ... 1423.l2649

And for 700

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/261326744986 ... 1423.l2649

User avatar
spirito
Posts: 1393
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:03 pm

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby spirito » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:53 am



I was wondering why they left the race # boss on ....

I left the racing number boss on the underside of the top tube as a nod to the frame's former life. I was also planning to drill a hole in my Visa and use the boss to secure it for a spot of credit card touring.


:lol: :mrgreen: So funny. If I had a black Amex i'd probably show it off that way :wink:

Some nice details on there but some that I think are inelegant. A compromise is always a compromise. There's a lot more to a randonneur than braze-on's and front bag and whilst there's some things I like about this I don't think it'll work like one would expect or wish it to.

The Goodrich otoh is a dream and probably close to a perfect size for singlespeedscott if I'm not mistaken.
Cranky Jim wrote: God did not invent gears. Men invented gears ... because we are not gods.

User avatar
spirito
Posts: 1393
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:03 pm

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby spirito » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:11 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:

I'm just wondering why SOMA couldn't produce something similar to the BoxDog or the Boulder? A $500 USD, Tange Prestige frame is an awesome deal. They have manage to produce a frame from Tange prestige and yet they then go and stuff it up by putting an MTB/Rivendell inspired sloping top tube and a fork with the wrong shape bend with a JIS head fitting. Obviously Mike Kone is not happy with the production fork.

In my mind a lot of people who are into this style of bike are also into the aesthetics of them just as much as the ride. Obviously a good quality frame can be produced at an excellent price point with just a few minor changes. I just wish they would do it.


27.0mm to 26.4mm is easily done on most forks so that's not an issue.

A slight up-slope on the top tube isn't necessarily a bad thing for a few reasons: Most rider's would prefer a few less spacers, or a less raised stem .. even if it's just for looks. Try as you like people today can't get their head around "a fistful of post" approach to fitting and we also have so many people (I think needlessly) concerned about stand over height. And lastly, it's no secret that if you're only going to make a few sizes then opting for a sloped top tube will allow fitting for a wider size of riders than a level top tubed frame. Because of all this you get a frame like the Soma. It has what looks like the right geo, is offered in a few sizes and is made to a price. You want something pretty or without compromises then you're gonna have to get one made for you.

Fiat own Ferrari but they build very different cars. Both are in the same business but with very different target markets.
Cranky Jim wrote: God did not invent gears. Men invented gears ... because we are not gods.

Johnj
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Sydney, Inner West

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby Johnj » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:44 pm

Of course, for a few dollars more you could have the Real Thing™. 1949 Louis Pitard.

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:42 pm

spirito wrote:
A slight up-slope on the top tube isn't necessarily a bad thing for a few reasons: Most rider's would prefer a few less spacers, or a less raised stem .. even if it's just for looks. Try as you like people today can't get their head around "a fistful of post" approach to fitting and we also have so many people (I think needlessly) concerned about stand over height. And lastly, it's no secret that if you're only going to make a few sizes then opting for a sloped top tube will allow fitting for a wider size of riders than a level top tubed frame. Because of all this you get a frame like the Soma. It has what looks like the right geo, is offered in a few sizes and is made to a price. You want something pretty or without compromises then you're gonna have to get one made for you.


Very good points.
Image

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:50 pm

Johnj wrote:Of course, for a few dollars more you could have the Real Thing[TRADE MARK SIGN]. 1949 Louis Pitard.


Very nice. Bit you would never ride it on a wet or night time ride.
Image

User avatar
grantw
Posts: 1792
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:22 am
Location: Wollongong

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby grantw » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:57 pm

Johnj wrote:Of course, for a few dollars more you could have the Real Thing™. 1949 Louis Pitard.


Beautiful and a bargain.

It's important to remember that Herse and Singer made excellent lightweight frames that "planed" - there was real skill in that. The more recent mass produced copies, are not being built to the same standards - that's why they are cheap - and don't have the qualities that made Herse/Singers such legendary bikes. You'll have the look of course, but do not expect the performance.

That goodrich frame is another example of craftmanship and a bargain at that price. His build costs start at $2,800
Image

User avatar
spirito
Posts: 1393
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:03 pm

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby spirito » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:32 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:

Very nice. Bit you would never ride it on a wet or night time ride.


Course you would.
Cranky Jim wrote: God did not invent gears. Men invented gears ... because we are not gods.

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:35 pm

spirito wrote:
singlespeedscott wrote:

Very nice. Bit you would never ride it on a wet or night time ride.


Course you would.


I'd be to scared of binning it. Not that I have issues riding in the wet or dark it's just IMO a bike that deserves a quiet life in retirement.
Image

User avatar
ldrcycles
Posts: 8311
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Kin Kin, Queensland

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:39 pm

dubrat wrote:i know your not asking about whats on the used market but these are both killer


http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/161149788612 ... 1423.l2649


EEEWWW, those forks make my eyes burn!
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.

dayne
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby dayne » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:29 am

The soma is available and in stock at commuter cycles in Melbourne, they are great guys and live beardo
I really think it's a pretty nice frame for the bucks and like spirito said the crown can be turned down easily and I'm sure commuter could do that.

Here's my hot tip, find the one you really want and make it happen
Be happy surely there are some things in the shed you could sacrifice ?

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:44 am

I saw the commuter cycles one. Unfortunately they didn't import the 61cm model which would be the size I would like.
Image

Blakeylonger
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:17 am

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby Blakeylonger » Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:14 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:I saw the commuter cycles one. Unfortunately they didn't import the 61cm model which would be the size I would like.


They did offer a preorder. If you had plunked down a deposit and requested a 61 then this wouldn't be a problem. Taking a punt on an end of the bell curve frame size in a niche market frame design is too risky.

Honestly, all I see in this thread is 'custom is too expensive', 'production options don't meet 100% of my desired features'. princess and the pea.

I started with a converted Tachyon, moved to an rSogn, neither are perfect, but they're both pretty good. If I replace the rSogn it'll probably be with a Elephant, mostly because rawland goes off the crazy end too often. Or I'll just buy erle's MAP.

this is pretty close to my current setup.
Image
this is where the tachyon got to before it was stripped and townied
Image

To reply to some of your objections:
sloping TT: solves your issues with spacer stacks, and a longer exposed post = more compliance at the saddle.
threadless: far superior to quill stems for headset adjustment and front end stiffness.
short stems: actually preferable on low trail setups to minimise steering input, plus it adds to bag clearance, but 60mm on a 60cm is getting short.
long shank / short torso: what's your measured ape index?

Other options that you missed:
http://www.cyclestoussaint.com/ - shame it's a threaded HS. well priced, braze on centrepulls for mafac/diacompe.
http://oceanaircycles.com/bicycles/rambler/ - US made, Paul centrepulls, more than a Boulder $
http://www.elephantbikes.com/ - This is my pick for a custom. talented builder, experienced with 650B rando style frames, priced competitively.

this elephant is pure rad and is ridden harder than just about anything else, road, gravel, dirt, singletrack:
Image

Image

the owners prior rSogn in knobbie mode
Image

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:48 pm

Thanks for the links.

The oceanair doesn't look to bad but the Elephant bike looks more like an adventure bike than a randonneur. More in the vain of an early 80's MTB, fire roads and single track with some touring thrown in for good measure. Nice but probably not quite what I have in mind.

I have got my own homemade hack which is based on an early Ricardo Elite. Setup with Nitto Dirt drop bars and a riser Nitto dirt stem. Drivetrain is Ritchey Logic compact road cranks with a Deore XT Rapid rise rear and Suntour Cyclone front and shifters. The cassette is a Shimano 7 speed 13-34. Hubs are tricolour Shimano 600, 36 hole laced to Mavic MA40's. The brakes are C-Record levers pulling Grand Compe Centre pulls equipped with Koolstop slim line pads. The tyres are Challenge Parigi Roubaix with SKS long board mud guards. Lights are crappy AY UP's with a cateye rear. I carry all my junk in a Carradice roll under the Brooks Pro saddle.

I've only done about 5000km on this bike consisting of commuting, mountainous 250km and dirt road rides. Its not a huge amount of km's but it's given me an idea of what I want. I like the adjustability of the quill stem and the comfort of the long front and standard sized tubing. However its got a few things I'm not so fond of. It's to small to start with, hence the riser stem. It shimmies just a little at low speeds when it's got the mud guards mounted, a problem that would probably be solved with a sealed bearing headset. It's not really setup for carrying front loads. Plus I want more cush on the dirt.
Image

Blakeylonger
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:17 am

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby Blakeylonger » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:00 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:the Elephant bike looks more like an adventure bike than a randonneur. More in the vain of an early 80's MTB, fire roads and single track with some touring thrown in for good measure. Nice but probably not quite what I have in mind.

I like the adjustability of the quill stem and the comfort of the long front and standard sized tubing. However its got a few things I'm not so fond of. It's to small to start with, hence the riser stem. It shimmies just a little at low speeds when it's got the mud guards mounted, a problem that would probably be solved with a sealed bearing headset. It's not really setup for carrying front loads. Plus I want more cush on the dirt.


Elephant are affordable custom, you could easily dial back the tyre clearance for hetres/guards only. Run cantis (or centrepulls) and threaded headsets if you're into reenactment style, or go modern with tubeless carbon rims, discs and threadless. Fred's is designed for long rides that often include camping and gravel/singletrack. It suits his environment and purpose. If you don't venture off tarmac much, there's no point being able to clear knobbies.

Another Spokane local's Elephant NFE 650B bikes, V1 & V2. V1 is now owned by a friend of mine.
V1: http://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com.au/2 ... phant.html

Image

V2: http://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com.au/2 ... nt-v2.html
http://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com.au/2 ... ughts.html

Image

These, Fred's, the rSogn are all based on Alex Wetmore's Gifford, which is based on old French randos, with modern adjustments.

How often do you really adjust your stem/fit? If it's a minor change now and then (for riding more technical terrain?), move some spacers or flip the stem. Threadless and removable faceplate stems make this simple enough.

Shimmy can be a bear. a *needle* bearing headset with more preload will likely help. As will *NOT* using a level TT and extending the HT above the TT (smaller main triangle).

Front loading and cush can easily be achieved with geometry and hetres.

The toussaint might tick all your boxes if it fits, else save up for an Elephant or similar. Just don't get something from someone who has never build a low trail rando style bike.

User avatar
singlespeedscott
Posts: 5136
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:35 pm
Location: Elimbah, Queensland

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby singlespeedscott » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:20 pm

Both look good. I probably wouldn't get a wishbone rear though. Great on an mtb but probably a bit harsh on road.

Why do you think a sloping top tube will reduce shimmy?

Definitely will only get it from a low trail specialist. Whenever that happens :rollseyes:
Image

Blakeylonger
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:17 am

Re: Thoughts on modern mass produced 650B randonneurs

Postby Blakeylonger » Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:38 pm

shimmy is a multivariate problem, that said, you ride a large frame and prefer non OS tubing, so a level TT and a long ST = giant front triangle trapezoid made of less stiff tubing, which means the entire front end is going to be more flexible and prone to shimmy.

Reduce the size of the front end and drop the TT/HT intersection, listen to the builder w.r.t. tube selection (after providing them the info on what and how you ride), use a needle bearing HS.

Even then you might get unlucky, but all it takes is a knee gently touching the TT to quell the shimmy.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users