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  1. #1
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    CX style bike for multi-use: Niner RLT9 or Soma DC?

    Not sure where to put this question. Has anyone tried both these bikes?

    I want a bike for commuting; for those days when the trails are too wet to use without damaging them; for those long summer days on gravel roads and tracks; for the occasional riding on smoother trails; and maybe even for a bit of light bike packing. I won't be racing.

    My neighbourhood LBS suggested two options: a Niner RLT9 2-star build; and a Soma Double Cross which we'd have to build up but which could be roughly the same cost at the end of it. (I could go to the Big Bike Shop in town and buy a Surly Straggler, which would be substantially cheaper [though lesser-spec'd], but I like my bike guy.)

    Problem for me is that it's been 25 years since I've ridden a drop barred bike. And I just don't know enough to be sure I'm making the right choice.

    The Niner is the simpler option - the kit is shipped with it so there's less to think about; and it should work out lighter (an important consideration, as I live on a steep hill and must carry my bike up to the road). But I worry that it might be a bit too "racy" - I'd be too hunched over - and that it might be a harder ride on those infrequent but much dreamed about summer rides.

    On the other hand the Soma may well be a more forgiving ride. But I'd have to invest more time and thought into the build; it could turn out a bit heavier and possibly more expensive if I were to replicate the quality of the Niner's build; and I do worry about the longevity of a steel frame in the persistently damp (but not wet!) place I have for bike storage.

    Interested in your opinions.

  2. #2
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    Id say go for the niner. If you're feeling hunched over too much, get a cheapo stem, flip it over and ride.

  3. #3
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    Rust is a non-issue unless you store your bike in a tub of brine. Just make sure to wipe off the bike, especially after a salty ride, and take out the seat post after a wet ride. So don't let the frame material sway your decision.

    Between the two, I would go Soma, only because it will have more mounts for racks and such, and more inconspicuous for around town rides. RLT screams "steal me."

    But if I had my pick, I think I would go for a Salsa Vaya over those two. I like the geo better and it also has a ton of mounting points for commuting and bikepacking.

  4. #4
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    Trek have just released the 920 Adventure which seems to fit the bill, very versatile with room for 2" tyres and a less "racy" geometry, worth a look...

    2015 Trek 920 - Cyclocross Bikes - Bikes | Buckingham Bikes

  5. #5
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    CX style bike for multi-use: Niner RLT9 or Soma DC?

    Thanks for your replies. Yesterday I put in the order for an RLT9.

    I had checked out the Salsa but it wasn't on my LBS’s short list. They are cool bikes though. And the only shop in town that does Trek is that aforementioned Big Bike Shop—it's a good place, but I like my LBS better. Anyway, not sure if I want to risk checking that Trek link now that my Niner order is in!

    I am a little bit worried that RLT9’s blinging looks might attract the wrong sort of attention… but on the other hand a gold metallic Soma would hardly be untheftworthy either.

    Either way: good bikes. I'm really looking forward to it!

  6. #6
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    Cool. Hope the RLT works out for you. They do look pretty sweet.

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