Cove vs. Salsa vs. Gunnar vs Curtlo- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cove vs. Salsa vs. Gunnar vs Curtlo

    Ok, I've narrowed my search down to these four steel frames:

    Cove Handjob (Columbus Life)
    Salsa A La Carte (True Temper Platinum)
    Gunnar Rock Hound (Reynolds 853)
    Curtlo Advanced Mountaineer (True Temper OX Platinum)

    So, what would you recommend out of these four and why? I'm completely torn on which frame to get. Trails around here are typically tight twisty single track.


    Decisions, decisions...Help!

  2. #2
    Hoopy Frood
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    Some Gunnar Feedback

    My main ride is a Gunnar Rockhound. I like it a lot and find that its geometry fits my riding style and body proportions well. It's got a long top tube and short chain stays which really help on climbs and provide lots of snap when I spin the cranks. The 853 frame is nice and leaves me feeling fresh after longer rides than my previous aluminum hardtail. Handling is so quick and smooth I don't conciously think about it. I have a 105mm fork on it and it still rides great (they're designed around 80mm).

    The only drawbacks to the Gunnar are (a) narrow chainstays and (b) easily chipped paint. The bike is designed for cross-country riding so it only accomodates a 2.1" tire in the back. On some rocky trails around here, it would be nice to run a 2.3" or 2.4" tire instead. The paint and finish look great but seem to chip pretty easily (and mine is a 2004 with the clearcoat on top). However, I just cover the chips to prevent rust and keep riding. I'll probably send it off to get powdercoated at some point in the future.

    For reference, I ride in typical Pennsylvania singletrack - rocky, root, tight, twisty. I may buy a FS bike at some point in the future but I'll keep the Rockhound until it breaks.

    I've never ridden any of the other bikes so I can't comment on them. I have seen the Cove bikes up close and they look nice (and have clearance for larger tires). If you're considering custom, I can't say how Gunnar's program works as mine is off-the-rack sizing. However, you might want to include Waltworks in your options if you're thinking about the custom route.

    - khill
    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitaljs
    Ok, I've narrowed my search down to these four steel frames:

    Cove Handjob (Columbus Life)
    Salsa A La Carte (True Temper Platinum)
    Gunnar Rock Hound (Reynolds 853)
    Curtlo Advanced Mountaineer (True Temper OX Platinum)

    So, what would you recommend out of these four and why? I'm completely torn on which frame to get. Trails around here are typically tight twisty single track.


    Decisions, decisions...Help!
    Is Curtlo still full custom? The Gunnar can be customized at the top tube length for an upcharge I think

    Fit is most important, as the OX plat and 853 are going to be sweet regardless. I think the Cove is more heavy duty.

    If the full custom is an option and isn't out of your pricerange, I'd go that way. Then you can tell him your exact measurements and as important what kind of riding you will be doing, and what you are looking for in a bike.

    If you've got the $ I might also suggest getting a fit done by a Serotta certified fitter BEFORE you get a frame. Do the fit on their reconfigurable size cycle. Then they can give you exact dimensions to tell the builder and you'll know exactly what stem lenght/rise, etc to get. Or you can also give them the dimensions of a stock frame that they'd reproduce on the size cycle and you can verify that it will fit like you want and you'll find out what stem to get.

    Just a thought.

  4. #4
    MT rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitaljs
    Ok, I've narrowed my search down to these four steel frames:

    Cove Handjob (Columbus Life)
    Salsa A La Carte (True Temper Platinum)
    Gunnar Rock Hound (Reynolds 853)
    Curtlo Advanced Mountaineer (True Temper OX Platinum)

    So, what would you recommend out of these four and why? I'm completely torn on which frame to get. Trails around here are typically tight twisty single track.


    Decisions, decisions...Help!
    Think ya forgot the Blizzard

  5. #5
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    Agree here. Go custom.
    I'd go curtlo, great bang for the buck... unless the standard geometry of one of the others suits you fine. He's top on my list if I get the dough together for custom, I'd like to give the curves stays a try.
    Salsa & gunnar have shorter toptubes & more standover, I believe. Cove prolly a bit heavier duty and designed for 100mm forks outta the box (not sure on gunnar & salsa here, I need bikes with more standover for their TT length).

    If you haven't been professionally fitted, have you gone through the wrenchscience fit calculator?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinearl
    Is Curtlo still full custom? The Gunnar can be customized at the top tube length for an upcharge I think

    Fit is most important, as the OX plat and 853 are going to be sweet regardless. I think the Cove is more heavy duty.

    If the full custom is an option and isn't out of your pricerange, I'd go that way. Then you can tell him your exact measurements and as important what kind of riding you will be doing, and what you are looking for in a bike.

    If you've got the $ I might also suggest getting a fit done by a Serotta certified fitter BEFORE you get a frame. Do the fit on their reconfigurable size cycle. Then they can give you exact dimensions to tell the builder and you'll know exactly what stem lenght/rise, etc to get. Or you can also give them the dimensions of a stock frame that they'd reproduce on the size cycle and you can verify that it will fit like you want and you'll find out what stem to get.

    Just a thought.


  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    curtlo or the blizzard

    would be my choices. i have a curtlo with the banana seat stays, its the most comfortable hardtail ive ridden. its a great frame at an outrageous price for full custom. the blizzards handling is lengendary, hard to go wrong there. you really cant lose with either choice.
    EAST COAST
    CLYDESDALE
    DREADLOCKED
    STEEL RIDER

  7. #7
    don't try this at home
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    curtlo. i've had mine for 4 years and it still rocks - solo mountaineer w/curved stays. if you can get a full custom, why not? you can also get just about any color powdercoat for even more unique look. more then what's listed on his website.

  8. #8
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    the voodoo bizango...

    is also an awesome riding bike, for tight, technical,fast singletrack. its waaaaay fun to ride, the must fun bike ive ever ridden. it has a ride quality all its own, playful i guess is the only way to discribe it. the curtlo's ride is more refined, smooth,composed. there both great, just different.
    EAST COAST
    CLYDESDALE
    DREADLOCKED
    STEEL RIDER

  9. #9
    Medium?
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    Jamis Dragon

    It's a very similar frame if you're not going full custom, in 853 steel and always for a great price. I love mine.

    I also have a Gunnar Ruffian Singlespeed. Awesome bike. I'm 195lbs and I've been riding it rigid for three years. No issues. What's left of the paint sucks.

  10. #10
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    I was just in the same position

    I guess it all depends on how much you want to spend. I finally
    decided on the Salsa partly because I have always liked the
    company, partly b/c it was the cheapest option. The frames
    are asian made though but the good thing is that it is easy to
    find a frame only.
    I think the cove was heavier and the models that I saw were disk
    only and I want to keep my v-brakes.
    The gunnar would have been my other pick, you get more color
    options and it is stll fairly cheap.
    My a la carte is on the way, I will write and let you know how
    I like it

  11. #11
    Drinker w/ Riding Problem
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    Handjob!

    given the choices, Come on who wouldn't take the Handjob?

    seriously i've got a friend who's got a Handjob and loves it! man that just sounds so wrong.

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