Bang For the Buck---STEEL- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bang For the Buck---STEEL

    I've owned several steel frames (Surly, Vassago, 616, Voodoo, Raleigh, Niner, Charge, Salsa). Just wondering what you guys think is the best bang for the buck for ride quality cross-referenced with cost. I've become a bit of high-end steel snob, but don't really have the $ for anything overly high-end priced. Is there something out there that I should consider?

  2. #2
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    Soma Juice. I bought mine as an alternative to a Surly Karate Monkey because the shop were I was working could not get Surly frames at the time. I begrudgingly bought a Juice and didn't think I would like it but it's been awesome. oversized headtube for tapered forks, compliant ride, slider dropouts, reasonably light and well thought-out. I have ridden it with a 100mm fork and a 120 and might stick a rigid steel fork on it some day for grins.

  3. #3
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    I think surlys are the best bang for your buck but they are definitely not high end steel.

    Maybe checkout Gunnar? I've been riding a 2004 crosshairs converted to SS for about 7 months now and it is lovely. They aren't sure if its OX plat or 853 but whatever it is me likey. The frame actually rides better on smooth stuff than my custom built "700+" road bike, but that ones really built for strength on rough terrain over ride quality (heavier duty Verus HT main triangle, straight gauge stays, gets most of its cush from the fork). Imagine the Gunnar MTB offerings are on point as well. Last I checked they were around the same price as the Vassagos.
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  4. #4
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    timely thread...I have been mulling over what I could or should replace my Kona Unit with. Not that I don't like it, it's just a hair too big for me and I've got the itch to try a frame made out of better steel. Unfortunately, with my budget I am certainly relegated to the used market but Ive got patience.

    Nine Sir 9 is near the top of the list but even used people want top dollar for those, Juice looks nice but I'm not sure it's better enough to switch to. Lots of companies moving towards the slacked out geo and it's something I don't need for the long xc style rides I enjoy most.

  5. #5
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    jenson is blowing out the niner ROS 9 frames from last year at the moment, it's all 4130 chromo though not the reynolds 853 they use in the Sir Nine

  6. #6
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    Any thoughts on the 6ku fixie?

    I was looking at these to buy as an everday, no frills, street cruiser.

  7. #7
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    +1 for the Soma Juice. I also have a Soma Double Cross Disc. I know the following from talking a lot with Soma over the years:

    1. Soma uses a very select group of framebuilders in Taiwan. It's not contracted out blindly; they know their framebuilders, and take that into account when designing their frames. So, the result is hand-made, and while the cost is lower, the builders are not living in sweatshop conditions. They're paid well and the quality of work reflects their pride and craftsmanship.

    2. Soma uses different butting profiles and tube thicknesses all over the bike. Your chainstays and seatstays have different stress points and loads, so it makes sense that the tubing would be variable. Soma does a really good job with this especially, compared to other frame manufacturers, so their frames are lighter than a lot of others and ride WAY nicer.

    3. The overall quality, and signifiers of quality like dropouts, braze-ons, and welds, are all very nice. The bike looks expensive because care was taken in every aspect. It's a very old-school way of making a bike.


    I would say, unequivocally, that the SOMA is the closest you can get to custom steel without paying a custom price. They sit at around the same price point as Surly. I have a Surly, I used to have a Karate Monkey and I LOVE my Pugsley to death, but the Juice is a totally different world when it comes to craftsmanship. The Surly Karate Monkey will probably outlive the Juice, but it weighs a lot more and is much stiffer.

    Surly, to me, is the ultimate bike for touring, commuting, messing around, not having to baby your bike, etc. I don't baby my Juice, but I clean it more often and I try not to slam curbs and stuff. On my Surly, I do whatever the heck I want and there's something to be said for that. It's an asset. Surly makes a different kind of bike for a different kind of use.



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  8. #8
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    Check out the Chumba Stella.

    These guys are top notch and doing everything local, the shop is just outside of Austin. I got to go see my frame being welded in person just the other day. Tubing is a mix throughout to emphasize different characteristics and strength. The frames are insanely versatile and several of the guys have 27+ wheelsets that the interchange too.

    Geometry is totally dialed. Do a search for Click Click Boom's build thread for some good photos.

    If you want a great quality, fully USA made frame with outstanding customer service, these are your guys.
    Pedal through it!

  9. #9
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    Best bike I've ever owned is the Stooge. Fast and fun and a great deal for how nice it is! Fast up and down hill. Super fun!

  10. #10
    jcm
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    On-One Inbred SS, although it's probably not really high end

    On-One Inbred 29er Single Speed Mountain Bike Frame LTD Edition | On - One

  11. #11
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    Salsa El mariachi. Ive had all kinds of steel frames and im still surprised at how well the Salsa rides. And the swinger drop out are the best.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteitz View Post
    Check out the Chumba Stella.

    These guys are top notch and doing everything local, the shop is just outside of Austin. I got to go see my frame being welded in person just the other day. Tubing is a mix throughout to emphasize different characteristics and strength. The frames are insanely versatile and several of the guys have 27+ wheelsets that the interchange too.

    Geometry is totally dialed. Do a search for Click Click Boom's build thread for some good photos.

    If you want a great quality, fully USA made frame with outstanding customer service, these are your guys.
    The 2015 large and small stella frame is on sale for 750. They look nice.

  13. #13
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    I've had many, many steel 29ers (Niner, Ritchey, custom, Gunnar, Soma, Singular, Redline, Voodoo, etc etc), and my Karate Monkey is one of the best riding frames I've come across. I had a Ritchey P-29er, bought the KM used on a whim because it was so cheap, and ultimately sold the Ritchey while keeping the Monkey.

    Best overall is my Jones Plus.

    But the best bang for the buck is the Surly, easily.
    http://www.bikingtoplay.blogspot.com/
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by seat_boy View Post
    I've had many, many steel 29ers (Niner, Ritchey, custom, Gunnar, Soma, Singular, Redline, Voodoo, etc etc), and my Karate Monkey is one of the best riding frames I've come across. I had a Ritchey P-29er, bought the KM used on a whim because it was so cheap, and ultimately sold the Ritchey while keeping the Monkey.

    Best overall is my Jones Plus.

    But the best bang for the buck is the Surly, easily.
    I will say this (as a follow-up to my Soma fanboyism up above). The Soma Juice fits me better than any other bike I've ridden, including the Karate Monkey, so that may have something to do with it.

    I love the way the Soma rides, I love the way the Soma feels, but there was some "character" to the Monkey that I loved, and I miss it, even today. I upgraded in just about every way; wheels, frame, components, tires... and yet I miss the experience of the Monkey.

    I can't articulate it. I don't know what it is.

    But, when I look at my Pugsley, complete with antiquated 4" tires, offset wheels, a good 3 inches worth of spacers under the stem, a shitty seatpost, and mechanical brakes... I can only express love.

    Surly bikes evoke love. Few bikes do. I think that goes beyond some of the technical aspects. Few, if any, companies in cycling right now have the community that Surly has. The following speaks for itself.

    There's no sub-forum for "Post pics of your Specialized!"
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  15. #15
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    http://forums.mtbr.com/specialized/d...ke-234903.html

    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post

    There's no sub-forum for "Post pics of your Specialized!"
    http://www.bikingtoplay.blogspot.com/
    RIGID, not "ridged" or "ridgid"
    PEDAL, not "peddle." Unless you're selling stuff

  16. #16
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    I'm just going to throw in another vote for Soma. My Juice continues to be one of the most fun bikes I've ever ridden. For the money, I don't think you can beat it with a stick.

  17. #17
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    I got my 2015 Salsa El Mariachi SS for $1049 brand new in January. If you can find any shops that still have them in stock you can probably get a deal. It's a pretty dang good setup from the factory!

  18. #18
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    If and when my Mariachi dies I will go back to a Monkey. Ive had 4 over the years still have one of the first black ones. This is for SS duty. For geared my Jones steel space frame has my heart forever.

  19. #19
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    The Juice has some nice things going for it, but when I look at the Juice's specs, I'm turned off by its 110mm head tube in all sizes (my Unit has 140mm and I could use more) and 17.5" minimum chain stay length. OK, that's personal fit stuff, but 5.35lbs for the 15.5" doesn't help. I'd look at the Vassago Verhauen.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    The Juice has some nice things going for it, but when I look at the Juice's specs, I'm turned off by its 110mm head tube in all sizes (my Unit has 140mm and I could use more) and 17.5" minimum chain stay length. OK, that's personal fit stuff, but 5.35lbs for the 15.5" doesn't help. I'd look at the Vassago Verhauen.
    Yeah, the geometry isn't for everyone, but it works really well for others. The weight on that frame doesn't seem right though. My XXL weighed 5 lbs 10 oz.

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