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  1. #1
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    Gunnar Roadie vs. Serotta Colorado III

    Gunnar Roadie with custom geometry runs approximately $1075. The Colorado III is about $1500. My question is, how close in quality do you think these frames are? Is the Serotta $425 better or is that all Serotta mark up? In price the Serotta compares more closely to the Waterford OS2 frameset but from what I can tell, if you go custom geometry and custom paint on the Gunnar, you are looking at almost the same bike. I think there may be a difference at the drop outs and seat collar but I am not sure. And of course, if I can get the proper fit on a stock Gunnar frame the price difference is even greater.

    So what do you think? Are they the same basic bike? Would you pay more and go with the Serotta? Stay with the value of the Gunnar? Oh, and I have already thought about the option of buying the Gunnar and spending the extra $500 on other cool bike stuff but that is not going to happen. I will get support on the purchase of the frame and the components to build it up but I will not get support to the go on a shopping spree with the savings. It will be a buy the right one and stay with it kinda thing. Honestly, it is my wife who is trying to talk me into the Serotta but I have a thing about paying more for something if there is no good reason.

    I will eventually (sometime in the next 6 months) build up a new bike and have been pretty settled on the Roadie. This is what happens when you have too much time on your hands, you sit around thiniking about all the bikes out there. Plus its a slow day at work.

  2. #2
    Windrider (Stubborn)
    Reputation: Len J's Avatar
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    My experience............

    First of all, let me say that I have 2 Serotta bikes so either I have no objectivity or I've done enough riding and comparing to make a good choice......you decide that for your self.


    The Serotta Colorado III is the best buy in custom in the Serotta Line. Not only will you get custom geometry, but you also will get custom tubing to your weight and riding style, a custom fit and a pretty good paint assortment. It is a great Bike, and one you won't soon tire of. Serotta Paint is excellant. Serotta's are stable as any bike you will ride and tracks great. Serotta's also tend to be slightly stiffer than other bikes. Make sure you like the ride before you buy. List on the C III is $1,495 without a fork, so if you are getting one for $1,495 with the fork, you are doing great.

    I also have a Gunnar street Dog set up as my Fixie. the frame is similar to what you are looking at with the exception that it has track dropouts. I reaally like the ride. What I have been less than thrilled with was the Paint. I have continual problems with chipping around the Dropouts. I've sent it back twice and the paint is still more fragile than any other steel bike I have ever had. I even had extra clearcoat put on to no avail. The base Gunnar does not have clearcoat over the decals (at least it didn't 2 years ago when I bought the Street Dog) so be prepared (unless you pay extra for the clearcoat) to replace the decals down the road. The list on the Gunnar Roadie with Custom geometry and w/o a fork is $1,025.

    Both bikes are pretty good bikes. I think the finish on the C III and the ride are far superior to the Gunnar. That being said, I have no intentions in the near future of replacing my street Dog.

    Have fun with the choice.

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I'd say get the Roadie if the stock geometry will work for you--seems like a great value. If you need custom and are willing to spend $1500 there are a TON of good options--kind of hard to go wrong.

  4. #4
    eminence grease
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    Yes, and for about $1000 you can have a custom Curtlo, fillet-brazed in True Temper S3 or a custom TIG-welded frame from Carl Strong.

    I have a Gunnar Roadie - standard geometry - that I love. So much so that I just had a custom powder coat done on it. It's a nice riding, robust steel bike. One of my favorites in fact.

    The Serotta is a great one too. I've never been on one so I won't comment. Their owners are typically devoted.

    You're not going to go wrong with any custom steel bike in that price range, nor are you going to be able to say "Bike A is X amount of dollars better than anything else for these tangible reasons."

    Instead of trying to understand why one costs more than the other, you should figure out which builder is going to do exactly what you want and go with them. If you talk to Serotta and their philosophy sounds better than Gunnar's (or Curtlo or Strong) don't worry about the extra $400 because it's worth that much to feel good about your purchase. If you talk the Gunnar builders and they sound better, take the money and buy the fork.

    My personal opinion, just between you and me and not to leave this thread - yes, Serotta gets a premium price for their products, and that is why I will never ride one. But that's just me and there are 1000 opinions as to just how wrong I am, none of which I'll argue with.

  5. #5
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    Thanks

    Thank you guys for offering your opinions. And dont worry about the objectivity thing. I dont think any of us in this place should ever consider ourselves objective.

    I actually had Carl Strong at the top of my list for a long time. For whatever reason, I got a good feeling about him above other small builders. The only reason I leaned more toward the Gunnar was because I doubted my ability to provide good enough information to have someone fit me long distance. Curtlo is also very reasonable but I am a little too "robust" so to speak for the S3 and I just didnt get the same feeling about his bikes.

    It turns out the shop that sells Gunnar around here also sells Serotta and uses the fit bike. I actually saw him fitting someone recently and I think I feel more confident in the hands on method at this point.

    As much as I aspire to assemble a fleet to rival Terryb, this purchase is going to have to last me a while. I agree with all of you that I really cant go wrong either way but it is fun to over analyze and argue if necessary, is it not? Thanks again .................. and Terry, dont worry, I wont say a word.

  6. #6
    eminence grease
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    Seriously consider Carl, he is a great guy to work with and helps you through the process. I was pretty ignorant when I bought one from him and it ended up wonderfully.

  7. #7
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    My $.02

    I would second all the comments about the quality of the Roadie ride and dispute some of the concerns about the finish. I've had mine for going on a year and it's been through a lot of hard commuting/travel use. The finish is still in good shape considering, with no more that the expected chips and rubs. I guess it really depends on what you expect doesn't it?

    I was on a group ride on Sunday and someone had this year's model Roadie set up essentially the same as mine. He was raving about it and I thought it was interesting that we both acquired ours via e-bay for around $300 expecting to use it as a nice beater bike only to find we liked it more than our good bikes. I think the guys at Waterford do a really good job of designing and building steel bikes, regardess of the lableing and finish.

    Which brings me to my final point; I'd think carefully about going the custom route. Unless you have a very unique body, I have found out the hard way that its better to let an experienced builder do their thing and fit yourself to their bike. Bottom line though, you're likely to like any of the choices mentioned here so lucky you, you can't go wrong. Now if you weighed 250lbs and wanted to know if you should get a 6/13, that's a different matter.

  8. #8
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    If I paid $300 my expectations would be lower too.......

    Quote Originally Posted by marron
    I would second all the comments about the quality of the Roadie ride and dispute some of the concerns about the finish. I've had mine for going on a year and it's been through a lot of hard commuting/travel use. The finish is still in good shape considering, with no more that the expected chips and rubs. I guess it really depends on what you expect doesn't it?

    I was on a group ride on Sunday and someone had this year's model Roadie set up essentially the same as mine. He was raving about it and I thought it was interesting that we both acquired ours via e-bay for around $300 expecting to use it as a nice beater bike only to find we liked it more than our good bikes. I think the guys at Waterford do a really good job of designing and building steel bikes, regardess of the lableing and finish.

    Which brings me to my final point; I'd think carefully about going the custom route. Unless you have a very unique body, I have found out the hard way that its better to let an experienced builder do their thing and fit yourself to their bike. Bottom line though, you're likely to like any of the choices mentioned here so lucky you, you can't go wrong. Now if you weighed 250lbs and wanted to know if you should get a 6/13, that's a different matter.
    But I paid more.

    In 30 + years of riding, my street dog paint job is the worst I have ever had....period. I've had low end bikes, and high end bikes, I've had steel, carbon, aluminum and Titanium. Never have I had such a fragile paint job. Maybe they had a bad day, maybe it's indicative of their quality...I don't know. But it would sure be something I would get comfortable with before I bought another Gunnar.

    Now all that being said, I really like the way it rides. Eventually, I will probably get it stripped down and have a proper paint job done. But I won't have it Painted by Gunnar. I will most likely keep the bike.

    As you say....the less you pay the less you expect. I wouldn't expect much of the Gunnar finish.

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    From the Gunnar web site:

    "Powder coat Black and Electric Box Gray are available at no extra charge (topmount decals). "

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J
    But I paid more.

    In 30 + years of riding, my street dog paint job is the worst I have ever had....period. I've had low end bikes, and high end bikes, I've had steel, carbon, aluminum and Titanium. Never have I had such a fragile paint job. Maybe they had a bad day, maybe it's indicative of their quality...I don't know. But it would sure be something I would get comfortable with before I bought another Gunnar.

    Now all that being said, I really like the way it rides. Eventually, I will probably get it stripped down and have a proper paint job done. But I won't have it Painted by Gunnar. I will most likely keep the bike.

    As you say....the less you pay the less you expect. I wouldn't expect much of the Gunnar finish.

    Len
    I've heard that Gunnar recently improved their paint(for '04), as what Len says was a problem with an otherwise stellar value in a very nice bike. BTW, I've had three Serottas, including a CSI. I'd really like trying a gunnar. Personally, I think the premier US steel builder may be Waterford. Good riding.

  11. #11
    eminence grease
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    The finish on my was really very basic - Imron in black that chipped if you looked at it. My understanding is that they now do a clearcoat, which of course would protect the decals as well.

  12. #12
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    If I go with Gunnar I plan to use the color of the month program which from what I can tell gets you a Waterford level finish including clear coat over decals. I'm not incredibly picky about the color and I have seen several of the colors of the month that I would be happy with so it is a good option for me.

    Hmmmm............ now I'm wondering if I should talk about the trouble I'm having picking a component group.

  13. #13
    eminence grease
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    I have Dura Ace on mine, but that was just what I had laying around when it came back from the painters. DA shifters, FSA superlight crank, Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels.

    In its first incarnation, it had Record brake levers and Shimano downtube shifters. A real nuevo-retro look.

    It's such a plain, elegant bike that it carries just about anything well.

  14. #14
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    Go with the "color of the month"

    For $45, Waterford will paint your name on the top tube, under clearcoat. This option removes the ugly "roadie" decal on the top tube.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
    .
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  15. #15
    Power Napper
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    Question about powder coat.

    Quote Originally Posted by terry b
    I have a Gunnar Roadie - standard geometry - that I love. So much so that I just had a custom powder coat done on it. It's a nice riding, robust steel bike. One of my favorites in fact.
    terry,
    Where did you have the powder coating done? Locally? Just paint or did you replace the Gunnar decals too? I am probably looking at getting my Roadie done in the next year. After three hard seasons, and a couple moderate crashes, it kind of needs it.

    ma
    "When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government." -Thomas Paine

  16. #16
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    I am actually trying to decide between Ultegra 10s and Centaur. Wasnt going to mention it because of the fuss is sometimes creates .............. but what the heck.

    It is going to come down to a comfort or position issue. Im going to try to get some time on both to determine which will set up better for me. I am leaning toward the Centaur just because I have to run the Shimano levers pretty high to feel comfortable and I am not sure I like that look.

  17. #17
    Banned forever.....or not
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    Think about using a Chorus BB and crank. The crank doesn't look cheap and the BB will last longer.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
    .
    How would you like it if Hitler killed you
    Dogbert.

    I>U

    Buying parts to hang on your bike is always easier than getting fit.

    If you feel wimpy and weak, get out and train more, ya wee lassie!

    If Jesus had a gun, he'd be alive today!

  18. #18
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    Sorry

    Quote Originally Posted by Len J
    But I paid more.

    In 30 + years of riding, my street dog paint job is the worst I have ever had....period. I've had low end bikes, and high end bikes, I've had steel, carbon, aluminum and Titanium. Never have I had such a fragile paint job. Maybe they had a bad day, maybe it's indicative of their quality...I don't know. But it would sure be something I would get comfortable with before I bought another Gunnar.

    Now all that being said, I really like the way it rides. Eventually, I will probably get it stripped down and have a proper paint job done. But I won't have it Painted by Gunnar. I will most likely keep the bike.

    As you say....the less you pay the less you expect. I wouldn't expect much of the Gunnar finish.

    Len
    I want to clarify my earlier post because I don't think I expressed myself very well. I wasn't implying that anyone had unreasonable expectations about the finish on their Gunnar. I think I've been lucky, either with the quality of the finish on my particular bike, or in it's exposure to random knocks and hits. The other possibility, now that I consider it, is that the finish on mine is a custom finish. As I said, I got the bike via e-bay and the original owner could have specified a finish upgrade.

    The point I was trying to make was precisely what you said; if you pay $1,000 for something your expectations are going to be differenct from the person who paid $300. I've been in both positions and understand that the choice between paying full retail for a new bike vs. trolling e-bay for a used one can depend on a lot of other factors beyond one's savvy as a purchaser.

  19. #19
    eminence grease
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    Hey Marcy,

    I had it done at Spectrum Powderworks in Colorado Springs. Actually it was the second one I had done by them. First bike was really simple - metalfleck black with blue flames, cost about $250. Not decals or lettering on this one.

    The Gunnar was done in sort of a blue-violet, heavy metalfleck. I didn't rename it "Gunnar", I called it "Sangfroid" since that describes me so well. The lettering was hand-done so the final bill was a bit more - $340.

    I had planned on getting a set of Waterford decals and "upgrading" the bike, but Waterford insisted on a serial number (drat!) and they cost $75! You might give a call to Gunnar and see what a new set would cost, or you could pay a bit more and have Spectrum do some creative handpainting. I did mine in turquoise outlined in black. Looks really nice.

    Best thing about the powder coating is that it is tough as nails. Some limit to the available colors, but still plenty to choose from.

    I took the first bike up there in person (easy trip from our neighborhood) but shipped the second one. They're great people to work with in person or over the phone. They have a lot of work, but I think they turned my recent one around in 4 weeks.

    Here's the link - http://www.spectrumpowderworks.com/index.htm

  20. #20
    eminence grease
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sympatico
    I am actually trying to decide between Ultegra 10s and Centaur. Wasnt going to mention it because of the fuss is sometimes creates .............. but what the heck.

    It is going to come down to a comfort or position issue. Im going to try to get some time on both to determine which will set up better for me. I am leaning toward the Centaur just because I have to run the Shimano levers pretty high to feel comfortable and I am not sure I like that look.
    Between those two - I'd pick Centaur. I really prefer the Campy shifters and their cable routing. 12/15 of my bikes are on Campy for those reasons alone.

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