Building a Bike for my wife

My wife is currently in the final stages of writing up her Phd thesis - we’ve agreed that as a finishing present when it’s done, I’ll build her a new bike, and get rid of the shitty avanti she’s been riding for for the last 12 years.

The bike will be mainly used for commuting, riding around with the kids and some light O/N touring. It will be mainly used on bitumen commuting, but will see a bit of dirt from time to time. She’s not a fan of drops so will have some form of flat bar

It needs to;

  • be Steel Framed
  • have Dual mounts for pannier racks and mudguards
  • plenty of clearance for 38c tyres
  • be cantilever brake friendly

The candidates are at this stage - Soma Double Cross, Surly Cross check and maybe Salsa Vaya.

Anyone with any experience with any of the above, is there anything else I should be considering? I’m leaning towards the soma at this stage.

I’ve ridden a cross-check for years, I reckon they’re awesome bikes, extremely versatile and predictable, you can ride pretty much everything on them. Had heaps of fun on mine. Definitely competent on gravel.

surly straggler? my friend Lauren is absolutely stoked with hers.

Yeah, get a straggler in 650b and hydro brake it. Will be ace

why 650b over 700c?

Fatter tyres plus room for fenders. With disc brakes you can fit either as well.

If you’ve got a budget, factor in dyno lighting and spend less elsewhere if you need to. It really makes an everyday bike awesome. SP x B&M is an excellent combo.

(also nothing wrong with rim brakes atmo, but discs are also great)

Also less toe overlap and more standover clearance in the small sizes -the smaller framed stragglers are 650b off the shelf.

Can get the soma double cross disc and 650b it to, if your starting with a frame it really opens your options up.

Can easily save money on Deore level hydro brakes and shifters to have more cash for frame and wheels.

I’ve had a Vaya and a Crosscheck - I would go the Vaya, even over a Straggler. The Vaya had a better/comfier geo (to me at least) and no weirdo small headtube that all Surlys have.

Word on the bikenerd grapevine is that the weirdo shirt head tubes work out OK on the small stragglers. Don’t quote me on that but.


I’ll add that cross checks aren’t particularly good at anything except not being particularly bad at anything.

I agree with Alex.
If buying for my very short wife is consider a straggler or one of the soma offering .

There’s a bit of love for a Surly. Has anyone had a Soma?, I was leaning that way due to the lighter frame and nicer Tange Prestige Tubing.

yeah, my commuter / round town bike is a soma double cross disc, its great.

Built with flat swept bars, hydro brakes, 1x9 (just put a 2x setup with a downtube lever on it for the front)

In general Soma’s are a little nicer, lighter and nicer finished than Surlys.

Here is mine:

have replaced the surly rack with soma portuer

Nice MikeD… I notice there is a stack of options for the sizing on the Soma frames How did you find the sizing/fit? As per usual sizing, anything funky going on?

Can’t speak for the double cross but I have a Soma Stanyan with Tange Prestige and its a freaking excellent framesets.

They are typically longer in the TT than most other CX’y bikes but if your going flat bar that isn’t really an issue. I just went off approximately what length I like on a MTB.

omg those colourful headset spacers fml

Would you like some James? I also have some rasta chainring bolts…

Hahaha thank you for the offer but no thank you

Stanyan’s seem to be rare as. Never seen one in person or being sold.

And unfortunately their Pescadero is out of stock for who knows how long…

Pretty keen on bikes that fit long reach brakes

Also, what did OP finally buy for his wife?