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Gunnar? Romulus? Heron?(6 posts)

Gunnar? Romulus? Heron?mapei boy
Aug 11, 2003 11:43 AM
I'm looking to build/buy a nice, cushy but still fast second bike. I want something I can use both on-road and on things like fire trails. I want something I can ride with either normal clothes or spandex. In other words, a bike that'll be comfortable whether riding to lunch from my office or going on an all-day ramble. I'd like to keep the cost a reasonable amount under Two Grand. I don't want a mountain or comfort bike because 1) It's gotta have road racing bars, as I'm an inveterate hand-position changer; and 2) I'm addicted to the smoothness of 700 cm wheels.

Has anybody put a leg over any of the above-mentioned bikes? Has anybody tried the Gunnar Sport (which is probably my current first choice)? Any other suggestions?
re: Gunnar? Romulus? Heron?MR_GRUMPY
Aug 11, 2003 12:13 PM
Gunnars come in a Road Sport model that might be just what you are looking for. Check out their web site.
Also check out the Heron web site. They have a model like the Road Sport, and a model that's even more "dirt road."
re: Gunnar? Romulus? Heron?Heron Todd
Aug 11, 2003 4:15 PM
Gunnar has the most options available to you in terms of color, custom geometry, etc. TIG-welded instead of lugged, but a good solid frame. In a stock configuration, it costs about the same as a Heron Road (for frame and fork). Add in some options and it can get expensive.

The Heron Road is lugged and comes in four stock colors. Building these in batches keeps cost down but means no options other than color and size. Lugged and silver-brazed in the Waterford factory.

The Romulus is a great deal for a complete lugged bicycle although the price recently went up. One color, no options. Brazed in Japan by Toyo. Good stuff.

One thing to note is that the Gunnar Sport and Romulus is standard reach (47-57 mm) brakes while the Heron Road uses short reach (39-49 mm) brakes. So, the Gunnar and Romulus will have clearance for larger tires and/or fenders. If you use single-pivots, however, you can fit fairly large tires on the Heron. There is, of course, also the Heron Touring which is quite versatile. It doesn't have that driving-a-bus feeling of many loaded tourers so it's comfortable to ride when unloaded.

The Heron Road probably has the racier geometry than the Gunnar Sport and Romulus but not as racy as the Gunnar Roadie (which is much more limited for tire clearance).

If you want like the TIG-welded look, Gunnars are pretty hard to beat for the money. If you like lugs, the Romulus and Heron are the way to go. The Heron will give you more flexibility in terms of color and component selection, but the Romulus has a great overall package for the money. Not a bad choice here.

If you want a bike that's a true all-rounder, I'd look at the Heron Touring or Atlantis (which does come with 700c tires in larger sizes). The Atlantis is priced similarly with the Heron but is configured more for fatter tires and lower gearing. Since you mention fire trails, I'd look at one of these two. My own choice for this type of riding is a Heron Touring, but I'm a bit biased. :-)

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
LaSalle, IL
http://www.heronbicycles.com/
re: Gunnar? Romulus? Heron?Poptart
Aug 12, 2003 7:08 AM
bought a gunnar sport a couple of weeks ago. i wanted a commuter that i could run with slightly wider tires (700x28), fenders, had a supple steel ride, a slightly more upright riding position, and could handle lightly loaded panniers. with the gunnar you get the backing of a waterford warranty and the beautiful waterford paint (you get a choice of a few different colors, a special edition color that is available every month, or for an extra $150 any color that is available from waterford. you also have full control over decal color and location), it's made in america, and there were a few dealers in my area where i could actually see and test ride the bike rather than ordering one sight unseen. if you email any questions to gunnar, you are answered promptly by richard schwinn himself!
with full ultegra (dura ace hubs), atacs, fenders, wireless, max flite transam, open pro, ritchey post/stem/bars, framesaver, clearcoat (i.e. loaded), it came to about $2300. you should be able to get down to $2000 no problem. if you want to go in the dirt, you should probably go with 700x32. i don't have the rack and panniers mounted yet, but even with the wide tires and fenders, the bike still feels light and racy.
if you want to go slightly cheaper, the soma fab (a little heavier and a little slower handling) and interloc may be worth looking at. more expensive would be waterford rse (basically a lugged, custom fit gunnar) and independent fab club sport.
let us know what you decide.
re: Gunnar? Romulus? Heron?mapei boy
Aug 12, 2003 2:50 PM
Thanks. It's always good to hear a genuine, seat-of-the-pants review. By the way, what size did you buy? And not to be blasphemous, but have you weighed it?
re: Gunnar? Romulus? Heron?Poptart
Aug 13, 2003 6:44 AM
i wear 36 inch inseam jeans and i got a 58cm frame. it's just a touch on the small side. i would have gotten a 59 had they made one. the lbs guy said that i would probably benefit from getting a custom frame because of my long leg/short torso body, but i couldn't justify the added cost. i'm not sure about the weight, but after lifting examples of various bikes that i was considering (kelly, soma, surley, i/f, ibis, interloc), it is middle of the pack. the only one that stood out was the surley which was noticeable heavier than the others.