2016 Gunnar Roadie Review

After having put about 500 miles on this build I thought I would give some quick thoughts about my Gunnar Roadie. The frame is a size 58 and replaced my Giant Propel Advanced that was also a size 58. After having been around the cycling scene for any significant amount of time, one is bound to hear the line “steel is real”. I’m not going to be arguing that steel is better than carbon or vice versa. Instead, I’m going to highlight the qualities of steel and the Roadie that surprised me the most.

Ride – The ride of steel has a very distinctive feel. I would describe carbon as smooth, aluminum as edgy, and steel as a median between the two. Accelerating under hard efforts is rewarded with a little pushback from the frame, whereas pushing against aluminum felt like a wall. Full out-of-saddle efforts do not create any excess motion in the bottom bracket area nor result in any tire rub. This is pretty impressive given that I easily push 200+ lbs with full riding kit.

Weight – This is another area that generates constant questions from riders. The conception is that steel is much heavier than carbon or aluminum. The final weight of the bike with bottle cages and pedals is around 17.5 pounds – exactly the same weight as my Giant Propel had been. Most of the parts were transferred over from the propel with the exception of the non-aero seat post on the Gunnar. For a full list of build components please see the end of the review.

Finish – The people at Gunnar bikes have done a marvelous job at painting the frame. The spray is very consistent, and the striping very even. They were incredibly flexible with my request to add the stripes that flank the logo on the down tube and the seat tube. The clear coat has a very deep shine to it that I expect will be very durable. Worst case scenario, Gunnar offers a refurbishing service to repaint the frame when you feel like you need a refresh.

Racing – I’ve raced this setup now in a road race and a criterium, to 3rd and 2nd place finishes. There were a lot of full accelerations throughout the course of both races, and I was never left with the impression of excess flex in the rig. Another much better racer in my league also has been racing the Gunnar Roadie with great success. I’m eager to tackle more coming races on this machine.

Overall, I would summarize my experience with the Roadie with one word – Zen. Despite the lack of aero shaping compared to my Propel, I have not felt any slower. For those of you on the fence about modern steel race bikes, I would highly recommend giving the Gunnar Roadie a try. Thank you Baltimore Bike Works for helping me get my hands on this!


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