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Old 06-19-09, 05:47 PM   #1
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Lightest touring/cross frame with rack mounts

Due to circumstances which I'll eventually elaborate on, I'm in the market for a new commuter bike. My previous bike was a short lived Gunnar Crosshairs frame built up with a not-too-serious attitude towards cutting weight. The result was a 27.5 lbs. bike including fenders, rack, lights, pump, 28mm tires, and a disc front brake. While not a tank, I was a little disappointed with the weight when I got done. The almost 2 pound Jannd rack certainly didn't help matters and neither did the 28mm Armadillos. The Crosshairs frame weighed in around 4 lbs. though making it a good candidate for being swapped out for something considerably lighter. I'm hoping to use the same Winwood carbon disc fork.

I've already made up my mind on a wheel build that will cut over a pound, lighter tires that will shed some grams, and I'm almost there on a different rear rack though I loved the width of the Jannd for my Arkel Tailrider (it's just not worth almost a pound of weight over my previous OMM rack). One of the last, and the biggest, things to decide on is the frame. As the title says, I want something that can take a rack and fenders with 28mm tires (hence touring/cross). I know there are some sport road frames, like the Gunnar Sport, that can take 28mm tires and fenders but no one makes a lightweight disc fork for a frame like that. It's no use to me to go with the Sport then add a steel disc fork which weighs close to a pound more than the Winwood. I could get a custom Sport frame built to accept the taller Winwood fork but I'm wondering if there are any better options out there. I realize that I could go all out and have a custom titanium touring frame built and easily get down to 3 lbs. for the frame but I'm not so sure I'm ready to make that sort of commitment (it's also not out of the question though).

So what do you guys suggest?
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Old 06-19-09, 05:55 PM   #2
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does the material of the frame matter?
rocky mountain solo CXD might be a good candidate.
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Old 06-19-09, 05:56 PM   #3
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Nope, I'm open to any material. I currently own steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber so I don't discriminate.
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Old 06-19-09, 06:05 PM   #4
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if your local dealer has it, opus sentiero
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Old 06-19-09, 06:12 PM   #5
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One thing I didn't make too clear is that while I definitely want a disc in front, I'm indifferent about a disc on the rear.
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Old 06-19-09, 06:20 PM   #6
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if your local dealer has it, opus sentiero
Does Opus sell just frames? I'm liking the Opus Stelle a lot. I guess I could always buy the bike and part most of it out. Of course, finding a dealer in the US might be really difficult.
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Old 06-19-09, 06:47 PM   #7
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Built up a 10 year old Serotta CRT. With a Brooks saddle and not too light wheels, it comes in at 23 lbs. Full braze on's for racks and fender clearance. It is a super smooth ride.
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Old 06-19-09, 06:53 PM   #8
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So what do you guys suggest?
Rofl, caring about weight on a touring bike? You'll save what, 1 - 2lbs max with a lightweight frame? Fully loaded touring that's like 1 extra water bottle. Stop worrying about useless things like that and concentrate on things that actually matter, for example wtf you're actually going to carry and what you can trim down. And your gearing. A commuter doesn't need to be "light". It needs to be robust and durable. Both frame material wise and component wise.
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Old 06-19-09, 07:06 PM   #9
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Rofl, caring about weight on a touring bike? You'll save what, 1 - 2lbs max with a lightweight frame? Fully loaded touring that's like 1 extra water bottle. Stop worrying about useless things like that and concentrate on things that actually matter, for example wtf you're actually going to carry and what you can trim down. And your gearing. A commuter doesn't need to be "light". It needs to be robust and durable. Both frame material wise and component wise.
If I do any touring on it, it will be light duty touring. The bike's main purpose will be commuting and recreational rides when I want something a little more relaxed than my LOOK or want to carry some gear with me.

I already trim down what I carry to only the essentials. Most commutes are done with only the Tailrider stuffed with my clothes, a sandwich, and deodorant. I keep shoes at work to avoid that weight and avoid getting a laptop as then I'd be expected to lug it home every night.

The roads I ride on and my riding style are perfectly accomodated by a lightweight frame. I don't need a true touring frame for riding relatively smoothly paved roads with a 5-10 lb. load. I'll take care of any durability issues by replacing stuff when it wears out. The only (running and insured) car in the family is my wife's so I can afford to spend more than some on my commuter.
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Old 06-19-09, 07:10 PM   #10
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Built up a 10 year old Serotta CRT. With a Brooks saddle and not too light wheels, it comes in at 23 lbs. Full braze on's for racks and fender clearance. It is a super smooth ride.
I'm hoping to hit that weight but including the rack, fenders, lights, etc. Do you know what those frames weigh?
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Old 06-19-09, 07:50 PM   #11
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I was wondering, why won't the Gunnar Sport take your Winwood fork? In fact, what makes the Winwood fork incompatible with some frames?

Also, did you take a look at the Habanero Cross/Touring frame?
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Old 06-19-09, 07:53 PM   #12
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I'm hoping to hit that weight but including the rack, fenders, lights, etc. Do you know what those frames weigh?
I didn't weight it before building, should have. I plan on using it as a brevet/century bike, so will probably be adding fenders, maybe a front rack.
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Old 06-19-09, 08:28 PM   #13
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I was wondering, why won't the Gunnar Sport take your Winwood fork? In fact, what makes the Winwood fork incompatible with some frames?

Also, did you take a look at the Habanero Cross/Touring frame?
The issue with the Winwood fork is the axle to crown height. At 390mm, it's about 15mm too tall for the Sport. I realize that the resulting geometry wouldn't be unrideable but given the investment that I plan on making, I'd rather use a frame and fork that are designed to work together.

That Habanero Cross frame looks nice. I forgot about them. I'm still holding out for a 3 lb. frame though
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Old 06-19-09, 08:32 PM   #14
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Come on, the fork is 15mm too tall? How badly do you think this is gonna affect geometry when there are people out there happily riding 96er monsterbikes? Do you know what kind of an effect 15mm will have on the handling of the bike?

I'm just wondering... is this something you're even gonna ever feel while riding?
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Old 06-19-09, 08:36 PM   #15
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Come on, the fork is 15mm too tall? How badly do you think this is gonna affect geometry when there are people out there happily riding 96er monsterbikes? Do you know what kind of an effect 15mm will have on the handling of the bike?

I'm just wondering... is this something you're even gonna ever feel while riding?
You obviously don't know me well Simply knowing that my bike wasn't using the "right" frame/fork combo would irk me to no end regardless of the effect on handling, not to mention having a noticeable difference in tire clearance front to rear. I could calculate all the angle changes but it wouldn't make much of a difference. I'm still not going to build a bike with a mismatched frame/fork combo, especially if I can find something lighter that doesn't require a mismatch.
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Old 06-19-09, 08:40 PM   #16
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My friend, stop worrying and learn to love custom titanium frames.
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Old 06-19-09, 08:43 PM   #17
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My friend, stop worrying and learn to love custom titanium frames.
That may be the route I end up taking but given that I'm average in almost every dimension, I would hate to pay a premium for a custom geometry frame simply to get a fork to fit properly. This thread has already given me three more options than I thought I had (Opus, Rocky Mountain, Habanero) so it's been worth the ridicule
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Old 06-19-09, 08:57 PM   #18
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If your Jannd rack weighs two pounds, an easy weight saving is to get a Blackburn. Mine, complete with mounting bolts, seatstay brackets and a tail light bracket, weighs 452 grams or almost precisely 1.0 pound.

Try to find a Litespeed Blue Ridge/Appalachian frame in your size. They are discontinued but are available used, maybe even NOS. They should significantly undercut your Gunner for weight.
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Old 06-19-09, 09:05 PM   #19
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If your Jannd rack weighs two pounds, an easy weight saving is to get a Blackburn. Mine, complete with mounting bolts, seatstay brackets and a tail light bracket, weighs 452 grams or almost precisely 1.0 pound.

Try to find a Litespeed Blue Ridge/Appalachian frame in your size. They are discontinued but are available used, maybe even NOS. They should significantly undercut your Gunner for weight.
The Jannd Standard rack I had was 800 grams (manufacturer weight). What Blackburn rack do you have? The lightest on their website for 700c wheels is 612 grams. I have a 400 gram OMM White Rock that would be perfect if it had a wider platform. I'll probably just live with it because it's so light.

Thanks for the Litespeed suggestions but the Habanero has it beat on weight (according to the manufacturers though I could only find info on the Blue Ridge) and it's readily available.
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Old 06-19-09, 09:32 PM   #20
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To recap frame/bike suggestions so far that have potential, including my original choice:

Gunnar Crosshairs, 4.1 lbs. (size 56), rack compatible, $800
Gunnar Sport, ~3.7 lbs (size 56), rack compatible, $1150 custom geometry
Rocky Mountain Solo Team CXR, not sure of weight, appears to have rack eyelets (can anyone confirm?), ~$1600 complete (2008 model)
Opus Stelle, 19.5 lb. bike weight w/ mostly Ultegra drivetrain, rack compatible, ~$2000 complete
Habanero Touring/Cross, 3.3 lbs. (size 52), rack compatible, $949
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Old 09-21-09, 08:48 PM   #21
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As a late follow up, I did finally decide on a frame after receiving more suggestions in the cyclocross forum. I went with a Pedal Force CX1 and so far I'm very pleased. Here's a pic of the finished bike:

http://home.comcast.net/~joejackson9...F/DSC02690.JPG

23.7 lbs. as pictured.
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Old 09-22-09, 08:30 AM   #22
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no titanium rack from tubus?
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Old 09-22-09, 10:03 AM   #23
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no titanium rack from tubus?
None of the Tubus racks will let my attach Arkel Tailrider attach as securely as I'd like. The titanium rack from Tubus is so tiny that it's barely worth having. The OMM rack I used might be a bit heavier, but at least I can carry a decent sized pannier on it.

Those are aluminum p-clamps holding the fender stays to the rack though.
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Old 09-22-09, 03:06 PM   #24
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nice bike
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