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  1. #1
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    Salsa Vaya Build From Frame - Clueless . . .

    With the Vaya complete being near impossible to find and preferring the charcoal color that only comes as a frameset, I am looking to build up my first bike. My neighbor has built a couple of bikes and has tools/stand, so he is going to help out. However, I am pretty clueless on this stuff. Up to this point I pretty much just make sure there is air in the tire and put on some lube and go out and ride.

    Here is what I am thinking and areas where I have confusion:

    • Frame + Fork - Vaya
    • Wheels - I was looking at Salsa Delgado, but I think I want to go tubeless (suggestions? maybe with 36 spoke option?) Also, thinking of front dynohub.
    • Tires - Schwalbe Marathon Supreme
    • Brakes - Avid BB7 (Difference between Road and MTB?)
    • Brake Levers - ?
    • Handlebar - Salsa Woodchipper
    • Crank - Can I run a MTB crank like SRAM S1400 39/26 or 42/28?
    • Shifters - ? On the SRAM site they only list trigger or twist shifters. What about if I am using drop bars?
    • FD - ?
    • RD - ?
    • Cassette - Probably 11-32
    • Headset - ? Does it make a difference?
    • Cables and stuff - ? (Is there any difference in this sort of stuff?)


    I already have peddles and a Brooks.
    '09 Salsa El Mariachi

  2. #2
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Given your starting point, I'd ask my lbs for help.
    2011 Felt Q620
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  3. #3
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    I was going to go down your list and make specific comments on each bullet, but you really need to provide more information.

    -What type of riding are you planning on doing? Commuting, long distance touring, long road rides, light off road?
    -26" or 700C wheels?
    -How many miles?
    -You only mention Sram components - are you flexible in this regard?
    -Have you got the size and fit you need figured out?
    -do you want separate shift brake levers or integrated 'brifters'

    Edit:
    Also, be sure you are prepared to spend hundreds of $$$ more than it would cost to buy an equivalent ready-made bike.
    Last edited by LarDasse74; 04-16-11 at 01:27 PM.

  4. #4
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    I understand that unfortunately it is going to cost WAY more $$$. I wish it didn't, but I like the Vaya and don't like the orange of the complete. Plus, with the complete I'd change the handlebars, crank (I want lower than 48/34. plus, would probably then need a new FD), wheels (at least the front for dynohub), brakes (would prefer BB7 over BB5), and maybe the shifters in order to work with the new crank. Usually the LBS will swap out parts at cost, but they can't get a Vaya (OOS) and I am still not fond of the Orange.

    I'll use it for commuting (but my commute is only 2 miles), recreational riding (~40-50 miles), will eventually do some centuries, and it will see some fire road/gravel. Also, eventually some short touring. I already have the Ortlieb panniers, gear, etc.

    700c wheels. I mentioned SRAM because I liked the 39/26 or 42/28, but if Shimano has something similar for cheaper I have no problem with that.
    '09 Salsa El Mariachi

  5. #5
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    For the brakes, one issue is to match up road calipers with road levers and mtn calipers with mtn levers.
    I recently built up a Singular Peregrine, but had looked closely at the Vaya (it's a nice looking bike). I ended up with road BB7's and Cane Creek SCR5 levers, plus a Cane Creek 'cross pull' lever, which I thought was a cool idea. I also used a Salsa Woodchipper bar. They work well together- no issues at all. Except my comfort.....
    Well, things have evolved and I now use a set of mustache bars. So, I have no more need for the woodchipper nor for the cross pull levers, so if you want them for cheap, let me know- they have less than 10 miles on them.
    Oh- one other suggestion is to get a cheap adjustable stem (like one made by Dimension) and play with it to find the appropriate rise.
    Cheers,
    Jason
    On my bike, I also went with an IGH, for simplicity of setup and lack of maintenance. This way, I only had to deal with one front chainring, one rear and no derailleurs (I like them fine, but I didn't want one on this bike).

  6. #6
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    As has been stated, don't do this. Take your list to a few LBS's and let them give you a quote. Hold a hard line on what you want and only do business with a shop which does custom builds (If they see your list and get excited, you'll know you're in the right place). I build custom, one-off bicycles like you desire in my bike shop all the time and I can tell you from years of experience that you'll be better off and money ahead to let a good bike shop do the work. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    You need to determine what you want and then take the suggestion of going to the bike shop to get some price quotes.
    If you are not sure, you won't get very far.
    Do you want a 18, 20, 27 or 30 speed drivetrain?
    Do you want brifters or seperate brake and shift levers? Shimano bar cons?
    Preference for SRAM or Shimano?
    Tubeless tires or traditional clinchers?
    Wheels could be Salsa Delgado Cross, Mavic A719, Velocity Chukkers or Sun Rhyno Lyte.
    As far as the headset goes a FSA or a Cane Creak sealed bearing headset will be durable w/o breaking the bank.
    Compare the part spec for the Vaya to that of the Fargo or some other touring bikes [ Cannondale T series, Jamis Aurora, Trek 520 ]. Maybe you'll get some ideas.

  8. #8
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    Hi Divtag,

    I think it's a worthwhile thing to build one's own bike from scratch. A full rebuild of a vintage internal-gear Schwinn, followed by a scratch new build of my nice bike (a Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen), were how I learned bike mechanics. When needing to do a repair after a minor crash or when some part starts acting up, knowing the bike inside and out has a major advantage for me. I agree that it will cost substantially more than a stock bike of equivalent specifications. One way to feel better about this is to use even better parts than stock bikes come with so that you no longer have a frame of reference.

    A few random thoughts: Be prepared to pay in weight and drag with a dynohub. That may not be something you want for 50-100 mile rides. On the other hand, for my own short commutes, I absolutely love my 1974 Sturmey-Archer AW3 internal-gear hub. It is plenty efficient unlike the many-speed gearhubs, allows far longer maintenance intervals than a derailer drivetrain, and frankly is not that hard to rebuild when something goes wrong every 2-3 years. Sturmey-Archer still makes this hub with good Taiwanese manufacturing. But again, for the 50-100 mile rides, a derailer drivetrain will give finer and wider shifts that you'd probably want. And I agree with the suggestion to have a way to adjust the handlebar height; you'll undoubtedly want to fiddle with it after you get a few long rides with it.

    Finally: Pay attention to cabling! Buy good stuff (I use Jagwire), be fastidious in setting the housing lengths, and grind/file every housing interface. This pays off greatly in the quality of your shifting and braking.

    Enjoy.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Is your friend who is going to help you put the bike together not able to help with the details of choosing the parts?

  10. #10
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    Went into my local bike shop and Salsa dealer and he was telling me about the "dream build" that Salsa would do whereby many of the changes you would want to make to the Vaya, such as change out the BB5's for BB7's, are made by Salsa not the LBS. Of course, if you don't want the Orange color, that wouldn't fly for you. Did you inquire if Salsa would build you up a charcoal frame?
    "If life were logical, men would ride sidesaddle."
    Rita Mae Brown

  11. #11
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Before you start buying, do the math. I have a feeling you could do better by buying a complete orange Vaya, a charcoal frameset, and swap everything over. Then sell the orange frameset. It will be brand new, so it should sell for a decent price. In the process switch out the stuff you don't want.

    Also, you do realize you'll be spending hundreds of dollars either way to get the color you want, right?
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    Is your friend who is going to help you put the bike together not able to help with the details of choosing the parts?
    I talked to him about a bit, but he wasn't familiar with the Vaya and some of the newer components. He did say go with BB7 over BB5. He built his bike, his wife's bike, and his other bike. Plus, he offered to replace the spokes on my Rockhopper wheel and true it.

    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    Before you start buying, do the math. I have a feeling you could do better by buying a complete orange Vaya, a charcoal frameset, and swap everything over. Then sell the orange frameset. It will be brand new, so it should sell for a decent price. In the process switch out the stuff you don't want.

    Also, you do realize you'll be spending hundreds of dollars either way to get the color you want, right?
    That might work, when/if Salsa has anymore in stock for the LBS to order. However, I'd still be swapping a lot on the stock build. I'd want to swap brakes, bars, crank/FD and brifters since they are built for the Apex crank/FD, and probably the wheels. May also have to swap the RD since it is also part of the Apex group, it might not work with different crank/FD.

    I went to three LBSs. The only local Salsa dealer is MTB oriented and wasn't very helpful. Since I didn't speak "the lingo" they just kind of shined me on instead of helping. The two others were Specialized dealers and weren't much help. Seems every other shop around here is a Specialized shop.

    Plus, I thought as I started doing longer rides it might be good to learn some of this stuff.
    '09 Salsa El Mariachi

  13. #13
    authorized user gary245's Avatar
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    With the Vaya complete being near impossible to find and preferring the charcoal color that only comes as a frameset, I am looking to build up my first bike. My neighbor has built a couple of bikes and has tools/stand, so he is going to help out. However, I am pretty clueless on this stuff.
    I've been lusting after the Vaya all winter & spring too... and prefer the charcoal too - and have contemplated a build like you. But, am also considering the Kona Honkey Inc. The steel frame, in a darker color with disc brakes, seems very comperable to the Vaya, to me. And - at $1679, seems very a nice bike!

  14. #14
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divtag View Post
    I talked to him about a bit, but he wasn't familiar with the Vaya and some of the newer components.
    I went to three LBSs. The only local Salsa dealer is MTB oriented and wasn't very helpful. Since I didn't speak "the lingo" they just kind of shined me on instead of helping. The two others were Specialized dealers and weren't much help. Seems every other shop around here is a Specialized shop.[/QUOTE]

    It shouldn't matter that they are Specialized dealers. Parts are parts. Money is money. A sale is a sale. However, I sometimes experience similar, lackluster enthusiasm from dealers.

  15. #15
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    BTW, I kind of agree about buying a complete and swapping parts. You don't even need to get exact same frame size in the complete bike, because you're not riding that one. Go same or larger if you can though, so that cable lengths work out.

    With another Vaya as donor, you can be certain of having the correct parts. That's worth something your first time building a bike.

    And I can totally see your not wanting orange. I like that other color much better myself. Sometimes I can be neutral about a color, but I have learned to avoid buying a bike in a color that I feel negative towards. It affects my enjoyment if every time I mount the bike I find myself thinking about how I don't like the color.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    With another Vaya as donor, you can be certain of having the correct parts. That's worth something your first time building a bike.
    Be very careful if you go this route, as the specs do change dependant on frame size, 26" wheels vs 700c on the smaller models, and the stem length also change.

    The Vaya is a really nice bike, I have a 2010, but this years orange color is not nice, also, if you can't get one for a test ride, the fit chart on the Salsa site is pretty good, I used this, was sceptical when I had finished the build, as the bike looks a little big, but fits perfect when on it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gruppo View Post
    As has been stated, don't do this. Take your list to a few LBS's and let them give you a quote. Hold a hard line on what you want and only do business with a shop which does custom builds (If they see your list and get excited, you'll know you're in the right place). I build custom, one-off bicycles like you desire in my bike shop all the time and I can tell you from years of experience that you'll be better off and money ahead to let a good bike shop do the work. Good luck!
    That's what I think too.

  18. #18
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
    Be very careful if you go this route, as the specs do change dependant on frame size, 26" wheels vs 700c on the smaller models, and the stem length also change.
    Hey, good catch. I'd forgotten completely about the wheelsize change between 54 and 56. My bad.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Now you know why the bike mechanics earn the big bucks,
    Just slightly above minimum wage..

  20. #20
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    So is any of the 3 LBS's that you went to a shop that you deal with somewhat regularly?
    Salsa is distributed thru QBP amongst others.
    QBP aslo distributes Surly and some other brands.
    Some of the brands they carry sell complete bikes, some sell framesets.
    QBP normally has build kit options for the framesets they sell [ a 29er build kit for eaxmple ].

    The build kits would allow for some parts substitution or wiggle room.
    So if there is a build kit and you are willing to spend the money, then they oughtta be able to make it happen.
    If you wanted a Karate Monkey, I bet they could come up w/something.
    So maybe you want to ask for a grouppo for yor Vaya. An offroad gruppo would probably have an option for BB7's and stout wheels w/disc hubs and other things that you mite want..
    Ask em about that.

  21. #21
    pedal pusher
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    i myself did a frameset build on mine

    i went shimano but here's the specs

    tiagra 9 speed shifter (will be switching to new 105 5700 10 speed though)

    drivetrain is full XT with shadow rear derailleur, 11-32 cassette, 22-32-44 cranks, ultegra triple FD

    if you run a mountain triple up front you must run a road triple front derailleur!!!! the pull is different and road front derailleurs allow for the trim function on the shifter (this is same for SRAM or shimano)

    any other questions please dont hesitate to ask, i'm a professional mechanic and i run a LBS here in central jersey

    i have an xt front derailleur in the picture, ignore that


  22. #22
    Senior Member Chop61's Avatar
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    Or, just buy the complete orange bike, take off the parts, swap out what you don't want and paint it.
    When I was young I prayed to God for a new bike. Then I figured out God didn't work that way, so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness.

  23. #23
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    I'd say that between you and your mechanical buddy you can do this. But take your time and learn about each part you buy.

    You don't need to buy The Best of every component to end up with a very servicable and enjoyable bike. But you want to buy "best bang for the buck" stuff for sure. And given that you want to do a lot of switches I'd say that buying another Vaya and swapping the parts isn't going to be as good a financial option as it could be otherwise.

    Brakes are already set by your decision to go with BB7's. And a good one that is.

    Tubeless wheels? Frankly I'd not bother. Tubes are tried and true and easy to work on out in the world when something happens. I'd stick with tried and true and the easy flat repairing of just switching tubes. If things are wet and muddy for some reason you don't want to be fooling around trying to patch a tubeless tire in the wet.

    Dynohub? These days LED headlights are so light and the batteries last so long that I'd just go that route and leave off the weight and complexity of the dyno hub option. This may not be a traditional viewpoint but I feel it's a pragmatically effective one.

    Tire choice is a highly personal one. I'm not a fan of the Marathons for a few reasons. I found that they are a rather heavy tire that rides "heavy". And at 560 gms for a 700x28 it's no wonder. For doing mostly road I'd rather have a lighter tire that uses kevlar or other flat resistant belting and that has supple side walls so it rolls faster and feels lighter for the getaways. Something like Panaracer T-Serv or maybe their new RiBMo tires with puncture resistant belting but that are light and roll fast. Or if you're doing a lot of gravel path or dirt trail where it tends towards packed earth with some mud then a cyclocross tire with a fairly firm looking center bead to deal with roads in a better manner. But I've found that tires, much like chain cleaning and lubing, seems to be HIGHLY personal. We all have our favourites for whatever reasons.

    The Woodchipper low drop bars are obviously aiming you at road levers. The question then becomes do you go bar end shifting or brifters? My thinking is that with the angle of the Woodchippers both bar ends or brifters are quite open to crash damage if you ride trail or woods a lot. They are at risk on the road as well but generally most of us crash a LOT less on the road.... YMMV In any event if this were my build I would at least look around at and consider some of the options for downtube or bar end shifters mounted in close by the stem to protect the shifting components. Options would be Paul's Thumbies mounts for downtube shifters to mount up near the stem or for some sort of modified aero bar mount that places bar end shifters in close to the stem and that could be used for mounting headlights at the same time. By mounting the shifters in close to the stem they are guarded from both crash damage and from being brushed into another gear by any passing branches while on a trail. And for trail riding I can't help thinking that having brake levers that can't swing sideways would aid in the rider's hand stability and ease of use for modulating the brakes under a lot of vibration such as found on a trail or rough gravel road. So again the idea of separate aero levers and shifters seems like a more sound and pragmatic approach.

    You can more than certainly run MTB cranks and rings on a 700c frame. You'll just need to ensure you have the correct spacers for using the new external cup BB's and cranks or that you get the right BB for an older spline setup or square taper. Note that with the smaller 44T ring you'll also want to use an MTB front derailleur as the cage has a tighter radius curve to match the smaller rings. If the 44 should prove too small you can get 46T rings to fit later on. But likely if you're looking at MTB cranks and rings as an option then you're like me and won't be seeing such lofty speeds other than when going downhill. I've gone with MTB setups over road crank setups just because realistically I'm not a racer that rides at 35kph or more much of the time. Using the MTB crankset allows me to make more frequent use of the smaller rear sprockets and keep a straighter chain line in the gearing combos I use the most. It sounds like you're in the same boat.

    Shifters? Already covered above. Like you already figured out you're going to have to go with Shimano since it seems that SRAM doesn't make anything for drop bars.

    For a little more durability I'd suggest you stick with 9 speed components. And since you're using disc brakes and it sounds like you want an MTB crankset you may as well go MTB all the way through at the rear as well. In that vein and with the "best bang for the buck" as a factor you can't do much better than LX or XT as options. Both work superbly and won't break the bank. Both seem to come up on sale at various online suppliers or via Ebay with good regularity.

    For the FD the functional requirements are pretty basic. So a Deore would do just fine. Hell, a Tourney would work as well. But they look pretty "lumpy". The Deore level or higher depending on what you find on sale would do just fine. And something to consider if you go with bar end shifters or downtube shifters mounted on Paul Thumby mounts is that you can select friction mode for the FD. That allows you infinite trimming for any gearing setup to avoid the chain rubbing the FD cage. A rather nice feature you can't easily get with brifters.

    11-32 says you're already looking at the idea of MTB components on the rear. And I concur whole heartedly with that idea for this sort of bike.

    The headset is only a big deal for getting the regular style or integrated/zero stack option to suit what the frame needs. Otherwise any decent mid level headset will give years of good service. From there the option is to go either cartridge bearing or loose ball cup and cone. I've had both and found that both work just fine. If I had to choose I tend to prefer loose balls in cup and cone so I can drop the fork to clean and replace the balls once every couple of years. The headset I've had for over a decade of riding on one bike has been cleaned and re-balled a few times and is still as good now as the day I installed it. And I can get the balls anywhere. Not neccesarily something that can be said for the cartridge bearings. But either will give you excellent service if you pay around $20 or more on sale to get into the better options quality wise.

    Again for the "best bang for the buck" I've found that buying decent bulk housing such as Jagwire is fine for both brakes and shifting. For cables any of the smooth outer finish drawn cables are excellent. Although for mechanical disc brakes I'd suggest you search for Jagwire KEB Ripcord housing. This housing uses linear wires similar to "compresionless" shifter housing wrapped in a braided kevlar sleeve to resist the bursting pressure that would occur with this style of wire reinforcment when used in the high tension environment of a brake system. I've used this housing on a few bikes and it really does provide a firmer feel at the brake lever. The firmer feel makes it easier to modulate the pressure with more control and it just feels a whole lot nicer. I'm sure that other companies make similar products but the idea is that you can get a boost from using a "compresionless" brake housing. Just be sure that the housing is rated for brakes. You MUST NOT use shifter housing for a brake.

    The big thing to doing this build is to be patient about accumulating the parts and learn along the way. You've already milked us for a lot of advice and learned a lot as a result. But there's still a lot to learn. The good news is that you'll have a bike that you're happy with and that fits you well. Or perhaps you'll find that some of your decisions made at this point don't work out when exposed to the realities of the road and trail. If so you can then make some changes to better suit and fit the bike to yourself and your desires. But that's the fun of doing your own build.
    Last edited by BCRider; 04-20-11 at 02:19 PM.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  24. #24
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divtag View Post
    I went to three LBSs. The only local Salsa dealer is MTB oriented and wasn't very helpful. Since I didn't speak "the lingo" they just kind of shined me on instead of helping.
    Who did you talk to, the head mechanic or a salesman? A good mechanic should be all over this: someone else paying for cool parts...
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  25. #25
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    Michigan
    My Bikes
    Brand New Old Catamount! Schwinn Homegrown, Specialized FSR, Salsa Vaya, Salsa Chile Con Crosso
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    Good luck on the build. I finished mine a month ago. It's a great bike. Ignore the complete bike naysayers. Sure, it's more expensive the route you're going but the complete bikes are sold out until June at the earliest.

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