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Thread: N+1 advice

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    N+1 advice

    I am waffling...can't make up my mind. Looking for some other perspectives.

    I want my second bike. What I want out of my bike is to have a combination of a commuter, gravel grinder, and light tourer. In short I want the ability to put on a rack for commuting and not having to wear a backpack, but also the ability to easily ride the millions of dirt and gravel roads here in Nevada.

    I have been leaning toward trying to find a cross frame that also has rack and fender mounts.

    I want a full apex or rival group with the 11-32 rear and the compact 34-50 crank

    I really want to build one, but when I start adding up all the different components to make a bike from scratch, it keeps coming out over 2k

    So I saw this on sale till Monday and thought it may be a good compromise...but I don't like the cheap wheels and the cheap crank...and there have been some comments about the stem and headset

    I have another set of wheels...deep v. But afraid they won't handle 32 tires (not sure about this and that's the tire size I want to run

    And not sure the brakes on this bike will allow me to run 32's either (first touring bike I have seen with rim brakes)


    So any of you bike experts have any opinions on all this?

    This is what I am considering since its on sale this weekend

    http://www.rei.com/product/807242/no...rita-bike-2012
    Last edited by vesteroid; 05-26-12 at 10:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    Looks pretty good to me. The components you don't like could be upgraded when you can afford better and will do the job now. I might consider it for light touring, but I'd be concerned about stopping power for fully loaded touring with those sidepulls. The description says it has clearance for fenders, so I'd be surprised if you couldn't fir 32c tires. Maybe not 32c's and fenders at the same time...

    Kind of a compromise all around road bike. Not a road racer, not a loaded tourer either. But you said "light touring and commuting" so it may fit the spec.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

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    I'd say there are too many compromises with that bike, especially with the caliper brakes. You say you'd run 32's, but what happens if you want to try 35's or 38's? If you have fenders on there the stock 28's are probably all that would fit. The vast majority of entry level cross bikes have fender and rack mounts, so it shouldn't be difficult to find or build something that would have canti or disc brakes.

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    The one thing I'd check on the REI bike is whether it can accommodate larger tires. It comes with 700x28 and I'll suggest that 700x32 or 700x35 is probably a better match for dirt/gravel roads. Does the frame have the space to fit tires that large? With fenders? The brakes are Shimano BR-R450 "long reach" calipers, so you might be able to fit a larger tire, but I dunno about a larger tire and fenders...

    Seems like it should be possible to build a bike for less than $2000. The Nashbar aluminum touring frame and fork make a decent starting point and can be had for $135+shipping. BikeParts.com and several others are offering Apex build kits for $680. Bicycle Wheel Warehouse will build you a set of Mavic A319 wheels (105 hubs, 32 spokes) for $235. That's $1050 for the basics.

    You'll still need handlebars, bar tape, stem, headset, seatpost, saddle, tubes, and tires. If you want a Thomson Elite seatpost Chris King headset, and carbon fiber handlebars, you'll break the budget in short order. If you're willing to compromise a bit, you can save some money. Here are a few suggestions:

    - FSA Omega Compact bars for $30
    - Easton EA30 seatpost for $25
    - Generic bar tape for $10 (or less)
    - FSA Pig headset for $25
    - Specialized Comp Multi Stem, shim adjustable stem for $45 (or substitute a generic fixed-position stem for $10-20)
    - Vittoria Randonneur Cross tires for $26/ea = $52
    - Generic tubes for $5/ea = $10

    That adds another $200 to the total. You still need a saddle, though. And you'll probably want to sell the Apex brakes and replace them with cantilevers so you can run larger tires. Tektro Oryx or CR720's are around $20-30/ea, which you can probably recover by selling the Apex brakes from the build kit on eBay or Craig's List.

    That's a pretty nice bike for quite a bit less than $2000!

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    The one thing I'd check on the REI bike is whether it can accommodate larger tires. It comes with 700x28 and I'll suggest that 700x32 or 700x35 is probably a better match for dirt/gravel roads. Does the frame have the space to fit tires that large? With fenders? The brakes are Shimano BR-R450 "long reach" calipers, so you might be able to fit a larger tire, but I dunno about a larger tire and fenders...

    Seems like it should be possible to build a bike for less than $2000. The Nashbar aluminum touring frame and fork make a decent starting point and can be had for $135+shipping. BikeParts.com and several others are offering Apex build kits for $680. Bicycle Wheel Warehouse will build you a set of Mavic A319 wheels (105 hubs, 32 spokes) for $235. That's $1050 for the basics.

    You'll still need handlebars, bar tape, stem, headset, seatpost, saddle, tubes, and tires. If you want a Thomson Elite seatpost Chris King headset, and carbon fiber handlebars, you'll break the budget in short order. If you're willing to compromise a bit, you can save some money. Here are a few suggestions:

    - FSA Omega Compact bars for $30
    - Easton EA30 seatpost for $25
    - Generic bar tape for $10 (or less)
    - FSA Pig headset for $25
    - Specialized Comp Multi Stem, shim adjustable stem for $45 (or substitute a generic fixed-position stem for $10-20)
    - Vittoria Randonneur Cross tires for $26/ea = $52
    - Generic tubes for $5/ea = $10

    That adds another $200 to the total. You still need a saddle, though. And you'll probably want to sell the Apex brakes and replace them with cantilevers so you can run larger tires. Tektro Oryx or CR720's are around $20-30/ea, which you can probably recover by selling the Apex brakes from the build kit on eBay or Craig's List.

    That's a pretty nice bike for quite a bit less than $2000!

    Thanks for the advice, I had thought about that frame, but was scared off by the comments about the interference between the water bottle mounts and needing a specific type of fd to deal with it ( didn't understand what type of fd that was andif it matched the apex one)

    Also the comments about the braze ons for the fork being in the wrong place worried me too...just didn't want to go cheap but actually buy myself a bunch of problems

    I was looking at a cross check but they cost 440 delivered, then by the time you add in all the things you listed (you found the wheels much cheaper than I did). And all the little parts like cable hangers and down tube shifter cable stops...and other things I have no real experience with (and shipping from a multitude of different vendors because I hadn't found one that had all that stuff). And that's why I said I was coming up in the high 1800 - 2000 range

    Ill keep trying to pin it all down

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    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    http://www.ebikestop.com/2012_sram_r...26-KT9989B.php just to give you something to think about. Note this is a braze on so add $10 for a clamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    Thanks for the advice, I had thought about that frame, but was scared off by the comments about the interference between the water bottle mounts and needing a specific type of fd to deal with it ( didn't understand what type of fd that was andif it matched the apex one)
    I own this frame and I have no idea what FD issue you're talking about. I use a standard Ultegra FD-6603 triple FD on mine. The clamp for the FD does end up between the seat tube water bottles bosses. I put the derailleur clamp on first, then screwed my water bottle mount into place without a problem. Looks a little goofy, but everything works flawlessly.

    Also the comments about the braze ons for the fork being in the wrong place worried me too...just didn't want to go cheap but actually buy myself a bunch of problems
    There are many rack options that will work with this frame! You can probably get suggestions for what will work and what won't over in the touring forum. For light touring, you might not even need a front rack. I can carry a ton of stuff using a handlebar bag and a Carradice saddle bag; no front rack required! I believe the braze-on locations aren't ideal for the much-loved (and expensive) Tubus front racks, but I believe Jandd and Old Man Mountain, among others, have front racks that will work.

    I was looking at a cross check but they cost 440 delivered, then by the time you add in all the things you listed (you found the wheels much cheaper than I did). And all the little parts like cable hangers and down tube shifter cable stops...and other things I have no real experience with (and shipping from a multitude of different vendors because I hadn't found one that had all that stuff). And that's why I said I was coming up in the high 1800 - 2000 range
    Not sure what a cable hanger is nor why you'd need it. I would expect downtube shifter cable stops to be included in the Apex build kit. You'll need a pair of barrel adjusters so you can easily adjust the derailleur cable tension. If they're not included in the build kit, they cost $10/pair. I think you might also need a seatpost collar (another $10). If you decide to go with cantilever brakes I'd recommend buying the Surly Brake Hanger (another $10). And you'll need some spacers to put under the headset (again: $10).

    I would think you'd only need 3-4 vendors to supply all the parts: Nashbar, BikeParts.com, Bicycle Wheel Warehouse, and maybe one other (ex: JensonUSA). Lots of shipping deals through Memorial Day, BTW.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    http://www.ebikestop.com/2012_sram_r...26-KT9989B.php just to give you something to think about. Note this is a braze on so add $10 for a clamp.
    Great price! Only problem is that the less-than-ideal 12-26 cassette. But they've also got a great price on the Apex group w/compact crank and 11-32 cassette ($617)!

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    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Great price! Only problem is that the less-than-ideal 12-26 cassette. But they've also got a great price on the Apex group w/compact crank and 11-32 cassette ($617)!
    Perhaps, but in my experience cassettes are cheap and easy to replace. Wouldn't be the overall deciding factor for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Great price! Only problem is that the less-than-ideal 12-26 cassette. But they've also got a great price on the Apex group w/compact crank and 11-32 cassette ($617)!

    It's also the CX version, so it has a 46/36 instead of a 50/34 compact crankset and most likely isn't the WiFLi (SRAM mid-cage) rear derailleur, so it won't be able to handle an 11-32 cassette.

  11. #11
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I bought a Cross Check frame from jensonusa they price matched a place out of Chicago so it was $368 delivered. The frame came with a seatpost clamp which included Surly's rear brake cable hanger. Once you get the housing to it the right length it works rather well. I used a Cane Creek model 40 with external cups. The headtube needed no machining with this headset as Surly faced the headtube. Just clean the overspray off. A 1 1/4" PVC pipe set the crown race. 1/2" althread and 6 fender washers pressed the cups in. Since the Sram groupo used external bearings $30 to a LBS went for facing and chasing the BB. Sram/ Surly includes no cable stops for the shifters so $13 for those to convert the downtube shifter bosses and $12 for a Tektro crown mounted cable stop for the front brakes. $22 dollars for bar tape. $15 for a dropbar. The stem I had but figure $30 so to put it all together.


    Groupo $710
    Wheels $340
    Frame $368
    Stem $30
    Stops $25
    Seatpost V.O. $42
    Saddle B17 $78
    Wrap $22
    Tires/tubes $44
    Spacers $12
    Headset $32
    Machining $30

    Total $1710

    I already had over $200 of this stuff from other projects so ~ $1500 got me a really nice bike.

    I like the 46/36 crank the shifts are super smooth. the 12-26 Cassette works well here in Central Illinois.
    Last edited by jethro56; 05-26-12 at 05:26 PM.

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    The Kona Jake will do what you need and is around $1150 Canadian, which means you can probably get it for about $900 in the 'States. It doesn't have front rack mounts, but low-rider racks used to come with u-bolts to clamp around fork blades, so they probably still do.
    http://www.konaworld.com/cx.cfm?content=jake
    The Jamis Bosa Nova is probably a bit heavy, but has disc brakes that could be a plus. They don't list prices on their website, unfortunately.
    http://jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/r..._bosanova.html

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    OP-Do you have some decent LBS around you? Most decent shops will swap out a lot of the components on a pre-built bike, and depending on if they're equivalent cost or not might end up being a wash for cost. Heck, maybe they already even have some SRAM take-offs from a previous customer who wanted Campy or Shimano on a pre-built.

    I purchased a Surly LHT in which I swapped out a lot of components and added a lot and ended up paying about $400 more than a stock LHT, which was still about $300 less than if I had purchased everything separately.
    Last edited by dehoff; 05-26-12 at 05:58 PM.

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies.

    I went with a cross check from modern bike.com. I got the 60 cm in blue and an apex group off eBay for 512.

    Will have about 1500 in it with no wheels.

    Bought avid shorty 6's for brakes and a fsa headset with a cable hanger built in...salsa wood chipper bars and a salsa 120 stem.

    May get a lbs to do the headset, and crank, or may buy the tools and do it myself.

    Going to use my deep v wheelset, I read where it will handle a 32 tire size... Bought richey speed max tires...and a surly rear rack and planet bike fenders for that price

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    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    You might also check out the Salsa Casseroll.
    Craig in Indy

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    You might also check out the Salsa Casseroll.
    No rack mounts as I understand it

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    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    No rack mounts as I understand it
    I didn't doubt you, but that seemed incompatible with what I understand the intent of the bike to be, so I checked their website just now and found this: "Custom Designed Rear Dropout: Semi-horizontal, forward facing, rear dropout design. Investment cast CroMoly. Rack and fender mounts. Singlespeed capable."

    What they say about the fork is not quite so clearcut: "Casseroll Fork Included: Custom-specified CroMoly with forward-facing, stainless steel, double-eyelet dropouts. Fender mounts. Cantilever brake mount. Powdercoat finish." I can't tell from that if the "double-eyelet dropouts" are for the fenders or a front rack. I think it might take both.

    At any rate, it might be worth a closer look if you have a dealer anywhere near you.
    Craig in Indy

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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    Bought avid shorty 6's for brakes and a fsa headset with a cable hanger built in...salsa wood chipper bars and a salsa 120 stem.
    I use an Avid Shorty 6 as the rear brake on my touring bike. I swapped the stock pads for KoolStop salmon-colored pads and it's still pretty disappointing... Feel at the lever is poor and, perhaps because of this, stopping power seems a bit mediocre. Luckily, I have a BB7 Road on the front!

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Craig, that shocks me. I looked over that description several times and didn't see that....from memory I saw things like " this frame doesn't load up on needless braze ons"

    I already placed my order with modern bike, going to join jethro in the cross club. That and drinking a good bottle of wine while shopping online (and getting the liquid courage to tell the wife I just spent 1500) are what life is all about

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    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    Craig, that shocks me. I looked over that description several times and didn't see that....from memory I saw things like " this frame doesn't load up on needless braze ons"

    I already placed my order with modern bike, going to join jethro in the cross club. That and drinking a good bottle of wine while shopping online (and getting the liquid courage to tell the wife I just spent 1500) are what life is all about
    Well, congrats, then. FWIW, Jethro brought his new baby over here last weekend so we could get it out for a quick ride up the trail and back, and it looks like a real nice bike.
    Craig in Indy

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    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    My next purchase for it will probably be a 46 cm Salsa Cowbell 3. I'm not really doing anything too rough so I don't think all that flare in the drops would help me as much as you.

    One thing that really slowed the project down (6 weeks) was an idiot at at LBS made it sound as though the headtube required reaming and refacing. They didn't have the tooling and messed around getting it. I even sent them this.http://surlybikes.com/info_hole/spew...ur_steel_frame After too many "The tools will be here in two weeks." I realized I was the bigger idiot. I went and got my frame back. I took it to another LBS and 20 minutes later had the BB Faced and Chased.

    Two areas that required more care than I realized beforehand was getting the cable housings just the right length. Sram is pretty stingy with their supplied housing. I cut the rear brake housing 1/2" too short and I was screwed. In my defense it looked like the picture of their complete. I made do with some cheapo housing until I got a supply of housing in (Jagwire L3). The second area was the cantilever brakes. The Avid Shorty4's cone washers are not very high quality. Toe in was extremely poor as a result. I finally got the toe in correct by rotating the cone washers to use the off-centerness to my advantage. I'm still tweaking/learning and they're not too bad now but I rather doubt they'll work as well as short reach calipers' Like I said I'm still learning the black art of canti's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    One thing that really slowed the project down (6 weeks) was an idiot at at LBS made it sound as though the headtube required reaming and refacing. They didn't have the tooling and messed around getting it. I even sent them this.http://surlybikes.com/info_hole/spew...ur_steel_frame After too many "The tools will be here in two weeks." I realized I was the bigger idiot. I went and got my frame back. I took it to another LBS and 20 minutes later had the BB Faced and Chased.
    FWIW, I've turned a number of bare frames into bicycles over the last few years and I've yet to find one that needed any reaming, facing, or chasing. My Nashbar double-butted aluminum touring frame is about as cheap as they come and the factory prep was good enough that I didn't have to do any additional work to it...

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