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  1. #1
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    Building a new green bike

    I finished building up my bike a week ago and after riding it solely, I finally have time to put together a build/ride thread. My initial impressions about the bike - I’m grinning ear to ear, make your own conclusions. So here it is, from soup to nuts.

    The Concept -

    A little background. I had spare set of Magura Marta SL brakes that was unused from another build because the blue anodizing was all wrong for the rest of the bike. The blue color shown online were royal blue but the set I received were turquoise so into the parts bin they went. Spending that much coin on a brand new brakeset only to have it sit idly in my garage was a shame so I started to think about options to use it for it’s intended purpose. Sell it? Put it on my commuter? what to do?

    F’ it, I’ll build another bike to use it. Build a new bike built around a brake set you say? Why the f’ not? Kinda like the following Kohler faucet commercial,

    http://youtu.be/9hTteyEKWNo

    So I thought about what I wanted. Yeah, another bike but what kind? HT or FS 26er? had those. HT or FS 29er? those bases covered too. So what’s left? (lightbulb popping in head) Single speed! But 26er or 29er? How ‘bout the often looked over 650B? Why the hell not? So it was decided. The new bike was going to be a singlespeed bike with 650B wheels.

    So I went straight to the innerwebs to do some research. The search parameters: a single speed frame that was compatible with 650B wheels. The latter requirement was primary and led to the former. Having already owned an El Mariachi, my search led me to Salsa. In particular, the Ala Carte. My research had revealed that the frame had clearance for a 650B tire so that was good to go. Salsa’s new Alternator dropout looked like a great design to tension a single speed chain so another box checked. Frame ordered, received and clamped to my workstand in my living room.



    Then I thought about the parts I’d slap on it. The frame was green, “Green Machine” as Salsa calls it, with white and black graphics and lettering. I would use those colors on the components to compliment the frame. The fork and wheels were the other main parts to take into consideration. The fork had to be 650B compatible. There were limited choices, a Fox would have worked. Again, since this was an unconventional build (for me at least), I decided to “look outside the box”. White Brothers is a small player in the suspension fork market but their new Loop fork intrigued me when I saw a video posted on YouTube from the 2011 NAHBS,

    http://youtu.be/XTDowhzU_Lw

    White Brothers advertise the Loop as 650B compatible, it has a tool-free 15mm thru axle and came in black or white. I thought about black for a second, then said to myself, “boring...”.
    White! So the front end would be white. Now let me just say, before this build, I wasn’t to thrilled about white on a mountain bike that would get dirty on the trail. On a road bike I can see, but a mountain bike? Kinda getting outta my aesthetic comfort zone but what the hell, I’m already going singlespeed AND 650B. Continue the theme right? Ordered the fork direct from Mountain Racing Products, the parent company of White brothers with my specs: white, 100mm travel, 1 1/8th steerer tube and it was tax free!



    What about the wheels to clamp onto the drop outs? Obviously they’d be 650B but which components? 650B being a wheelsize not universally adopted, there are limited choices in rim and tires. The Velocity Blunts come in white which would continue with the white as the main complimenting color. My only gripe about them is that there are no nipple eyelets. The rim just looks “unfinished” without them. Hoops covered, hubs next. Early on, I had already decided to go Chris King on the headset and bottom bracket so to continue the theme, Chris King hubs in black. Spokes and nipples also in black except for a pair of each on each wheel. See if you can spot them! Since I wanted to “go all in” on the single speed concept, the rear hub is single speed specific so no going back to geared. Front hub is 15mm to match the Loop fork. Since I have no clue how to build a wheel and the fact that finding a pair of 650B rims would be next to impossible here in Deutschland, I decided to let professionals tackle the job. Went back to the innerwebs and ordered the wheelset from prowheelbuilder.com and waited for the box to arrive.

    In the meantime, I plotted the rest of the parts to be bolted onto the frame. Since this was a single speed bike, that left just the basics. I really wanted to try out the new Ritchey 10 degree flat bars. They offer up a nice 10 degree bend and without being a riser bar. Being a bit ol skool, I wanted a low, cross-country riding position and the Ritchey bars would provide the that. A white Ritchey stem was chosen to clamp onto the bar. I also wanted to go back to bar ends to help with out-of-the-saddle peddling I expect with riding single speed. Ritchey bar ends in white, of course! To keep the white Ritchey cockpit theme, the seatpost would also match. All bits Ritchey WCS and aluminum. No weight weenie carbon bits here. A Selle Italia SLR saddle was chosen to hold up my bum, also in white. White ODI Oury lock-on grips would provide a place for gloved hands. The drivetrain would consist of a RaceFace Evolve singlespeed cranset, KMC gold (for a bit of bling) chain and a Chris King 18T cog that was ordered with the wheelset. I ordered all the parts online and waited for the boxes to arrive. The wait is like waiting for Santa to arrive with a bag of goodies.

    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  2. #2
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    The Build

    I had the frame a month prior to getting the first parts in the mail so I went about prepping it. I took it to the LBS to have the bottom braket and headtube chased and faced. To rust proof and protect the innards of the frame I treated it with Boeshield T-9. It’s advertised as a corrosion protectant as well as a waterproof lube. I had previously used Weigle Frame Saver on other steel frames but it’s hard to come by here.



    The boxes of parts slowing came in and I dutifully piled all the acquired parts next to my work stand. Once I got all the parts, minus the fork and wheelset, I set about bolting all the parts together.



    Started off with the seatpost and saddle in order to clamp the frame to workstand.



    Next up, bottom bracket. Greased the cups and shell and hand threaded them on.



    Then broke out tools to finish and torque to spec.



    Next came the crankset and pedals. Story about me being stoopid. I was sipping coffee one weekend morning listening to the stereo and some Time pedals came up on Chainlove. Without discerning what level Time ATAC pedals they were I immediately scooped one up because, you know, it’s Chainlove and it’s gotta be a deal right? So I get the box in the mail, open it up and see a pair of Carbon and Titanium ATAC pedals. I thought I had ordered at most the mid tier model in carbon, not the Carbon and Titanium pedal. Oh well, consider it an “upgrade” albeit one that I didn’t expect to shell out for.



    Moving towards the front, I installed the headset.


    A couple years back I had made a similar tool of the above. I went to Orchard Supply and hit up the hardware section. Found long threaded rod, some large flat washers and nuts and came out with the same thing, just a hella lot cheaper. It’s a great cheap alternative to a Park headset tool, either the one I used or the more pricier pro shop model.

    Still waiting for the Loop fork to come in, I used a parts bin carbon fork I had to mock up the front end. I’m diggin’ the Ritchey handlebar. It’s got a nice bend while being a flat bar.



    I wanted a low bar position so this bar mated up to a negative rise stem will achieve that.



    The build abruptly is delayed here til I recieved the fork and wheelset in the mail. I also tweaked the parts a bit. The ano blue (really turquoise blue) Marta brakes looked horrible with the rest of the bike. So I ordered another Marta SL brakeset in black/grey. The crankset aread seemed a bit bland and I wanted to smarten up the crankset with a replacement chainguard in white to mirror the white wheels. A pair of white Elite bottle cage finishes off the frame. I also ordered some blue ano bits from purelycustom to personalize the bike.

    Once I got fork, wheels and miscellaneous parts, I continued. Wheels converted tubeless and rotors mounted. While I waited for the Stans goo to work it’s magic I proceeded to the fork. Stem and spacers figured out, cut mark etched onto the steer tube. Measured twice, cut once. I thought about using a pipe cutter but I had a fork steerer cutting guide and hacksaw on hand and did it “properly”. Then brakes installed and hoses shortened. Sorry no pics of the above, I was groovin’ to SomaFM while wrenchin’ that I forgot to snap pics.
    Last edited by commo_soulja; 07-30-11 at 01:33 AM. Reason: edit
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  3. #3
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    The Bike

    La bicicletta e finita! I took a step back from the work stand and admired my handiwork. Hella nice I’d say. It has a nice clean look with the mostly white, some black components hung on the green frame. I’m glad I went with the white chain/bash guard on the crankset. It mirrors the Blunt rims perfectly and adds a bit of white lower down on the frame. I’m not normally one to fret about colors on a bike. Previous to this project, my bikes always had black components with color on accent pieces.

    Filled up a waterbottle, threw on my bike shoes and headed out the door for a quick shakedown ride. The cockpit set up was nearly spot on, surprisingly since I just “eyeballed” it when I was putting it together. Some saddle and seatpost adjustments may be needed but the handlebar height feel great. Will have to tweak the bar and brake lever angles after a couple rides.

    I’ve been riding the bike daily since I built it up. I ride home from work on the old commuter, put the pannier up and refill the waterbottles and go out for a spin on the local trails. Single speed is new to me and it’s a welcome change. It’s fun to just ride and not have to worry about shifting. There were times when I went to shift when pedalling cadence quickened on the flats but when it slowed on a climb I just naturally stood up and my hands moved over to the bar ends. I used to rock bar ends when I first started riding in the 90s. I just loved the different positions it offered especially during climbs and out-of-the saddle efforts. Why it fell out of fashion with the general non-racer riding public is beyond me.

    Some lessons learned

    - Color matching components especially anodized aluminum is difficult.
    Buy color anodized components from diffferent companies and it’s close to impossible to match. If you get them to match, consider yourself lucky. It’s the reason I built this bike. Remember the not so blue Marta SL brakeset? The one that’s actually turquoise blue? It was suppose to be part of the bike, but it just looked wrong color wise. I have ano blue as accent pieces on the bike but only in small amounts - topcap, bottle cage & chainring bolts and lock-on clamps. There’s also a bit of blue on the fork and crank arms. Similarly, the Selle Italia saddle is not exactly white. It’s more of an off-white. Kinda annoying as you’d think the fashion conscious Italians would make it pure white to match the white roadie components seen lately. It doesn’t really matter as it’ll be obscurred when my bum is atop when riding.

    -Take your time, plan it out.
    I thought long and hard about what I wanted. Did a lot of research on 650B and single speed before I looked at the online bike shops for forks, wheels and parts. Lots of planning in my head. I bought the frame back in May and finally finished the bike in July.

    -The innerwebs is a great resource.
    From research, to buying stuff online, to finding YouTube videos on how to shorten Magura brake hose the innerwebs just rocks.

    -DIY!
    I didn’t step into a bike shop for this bike at all. Wait, I take that back. I did take it to the LBS when I got the frame in the mail to have the BB and headtube chased/faced but after that I was on my own. The price for one of those tools for a home mechanic is cost prohibitive considering it's used rarely so off to the LBS. That’s not to say I don’t want to support my LBS but I like to do things myself. In the end it’s a gratifying and learning experience. You get to know your bike intimately from soup to nuts.

    Pics to follow, brekkie is ready and I'm hungry. Wait one...
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  4. #4
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    Pics

    PICS

    Velocity Blunt rims and CK hub mated to a new White Brothers Loop with 15mm thru axle. Smooth.


    Ritchey flat bar with 10 degree backsweep, comfy. Back to bar ends!



    CK single speed specific hub. Going all in with single speed. No whimpin’ out and converting back to geared here. 18t cog, 32t chainring. Marta SL brakes rock!



    Personalizing with custom bits from purely custom






    And I rode happily ever after. The end.
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  5. #5
    ed
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    I would have just returned the brakes....though I don't have the disposable income to afford chris king at the drop of a hat

  6. #6
    ed
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    Wheres the turquoise?

    How do you like the 'b setup compared to a similar 26/29?

  7. #7
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    Pretty sweet set up. The SS makes me wonder a bit though. Are there good, relatively flat mtb trails around Stuttgart? I wouldn't mind cruising a flattish trail occasionally.

  8. #8
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    well done sir!

  9. #9
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    @ed - I thought about returning them but I donated them to a cousin who's in college so he'll definitely appreciate them, in all it's turquoise color. I've only ridden the bike for a week so far but I can say that it seems like a great in-between wheel size. It has the positive characteristics of both 26er and 29er wheels.

    @Shimmer - flat trails here? not a chance. That's the reason I went with a SS, 32/18 gearing, to challenge myself. There's a hill, gotta climb it. Where are you in Deutschland?

    Thanks B2B!
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  10. #10
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    I'm in Heidelberg. I usually ride Weißerstein (very edge of the Odenwald leading down into the Rheinebene). It is a 450m (about 375/400m is climbed in the first 4km) climb to reach the decent trails here, so a SS would be out of the question for me. The good thing is that the valley that I take up is almost literally right out my door. I've been up Koenigstuhl a few times, but it always takes longer for me to get there, and I don't know it as well (so I can't blast down it so fast).

  11. #11
    Junior Member bbdude's Avatar
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    Really nice ride! And funny you went for the white WCS seatpost/stem, because I have been thinking about switching mine from black to white lately but couldn't imagine how it would look...

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