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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 07-25-05, 10:27 PM   #1
dolface
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hi all,
i'm new to this forum, i usually hang out over in the fixed/ss, but i'm in need of your expertise;

i just bought a redline conquest pro frame (2004), and since i'm completely new to cross i'm looking for some advice on how to build it up.

i've got a back-up roadbike that's mostly ultegra that i can strip for parts, but i'm not sure what will work and what won't.

cranks and bb should be fine,
can i use 600 hubs laced to mavic open 4 cds? (i weigh in at a hefty 135 if that helps).

what about derailleurs?

shifters: will the sti shifters work, and if so, what do i do about brakes?

any and all help, suggestions, and mockery much appreciated.
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Old 07-26-05, 07:45 AM   #2
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Everything should work but the brakes. Of course, you'll also need cyclocross tires and two-sided pedals. Time or Eggbeaters seem to be the most popular choices (I use Time ATACs). As for brakes, pretty much any cantilever brake should work. It's best to avoid direct-pull brakes ("V" brakes) because they supposedly clog up with mud and debris, and you need special adapters to make them work with most road levers.

I hope this helps.
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Old 07-26-05, 08:09 AM   #3
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Yeah, what Luna said. You'll obviously need cantilever brakes- despite the passionate opinions, any of these will work- you can get Shimano LX or XT- easy to find used, work as well as anything, and inexpensive. They will work with your STI shifter/brake levers. Learn how to set them up properly though, it can be a little tricky sometimes but makes all the difference in how they work. Set up your brakes so that Left=Rear so your rear wheel doesnt flip up as you un-weight and brake while dismounting. Sheldon Brown has a great how-to for cantis
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/canti-trad.html

You'll also want to change your big ring to a 46 or 48 tooth for appropriate gearing for cyclocross. If your cranks are Shimano, then look for a shimano road crank ring, or another brand with 130 bolt diameter (this is shimano road only, MTB rings or campy compatible won't fit). If your small ring is bigger than a 39, you'll want to change that also, to a 38 or 39t. If you stick with shimano or shimano compatible components, you can mix MTB and road drivetrain components without a problem- just remember that your ultegra derailleur can only handle a maximum of 28 teeth on your rear cluster (maximum 27 is better though) A third eye chain catcher is a really good idea for a cross bike- muddy drivetrains, fatigue and barriers make dropping your chain a fairly frequent occurrance. Your wheel choice is good, install some decent cross tires. Maybe lower your seat a few mm's from your road setup and you're good to go and start practising your dismounts!

Last edited by ZenNMotion; 07-26-05 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 07-26-05, 11:09 AM   #4
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many thanks for the advice!

i'm wondering if it makes sense to go with an offroad rear mech for hills; 39x27 seems like it might be a little steep for some of the climbs around here (sf/bay area).
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Old 07-26-05, 12:14 PM   #5
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Hey dolface,

I post in the fixed forum also and I'm currently building up a cross bike (I'm currently having it painted right now).

Sounds like you've got most of the components, except for the brakes. I'm running ultegra/105 on my cross so you should be fine with that. I'm even running a set of shimano 540 wheels on it, but I had to re-space the rear hub (130 to 135). I bought a set of cantilevers from nashbar for 5 bucks. I understand that cantis work with STI shifters whereas v-brakes need one of those travel agent things.

anyway, good luck on the build.
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Old 07-26-05, 12:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sucka free
Hey dolface,

I post in the fixed forum also and I'm currently building up a cross bike (I'm currently having it painted right now).

Sounds like you've got most of the components, except for the brakes. I'm running ultegra/105 on my cross so you should be fine with that. I'm even running a set of shimano 540 wheels on it, but I had to re-space the rear hub (130 to 135). I bought a set of cantilevers from nashbar for 5 bucks. I understand that cantis work with STI shifters whereas v-brakes need one of those travel agent things.

anyway, good luck on the build.
cool, thanks for the info!
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Old 07-26-05, 01:17 PM   #7
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yeah, find some used xt's on craigs. I got mine from someone in Marin for less than $20.

105/ultegra components are fine, not worth using Dura Ace, since the components tend to get beat.
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Old 07-26-05, 01:25 PM   #8
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I can't say enough nice things about the avid shortys when it comes to cantilevers.

If you're into sub-standard braking, though, I'll check my box o' stuff and see if I still have that set of radius cantis hanging around.
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Old 07-26-05, 01:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim-bob
I can't say enough nice things about the avid shortys when it comes to cantilevers.

If you're into sub-standard braking, though, I'll check my box o' stuff and see if I still have that set of radius cantis hanging around.
i appreciate the offer, but i think brakes are the last place want to skimp.

thanks for the recommendaton on the shortys.
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Old 07-26-05, 05:52 PM   #10
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hey dolface,

I forgot one other thing. What about your crankset? You mentioned that you have a back up bike with ultegra so chances are your cranks are 53/39. I would guess you'd want a smaller big ring, like a 48.
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Old 07-26-05, 07:15 PM   #11
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yeah, i'm running 53/39 on the backup, so there's a 48t in my future. also thinking about getting an offroad rear mech so i can go larger than 27/28 on the back.

thoughts?
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Old 07-26-05, 08:49 PM   #12
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I dunno, the redline conquest pro came stock with a 48/38 and 12-25. I think they expect you to get off and start running if it gets steeper.

BTW, as a fixie rider, did you get interested in this because of the desire to monkey around with a new cycle setup and the opportunity CX bikes provide or just that it sounded like a fun thing to do? It was a bit of both for me.
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Old 07-26-05, 09:57 PM   #13
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well all right then, i'll start with something close to that.

i got interested because i also do a lot of trail running, and it sounded like a great way to combine that with cycling.

(all right; i'm also a huge bike geek and the opportunity to 'monkey around with a new cycle setup' was pretty hard to resist )
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Old 07-26-05, 11:03 PM   #14
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I am going to put in a 12-25 9 speed cassette. I figure i'll tote the bike if need be. I originally thought I'd go 12-23 to mirror the road bike, but then I found a cheap 12-25 cassette. Do you really want that low of a gear; that is, do you really need a gear so low that you'll need to run mtb derailleur? I guess you can do that; i found out on this forum that you can use road sti with mtb derailleurs.
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Old 07-27-05, 07:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim-bob
I can't say enough nice things about the avid shortys when it comes to cantilevers.

If you're into sub-standard braking, though, I'll check my box o' stuff and see if I still have that set of radius cantis hanging around.

I don't think the Avids are that great, personally.

firstly, I found they have to be set very close to the rim to work effectively- not good for mud clearance.

they can be sort of finicky to set up so they don't squeel

and the thin pads wear out pretty quickly.

and, I burned thru a few pair of brakes as small parts wore out (one pair of 15c brakes and 2 avid shorties- actually the older 15c seemed better than the shorites)- the return springs failed and the small adjustment screws stripped.

I bought slighlty used empella and spooky brakes for my bikes which don't have any of these problems.

I think any of the brakes that mimic the classic, simple Mafac style are the way to go- e.g. Paul components, empella, spooky

marc
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Old 07-27-05, 07:50 AM   #16
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The original Mafac's are often found on Ebay- I got 2 unused sets (both wheels) from 2 sellers last spring at less than 25 bucks each. Unfortunately, prices for cross stuff are higher now as everyone is building for Fall. Winter/spring theres lots of sleeper deals on old parts from Ebay if you have some patience to wait for one. I've also used Avid 15c's without a problem, and a set of LX that I like better than the Avids. There are tons of these around, seems everybody yanks them off MTBs to upgrade to V-brakes, but they really work well with good setup and good pads (kool stop salmon colored)

And for racing cyclocross, 27t rear is more than adequate, any lower and you should be running (well walking really, at least the last couple laps ) Your road derailleur will handle 27t better than a longer cage MTB derailleur- less chain slack (bouncing chains are not good). But one of my cross bikes has a short cage XT derailleur on a 27t cog and it works great. Another has a cheap medium cage Sora (!) on the same cluster and it's also fine- 12 bucks new from Nashbar, and I won't cry when it gets torn off.

Last edited by ZenNMotion; 07-27-05 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 07-27-05, 11:41 AM   #17
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thanks for all the suggestions, i think what'm going to do is see if i can track down a cheap 12 -27 and put that on, leave the short-cage der., put on a 48 up front, and agonize about the brakes some more.
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