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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 12-09-07, 09:12 AM   #1
celerystalksme
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cyclocross component advice (first time custom build)

well, i have just about settled on which builder i want to build my titanium cyclocross bike. now i have to pick components because they don't really have build kits or complete bikes...the customer picks what they want! i've never done that...i've bought off-the-shelf specialized road bike a cervelo tt/tri bike. i have NO IDEA what to do. but, i know i want my titanium bike to be as light as reasonably possible. i know this is asking a lot....but if you guys could recommend components, that'd be GREAT! even if you can recommend just ONE COMPONENT, i'd be grateful!

Headset
Handlebar
Stem
Bar Tape
Saddle
Seat Post
Front Derailluer
Rear Derailluer
Shifters
Crankset
Bottom Bracket
Cassette
Chain
Brakes
Cross Levers
Levers
Fork
Wheelset
Tires
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Old 12-09-07, 10:18 AM   #2
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well, it's a pretty personal question. everybody's got different preferences. and budget is another factor. but here's my two cents:

Headset - i like Chris King headsets. they're pricey, but i think they're worth it.
Handlebar - i love the Salsa Moto Ace Bell Lap bars. i wish i had them on my road bike too, really.
Stem - meh. i usually just buy the cheapest thing in whatever length and rise i'm looking for.
Bar Tape - Cinelli cork. is there anything else?
Saddle - whatever fits your sit bones.
Seat Post - lots of folks like Thompson posts, i just buy whatever's cheapest.
Front Derailluer - i use a Centaur double, but how much difference is there in FDs, really?
Rear Derailluer - i use an old XTR 952. but, again, it's all about personal preference.
Shifters - most people seem to use bar ends. i use Centaur brifters. personal preference, again.
Crankset - i like my FSA, but i think pretty much any double would do.
Bottom Bracket - to match the crank.
Cassette - depends on use. i'm running a 12-25, but many folks use stuff with lower gearing.
Chain - meh. i just buy whatever mid-price chain is in stock at the lbs.
Brakes - don't ask me. i went disc. and i'm using some NOS Onzas on my next build.
Cross Levers - i don't use them.
Levers - see shifters.
Fork - no opinion.
Wheelset - i like custom builds, based on use. no opinion.
Tires - depends on riding conditions. i run Continental Twisters.
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Old 12-09-07, 12:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
well, i have just about settled on which builder i want to build my titanium cyclocross bike. now i have to pick components because they don't really have build kits or complete bikes...the customer picks what they want! i've never done that...i've bought off-the-shelf specialized road bike a cervelo tt/tri bike. i have NO IDEA what to do. but, i know i want my titanium bike to be as light as reasonably possible. i know this is asking a lot....but if you guys could recommend components, that'd be GREAT! even if you can recommend just ONE COMPONENT, i'd be grateful!


Headset super quality sealed cartridge, e.g., chris king or similar quality

Handlebar cheap and strong, e.g., deda big piega

Stem cheap and strong, e.g., deda big logo

Bar Tape cheap, black, cork

Saddle whatever is most comfortable to sit on for you, i.e., saddle comfort is like shoe comfort and needs to be tried for fit

Seat Post cheap and strong, e.g., deda metalstick

Front Derailluer personal preference, i.e., I'd go for campag chorus or downgrade to shamino dura ace if that wasn't available

Rear Derailluer personal preference, i.e., I'd go for campag chorus or downgrade to shamino dura ace if that wasn't available

Shifters personal preference, i.e., I'd go for campag chorus or downgrade to campag centaur if that wasn't available

Crankset cheap and strong and NOT isis

Bottom Bracket super quality sealed cartridge, e.g., campag record, shamino dura ace (yes, shamino do make good quality BBs) or similar quality

Cassette to match shifters

Chain to match shifters

Brakes avid BB7 road disc brakes, i.e., so you can actually stop in ANY conditions

Cross Levers cheap and strong, e.g., tektro alloy

Levers as shifters

Fork strong, carbon, disc only or something similar to winwood carbon dualist

Wheelset super quality sealed cartridge with good spokes and nipples, hand built onto a quality deep section rim (better mud shedding), e.g., dtswiss 240s disc, dtswiss 14.0 stailess straight guage spokes laced 3 cross with brass nipples onto mavic cxp33 rim (an alternative with a deeper section is the velocity deep-v)

Tires ground dictates, i.e., if it's deep mud use mud tyres, if it's hardpack dirt use semi-slick/hardpack tyres, etc.
pedals - Time, every time! All Atac, all the way, e.g., time atac xs.
http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/pedal/index_T.shtml
http://www.time-sport.com/us/home.htm

brake and shifter cables - good quality without going overboard on cable housings or goretex, i.e., stuff you don't mind replacing regularly as it's going to be pressure washed, abused and generally thrashed.




Alternatively, have a look at top end ridley, specialized, kona, etc CX bikes and cut and paste their specs.
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Old 12-09-07, 12:31 PM   #4
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In terms of drivetrain I'd stick with good old Shimano. Campy is cool, as is Sram, but with Shimano you can use a mountain rear derailleur for a wider range cassette. I wouldn't put Dura Ace on a cross bike unless I had the funds to buy and replace it, but maybe full Ultegra with an XT rear derailleur (medium cage should go up to a 30 or 32 if I remember correctly).

For stem and seatpost I'd go bombproof as possible, so I guess that means Thomson. That's not really the place for weight-wheenie gram shaving due to the weird stresses constant mounts/dismounts put on those components.

Headset: Chris King. Might as well, right?

Wheels: You have two routes as I see it. For the ultimate racing wheelset go with deep carbaon tubulars. For general riding around, especially if you want to take the bike on mountain trails, go with the nicest set of handbuilt wheels you can get your hands on. Or heck, get a set of each if you can afford it. The more spare wheels the merrier.
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Old 12-09-07, 12:32 PM   #5
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Alternatively, have a look at top end ridley, specialized, kona, etc CX bikes and cut and paste their specs.

oh gosh! how simple and smart! duh...me dumb! i think i'll have a look at what top model cx bikes for ridley, pinarello, etc have on them! thanks!!!!
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Old 12-09-07, 12:36 PM   #6
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oh gosh! how simple and smart! duh...me dumb! i think i'll have a look at what top model cx bikes for ridley, pinarello, etc have on them! thanks!!!!
no problem - CX bikes can be very personal.

The spec I gave you is one I like but some people can't use disc brakes (not approved for UCI races) and may want to spend money on things I don't.
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Old 12-09-07, 12:37 PM   #7
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Note that many manufacturers will skimp on certain "unnoticed components," namely headsets, bottom brackets and the like, so that they can get higher end derailleurs/shifters at a given pricepoint.
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Old 12-09-07, 02:29 PM   #8
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Whats your budget? I assume relatively high since you have a Ti frame.
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Old 12-09-07, 05:25 PM   #9
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Nothing wrong with Campagnolo Veloce all round. Eddy Merckx specs that on their cross bikes, which is a monster recommendation! For a compact double, I would go for the Sugino XD. Why? Cheap, and strong, and the square taper bbs are very reliable and cheap.
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Old 12-09-07, 07:08 PM   #10
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Consider setting it up as a 1x9 ?
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Old 12-09-07, 09:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
well, i have just about settled on which builder i want to build my titanium cyclocross bike. now i have to pick components because they don't really have build kits or complete bikes...the customer picks what they want! i've never done that...i've bought off-the-shelf specialized road bike a cervelo tt/tri bike. i have NO IDEA what to do. but, i know i want my titanium bike to be as light as reasonably possible. i know this is asking a lot....but if you guys could recommend components, that'd be GREAT! even if you can recommend just ONE COMPONENT, i'd be grateful!


Here's my set-up...

Headset -- Cane Creek
Handlebar -- Deda Newton Deep
Stem -- Thomson X4
Bar Tape -- Deda
Saddle -- Flite Ti gel
Seat Post -- Thomson
Front Derailluer -- Ultegra 10v
Rear Derailluer -- XT mid-cage
Shifters -- Ultegra 10v
Crankset -- FSA MegaExo carbon 38/48 rings
Bottom Bracket -- FSA
Cassette -- Ultegra
Chain -- Wipperman
Brakes -- Avid Shorty 6 with salmon KoolStops
Cross Levers -- don't make me slap you
Levers -- Ultegra 10v
Fork -- Salsa carbon
Wheelset -- training(Ultegra 6600 system prebuilts) race(Cane Creek Aros 33 or Ksyrium SL)
Tires -- training(Maxxis Locust) race(Maxxis Raze)

Above ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old 12-11-07, 10:47 AM   #12
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really if you are just looking for lightness i would use sram force or sram red if you really are into it, which it sounds like you are. ive heard alot of good things about force but i have never worked on a bike with it. i work in a shop and the few times i have worked on a force it seemed really strong and quality ad not finiky at all to dial in. but really i think force or red would be good and definitly go compact up front. Maybe an ITM bar or FSA or salsa like that other guys said. Or WTB dirt drops if you would like to try them. Of course king headset and tompson stam and post.
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Old 12-11-07, 10:58 AM   #13
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I'm trying to think of the correct metaphor to describe this project.
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Old 12-11-07, 11:06 AM   #14
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Is this a racing rig, or a riding-around-town-in-foul-weather-and-or-commuting-and-sometimes-trails rig?

For a pure racing rig, I would avoid high-end/high-cost components unless you are racing at a very high level and/or can get replacement components very cheap, in which case you probably wouldn't be asking this question here. If you are racing, your stuff is going to get banged up and maybe even need replacing.

Even for a non-racing rig, I'm not sure I'd go for the highest-end stuff. SRAM Rival has an excellent cost/weight ratio (it's certainly not the lightest out there, but it's very inexpensive). King headsets are bomb-proof, but you can buy 2 or 3 headsets of only slightly lower quality and have them installed for less than the cost of a King. As for seatpost, etc.: whatever. You may be able to save some weight there with carbon stuff.
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Old 12-11-07, 06:19 PM   #15
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Above ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
what's wrong with cross levers? Are they dangerous (a la the 70s brake lever extensions you'd find on bikes of that era), or is it a kewl points thing?
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Old 12-11-07, 06:29 PM   #16
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what's wrong with cross levers? Are they dangerous (a la the 70s brake lever extensions you'd find on bikes of that era), or is it a kewl points thing?
Modern "cross levers" (they're actually known as "in-line brake levers") are not dangerous like the old-time ones (provided they're set up with suitable brakes and/or adapters).

Hard to say whether they're a 'kewl points' thing...some high-level 'cross racers have won major events with them (though it's doutbful the win is directly attributable to the levers), but for other folks they're just extra weight and something else to get in the way, maintain, etc.

Personally, I don't have them on my race rig. I've had them before, for general riding, and I think they'd be extremely useful there, especially on long descents, to give your hands/arms a break (ha ha) from being in the drops.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:17 PM   #17
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Whats your budget? I assume relatively high since you have a Ti frame.
oh, i've toyed with different budgets for this project...but DEFINITELY under $6K...
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Old 12-11-07, 07:19 PM   #18
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how is this build?

Headset Cane Creek
Handlebar FSA Wing Pro
Stem FSA OS-150
Bar Tape Cinelli
Saddle Selle Italia Flite
Seat Post FSA SLK
Front Derailluer SRAM RED
Rear Derailluer SRAMRED
Shifters SRAM RED Double Tap
Double Crankset SRAM RED Carbon
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP Ceramic BB w/ Crankset
Cassette SRAM 10s
Chain SRAM 1090 10s
Brakes Avid Shorty 4
Cross Levers Cane Creek
Levers SRAM RED Double Tap
Fork Easton EC70 Cross
Wheelset Easton Tempest II
Tires Ritchey SpeedMax Cross Pro

is this serviceable? i found this as a build kit for a cross bike (cut and past from their site)...
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Old 12-11-07, 08:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
how is this build?

Headset Cane Creek
Handlebar FSA Wing Pro
Stem FSA OS-150
Bar Tape Cinelli
Saddle Selle Italia Flite
Seat Post FSA SLK
Front Derailluer SRAM RED
Rear Derailluer SRAMRED
Shifters SRAM RED Double Tap
Double Crankset SRAM RED Carbon
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP Ceramic BB w/ Crankset
Cassette SRAM 10s
Chain SRAM 1090 10s
Brakes Avid Shorty 4
Cross Levers Cane Creek
Levers SRAM RED Double Tap
Fork Easton EC70 Cross
Wheelset Easton Tempest II
Tires Ritchey SpeedMax Cross Pro

is this serviceable? i found this as a build kit for a cross bike (cut and past from their site)...
It's ok. What I'd consider unnecessary expense in some places but they're quality parts. Once it's built please give a review of Red for us here.

Headset - should be at least Cane Creek S6 or better
Saddle - I assume you've chosen this because it's actually comfortable for you?
brakes - avid shorty 6 - http://www.sram.com/en/avid/rimbrakes/index.php# - slightly better quality
Wheelset - does it come with quick release skewers?
pedals - Time, every time! ...or your favorites?
cables - ?

as far as brakes go, if you want to go with rim brakes, then Empella Froglegs are possibly the better deal

http://www.google.com/search?num=100...pella+froglegs

http://www.on-one.co.uk/index.php?mo...ge&PAGE_id=189

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Old 12-12-07, 10:06 AM   #20
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ok! new idea on components! i might make one change. someone on another forum said they would not go above shimano ultegra level because stuff wears out and gets damaged too often in cx...SO, i might go sram rival. still haven't decided. logic says rival...snob in me says red.

Headset: Chris King NoThreadSet OR FSA Orbit X Carbon OR Cane Creek 110
Handlebar: Bontrager Race Lite OS OR FSA Energy
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite OS OR FSA OS-99
Seat Post: Thomson Masterpiece
Front Derailluer: SRAM Red
Rear Derailluer: SRAM Red
Shifters: SRAM Red
Crankset: SRAM Red
Bottom Bracket: SRAM Red
Cassette: SRAM Red
Chain: SRAM Red
Brakes: Paul Touring Canti
Levers SRAM Red
Fork Easton EC90 X

i think that looks pretty darn good whether i go with sram red or sram rival. not sure which saddle...i have a selle italia and a specialized that are very comfy for road racing and triathlons. as for wheels...i think i'll have them custom made buy a wheel buider.

opinions welcome!

Last edited by celerystalksme; 12-12-07 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 12-12-07, 10:46 AM   #21
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ok! new idea on components! i might make one change. someone on another forum said they would not go above shimano ultegra level because stuff wears out and gets damaged too often in cx...SO, i might go sram rival. still haven't decided. logic says rival...snob in me says red.

Headset: Chris King NoThreadSet OR FSA Orbit X Carbon OR Cane Creek 110
Handlebar: Bontrager Race Lite OS OR FSA Energy
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite OS OR FSA OS-99
Seat Post: Thomson Masterpiece
Front Derailluer: SRAM Red
Rear Derailluer: SRAM Red
Shifters: SRAM Red
Crankset: SRAM Red
Bottom Bracket: SRAM Red
Cassette: SRAM Red
Chain: SRAM Red
Brakes: Paul Touring Canti
Levers SRAM Red
Fork Easton EC90 X

i think that looks pretty darn good whether i go with sram red or sram rival. not sure which saddle...i have a selle italia and a specialized that are very comfy for road racing and triathlons. as for wheels...i think i'll have them custom made buy a wheel buider.

opinions welcome!
Well, that's an awesome setup, but not inexpensive.

I alluded to this earlier; if this is not a racing setup and you can afford it, go for as much as you can afford. The Red is a sweet package.

Too rich for my blood, though...I'm more practical. On a racing rig, where stuff is practically guaranteed to get chewed up (through your own doing or not -- sometimes you don't get to choose), I am worried about replacement/repair cost. Rival is a very sweet cost/weight ratio; if I crashed and damaged a shifter I could be back in business pretty quickly and cheaply.
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Old 12-12-07, 11:12 AM   #22
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as a pure racing bike, skip the red and get force, with the extra $ get some deep carbon tubular wheels and good tires. For all the times I rode through deep sand, mud and snow this year, i am very happy I was running the cane creek aros 58s (zipp 404s), put your weight back a little, point the front tire straight ahead and power through while your wheels just cut through. Skip the bontrager stem and bars, use a thomson X2 stem and Salsa bell Lap bars, you will appretiate the little bit of sweep when shouldering your bike.

Stick with pauls for brakes. The euro style, non-adjustable, canties (i.e. spooky, empalla and the like) are way more trouble than they are worth.

get the king h/s, butter
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Old 12-12-07, 03:27 PM   #23
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Component Setup

Hi There,

I am also in the middle of building up my cross bike and yes it is a Ti Bike as well. I have accumulated components slowly over the last couple of years and my philosophy is to look at both weight and durability. I am sticking with Dura Ace as I like the low effort needed to shift compared to Campy. Still undecided about 9spd or 10spd. Have both. Going with a single Chain Ring - 38 for races and use a double for training on the road 38/48, with a 12-25 cassette. Brakes, I have a set of really cool Mafac/Matthauser brakes that I have been saving for this project for a while! Wheelset, I tend to lean on the side of durability, 30mm rims in the neighborhood of 1550grams. Reasonably light. This is cross! I don't want to go stupid light and end up getting mechanicals. One suggestion would be the IRD Technoglide Headset made by Tange. It is smooth and as good as a King Headset, with a stainless steel race just like the King. At $75, it is cheaper than the King headset. Overall weight on my bike is hovering around 16lbs right now.
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Old 12-12-07, 03:34 PM   #24
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Overall weight on my bike is hovering around 16lbs right now.
for a all purpose cx bike, that would be PLENTY light for me!!!!!! would you mind posting your entire spec sheet? also...who made your ti frame?

thanks!
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Old 12-12-07, 08:18 PM   #25
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Here's my setup:
Headset: Chris King!
Handlebar: Cannondale Fire Anatomic (had these laying around from a customer take off)
Stem: Salsa Scandium (closeout)
Seat Post: Thomson Elite
Front Derailluer: Campagnolo Centaur CT
Rear Derailluer: Campagnolo Veloce (wanted Aluminum over Carbon body of centaur)
Shifters: Campagnolo Centaur (2006)
Crankset: FSA Gossamer 46/36 (cheap, lighter than 105, and nice cross ratio)
Bottom Bracket: FSA
Cassette: Campagnolo Centaur
Chain: Wipperman 1008
Brakes: TRP EuroX (I personally don't recommend these unless you can 1. stand squeeky brakes 2. you are really competent at adjusting "non-adjustable" cantilevers, or 3. have deep pockets to pay a mechanic to do 1 and 2.)
Levers: Campagnolo Centaur (2006)
Fork: Alpha Q Cx20 (got this at a steal at interbike)

With cross, things break. Choose components wisely so you are able to replace them when they break. But if you are using the cross bike as a winter/occasional race bike, go splurge on Red
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