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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 11-07-03, 01:34 PM   #1
motobri
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Tips on building?

I just got a frame and need some help on building up an all-purpose cross bike that might get raced:

I don't want to spend alot, but would make an exception if cost/benefit is good.

typically, what groupo works well? 105, XT, LX or Ultegra or a mix (is campy worth it)? What component is best where?

Wheels: just a couple suggestions would do, though I should just build some up myself...

*Should* I get the inline brake levers for top of bars? or is that not really necessary?

is rear cassette size of 12-27 best?

brakes: if Avid's suck, then what else is there (not v-brakes)?

Thanks in advance for your time!
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Old 11-07-03, 11:11 PM   #2
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group: i have campy centaur 9-speed on my bike. i think campy makes for some pretty fine 'cross components, but that's a preference thing. considering that veloce will be 10-speed next year, you can probably find some 9-speed veloce stuff at good prices right now. otherwise, go with 105. this is a 'cross bike. it will be abused. ultegra, chorus, dura ace, whatever, will be a waste.

wheels: this will depend to some extent on your group. if you have the hubs, build up some nice mavic open prs with 32 spokes. if you don't have the hubs, buy some pre-built mavic open pro wheels.

top-mount brake levers: if you like 'em, buy 'em. i don't use them. i only know one person on the whole quebec race scene who has them, and he says he never uses them.

cassette: 12-27. a good rule of thumb is that, if you come to a hill that needs anything lower than 27t, then you're probably better off running it. my low gear is 38X26, and i find it fine for almost anything.

brakes: avids don't suck. they squeal. i think they're just fine in terms of stopping power, but i can't handle the squeal and they're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over-priced. buy some old xt, xtr or lx cantis on e-bay or from your lbs's bargain bin. they'll do the job ata fraction of the cost -- and without the squeal.

hope that helps.
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Old 11-07-03, 11:17 PM   #3
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I think the best value in good components out there is in the LX/105 level stuff. Great parts without the high price of the upper end stuff.

I would deffinetly suggest building a nice set of wheels, say 32 or 36 spokes. Nothing like a nice set of handbuilt wheels, especially if you can build them yourself.

The Avids do squeel, one of the other guys at the LBS I work at has a older set of LX canti's that I plan to switch to this weekend (I have Shorty 4's now)

The rest is really personal preference. I built a cross bike up to be my all arounder, road/offroad/commuting and used a mix of road and mtb parts to do so. Didn't built it with racing in mind so my component selections arn't geared for that really.
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Old 11-08-03, 06:55 AM   #4
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Make sure your crank can take the ring sizes you need. Shimano/Campy have limitted availability in smaller sizes, but check out Specialities TA to see a whole range. 110mm is a useful bolt circle diameter.
Pick a nice fitting seatpost, take your frame to the shop and try some. Stem, bars, seatposts are a good place to save money if you go for reputable mid-range makes like 3TTT.
Most touring bikes use a hybrid of road/MTB. Mine uses Campy at the rear with an LX chainset, and it all works well enough.
Comapatbility is about cog-spacing, cable-pull and the mechanical advantage of the mech (ie how it tranlates cable pull to horizontal movement). If you can match all these up, it works. Marchisio sell individual cogs and spacers for any style of hub spline.
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Old 11-08-03, 01:21 PM   #5
motobri
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Thanks a ton! This takes a lot of research i'd have had to do otherwise. Though I do have a line on some ultegra shifters for $100, 105/LX is the way I'm going to go...

Very grateful
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Old 11-08-03, 07:40 PM   #6
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Just wait a minute now.....I have been stopping with Avids for a couple of years now and have never had a problem with them. I have the shorty ti's on my main rig and shorty 4's on my reserve/pit rig. Never a sqeek and never a peep from them, just good brakes. As far as the inline brake levers go, try just mounting the left one (so long as you have switched your brakes "euro"). You really only need it when you dismount at high speed.
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Old 11-08-03, 09:41 PM   #7
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I can't figure out why some people have issues with Shorty's and others don't. Maybe it has something to do with the stiffness of the fork they are used on (had mine on a steel Surly Cross Check fork) No matter how I set them up, they squeeled badly up front, and after 4+ years as a shop mechanic I do know how to set up canti's very well. I switched my Avids out for some older LX canti's today and they are great. Not a sound out of them, and they stop better (that has more to do with the pad compoung I think though)

I'd recomend the older Shimano brakes, they seem to work well for everyone where as only some seem to have luck with the Avids.
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