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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 11-18-08, 06:27 AM   #1
Dheorl
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Building cyclocross bike

I'm planning on building a cyclocross bike and have a budget of about 1k (I think about $1.8k, if stuff is only avaliable in the U.S. I'll be able to get it shipped over). I'll probably base it around a kinesis 4t because I hear it's a good quality entry level frame (although I have been considering getting a really nice frame and doing a single speed).

I really don't know what to build on to it though. I hear that tiagra stuff is good for cyclocorss because of mud shedding abilitys (and also it's pretty cheap). Is this true or are there better alternatives.

I'm probably going to have just one ring at the front because previously when I've ridden double bikes I never use the very top gears (I find it easier to just spin faster) or the very bottom gears (I find it easier to just power through), so I figure having the extra 2 rings is just adding pointless weight. Should I put bashguards either side and if so how would I go about constructing this. Do I start off with a triple and just replace the top and bottom rings with bash guards? If I'm doing this would it be better to try and get the crank arms and everything serperate so I don't waste money on chain rings I don't need?

Seat post is defiantly going to be carbon. Handlebars and stuff I can probably sort out for myself but if anyone has any recommendations they are very welcome.

Also what wheels would you recommend that would keep my bike inside that budget?

I'd like to save as much weight as possible whilst still keeping within my budget with this bike. I'd consider buying some of the stuff of ebay (nothing carbon, or the wheels, frame or saddle, just because I'd rather have those new so I'm certain of condition).

Any tips would be extremly useful if anyone else has built up their own cross bike (I know quite a few of you out there have).

Thanks in advance for any help (sorry it was a bit of a wall and lots of questions).

P.S. If anyone would like to recommend a different frame then please feel free but I'd idealy like to have 2 water bottle mounts and rear rack mounts.
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Old 11-18-08, 06:56 AM   #2
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What are you going to be using this bike for?

Why carbon seatpost?
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Old 11-18-08, 07:26 AM   #3
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This bike is going to be used for commuting, general on road/off road lesuire rides and cyclocross races.

Carbon seatpost because I'm turning into a bit of a weight weenie (when your as light as me it's the only way to go really) and it seems like the cheapest place to shed a few grams. Also from what i've heard it increases comfort.
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Old 11-18-08, 07:59 AM   #4
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WRT weight it's all about frame, fork, and wheels. IMO carbon post, stem, or bars for cross is a bad idea, but that's just me, based on an unscientific sample of busted gear I've witnessed at cross and mtb races.

For gruppo I'd go 105 or Ultegra.

I recommend a compact road double crank.

I run single ring, 42 x 12/27, with a Salsa crossing guard and N-gear Jumpstop.

My recommendation for wheels is to go with something modest right now (Open Pro/105, for example) and upgrade down the road. That will allow you to outfit the rest of the bike with quality stuff. If you blow too much on wheels, you'll have to really skimp on the rest of the bike. Remember that your concern is rotating weight (i.e. rims) and durability, not aerodynamics. So IMO a light alloy rim with 32 spokes (double-butted, alloy nipples) is the way to go. Other people will have different opinions.
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Old 11-18-08, 01:08 PM   #5
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Heres my nubbishness showing through - whats the difference between a compact and normal crank?

Also what do you do about levers? Do you have the intergrated ones on both sides and just have one being used purely as a brake lever?

If I put a bash guard either side (partly because I just think it would look nicer) would buying a triple and removing the inner and outer ring be the easiest way to do it?

Sorry, but I don't want to waste any money on this if possible so would like to get it right first time, and seeing as I don't have the knowledge to do that I'm asking lots of questions. Hope I don't become too much of a nuisance.
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Old 11-18-08, 01:38 PM   #6
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Heres my nubbishness showing through - whats the difference between a compact and normal crank?

Also what do you do about levers? Do you have the intergrated ones on both sides and just have one being used purely as a brake lever?

If I put a bash guard either side (partly because I just think it would look nicer) would buying a triple and removing the inner and outer ring be the easiest way to do it?

Sorry, but I don't want to waste any money on this if possible so would like to get it right first time, and seeing as I don't have the knowledge to do that I'm asking lots of questions. Hope I don't become too much of a nuisance.
1. Compact crank has 110mm bolt center diameter, normal has 130mm. The smallest chainring you can get on normal crank is 39t (or 38t?), compact double is a more versatile choice.
2. I actually use a lever shifter with a Paul thumbie mount, but my wife uses STI on the right and a Tektro brake lever on the left. There's a slight mismatch in the shape, but it's apparently not an issue for her. Georgia Gould, among others, does the same thing. You can find single levers on eBay, significantly cheaper than buying the pair.
3. AFAIK they don't make bashguards to fit on the granny mounts of a triple. People who run double guards use a double crank with the inner guard on the inner position, the chainring on the outer, then spacers between the chainring and the outer guard. cyclocrossworld.com sells the correct bolts and spacers in a kit. Personally, I think it's better to have the chainring further in, so you have a straighter chainline while in the largest sprockets.
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Old 11-19-08, 02:35 PM   #7
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Kk, I'll get a compact double then. With getting the chainring further in, would it be possible to fit the ring on the inner one, bash guard on outer and then use spacers to get the other bashguard inside the inner? (hope you understood all that)

Just a few more questions, I have no clue about the differences between different headsets/bottom brackets. What would you recommend?

Also whats the difference between a shrot/med/long cage rear mech and which would work best for what I want.

1 last thing. Is the thing about tiagra being better for cross true, and would you recommend SRAM or campagnolo instead or is there really not much difference in cross performance between groupsets from the 3 main companies?

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 11-19-08, 03:10 PM   #8
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>> With getting the chainring further in, would it be possible to fit the ring on the inner one, bash guard on outer and then use spacers to get the other bashguard inside the inner?

You'd run into the chainstay. Same issue. Other people use double guards and seem happy with it, I was just stating my personal preference.

>> Just a few more questions, I have no clue about the differences between different headsets/bottom brackets. What would you recommend?

BB usually comes with the crankset. I use Cane Creek headsets, but others ought to be fine. More important to keep them adjusted correctly and occasionally clean and grease.

>> Also whats the difference between a shrot/med/long cage rear mech and which would work best for what I want.

You want the der to work with the largest cog you imagine using. So if you think you'll ever want to use a 32, get a der that will fit.

>> Is the thing about tiagra being better for cross true

No. It's based on the idea that since it's cheaper, it's easier to replace, which is wrong-headed IMO. My wife and I have been very pleased with Shimano 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace stuff. Can't vouch for or against Tiagra, but it seems to be aimed at the beginner/recreation market. My LBS wrench, whose opinion I value, used to be a strict Campy-only guy, but has now converted completely to SRAM and says it's the best. So . . . just be thankful that there are three gruppo companies out there keeping each other honest. My personal belief is that the mystique of Campag allows them to charge a bit more for their stuff than its worth.

There's some talk that 8 or 9 speed is better for off-road than 10 speed, because of the relatively larger cog spacing. Personally, I think it's a crock. I don't think the cluster is where you run into mud issues. If anything, the thing to worry about is crud getting into your cables, in which case the solution is to run a housing the entire length of the wire (which requires messing with the cable stops on most frames).
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Old 11-19-08, 03:43 PM   #9
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Do you have any recommendations for other possible frames? Like I said, I'm gona be a weight weenie with this one and you mentioned the frame wheels and fork is where all the weight is. The kinesis comes in at 1.7kg for the 54cm (my size), but I really don't know how this compares.

I did go to one of my LBS for advice but was a bit doubtful, partly because all their stuff seemed a bit costly and partly because they were pertty certain I wasn't going to get a decent cross bike for much under 24lbs.
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Old 11-19-08, 04:00 PM   #10
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Do you have any recommendations for other possible frames? Like I said, I'm gona be a weight weenie with this one and you mentioned the frame wheels and fork is where all the weight is. The kinesis comes in at 1.7kg for the 54cm (my size), but I really don't know how this compares.

I did go to one of my LBS for advice but was a bit doubtful, partly because all their stuff seemed a bit costly and partly because they were pertty certain I wasn't going to get a decent cross bike for much under 24lbs.
My source says 54cm frame is 1560g:
http://www.dotbike.com/ProductsP566.aspx
Which to me seems plenty light. I think the matching fork is in the 600g range, you can get under 500g with a full carbon fork like Origin8 or others.
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Old 11-19-08, 04:37 PM   #11
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The kinesis website says 1.7kg.

I'm wondering if I skimp around for bargins on ebay what frame I'll be able to afford. Once you get past that price point is it possible to get frames with rack eyelets or would I have to use clamps/seat post rack (I'm probably never going to have more than 3kg on the rack so I suppose I could probably get away with it quite easily). I think I would definatly like 2 water bottle mounts though (1 absolute minimum but it would have to be a darn good frame) and alot of the better frames don't seem to have any at all.

Thanks for the speedy replies.

I quite like the look of the ridley crossbow actually, may have to look into it. I suppose everything is going to be within 500g of each other.

Last edited by Dheorl; 11-19-08 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 11-22-08, 08:59 AM   #12
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Do you have any recommendations for other possible frames? Like I said, I'm gona be a weight weenie with this one and you mentioned the frame wheels and fork is where all the weight is. The kinesis comes in at 1.7kg for the 54cm (my size), but I really don't know how this compares.

I did go to one of my LBS for advice but was a bit doubtful, partly because all their stuff seemed a bit costly and partly because they were pertty certain I wasn't going to get a decent cross bike for much under 24lbs.
A cyclocross bike isn't a good choice to be a weight weenie on. You want durability above all else...forget the weight weenie crap. Buy good solid, proven parts and enjoy.
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Old 11-22-08, 09:40 AM   #13
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It's not hard to build a cross bike below 20 lbs, but you have to be mindful of every component you hang on it. Especially with the fairly portly Kinesis frameset. When you think about it, a cross bike is about the same as a road bike. The only real difference is tires, tubes and brakes.
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Old 11-22-08, 11:35 AM   #14
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I'm only a tad over 50kg (110 pounds), so the strength and durabilty stuff isn't a huge concern to me.

The kinesis frame does seem a bit bulky. Atm I've got an ~8.2kg (18 pounds) theorectical build, which will cost a tad under 800 if I buy some new and some from ebay. Am I likely to get any lighter or cheaper. I may scourge around ebay a bit more for a while (have some spare time soon). What frame would you recommend?
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Old 11-22-08, 04:24 PM   #15
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Can you list your 18 lb build with this 3.8 lb frame? I've got a 18.5 lb cross bike (in road configuration), but it has a 3.3 lb frame and sub 1500g wheels with road tires to get it there. With cross wheels/tires, it's 19.5.

If indeed it is 18 lbs, then you've done a good job. I wouldn't go much lighter, especially if you race it. You'll just break stuff.
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Old 11-23-08, 11:58 AM   #16
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Now is probably going to be the point when I find out I've looked at stuff completely unsuitable for cross and have added up the weight wrong, but here goes.

Bar tape - Cinelli Gel Ribbon
Brake Cables - Campagnolo Brake cable set
Brakes - Tektro CR720 Cantilever
Cassette - Campagnolo Veloce 10 speed
Chain - Campagnolo ultra thin
Chainset - FSA MegaExo
Frame - Kinesis 4t
Forks - Kinesis Crosslight Pro Carbon
Gear Cables - Campagnolo Ergopower cable set
Gear Levers - Campagnolo Carbon Centaur Ergopower
Handlebars - Easton EA70
Headset - FSA XLII
Inner Tubes - Nutrak Inner tube
Rear Derailluer - Campagnolo Centaur 10 speed
Saddle - Specialized BG Avatar gel saddle
Seat Post - Ritchey Pro V2 seatpost
Stem - Raceface Candence
Tyres - Continental Twister
Wheels - Fulcrum Racing 7

It actually comes to about 8.4kg I think (18.5 pounds)

Like I said, I'm a complete nub to building bikes so have probably missed something and please tell me if I have.

I still can't decide on what frame I want though. The kinesis is starting to seem more and more weighty the more frames I look at.

Also do you think It would be wise to buy a complete bike off ebay and strip off the parts I want then just stick them on a frame of my choice?
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Old 11-23-08, 12:47 PM   #17
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I think you're probably looking at published weights, and not actual weight. Nothing you've listed screams lightweight, so I'd bet it's closer to 20+ lbs. Like I said before, mine's all 9 speed Dura Ace with mostly lighter components and frame than what you've listed and mine is 19.5.

Go to weightweenies.starbike.com and look at true weights.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:12 PM   #18
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Just pulling out a few randowm numbers, the most anything seems to be out by on my build is ~5%, with most being less than 2%, which would still mean only a 19-19.5 pound weight (1 thing I checked is actually lighter than listed). Quite a few things seem to be missing of fthat site though so I can't check it all.

There aren't any parts that a bike needs that I haven't accounted for though are there?
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Old 11-23-08, 03:39 PM   #19
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Your build seems quite smart.
- Campagnolo parts are very cheap in the UK versus the USA. Buy from Ribble or Merlin etc.
- Carbon seat posts for cross are a bad idea due to mounting/remounting. I'd get a light aluminium one instead.
- Zepnat and Paul Milnes Cycles are UK based cross specialists. They both sell their own framesets, as well as Alan. Sonic Cycles sells Intec/Fort frames.
- If you're serious about saving weight, ditch the Nutrak tubes for Michelins or similar. Nutrak tubes tend to be pretty thick in my experience.
- I'd recommend going with the Campagnolo chainset rather than an FSA one. If you buy a groupset (this is usually cheaper than buying individual components) you'll get on with the group anyway. You can use a suitable TA or Stronglight ring to get you a nice set up with the lower gear you want (eg 34-44 or 36-46).
- I don't think you would be able to build it with Rival within your allotted budget, but I can't think of any bargain basement sources in the UK. You might be able to do Veloce, 105 or Centaur if you shop well.
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Old 11-24-08, 05:36 AM   #20
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If I bought it as a groupset and sold the unwanted parts on ebay I could probablyquite easily get rival under my budget. I've never tried it though. I geuss I need to find a bike fitted with equivilent level from each of the 3 and try them all out. I think this may sound easier than it is.

Does all campag groupsets have the inner lever for shifting one way and the thumb lever on the inside of the hood for shifting the other? If so I think I may automatically cross of campag.

I do quite like the sound of SRAM double tap but I've never used to before so it's the whole leap of faith thing.

I've still go to decide on a frame though (I'd rather go for a more well known one, I'm sure the intec frame on that website is good, but I can't find any reviews and I'm not into buying stuff completely blind). I'd love a kuota kross but the frame along would take up all my budget.

I think the absolute maximum I can afford to spend on frame and forks is 400, any recommendations?
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Old 11-24-08, 07:23 AM   #21
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All Campagnolo parts have the thumb shifter. If you doubt the power of the thumb shifter to change lives, you really ought not to be considering building a cross bike at all. You need a 3 speed
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Old 11-24-08, 08:50 AM   #22
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Thumb shifters make me cry.

At least I know I can now cross campag off my list though.

So that means the 2 best groupsets that will squidge into my budget are ultegra (will prob get 105 in that case and spend the money else where) or SRAM rival.

Any other ideas for a frame?

Thanks for the info.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:58 PM   #23
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I think most of the links I supplied were for frames in the 1500g range. I don't think you will find much lighter for your budget. Paul Milnes has the Columbus X-Wing. That might be. You'd have to call them.
http://www.paulmilnescycles.com/cross.htm
http://www.zepnat.com/component/opti...ategory_id,61/

I guess you might get lucky and find a Salsa Chilli Con Cross or Kona Major Jake in your size for a good price.
One of my local shops back home had some nice Viner frames last year. You could try them.
http://www.epic-cycles.co.uk/

You could try Fat Birds too. They have Kinesis and Guerciotti frames in your price range.
http://www.fatbirds.co.uk/store.asp/d=3/c=43

Enjoy!
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Old 11-24-08, 04:19 PM   #24
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FWIW, Rival has one definite advantage over 105 for Cross racing... when it's cold, you can wear lobster gloves, or even full mittens and still shift just fine. Try that with 105 and you'll be fumbling for upshifts all day.

NOTE: I raced 105 this year, and on the coldest days, I suffered w/ thinner gloves than I would have preferred.
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Old 11-24-08, 07:17 PM   #25
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What about the mid road Ridley frame with full carbon fork? That is probably pretty light and I think cyclocrossworld had a sale on them. Hopefully they are cheap in Europe. Van Dessel Hole Shot is also a nice frame, but not extraordinarily light. Salsa Con Crosso or the Pedal force CX1 might be the lightest, but they might be budget breakers
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