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  1. #1
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    To Build a Bike...

    Hey everyone, I've been lurking for a long time, both on the forums and in the cyclocross world, and I'm finally ready to take the plunge into cyclocross, but need some advice.

    I've got an opportunity to by a nice Fort frame with a carbon fork but would obviously need to build the whole bike up from that point. I live in Boise ID and will be using the bike here in the foothills a lot (mostly hardpack trail with occasional loose and rough rock, but lot's of steep ups and downs), as well as starting into some racing.

    Where I could really use the advice is in regards to components. I'm not sure how to walk the line between light/fast for racing, and stout/strong for the trails while keeping on as tight a budget as possible.

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks!
    Niles

  2. #2
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    First decide what gearing you want, and that will dictate whether you need a mountain or road group, or some combo of the two. And "tight a budget as possible" is a little vague.

    Usually around the second-to-best group is where you get the best value. Good value groups are (IMO) Ultegra, 105, Rival, XT, X.9, and X.7. But the best deals come from being opportunistic and flexible, ask around for used bikes, used parts, etc.

  3. #3
    Made in Norway Lectron's Avatar
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    If you are to use it as a touring bike as well, you should think about getting a compact crank and a rather wide cassette.
    For most of my riding, a single 42 chainring would be sufficient, but a 38-46 makes a tad more versatile.

    I'd go for the lighter side of the scale when it comes to components. Most stuff, except some obscure CNC companies
    makes good and strong stuff. Take a quick look for Easton bargains at JensonUSA. Very nice closeouts ATM.

    Consider slightly longer crank arms than usuall to get some more moment to mash up those hills since you'll
    probably lack the lightest gears compared to an MTB or hybrid bike.

    Myselves I run 177.5 on road, 175 trail and 180 CX
    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude
    Weight weenieness is a disease very often caused by the lack of good results. Just a few steps below doping in terms of desperation

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle View Post
    First decide what gearing you want, and that will dictate whether you need a mountain or road group, or some combo of the two. And "tight a budget as possible" is a little vague.

    Usually around the second-to-best group is where you get the best value. Good value groups are (IMO) Ultegra, 105, Rival, XT, X.9, and X.7. But the best deals come from being opportunistic and flexible, ask around for used bikes, used parts, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lectron View Post
    Consider slightly longer crank arms than usuall to get some more moment to mash up those hills since you'll probably lack the lightest gears compared to an MTB or hybrid bike.

    Myselves I run 177.5 on road, 175 trail and 180 CX
    These are good points. Lectron, do you feel like the longer crank arm is fitting for CX, or sometimes do you find it difficult to get into a faster cadence?

    As far as gearing, it seems like 12-25 ish is pretty standard, but I'm wondering if I should go a little bigger (e.g. in the 30 range for grannying hills). Not sure though. Flargle, what would you consider a road/mountain combo gearing?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niles View Post
    Flargle, what would you consider a road/mountain combo gearing?
    Like if you used an 11-32 9-speed cassette with a 39/53 road double crankset. It's possible a longer-cage road rear der would work with that combo but might want to use a mtb rear der to be on the safe side. It's not a crazy idea IMO and would give you a lower gear, just not as tightly spaced a gear cluster.

  6. #6
    Made in Norway Lectron's Avatar
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    I would not recommend a shimano road type wide range cassette as the number of teeth rise quite progressive.
    The new 11-xx cassettes are slightly better, but cassettes like IRD or small MTB types would be a bettter choice IMO.

    As for the arms..

    On my roadbike I do 330 miles as my longest race...That never happen on my CX..That's fast an furious.
    More BMX kind of racing when you think of it. Quick accelerations, mashing up short steep hills....

    I'm not comportable with the 180s on my roadbike.....even 175 felt better...Perfect on my CX

    Even 'The Pirate' (Marco Pantani) used 180 on mountain stages
    He was 172 cm and 52 kg
    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude
    Weight weenieness is a disease very often caused by the lack of good results. Just a few steps below doping in terms of desperation

  7. #7
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    Alright, the bike is built. Here's the skinny on the topics above. I went with an FSA crank and BB with arms at 172.5 (just because of availability mostly), with gearing at 36/49. The rear cassette is geared 11-32. I got a good deal on some carbon bars, and I got the tires for $5 each. The rest of the pieces are pretty generic (mavic rear wheel, shimano front, candy pedals...) that I can upgrade in the future if need be.

    First impressions: I took the bike out on a single track ride (Cartwright Trail in Boise), and it was an eye opener. Going from a full suspension mountain bike to a stiff cross bike with fewer gears and weird handlebars was wild. There is definitely going to be a significant learning curve to learn how to offroad with a roadish bike. The hills took more power to get up, and the downhills were really bumpy and a lot more technical.

    Today, I went for a regular mountain bike ride, and then jumped on the cross bike to tool around on the road, and holy crap it was awesome. I have an old road bike that is adequate, but it doesn't hold a candle to this firebolt. I had so much fun on the streets and occasional dirt trail.

    I think what I'll do is start riding more long distance combo dirt/paved roads just to get used to the bike and learn its capabilities before I start throwing myself to the single track.

    The next thing to do will be to try and find some cyclocrossers to ride with and learn what I need to know.

    Attached is a picture of the finished bike.

    Let me know what you think. Advice will also be appreciated!

    Thanks for all the input!
    Niles
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    you should look into contacting the BSU cycling club. I am pretty sure there are a few cyclocross guys that ride with them. I run for the BSU track team so i dont have any time or energy left after practice to go ride with them haha. Your bike is really nice though, i am hoping to add a cyclocross bike to my stable soon

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