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  1. #1
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Converting a CX bike to a Monster-cross bike.

    I'm considering converting my Soma Double Cross DC into a trail ready Monster-cross bike.

    The bike currently has road-bike wheels (Mavic Open Pro with 105 hubs) and canti brakes. The drivetrain is a 105 triple (50, 39 & 26t) with a 12-27 ten speed cassette. I have both a road bike and a commuter/rain/winter bike, so my on-road needs are met.

    I'm considering disc brakes, 29er wheels, a 2x10 drivetrain. I'll keep the drop bars and brifters. I might even just put a chainguard where the big ring is, run the existing 39 & 26t road crankset and an 11-32 ten speed cassette on the back for starters.

    I'll use the bike for 50/50 on-road & off-road use. I'll ride on pavement to the trails, play in the dirt and ride home. It might also see some lengthy gravel road or gravel rails-to-trails rides and touring. It won't see much technical riding. I live in the Midwest.

    Any suggestions for wheels & brakes?

    Does the project have merit?

    Michael
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 11-23-10 at 10:19 AM.

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    I'm pretty sure the Double Cross chainstays don't allow very large tires.

    Just get a pair of beefier tires for your current rig and start saving for a proper mountain bike.

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle View Post
    I'm pretty sure the Double Cross chainstays don't allow very large tires.

    Just get a pair of beefier tires for your current rig and start saving for a proper mountain bike.
    Hi flargle,

    The Soma web-site states enough clearance for 700x38c tires (with fenders). Won't that work well enough off-road?

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    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    If you're not doing anything terribly technical, 700x30 works for off-road. I'm not sure I'd call 700x38 a monster crosser, but it sounds like it would do what you want. If you convert to a double setup, I think the option of using the lower two you have sounds best, though I'd generally lean toward just keeping the triple if you don't expect to see many rocks and roots. I don't think you gain much for non-racing applications by going to a double.

    That leaves the brake issue. The trade off is weight and cost, and for your purposes, it's probably a decent trade but by no means necessary. I've used the SRAM X.9 hubs for my monster crosser, and I've been quite happy with them. I used Salsa Delagado Cross rims, which aren't disc specific. That was mostly a budget decision. If I had more cash in the budget I would have gone with Mavic TN719 or Salsa Semi Disc rims.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    The Soma web-site states enough clearance for 700x38c tires (with fenders). Won't that work well enough off-road?
    Sure it works, but my point is that it doesn't justify dumping money into converting to disc brakes, changing your gearing, etc. Brakes and lower gears only work as well as the traction of your tires. Save your money for a nice *****in' 29er hardtail, and in the meantime ride what you have.

  6. #6
    I Love My Dream
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    Sounds like an awesome project, especially as you already own the frame. The 132.5mm spaing allows you to use common mountain bike disc ready hubs. I built a set of wheels with Deore hubs and Mavic A319. I'm in the process of building my own monstercross bike, the A319 rim allows me to start off with an economy build and use Deore V-Brakes that I already own, I'll upgrade to Road BB-7's soon. If you have room for 38c tires with fenders, 42-45c should be no problem, I consider anything above 35c monstercross.

    Mostly likely you've seen the monstercross thread over at mtbr?

    I've mutant/monstered my Singlecross

    It's none of my business what other people think of me.

  7. #7
    M_S
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    I agree with Flargle. At the very least just put the biggest knobbies on you can fit and ride it off road for a while. If it works except for the gearing and brakes or whatever, awesome. Swap those things out. But a cross bike will always be more road than mountain, despite the freds on the internet claiming they ride technical singletrack all the time on their Fuji cross Comps and beat people on dual suspensions up and downhill.

    I like riding my cross bikes on singletrack too, and it's fun, but for real trail riding mountain bikes exist for a reason. For 50/50 road trail my choice of hardtail or one of my cross bikes is determined by my mood, priorities, and technicality of the trails.

  8. #8
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I guess I should explain how the bike will be used a little more completely;

    Off-road riding for me includes wider Forest Preserve Trails and gravel roads. I also like to ride for several hours at a time and I am considering this event: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/...0/108749176339

    The Almanzo is a 100 mile dirt road event in Minnesota. Nothing technical and no real hills to speak of, but the surface will punish a smaller tire with a 210 lbs cyclist like me to carry.

    There are also some lengthy rail-to-trails paths that are cinder covered and less than ideal for a twitchy road bike.

    I realize that my existing bike would cover these trails easily with almost any CX tire installed. However, a wider set of tires would improve the ride when covering trails shared with horses and the disc brakes will stay clean while the rim is being submerged. I'm a family man and I'm not going to do any riding that might put me in the ER. I do like Century rides and would like to do some long distance rural road tours.

    The closest real MTB riding is in Brown county Indiana, but that is a 5 hour drive. If I do ever enjoy real MTB single track, I will get that 29er ;-).

    Michael
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 11-24-10 at 08:17 AM.

  9. #9
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    Cyclocross bikes with big fat tires = huge fun, simple really. It does not need to be more complicated than that. People that ride monstercross bikes do know the differences between a cyclocross bike and a 29er mountain bike.
    Last edited by Saddle Up; 11-24-10 at 11:09 AM.
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  10. #10
    M_S
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    OK. For that race I don't see a need to go radically changing your brakes, wheels, or gearing, at least initially. if you really want to, go ahead, but your current equipment is probably fine with the exception of tires. 42mm speedmaxes should clear (run small). They roll fast and wear well, but have decent cornering grip off road.

  11. #11
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I'm thinking, this;



    or this;



    or even a little of this;



    and this;



    But not anything like this;

    Last edited by Barrettscv; 11-24-10 at 12:57 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Fonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    I guess I should explain how the bike will be used a little more completely;

    Off-road riding for me includes wider Forest Preserve Trails and gravel roads. I also like to ride for several hours at a time and I am considering this event: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/...0/108749176339

    The Almanzo is a 100 mile dirt road event in Minnesota. Nothing technical and no real hills to speak of, but the surface will punish a smaller tire with a 210 lbs cyclist like me to carry.

    There are also some lengthy rail-to-trails paths that are cinder covered and less than ideal for a twitchy road bike.

    I realize that my existing bike would cover these trails easily with almost any CX tire installed. However, a wider set of tires would improve the ride when covering trails shared with horses and the disc brakes will stay clean while the rim is being submerged. I'm a family man and I'm not going to do any riding that might put me in the ER. I do like Century rides and would like to do some long distance rural road tours.

    The closest real MTB riding is in Brown county Indiana, but that is a 5 hour drive. If I do ever enjoy real MTB single track, I will get that 29er ;-).

    Michael
    FYI - for the Almanzo, you don't really need anything more than a standard CX setup. I rode it this past year w/ on a CX bike w/ 35c tires and was just fine (for size comparison, I'm about 185 lbs). There were some guys out there riding standard road bikes w/ 23c slicks. Whereas I wouldn't go that far, there pretty much was always a pretty clean, hard line through the road somewhere, so you didn't have to worry about riding anything to sandy, rocky, etc.

    I also ride forest service roads out here in Colorado on my standard CX setup, and it works beautifully. For the riding you'll be doing, and what you're basically looking to do, I'd echo others' suggestions and suggest that you just beef up the tires as much as you can and see how you like it. You might find you don't even need to swap out any of the other stuff; unless, of course, you just want to change it up for the fun of it, and that's always a good reason, too.
    "The only opponent is within."

  13. #13
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    I'm thinking, this;

    or this;

    or even a little of this;

    and this;
    If you put all that and nothing more in a cyclocross race, people would complain that it wasn't technical enough. Granted, there's a huge difference between riding 45-60 minutes on rough terrain and doing it for 100 miles. Even so, I think fat tires and you're done -- disc brakes only if you want to indulge. I'd keep the triple.

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    Tire selection will be what determines how much you like your changes. For what you put there I would go with something that has grip on some loose surfaces, but with low rolling resistance and good cornering ability on-road and off. For this reason I'd avoid full knobbies, both cross tires and mountain bike, as the big edge knobs drastically compromise on-road cornering ability, particularly at higher speeds. Many semi-slicks are designed with very fast rolling center knobs and large side knobs. These wouldn't be so hot on road as well. Big side knobs make things pretty squirrely when cornering on pavement.

    Some suggestions:

    Schwalbe Marathon Extremes, 40c. This might be a good option for a heavy-duty, long lasting type of tire.
    Stans The Crow or The Raven, 2.00" (50c). If you can fit 'em these are a bit wider but still very fast rolling and with good off-road traction. Lightweight, but possibly not as durable or flat resistant as the Schwalbe's.

    As far as the other changes, Open Pro's are pretty tough, and I would wait and see if you want more braking power and lower gearing before you make andy expensive changes. Disks sure are nice though...
    Bikin' far-off places with the wife: http://peacocksride.wordpress.com

  15. #15
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fonk View Post
    FYI - for the Almanzo, you don't really need anything more than a standard CX setup. I rode it this past year w/ on a CX bike w/ 35c tires and was just fine (for size comparison, I'm about 185 lbs)... ...there pretty much was always a pretty clean, hard line through the road somewhere, so you didn't have to worry about riding anything to sandy, rocky, etc.

    I also ride forest service roads out here in Colorado on my standard CX setup, and it works beautifully. For the riding you'll be doing, and what you're basically looking to do, I'd echo others' suggestions and suggest that you just beef up the tires as much as you can and see how you like it. You might find you don't even need to swap out any of the other stuff; unless, of course, you just want to change it up for the fun of it, and that's always a good reason, too.
    Quote Originally Posted by tashi View Post
    Tire selection will be what determines how much you like your changes. For what you put there I would go with something that has grip on some loose surfaces, but with low rolling resistance and good cornering ability on-road and off. For this reason I'd avoid full knobbies, both cross tires and mountain bike, as the big edge knobs drastically compromise on-road cornering ability, particularly at higher speeds. Many semi-slicks are designed with very fast rolling center knobs and large side knobs. These wouldn't be so hot on road as well. Big side knobs make things pretty squirrely when cornering on pavement.

    Some suggestions:

    Schwalbe Marathon Extremes, 40c. This might be a good option for a heavy-duty, long lasting type of tire.
    Stans The Crow or The Raven, 2.00" (50c). If you can fit 'em these are a bit wider but still very fast rolling and with good off-road traction. Lightweight, but possibly not as durable or flat resistant as the Schwalbe's...
    Thank you Fargle, Andy, Saddle up, M-S, Fonk and Tashi,

    Ironically, I enjoy the Soma very much as-is and the suggestion to try new tires is very practical.

    I would like a dual purpose bike, like the Salsa Fargo or Vaya. I now see that altering the Soma will not provide the all-duty bike I imagine.

    That’s OK, completing some long gravel road rides on the Soma sounds like a ton-o-fun anyway.
    I'll add new wheels (Velocity A23 on Shimano 105 hubs) and tires (Schwalbe Marathon Extremes) and ride for a season.

    The Soma looks like this and has done a solo & unsupported century almost a dozen times since aquired 2 years ago. It has about 7500 miles on it in that time.



    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Michael
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 11-25-10 at 07:01 AM.

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    Fargo is pretty heavy-duty, I've been checking them out recently for a bike trip in India. I'd say it's overkill for the riding you're describing, the Soma seems almost ideal.
    Bikin' far-off places with the wife: http://peacocksride.wordpress.com

  17. #17
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    I'm putting some Kenda Kross Supremes with kevlar beads on my Double Cross. They're pretty beefy from what I've read with big knobs and measuring a good 37mm across the casing.

    It's part of a gradual conversion from fair weather commuter to foul weather commuter. I'll pull the fenders and racks when cross season rolls around. The Jamis Aurora I've been using for a foul weather commuter is just not enough fun to ride. The frame and the wheels are just too heavy duty and the ride is just a bit too harsh without a full load of groceries. Do you really want that?

    The Soma will take its place with a 36-hole Open Pro/105 rear and 32-hole Open Pro/105 front for commuting and Ksyrium Elites for racing. A Planet X Kaffenback is being built up as a fair weather, skinny tire commuter to take its place.

  18. #18
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cachehiker View Post
    I'm putting some Kenda Kross Supremes with kevlar beads on my Double Cross. They're pretty beefy from what I've read with big knobs and measuring a good 37mm across the casing.

    It's part of a gradual conversion from fair weather commuter to foul weather commuter. I'll pull the fenders and racks when cross season rolls around. The Jamis Aurora I've been using for a foul weather commuter is just not enough fun to ride. The frame and the wheels are just too heavy duty and the ride is just a bit too harsh without a full load of groceries. Do you really want that?

    The Soma will take its place with a 36-hole Open Pro/105 rear and 32-hole Open Pro/105 front for commuting and Ksyrium Elites for racing. A Planet X Kaffenback is being built up as a fair weather, skinny tire commuter to take its place.
    Your stable is much like mine;

    Planet X ti Sportive Road bike (made-by-Lynskey)



    Vintage Trek 400 (Reynolds 531) commuter/winter/rain bike.




    I also keep this Vintage 1973 Paramount around for sentimental reasons, I'm the original owner;


  19. #19
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    On the Specialized TriCross, one can run the company's 42c Freeroad Borough tires. That's monstercross by any definition of the word.

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