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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 12-22-10, 11:16 AM   #1
xpacpal1x
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High Quality Steel Cyclocross Frame Suggestions?

I'm usually a poster in C&V forums. However, there are plenty of poor-condition roads/paths on which I'd rather not ride my classic Italian bikes. I could also use a rain/bad weather bike. I'm hoping one of you guys who lives and breathes cyclocross will be able to identify a frame that meets my requirements.

Ideally, I'm looking for something like the Salsa La Cruz (no longer in production)…steel frame, not so much of a slope to the top tube (in fact, I'd prefer no slope), no suspension, and room for 700c x 28 tires. I'm one of those guys who thinks a high quality steel frames provides a better ride than aluminum…therefore, a frame made of aluminum or any aluminum alloy is probably a non-starter, even if it has a carbon fork. If size comes into play…I'm 6'2, 190lbs. I'm flexible on brakes (disc versus cantilever) and hub width (130mm versus 135mm).

One final fact is that I happen to already own a pair of Chris King hubs that I could apply to this project (135mm disc brake version), so those features on a high quality steel cyclocross frame could be appealing. BTW, after more than 1,500 miles, these hubs still don't spin freely…I've had them serviced, which resulted in no improvement. As a result, I don't think these things will ever spin freely…maybe they weren't intended to…so I'm not too attached to them.

BTW, is a 135mm hub spacing considered cyclocross? Or is cyclocross purely 130mm?

Thanks for any helpful input.
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Old 12-22-10, 11:30 AM   #2
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I would look for a Lemond Poprad and they came in a disk version as well. I have an 05 canti Poprad made with Plat OX steel with a 132.5 rear. I can put either 135 or 130 hubs on it and have done both. After Lemond was shut down the Poprad became the Gary Fisher Presidio.
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Old 12-22-10, 11:34 AM   #3
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My all-weather bike is a Soma Double Cross.
It has 132.5mm rear dropouts.
It is available with canti studs or disc mounts.
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Old 12-22-10, 11:48 AM   #4
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It all depends on your tastes and budget

Gunnar Crosshairs (rim brake) or Hyper-X (disc brake) or maybe even Fast Lane (disc brake road frame)

Surly Long-Haul Trucker, Pacer, or Cross Check might also fit the bill
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Old 12-22-10, 11:48 AM   #5
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Old 12-22-10, 11:56 AM   #6
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Thanks...these are all VERY helpful...don't hesitate to keep them coming. I'm simply not familiar with the names of today's manufacturers...my bicycle knowledge is very good, but stuck in the age of Pinnarallo, Bottecchia, Ciocc, Colnago, etc. So even your mention of framesets and manufacturers is giving me some good leads.
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Old 12-22-10, 12:25 PM   #7
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I ride a Poprad. All in all, a good fit for what you're looking for and nice bike all-around.

There's also a no-name Ti cross bike on Ebay that might work for you.
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Old 12-22-10, 01:35 PM   #8
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I have the Soma Double Cross DC. I've put about 8000 miles on it in two years. It's a great do-all bike.

These are interesting, tto: http://www.habcycles.com/cross.html
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Old 12-22-10, 08:26 PM   #9
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Bianchi San Jose... on eBay you can score a Lemond Poprad. They're both excellent steel bikes!
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Old 12-22-10, 09:20 PM   #10
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By the way you can respace those king hubs to 130.
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Old 12-22-10, 09:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xpacpal1x View Post
I'm usually a poster in C&V forums. However, there are plenty of poor-condition roads/paths on which I'd rather not ride my classic Italian bikes. I could also use a rain/bad weather bike. I'm hoping one of you guys who lives and breathes cyclocross will be able to identify a frame that meets my requirements.

Ideally, I'm looking for something like the Salsa La Cruz (no longer in production)…steel frame, not so much of a slope to the top tube (in fact, I'd prefer no slope), no suspension, and room for 700c x 28 tires. I'm one of those guys who thinks a high quality steel frames provides a better ride than aluminum…therefore, a frame made of aluminum or any aluminum alloy is probably a non-starter, even if it has a carbon fork. If size comes into play…I'm 6'2, 190lbs. I'm flexible on brakes (disc versus cantilever) and hub width (130mm versus 135mm).

One final fact is that I happen to already own a pair of Chris King hubs that I could apply to this project (135mm disc brake version), so those features on a high quality steel cyclocross frame could be appealing. BTW, after more than 1,500 miles, these hubs still don't spin freely…I've had them serviced, which resulted in no improvement. As a result, I don't think these things will ever spin freely…maybe they weren't intended to…so I'm not too attached to them.

BTW, is a 135mm hub spacing considered cyclocross? Or is cyclocross purely 130mm?

Thanks for any helpful input.
i am very much like you and a month ago or so i found "the frame" it is a bianchi reparto corse cyclocross frame. earlier ones are lugged steel and late ones like mine are oversize tig welded steel. there is not much info out there on them, but i love mine. i bought my frameset second hand from a dealer. the owner of the shop said he raced the same frame for years.

it is obviously out of production as well, but if you are not in a huge hurry, they tend to pop up on ebay.

here is an "almost done" pic:


it originally had a steel unicrown fork but mine wears a curt goodrich lugged fork.

Last edited by thirdgenbird; 12-23-10 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 12-22-10, 10:25 PM   #12
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Okay...I am liking the Gunnar Hyper-X, and there's a dealer between my home and work.
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Old 12-22-10, 10:43 PM   #13
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Okay...I am liking the Gunnar Hyper-X, and there's a dealer between my home and work.
a hyper-x with a wound up fork would be at the top of my list for a "production frameset"
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Old 12-23-10, 11:00 AM   #14
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Nice

That's one nice Bianchi bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdgenbird View Post
i am very much like you and a month ago or so i found "the frame" it is a bianchi reparto corse cyclocross frame. earlier ones are lugged steel and late ones like mine are oversize tig welded steel. there is not much info out there on them, but i love mine. i bought my frameset second hand from a dealer. the owner of the shop said he raced the same frame for years.

it is obviously out of production as well, but if you are not in a huge hurry, they tend to pop up on ebay.

here is an "almost done" pic:


it originally had a steel unicrown fork but mine wears a kurt goodrich lugged fork.
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Old 12-23-10, 04:33 PM   #15
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http://www.steelmancycles.com/ steel is even in his name..
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Old 12-23-10, 08:54 PM   #16
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Okay...I am liking the Gunnar Hyper-X, and there's a dealer between my home and work.
Those are super nice.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:00 PM   #17
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I don't know your budget, but I know Waterford makes excellent frames, and I'm pretty sure they have a cyclocross design.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xpacpal1x View Post
BTW, after more than 1,500 miles, these hubs [Chris King] still don't spin freely…I've had them serviced, which resulted in no improvement. As a result, I don't think these things will ever spin freely…maybe they weren't intended to…so I'm not too attached to them.
I'm wondering what you mean by "spin freely." Do you mean that when you hold them in your hand and spin them, they don't seem to spin around too many times? If so, that's pretty much a meaningless test for how well a hub will spin once it has weight on it. (same goes for things like skateboard wheels - ones that can be spun by hand and not stop for 2 minutes are not necessarily any faster when being ridden than ones that stop after 15 seconds). If a hub or wheel spins a long time unweighted, it just means it has really light lube (or no lube) and large bearing tolerances. It may perform poorly once it heats up or once the riders body weight is on it.
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Old 12-24-10, 07:10 AM   #19
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I don't know your budget, but I know Waterford makes excellent frames, and I'm pretty sure they have a cyclocross design.
I think this may be the first time I've seen "Waterford" and "budget" used in the same sentence.
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Old 12-24-10, 09:12 AM   #20
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Chris King Hubs

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I'm wondering what you mean by "spin freely."
As one holds the wheel and turns the Chris King hub axle by hand, there's always been quite of bit of drag to be felt. If you spin the wheel while it's on the bike, it spins for significantly less time than all other bicycles (of course, not a scientificly valid blind test). These hubs have always been tight...actually, VERY tight.

It is not only me...two mechanics have agreed and failed to improve the situation by opening them up, regreasing and reassembling. I've heard "well, these hubs can take a while to loosen up". I've also heard "well, it's a mountain bike hub, and they don't have to spin so well because you're going downhill and hitting bumps and stuff anyway." Unfortunately, I've gone along with recommendations to simply keep riding them and wait for them to break-in. I recall saying to that "well, I've got 500 miles on them"...and hearing replies like "you'll need 1,500 or so to break them in". Well, I've got the 1,500 miles now...probably 2,500, and there's absolutely no improvement.

I don't have any complaints yet about customer service, either with the shop that built up the wheels or the manufacturer, since I haven't yet got to the point of seeking a real solution. But I'm at that point today, having just taken the wheels off for the first time in a few hundred miles and found that the friction problem hasn't improved. Unfortunately, now that I've got the 1,500 miles, it's been a couple years since I paid for them, so I'm a bit concerned that the next response I'll get is "why didn't you come to us sooner."

Admittedly, I asked for a bulletproof hub...and that's probably what I got. However, I feel I also got a hub that's so tight, it literally tires me out over long rides. It's interesting that you say a poor-spinning hub won't contribute significantly to overall riding friction...I'll try to remember that next time I feel so totally wiped out.

If I solve my friction problem, I'll try to remember to post it here. Otherwise, I guess this post is my way of advising other forum members to consider my problems if they're considering Chris King hubs. In fact, I'd ask to be allowed to inspect Chris King hubs before a shop makes a wheel out of them...at least then you could ensure that you're not getting one of the hubs that requires 1,500 miles of break-in.
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Old 12-24-10, 01:17 PM   #21
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You're missing the point. You can't tell how much friction the hub has under load simply by spinning the wheel. Nor by the fact that riding the bike makes you tired.
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Old 12-24-10, 02:32 PM   #22
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I ride a Poprad the OX platinum one and it's one of my best riding steel bikes. The Gary Fischer cross biike is thesame design in 853 steel and has the traditional design that you like. I guess I wouldn't call it high end but its a great bike for the price.
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Old 12-24-10, 03:04 PM   #23
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remember, you want a BEATER so don't get too fancy...

budget or not, i am all too pleased with the early 90s Giant Innova i got at a yard sale for $40...i've used the bike for two seasons and it did great. i also use it for blizzards, singletrack, commuting, errands. the frame isn't just any ole stick of steel welded together in the expected shape...it's got some nice details (ovalized tubes) in the structure that i never noticed until another framebuilder took note of it.

it's bombproof and it's got that sweet, steel feel
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Old 12-27-10, 03:52 PM   #24
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If C&V is your thing, you might look for an actual C&V frame to build-up as a cyclocross bike. My last cyclocross bike was built up from a 1972 Atala frame that featured beatifully sculpted vintage looking chrome prugnat lugs. Geometry and tire clearances from older 70s era road bikes are a lot more forgiving for cyclocross than from 1980s onward road bikes. I recently traded my Atala for a similarly aged Bottechia frame that fits me better and am in the process of adding cantilever braze-ons to make it a dedicated cyclocross ride. Tire clearance at the rear is fine for 34mm tires +mud. The front fork crown has sufficient clearance for 32mm+mud.
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