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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 01-24-12, 03:21 PM   #1
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Origin 8 CX700 3x9 Monster-cross build

I’ve wanted a rugged Cyclocross bike for off-road and winter use for a couple years. I already have a Soma Double Cross as a Century bike, but with a Carbon Fiber fork and road bike wheels and gearing, the Soma was might not last much longer if exposed frequent use on dusty trails and salty winter roads. What can a Monster-cross bike offer that a Cyclocross bike doesn’t already provide? I expect that a Monster-cross bike will deliver improved tank-like durability and a more forgiving ride on rough trails & roads.

I finally took the plunge and purchased an Origin 8 CX700 frameset after noticing a review on the road bike forum, see: http://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...ent...The-Tank.


The frame was ideal for my budget Monster-cross build. With room for 700x50 tires, disc or cantilever brakes, Road or MTB rear drop-out spacing. The rear-entry horizontal rear drop-outs will permit single-speed, IGH and derailleur drivetrains. The frame-set is a bit heavier than a Surly Cross Check, the rear drop-outs and the fork are extra strong & heavy and a little overbuilt.

It took a few weeks of searching, finding a frameset wasn’t easy. These sell out quickly and are prices at about $200 for both the frame & fork. I finally found one on eBay in December. The geometry in the largest size is a good fit for me. The frame arrived and I was surprised at the quality. The tube-set is 4130 aerospace standard. The welds are skillfully done, but less smooth than my Soma. The paint was very good, with good color and as tough as most automotive finishes.

I wanted to keep costs low, so I decided on cantilever brakes. The Tektro 720 brakes are good performers at a great price. Rim-brake touring wheels are also budget friendly, I found a new set of 40 spoke Velocity Dyad on Formula high flange hubs for about $130 delivered. Disc brakes would have been nice, but they limit racking options, add weight and would require a pricier wheelset.

I was hoping to use a Shimano 105 triple crank-set and build a 3x10 drivetrain, but the arms on road crank with external bearings won’t clear the chain-stays. So I installed a Shimano Deore “Trekking” crank-set with 48, 36 and I installed a 22t small chainring. This was matched to a 12-27 nine speed cassette. Tiagra STI “brifters” and a front derailleur for triple were installed. A Deore SGS rear derailleur completes the drivetrain.

The handlebars needed to fit the off-road personality of the build, Salsa Moto-Ace Woodchipper handle bars improve rough surface stability and work well with STI levers. A Thomson Elite seat-post is held by Surly seat-post clamp.

To save some weight and to add mid-blade fork rack mounts, I replaced the Origin 8 fork with a new Surly Cross Check fork. The fork is much lighter, looks great and should provide a more compliant ride. The practical tire clearance is a good match for the frame, with room for 700x45 or larger tires & fenders both front & rear.

This build project is best compared to other touring bikes. It's off-road-touring tough but also touring bike heavy. The weight is within 1 pound of a Surly Cross Check using the same build items. The bike is lighter than a stock Surly Long Haul Trucker, Salsa Vaya or Fargo.













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Old 01-24-12, 03:40 PM   #2
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Funny, I was just researching this exact frame. Currently on the fence about which Single-Speed CX frame to get for my ultra commuter build, Origin8 CX700 or Pake C'mute. I'm curious how much your set-up weighs, if you don't mind indulging a random netizen.

Not sure if this was an option for you, but I checked with my local bike shops which carried Origin 8 products (most of them, as it turns out, origin 8 is pretty prolific with random bike parts) and they were able to order the frame should I want it.

Thinking of going with the C'mute at the moment, but this certainly puts the CX700 in a good light.
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Old 01-24-12, 03:40 PM   #3
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cool looking bike, but I have a stupid question for you. I've never understood woodchipper bars. What's the value of the outward angle? Just curious.
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Old 01-24-12, 03:42 PM   #4
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The way you built it looks great. I have thought about one of these for a beater/commuter. I dig the tire clearance/ease of single speed and these things are super cheap from j&b. A bit heavy though.
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Old 01-24-12, 03:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TenThousandSuns View Post
Funny, I was just researching this exact frame. Currently on the fence about which Single-Speed CX frame to get for my ultra commuter build, Origin8 CX700 or Pake C'mute. I'm curious how much your set-up weighs, if you don't mind indulging a random netizen.

Not sure if this was an option for you, but I checked with my local bike shops which carried Origin 8 products (most of them, as it turns out, origin 8 is pretty prolific with random bike parts) and they were able to order the frame should I want it.

Thinking of going with the C'mute at the moment, but this certainly puts the CX700 in a good light.
The frameset, wheelset and Schwalbe tires add about 5 pounds to the bike compared to my Soma Cross Check with a CF fork & road bike wheels & tires. My guess is that it's 28 pounds. But I have yet to hang it from a precise scale. I think I saved about 2 pounds by changing the fork and using cantilevers brakes.

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cool looking bike, but I have a stupid question for you. I've never understood woodchipper bars. What's the value of the outward angle? Just curious.
They should improve stability on rocky & technical MTB trails. They're as wide as hell, 46cm at the brifters, more than 50cm at the ends.

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The way you built it looks great. I have thought about one of these for a beater/commuter. I dig the tire clearance/ease of single speed and these things are super cheap from j&b. A bit heavy though.
Yes, touring-bike tough but touring-bike heavy. The weight is within 1 pound of a Surly Cross Check using the same build items. The bike is lighter than a Salsa Vaya or Fargo.
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Old 01-24-12, 05:06 PM   #6
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cool looking bike, but I have a stupid question for you. I've never understood woodchipper bars. What's the value of the outward angle? Just curious.
They are mtb dirt drops. Idea behind them is that you ride in the drops the whole time, with the brakes angled down so you can grab them. Not designed to ride on the hoods. Very comfortable for offroad on a mtb, provide great climbing and handling ability and allow for a 'looser' grip when riding. Your hands are wedged into the drops and the flair allows for a natural arm angle taking pressure of the wrists, hands and forearms. I love them and have them on my ss mtb. I love flared drops and have the bellaps on my cx, I can't get used to riding offroad with tradition drops now.
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Old 01-25-12, 05:29 AM   #7
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Here is the build list

Frame: Origin 8 CX700

Fork: Surly Cross Check

Handle bar: Salsa 46mm woodchipper

Stem: Forte MTB 120mm

Bar tape: Profile Design

STI Brifter: Tiagra 3x9

Saddle: Felt

Seat post: Thomson Elite

Seat post clamp: Surly

Rear canti cable hanger: Surly

Front derailleur: Tiagra for triple

Crankset: Shimano Deore FC-M590 48-36-22t

Bottom bracket: Shimano Deore external

Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore SGS RD-M591

Cassette: 12-27 Shimano 9 speed

Brakes: Tektro CR720

Brakepads: Kool-stop Salmon Thinline

Front brake hanger: Tektro fork mount cable hanger

Headset: Cane Creek

Chain: Shimano 9 speed

Wheelset: 40 spoke Velocity Dyad/Formula

Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Cross 700x38

Cables: Jagwire
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Old 03-12-12, 07:02 AM   #8
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Just a follow-up report.

I have about 300 miles on the CX 700 and I've very pleased with the bike. It really can do-it-all, if I install a variety of tires. Right now, I'm using Vittoria Randonneur Hyper (700x32) slick tires on pavement and dry gravel. The bike is fast enough for 25 to 75 mile solo fitness rides. The ride comfort and handling of the bike is first class, I've held 45 mph on curvy roads while descending and the bike is stable while turning at high speed without feeling sluggish. I like the fear-no-pothole toughness of the bike. Huge fun to ride on bad pavement.

During the January and February, I kept a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Cross (700x38) tires on the bike. Riding on dry pavement was better than expected, with good levels of low rolling resistance. The bike really does well on snow and ice that is flat and smooth, this will be a great winter bike. The Marathon Cross is also an ideal tire for 50/50 wet road & wet gravel. I'll use this tire for tow-path touring this year.

I’ve also added a set of Schwalbe Smart Sam (700x47) MTB tires of damp trail conditions. These should be fast on flatter trails that are not very technical. These tires fit the frame and fork with ample room for fenders. A 700x50 tire, like the Big Apple or Dureme should fit, if fenders are not used. I’ve installed Planet Bike Cascadia 29er Fenders and they went on quickly and fit well. However, the attachment point for the fender stays is way too high for ideal stability, but it does work well enough.

While the bike will never win any CX races and is way too slow for “A” level group-rides, it can do just about anything I need a CX or Adventure-touring bike to do. I plan to use it for road cycling and trail exploring near home. I also hope to do some gravel trail touring with the bike this year.
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Old 03-12-12, 11:58 AM   #9
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^very nice build! I'm trying to get the woochippers as soon as they come back in stock.
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Old 03-14-12, 10:07 PM   #10
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I am surprised you say the quality is good. I have one of these frames and you get what you pay for. The welds on mine make a surly look high end. the disc tabs are grossly out of wack. I started to face them as I wanted to put a hydraulic on the front and have up, they're f-ed right up. I am using avid mechanicals with the V-brake style dome washer set-up and even then it took some serious facing on the fork, not to mention how small the bolt contact area is and I have to use a v-brake washer set-up under the head just to get a remotely even bolt head contact surface. The super high braze on placement is useless and not even necessary since the disc is mounted in the rear triangle, how annoying is that? Everything needed to be chased and faced too. All that said, for the price for a winter beater you can't really complain as nothing else has the features this does aside from maybe a singular peregrine which I am patiently waiting to come out with an in the triangle disc mount.. Yes this bike is a tank ad I am thinking about setting mine up for gravel road rides, though I cringe at putting the time and effort into swapping all the parts around and putting all those nice pieces I have waiting for my cross, disc build on such a POS frame. Sorry this came off as ultra grouch, I just don't people to have any illusions that the quality of this even approaches that of a surly. I forgot to mention the fork spacing was like 115mm and the drop outs were all contorted.. I muscled them the best I could and slapped a wheel in and road off with a sigh.

disclaimer: I was formerly employed as a bike mechanic. and I am fussy about my bikes.
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Old 03-15-12, 06:59 AM   #11
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I am surprised you say the quality is good. I have one of these frames and you get what you pay for. The welds on mine make a surly look high end. the disc tabs are grossly out of wack. I started to face them as I wanted to put a hydraulic on the front and have up, they're f-ed right up. I am using avid mechanicals with the V-brake style dome washer set-up and even then it took some serious facing on the fork, not to mention how small the bolt contact area is and I have to use a v-brake washer set-up under the head just to get a remotely even bolt head contact surface. The super high braze on placement is useless and not even necessary since the disc is mounted in the rear triangle, how annoying is that? Everything needed to be chased and faced too. All that said, for the price for a winter beater you can't really complain as nothing else has the features this does aside from maybe a singular peregrine which I am patiently waiting to come out with an in the triangle disc mount.. Yes this bike is a tank ad I am thinking about setting mine up for gravel road rides, though I cringe at putting the time and effort into swapping all the parts around and putting all those nice pieces I have waiting for my cross, disc build on such a POS frame. Sorry this came off as ultra grouch, I just don't people to have any illusions that the quality of this even approaches that of a surly. I forgot to mention the fork spacing was like 115mm and the drop outs were all contorted.. I muscled them the best I could and slapped a wheel in and road off with a sigh.

disclaimer: I was formerly employed as a bike mechanic. and I am fussy about my bikes.
Well, I'm glad I swapped out the fork for a Surly (as I described in the 1st post) and went with cantilever brakes. I had low expectations for the frame, but for the price of a repaint, I’m pleased with the purchase. Did I mention that this is a "budget" build? Yes, multiple times. Mine built-up quickly and has been completely reliable.

I wanted a durable winter and trail bike and I will continue to enjoy every minute of use I’ll have with the CX700.
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Old 03-15-12, 03:24 PM   #12
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Well, I'm glad I swapped out the fork for a Surly (as I described in the 1st post) and went with cantilever brakes. I had low expectations for the frame, but for the price of a repaint, I’m pleased with the purchase. Did I mention that this is a "budget" build? Yes, multiple times. Mine built-up quickly and has been completely reliable.

I wanted a durable winter and trail bike and I will continue to enjoy every minute of use I’ll have with the CX700.
I have been happy with mine too as my winter beater SS with risers. I did use it as a polo bike for a month or so as well and I really like cross geometry for this (thought I don't play any more). I had to use an old steel road skewer for the front wheel with knurling on the contact surface. Before that the the disc rubbed loudly and obnoxiously whenever I stood out of the saddle. I was pleased that a skewer fixed the issue. I have an old hybrid alloy disc fork that weighs a ton but has a sturdy disc tab and I will use that if I make it a gravel road warrior. You're right, for the price it is a unique product and I am satisfied. But if I didn't work in a shop when I got it, I wouldn't have had access to all the facing, chasing and alignment tools I required to get it assembled and the shop time would have easily made it not such a great deal to the average consumer.
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Old 03-15-12, 04:41 PM   #13
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I have been happy with mine too as my winter beater SS with risers. I did use it as a polo bike for a month or so as well and I really like cross geometry for this (thought I don't play any more). I had to use an old steel road skewer for the front wheel with knurling on the contact surface. Before that the the disc rubbed loudly and obnoxiously whenever I stood out of the saddle. I was pleased that a skewer fixed the issue. I have an old hybrid alloy disc fork that ways a tone but has a sturdy disc tab and I will use that if I make it a gravel road warrior. You're right, for the price it is a unique product and I am satisfied. But if I didn't work in a shop when I got it, I wouldn't have had access to all the facing, chasing and alignment tools I required to get it assembled and the shop time would have easily made it not such a great deal to the average consumer.
Yes, it’s also interesting how the OP, an amateur bike builder;

1. Evaluated the frame for its best application and use.
2. Swapped an OE fork with an ideal replacement before building the bike.
3. Selected the best and most cost-effective brake system for the bike
4. Built the bike quickly from my own build list
5. Enjoys the end-product frequently and completely

After hearing about your trials and tribulations with the same frame, it sounds like it is a good thing that you are “formerly employed as a bike mechanic” and not trying to do that for a living.

Sorry this came off as ultra grouch, I just don't want people to have any illusions about your skill level as a Bike Mechanic.
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Old 03-19-12, 08:36 AM   #14
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Everytime I go back to this thread, it just makes me want to build up a budget cx bike =). Btw, how are you liking those woodchippers? I'm on the fence with 46cm and not really sure if it'll be too wide.
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Old 03-19-12, 08:54 AM   #15
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Everytime I go back to this thread, it just makes me want to build up a budget cx bike =). Btw, how are you liking those woodchippers? I'm on the fence with 46cm and not really sure if it'll be too wide.
I have both sizes, and I like the 42 more than the 46. I'm 6' 0" and use a 44mm size FSA Compact on my road bike.

The 46 is too wide at the drops for normal riding. The width feels stable when crawling along on singletrack, but I don't like having my hands and arm out-wide while descending at higher speeds.

The 42 avoids this problem and still offers added stability while on single track.

I spend more time on the hoods with the Woodchipper (than on my FSA Compacts), about 75%. Riding on the hoods always feel comfortable, I like having my wrist perfectly straight and the shape of the Woodchipper allows that.

46mm wide;



42mm wide;

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Old 03-19-12, 09:14 AM   #16
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Yes, it’s also interesting how the OP, an amateur bike builder;

1. Evaluated the frame for its best application and use.
2. Swapped an OE fork with an ideal replacement before building the bike.
3. Selected the best and most cost-effective brake system for the bike
4. Built the bike quickly from my own build list
5. Enjoys the end-product frequently and completely

After hearing about your trials and tribulations with the same frame, it sounds like it is a good thing that you are “formerly employed as a bike mechanic” and not trying to do that for a living.

Sorry this came off as ultra grouch, I just don't want people to have any illusions about your skill level as a Bike Mechanic.
Ha! Fantastic. Yes formerly. I am still a bicycle mechanic, but they pay is just terrible and I am getting older. I only said formerly because I am a stickler for details, which is why I attracted many high end customers to work on their full carbon 5 figure race rigs and was frequently consulted by aspiring locals about building their steel steeds.

I wasn't trying to take a swing at you or your build. I sincerely apologize if it came off as such. I am sorry. As I said, I agree the frame serves it's purpose well.

I just wanted to throw my opinion in, since I won one also, for anyone reading this thread. I consider this Origin 8 700 cx frame to be of low quality. My opinion is that the build quality is on par with a $500-600 complete aluminum hybrid for a major brand, on which I see frequent disc tab mis-allignments, that require facing, un-faced BBs and generally low quality control.
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Old 03-22-12, 01:11 AM   #17
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I have both sizes, and I like the 42 more than the 46. I'm 6' 0" and use a 44mm size FSA Compact on my road bike.

The 46 is too wide at the drops for normal riding. The width feels stable when crawling along on singletrack, but I don't like having my hands and arm out-wide while descending at higher speeds.

The 42 avoids this problem and still offers added stability while on single track.

I spend more time on the hoods with the Woodchipper (than on my FSA Compacts), about 75%. Riding on the hoods always feel comfortable, I like having my wrist perfectly straight and the shape of the Woodchipper allows that.

46mm wide;



42mm wide;


Thanks for the pictures. I ended up ordering the 46cm so we'll see how that'll fair for my commuter.
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Old 03-22-12, 04:52 PM   #18
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I also recently built up a monstercross from a frame and fork set. It's a Gravity Zilla that I got on Bikesdirect the day after Thanksgiving for $135, delivered. They are currently available on Bike Island for $199. Had I remembered the CX700 I might have gotten one because I prefer steel to aluminum. It rides just fine, though, much better than I thought it would, the fork is steel. Bigger tires mitigate the harshness of aluminum. For road duty I'm running Pasela wire bead, 700x28. The gumwalls make them ride so plush and they roll really well. They are very large for a tire of this nominal size, as big as some 700x32s.
The build went perfectly. No problems with the disc tabs, headset installation (included), BB installation, or dropout spacing.
I was given a set of 36 spoke, 9 speed, 29er wheels with nutted axles, so that's what I used. The rear spacing on the Zilla is 135mm. The rims are very wide which contribute to the ride quality. I don't think I could run a narrower tire than I'm using.
I'm using old, 9 speed Dura Ace levers with Avid BB5 Road discs, 160/140mm rotors, front/rear. It probably would have been more prudent to go 160mm on the rear but I was intrigued by the 140, I'd never seen one. I handles the job just fine. The Zilla is disc only so I really had no choice but I would have used discs had I gotten a CX700. I wanted a disc brake bike.
I used a SRAM trekking crank with steel 48/38/28 rings and Powerspline BB and SRAM 12-26 9 speed cassette. The Dura Ace levers are for a double crank so I removed the inner ring. I'm using an old Dura Ace long cage rear derailleur and an old Ultegra triple front der. I believed it would do a better job of chain retention than the Dura Ace front der. The Zilla has a braze-on for a derailleur pulley which I'm using. I got my pulley from the hardware store for 4 bux.
I have used WTB Mountain Road bars and I really like them but I wanted to try a Woodchipper. It turned out to be a bust for me. The biggest problem was the reach, there just wasn't enough for me. The second problem was the positioning of the brake levers. I could not brake from the drops as hard as I could with the WTBs. I only ride the drops. But, I ended up using neither the Woodchipper or the WTB. I ended up using a Nashbar moustache bar in the upside down, drop position, looks good. It is as wide as the WTB but the "drops" are much longer, like the Woodchipper. The reach of the Nashbar is much longer than either of the other bars and I needed that. The Nashbar feels very much like the WTB from the drops, but better ergos. The thumbs are under the bar and I feel "hooked in", confident of my grip. BTW, the Nashbar is made of steel which I think has it's benefit on the dirt and is frequently on sale for $9.99. The Woodchipper is reasonable at $38. I already had a WTB but the cheapest price I saw while shopping for the Woodchipper was $80. It should be called the WTF bar.
I spent about $400 total on the build and other people estimate that it weighs about 25lbs.
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Old 03-22-12, 08:10 PM   #19
GeoKrpan
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Pics of Zilla

With clip-on Aviner fenders.






Nashbar moustache bars.




Profile 135mm, -20 degree stem.




140mm rear rotor.




Hardware store pulley.

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Old 04-11-12, 08:30 PM   #20
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-GeoKrpan, your Zilla turned out pretty rad

Last edited by ambulance_andy; 04-11-12 at 08:31 PM. Reason: error
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Old 04-12-12, 04:11 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambulance_andy View Post
-GeoKrpan, your Zilla turned out pretty rad
Agreed, I like it.
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Old 01-12-13, 07:47 AM   #22
Bekologist
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I wanted to resurrect this thread, as i am a front derailleur away from a Origin 8 CX700 monster cross bike build in the garage. Pics shortly.
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Old 01-12-13, 08:28 PM   #23
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Egads. Riding a monstercross bike is amazing.

Built this up and rode it for the first time today. 2.0" in the back, 2.1" in the front.

Wow.

This bike practically floats, or seems to. I haven't ridden a 29'er in a while, and forgot how flow-ey they are. I'm used to riding 35c cyclocross and commuting tires, and those feel pretty plush compared to the road bike. This monstercross bike truly rides like a cadillac.

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Old 01-26-13, 06:13 PM   #24
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Just found this thread while looking for ideas on building a CX bike with disc brakes. Thanks for the info and photos.
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Old 02-27-13, 08:12 PM   #25
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What is the build quality like on this frame? I seem to see reviews go all over the place. I just picked one up myself, but I was kinda in a rush and didn't get to really really check out the quality before leaving the shop.

Did you all have to face surfaces and chase threads before mounting parts or was it good to go? How about alignment? I really look forward to building this, but I am still gathering parts.
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