Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) 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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

New Build Newbie

Old 07-12-20, 09:54 AM
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New Build Newbie

I've recently had the "brilliant" idea to build a gravel/commuter from the ground up and I'm looking for advice on kind of where to begin.

The Goal: Build a gravel/commuter bike from the ground up, while trying to minimize cost, reduce costly mistakes and to have fun along the way. The vision I have in my mind is something similar to the Kona Sutra. The bike would be used primarily on paved surfaces, to potentially go long distance, and to ride on the odd dirt/gravel road.

Personal Preferences: In terms of geometry, I would be leaning towards a balance of comfort/speed. I'm thinking an aluminum frame and would prefer internal routing along with disc mounts. For the wheels I'm not sure if I'm going to go 700 or 650b as I'm still reading on on the pros and cons of those. I will be going with drop bars, looking at balance of comfort/speed again. Looking to run 1x ring up front and large cassette in the rear. I'll be looking to install fenders as well as a rear rack for panniers.

Experience: Yes I do have some experience working on bikes! I have a 2002 Trek XC that I upgraded the entire drive-train from an 8-speed to a 9 in 2004. I also installed a set of new brakes and leavers at that time and replaced the crank and BB. I upgraded and replaced the fork in 2003 as well. All of this work I did myself and during these projects I acquired numerous tools needed for working on bikes. I still have, and ride, this bike to this day. However, it seems somethings have changed over the years, so I may be in over my head on certain things...

Right now I've been looking at finding a source for frames (is that even the right place to start?). I've seen numerous recommendations for places in China that make carbon fiber frames. However I feel that may be more than I need. I'm hoping I can source an inexpensive aluminum frame from somewhere in Canada (to avoid getting ravaged by duty).

Thank you in advance to this community and looking forward to the support. I'll be sure to document this journey of mine as things progress as well!
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Old 07-12-20, 12:26 PM
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Makes sense to start with the frame since that will dictate wheels and brakes.

if you will use this primarily for paved riding with short segments on the odd gravel road, perhaps its best to use 700c wheels and some wider road tires. Build around what you will use the bike for 90% of the time instead of 10% of the time.

My ride today was 35mi of paved roads and 5mi of gravel roads. This time of years the gravel roads are tightly packed down for the most part, so my 31mm wide tires were plenty for the couple of short segments of gravel.
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Old 07-12-20, 07:07 PM
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Just FYI, you are unlikely to save money compared to purchasing a complete bike. Frame also will dictate bottom bracket, crank choice, brake mount type, headset and possibly wheels you can use (650b or 700c or both, axle diameter and type). You also may need to purchase a fork separately depending.
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Old 07-12-20, 09:34 PM
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Two thoughts, from lots of experience:
1) Finding the right frame is paramount, and difficult at the right price.
2) 700c
2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2
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Old 07-12-20, 11:33 PM
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I'm almost done with the project from a cool(in my opinion) mtb frame for a great price. Figured I would build a nice, inexpensive hardtail to run around on. Ok. I then decided I needed nice stuff on here, nice 1x9 here, well and I need nice wheels......holy crap, I could bought 2 bikes for what this bike is costing me....lessons learned I guess. Never again on a mountain bike build.
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