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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 : "Unbround Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Bike build, what frame?

Old 07-30-21, 01:53 PM
  #1  
chiefsilverback
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Bike build, what frame?

Earlier this year I completed a drop bar 1x conversion my Cannondale Quick 4 'hybrid' and it's made for quite a nice gravel bike for my morning rides on road/gravel/trail here in southern NH. Having just completed a 150 bike packing trip on it over the border in VT, with ~15,000' of climbing and descending, and worn through both front and rear V brake pads due to all the dirt and grime, and thinking about options to add at least a front disc, I realized that my rims are also nearing the end of their lives.

This leaves me with three options:

1. Replace my QR, rim brake rims and carry on
2. Go for a brake 'mullet', with a new fork, and new rims
3. New bike

I'm leaning toward option 3, knowing I've already got the drivetrain, bars, stem, and saddle, so I need frame, fork, wheels and brakes, and maybe BB depending on frame.

So with that said any recommendations for a gravel frameset and fork, sub $1000, 45 - 50mm tire clearance on a 700c, lots of bosses and mounting points, that will be good for 30 - 40 mile morning rides and not feel too out of place fully loaded on a multi-day bike packing trip?

A few options I'm considering:

Kona Sutra ULTD - might be a bit too MTB for what I want, but the Sutra LTD isn't available as a frameset anymore
State Bicycles 6061 All Road - only has clearance for 45mm 700c, but can clear 2.1" 650b, so maybe two wheelsets and use the squidgy, grippy 650b for bike packing
Nordest Albarda/Super Albarda - well reviewed, available with either steel or carbon fork

Anybody have any experience with any of these, or recommendations based on what you've built/ridden?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-30-21, 02:14 PM
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https://allcitycycles.com/bikes/gorilla_monsoon_grx This is also sold as frame and fork for $950. Clearance for 700X42 but you could go wider with 650b. Whatever you get, look for current standards- flat mounts and thru axle 12X100 and 12X142.

Last edited by shelbyfv; 07-30-21 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 07-30-21, 02:39 PM
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Soma Double Cross is another option. Steel, disc, frame with a matching with a fork is about $700. I like the build quality of my Soma Smoothie.

https://www.somafabshop.com/shop/pro...6?category=990
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Old 07-30-21, 04:12 PM
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If you're generally a 51/52cm, the BlackMtnCycles MonsterCross disc is available in the 47cm.
Frame reach is like a 51/52cm with a decent stack height.

Those build up to around 22/23lb with mid-level components.

Quite a few build examples and discussion at The Paceline Forum.
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Old 07-30-21, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
If you're generally a 51/52cm, the BlackMtnCycles MonsterCross disc is available in the 47cm.
Frame reach is like a 51/52cm with a decent stack height.

Those build up to around 22/23lb with mid-level components.

Quite a few build examples and discussion at The Paceline Forum.
I've got 700x50s on my MCD. I love the bike.
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Old 07-30-21, 07:12 PM
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The AllCity is a decent option and the Jamis steel Renegade if you can get a frame these days. For a full bike you can get a low-end Salsa Journeyman/Journeyer with 9-speed Sora for ~$1,000 and they will be available from Salsa in August (aluminum frame).
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Old 07-31-21, 03:30 AM
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chiefsilverback So if you’re sub $1k for frameset, what’s the +$ you’re budgeting for disc wheels and tires? Are you going for an all-in in the $1,500 range? If so, there are definitely complete bike options which probably make more sense.

For example the Breezer Radar Expert checks all the boxes— big 29x2.1 tire capacity, full packing mounts— and expands your gear range to 2x9, for $1.3k.

Alternately, the Breezer Doppler Pro also checks all those same boxes, but ups the ante to $1.5k by adding 650b wheels, wide range 2x10 gearing, and more road touring type geometry (compared to the Radar’s adventure geo).

If by chance you’re 10spd on the Quick, you could port over your drop bars and brifters to the $949 flat bar Breezer Radar Cafe. It’s a 1x10, so maybe only makes sense to the extent you can save the full $350 compared to Radar Expert (whose 2x9 drivetrain seems better suited to mixed road/bikepacking duty).

I’m a big Breezer fan; Joe Breeze knows how to design bikes that handle great and the spec works perfectly with the design. I have two of them myself, each favorites in my stable.

Adrenaline in Orange county has ‘em:

https://www.adrenalinebikes.com/stor...ategoryID=5924
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Old 07-31-21, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
If you're generally a 51/52cm, the BlackMtnCycles MonsterCross disc is available in the 47cm.
Frame reach is like a 51/52cm with a decent stack height.

Those build up to around 22/23lb with mid-level components.

Quite a few build examples and discussion at The Paceline Forum.
Mike Varley has recently updated his MCD section. Framesets will not be available until next summer. I might just wait, myself. However, I too am tempted by the ULTD, but share the exact same concern as you.
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Old 07-31-21, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
chiefsilverback So if you’re sub $1k for frameset, what’s the +$ you’re budgeting for disc wheels and tires? Are you going for an all-in in the $1,500 range? If so, there are definitely complete bike options which probably make more sense.

For example the Breezer Radar Expert checks all the boxes— big 29x2.1 tire capacity, full packing mounts— and expands your gear range to 2x9, for $1.3k.

Alternately, the Breezer Doppler Pro also checks all those same boxes, but ups the ante to $1.5k by adding 650b wheels, wide range 2x10 gearing, and more road touring type geometry (compared to the Radar’s adventure geo).

If by chance you’re 10spd on the Quick, you could port over your drop bars and brifters to the $949 flat bar Breezer Radar Cafe. It’s a 1x10, so maybe only makes sense to the extent you can save the full $350 compared to Radar Expert (whose 2x9 drivetrain seems better suited to mixed road/bikepacking duty).

I’m a big Breezer fan; Joe Breeze knows how to design bikes that handle great and the spec works perfectly with the design. I have two of them myself, each favorites in my stable.

Adrenaline in Orange county has ‘em:

https://www.adrenalinebikes.com/stor...ategoryID=5924

interestingly enough I will probably be selling my Radar Pro frame and crankset(700c wtb wheels too, with rotors)
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Old 07-31-21, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
chiefsilverback So if you’re sub $1k for frameset, what’s the +$ you’re budgeting for disc wheels and tires?
I put some WTB Byways on my bike when I converted, and I’m thinking maybe a set of Hunts for wheels, with TRP Spyre brakes.
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Old 07-31-21, 08:18 PM
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chiefsilverback,

What frame size do you generally fit?
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Old 08-01-21, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by chiefsilverback View Post
I put some WTB Byways on my bike when I converted, and I’m thinking maybe a set of Hunts for wheels, with TRP Spyre brakes.
For about the same price as the entry level Hunts you can get Easton EA70s or Shimano GRX wheels which are more durable and both have better hubs. Both come with straigt pull spokes.
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Old 08-01-21, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
If

Those build up to around 22/23lb with mid-level components.
I'd doubt you'd be able to get it that light. My Smoothie road, with 19mm wide road rims and 28mm tires weighs 22.5 lbs. A gravel bike with a 25mm wide rim and 40+mm tires is likely to be 25 lbs at it's lightest. Steel can be made to be light, a gravel version won't be.
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Old 08-01-21, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
chiefsilverback,

What frame size do you generally fit?
My current Cannonstein (2016 Quick 4) is a medium, which in retrospect was too small, but I was a newbie rider at the time and fell into the trap of buying a bike that was on sale and not necessarily the bike that was the right size for me. I just got an Orbea Oiz TR MTB in a size large which at 5'10 feels just about right.
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Old 08-01-21, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
expands your gear range to 2x9
I made a conscious decision to go 1 x 10. I run Microsoft Advent X with the 11 - 48 cassette and then I have two chain rings. 99% of the time I use a 42T, but when I'm going bikepacking I swap it to a 34T.
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Old 08-01-21, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
For a full bike you can get a low-end Salsa Journeyman/Journeyer with 9-speed Sora for ~$1,000
The Sora is $1200 now. I thought about getting the Claris for $950 and putting my drivetrain on it, but it has an aluminium fork, and the 700c rims are i19 and I was planning to go i25.
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Old 08-01-21, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I'd doubt you'd be able to get it that light. My Smoothie road, with 19mm wide road rims and 28mm tires weighs 22.5 lbs. A gravel bike with a 25mm wide rim and 40+mm tires is likely to be 25 lbs at it's lightest. Steel can be made to be light, a gravel version won't be.
My 65cm Black Mountain frame that had 2000g wheels, 40mm tires with tubes, 105 level drivetrain, and aluminum cockpit weighed right at 25#.
I could very much see a 52cm size with some decent but not expensive wheels weighing 23#.
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Old 08-01-21, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by chiefsilverback View Post
I made a conscious decision to go 1 x 10. I run Microsoft Advent X with the 11 - 48 cassette and then I have two chain rings. 99% of the time I use a 42T, but when I'm going bikepacking I swap it to a 34T.
it makes more sense for you to change out the ring in anticipation of need than to shift a derailleur at the time of need? Ok.
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Old 08-02-21, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by chiefsilverback View Post
I made a conscious decision to go 1 x 10. I run Microsoft Advent X with the 11 - 48 cassette and then I have two chain rings. 99% of the time I use a 42T, but when I'm going bikepacking I swap it to a 34T.
You'll see some opinions on changing out chainrings. I'm here to affirm for you that you've chosen the path of last resistance; in other words, the easiest way to rapidly and simply change the range of the drivetrain as it suits the ride. I run a 10-42 cassette (11-speed) with a 46t chainring, but there's a 42t on standby for hillier/steeper courses. It takes me about 15 minutes to swap them, including a good clean up around the BB and slapping on the proper length chain.

Last edited by Badger6; 08-03-21 at 01:57 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-02-21, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I'd doubt you'd be able to get it that light. My Smoothie road, with 19mm wide road rims and 28mm tires weighs 22.5 lbs. A gravel bike with a 25mm wide rim and 40+mm tires is likely to be 25 lbs at it's lightest. Steel can be made to be light, a gravel version won't be.
Care to further elaborate on how it get's so heavy? Because my primary gravel rig has a wheel/tire combo very similar to that and it is 9kg dry, including pedals and cages. The original wheelset (22mm wide), with the same tires, weighed 1.2kg more. Granted it has a carbon frame, but even if it was made of steel, I can't see adding on 5+ more pounds to the current build. Or is this frame a boat anchor? What am I missing?
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Old 08-02-21, 04:44 AM
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FWIW my 55cm Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc V1 weighs in at 19lb 10z with 38mm tires and tubes (and pedals). A friend's V2 came in at 20 lbs 8 oz.

Also, a +1 on Breezer; I've had one since 93 and the smoothness is real.
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Old 08-02-21, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
Care to further elaborate on how it get's so heavy? Because my primary gravel rig has a wheel/tire combo very similar to that and it is 9kg dry, including pedals and cages. The original wheelset (22mm wide), with the same tires, weighed 1.2kg more. Granted it has a carbon frame, but even if it was made of steel, I can't see adding on 5+ more pounds to the current build. Or is this frame a boat anchor? What am I missing?
My Soma, like a lot of road racing geometry frames, has 40cm long chainstays, my gravel bike (and others) have 42.5 or so, so right there you've got some increased frame weight,. My wheels are old school narrower 19mm wide rim brake rims, my gravel rims are 25mm, more metal, more weight. 28mm slick road tire is going to be lighter than a semi-knobby 43mmm tire. Tubes are heavier as well. It all adds up, maybe not 5 lbs, but I didn't say that, I said maybe 3 lbs to 25 + or so,
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Old 08-02-21, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
it makes more sense for you to change out the ring in anticipation of need than to shift a derailleur at the time of need? Ok.
For a couple of bikepacking trips each year I need the 34T, for all my other riding I use the 42T, I know this because I spent quite a lot of time analyzing what gears I was using for all of my normal riding when the bike was still 3x9, comparing gear ratios for different cassette/chainring combos and landed on what I now have.

I have to put rack/bags etc... when I'm getting ready for a bike packing trip so it isn't that much hassle to swap the chainring, grease the bearings etc...
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Old 08-02-21, 05:36 PM
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The Jamis Renegade S1 frameset should also be on your list if you want steel. Very compliant frame and fork without being too flexy, 50c tire clearance, good geometry (for me), mount points everywhere, and practical things like external cables, and a threaded T47 BB for ease of maintenance from hard miles.

The Brother Mehteh is another really solid looking option that may have better availability too, despite being UK based.
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Old 08-02-21, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by chiefsilverback View Post
For a couple of bikepacking trips each year I need the 34T, for all my other riding I use the 42T, I know this because I spent quite a lot of time analyzing what gears I was using for all of my normal riding when the bike was still 3x9, comparing gear ratios for different cassette/chainring combos and landed on what I now have.

I have to put rack/bags etc... when I'm getting ready for a bike packing trip so it isn't that much hassle to swap the chainring, grease the bearings etc...
Ok. I’m glad you’ve got it figured out.
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