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

SwissCross gravel project

Old 05-10-23, 04:22 PM
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somebikeguy 
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SwissCross gravel project

Hey all

I bought a cool Ritchey SwissCross that I'm excited to build into a multi-road bike. I'm going to post my progress here and ask a lot of questions.

The frame is from 2013 and a cantilever brake model, which I wanted for the simplicity of the setup.




I've started lacing up some Pacenti Forza Classic 700c 20mm internal dim wheels to Bitex hubs. 32h 3x in the back, 28h 2x up front.




The next order of business is to figure out how wide a tire I can fit. The fork itself has vast clearance, over 50mm. However the brake pads hit the fork when open and leave only ~32mm. I am new to cantilever brakes. Is this always the case or do some brake/pad combos allow the pad to clear the fork? I've been warned of judder with the cantis on the carbon fork and have been considering a mini-v brake from Paul Mini Moto or similar. It's not immediately clear to me if these would clear the fork?



At the rear its the chainstay that is the limiting factor. Its tricky to measure on account of the curvature of the tire and the slightly different geometry of each tire's aspect ratio. Ritchey say 38mm fits. I'd be nice to get 40mm. But I'm leaning to running a 43mm Gravelking SS+ up front and a 38mm at the rear.

Curious to hear from anyone who has worked on a similar frame or thoughts on tires in general!
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Old 05-10-23, 04:39 PM
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Cool frame! I always lusted after a SwissCross when I was still CX racer. It should make a pretty capable multi-surface machine. I look forward to following your progress.

If you don't need to take the front wheel off very often, you can get away with using a larger tire, and just understand that you will need to re-set the brake pads every time. If you need to take the front wheel off with any regularity, you're stuck with whatever you can squeeze between the pads. Deflating the tire might also be an option to allow a wider tire to pass.

On that width rim, tires are likely going to be true to size, or maybe a little bit under the claimed width. It's one of those things you're just going to have to try.
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Old 05-10-23, 05:04 PM
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Thanks! I figure there may be some trial and error here.

Regarding the front: should I expect any brake (ie: paul minimoto) to not have its pads clear the fork? I'm looking at some pics here and it looks like the pads are close but do still hit the fork. Hard to say tho. https://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=287669
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Old 05-11-23, 05:23 AM
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I have a newer Swiss Cross with disc brakes. I have owned a number of nice steel framed bikes over the years, but the Swiss Cross is the nicest riding bike of them all. Good luck with your project.

P.S. I hope to never own another bike with cantilever brakes. I am convinced their purpose was not to stop the bike, but to merely squeal loudly so that people could jump out of your way.
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Old 05-11-23, 02:54 PM
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I actually sought the canti model in the interest of simplicity, flexibility of levers, ease of building wheels. I have an Ellsworth with XTR v-brakes and they are great. Have never owned a canti brake bike. I think the plan for this bike is at minimum to use a paul minimoto front. Ill give the cantis a try at the rear but could go the same way there too.
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Old 05-11-23, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Dino_Sore
I have a newer Swiss Cross with disc brakes. I have owned a number of nice steel framed bikes over the years, but the Swiss Cross is the nicest riding bike of them all. Good luck with your project.

P.S. I hope to never own another bike with cantilever brakes. I am convinced their purpose was not to stop the bike, but to merely squeal loudly so that people could jump out of your way.
"I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder." - Steven Wright
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Old 05-11-23, 06:48 PM
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Having owned this frameset, I can tell you that any brake you buy will have the brake pads overlap the inside of the fork. Any sufficiently nice brake should come with cartridge pads, which will get you a bit more clearance - just a couple of mm, but the pads will certainly clear a 33 mm cyclocross racing tire. But yeah, a fully inflated 38 mm tire will be a tight squeeze through the brake pads. You can probably force it through, deflating it will help. You will be able to make it work one way or another, I’ve done it myself. As I mentioned in another thread, I strongly advise a mini-V brake over a cantilever, and the good ones come with cartridge pads. Anyway. I loved my canti Swiss Cross. It’s the best-riding bike I’ve ever owned. It has character for days. But it does have its fair share of… let’s not say flaws, let’s say “quirks.” The aforementioned fork shudder issue is one of them. With the brake pad clearance, you’ve found another. You’re going to find more. Enjoy!
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Old 05-11-23, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by somebikeguy
I actually sought the canti model in the interest of simplicity, flexibility of levers, ease of building wheels. I have an Ellsworth with XTR v-brakes and they are great. Have never owned a canti brake bike. I think the plan for this bike is at minimum to use a paul minimoto front. Iíll give the cantis a try at the rear but could go the same way there too.
YouĎll need to buy a separate clamp-on cable stop to use a mini-V in the back. Origin8 makes a good one. If you go with a cantilever, use a bit of cable liner (skinny plastic tubing) over the the part of the brake cable that passes through the cable guide. An in-line barrel adjuster is also a good idea, if the canti brake you choose doesnít have one built in; most donít.
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Old 05-11-23, 09:54 PM
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I ride a Swiss Cross V2. I realize they are different bikes but maybe they have a lot in common.

On Stan's Crest rims (23mm inner) my 38mm Gravelking SS have acres of clearance. I think my next tires will be 42/43 and I'm not worried about them fitting.

For brakes, I don't think it's mandatory that tires be inflated fully to install the wheel. You've got 20mm rims and Gravelkings, is it safe to assume you're going to be running tubeless? If so, flats will be very few and far between. Once you get the wheel on the bike, it can stay there all season. My old Voodoo had Canti's and that's what I did, if I needed the wheel off, drop it to 20psi and it's not an issue.

I personally felt that my canti's were great. Plenty of stopping power. Easy to work on, but I grew up in the 80's. I used the CX style brakes, and only very occasionally hit myself with them. As for shudder, it happened to me with a steel fork. It's a non-issue at speed but happens at slow speeds like when you're poking your way down a rock garden or some other similar situation that the bike is poorly suited (and fun) to be riding. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 05-12-23, 05:14 AM
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Thanks for the feedback guys. These comments lead me further down the Mini-V at front and Canti out back path.

Visually, I'd love to tack closer to the 90's original and plan to go all-polished in lieu of black parts. I am still new to IS headsets but believe I can replace the black upper cap & cup with the cantilever brake cable stop with this item. I believe the front V-brake does not require the hanger, correct?
https://ritcheylogic.com/bike/headse...-upper-headset

I ordered a 38mm Gravelking SS+ for the rear and a 43mm for the front. Yes I will certainly be running tubeless.
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Old 05-12-23, 06:18 AM
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Bike came with flared Ritchey Venturemax bars. https://ritcheylogic.com/bike/handle...emax-handlebar

I like these in principal but boy do they wonk the brifters. Drivetrain is not decided yet but I'm leaning to sticking with the 9x2 the bike came with, likely changing cranks and chainrings for something silver and geared to my liking. I've been poking about at Gevenalle's CX and Audax offerings and its not immediately clear to me if the flared bars would play to the strengths or ergonomic weaknesses of those. Also not opposed to bar-end shifting.

Audax for ref - https://www.gevenalle.com/product/audax/


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Old 05-12-23, 11:30 AM
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Mount the wheel(s) with tire flat, then pump up the tire. Bypass worrying about clearance thru the brake pads. Any rim you have will be narrower than those pads and a flat tire can just be wiggled thru the pad clearance.
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Old 05-12-23, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts
I ride a Swiss Cross V2. I realize they are different bikes but maybe they have a lot in common.
I wouldnít necessarily assume this. Iím sure they have a very similar ride feel and handling. That said, they made some fairly significant alterations to the geometry of the V2 canti bike. They might have changed the shaping and butting of the tubes and fork by enough to affect a lot of the complaints some people had about the flex in the frameset. Or maybe not! Unfortunately thereís not a lot of info out there on the V2 canti bike. From photos, though, the fork legs are clearly beefier than those on the V1 and this could reduce the brake chatter - itís not only a low speed problem on the V1 bike! Otherwise, the tubes look similar, unlike the V2 disc bike which has noticeably larger seatstays. So who knows?

Basically there are 3.5 versions of the Swiss Cross out there: 1) V1 canti 1.5) V1 disc 2) V2 canti and 3) V2 disc. Weirdly, the two V1 bikes are probably the most comparable despite the different brake systems, as the geometry is identical. The V2 bikes are distinct both from the earlier generation and from each other.
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Old 05-12-23, 12:06 PM
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Is it definitively obvious which version mine is? I presume its V2 Canti? V1 being OG 90s... ?
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Old 05-12-23, 04:37 PM
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No, Iím only referring to the 2010ís-20ís version. The 90ís Swiss Cross isnít usually referred to as V1, V2 etc. You have a V1.
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Old 05-12-23, 04:41 PM
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Gotcha. So the only one with a steel fork was presumably the original 90's version. Do those ever surface? I think they are uber cool.
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Old 05-12-23, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by somebikeguy
Gotcha. So the only one with a steel fork was presumably the original 90's version. Do those ever surface? I think they are uber cool.
I saw one in person about 4 years ago. This guy was using it as his commuting bike. So theyíre out there. I was pretty impressed. I think he had some idea that it was special, Iím not sure he realizes just how special.
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Old 05-13-23, 05:19 AM
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Curious to get feedback from anyone who has used the Gevenalle CX or Audax. My road bike is ooolld and has downtube friction shifters so non-brifting is "baked in" to my mindset. I do love how friction lets you experiment with the derailleur and cassette - on my 1969 Bottechhia I'm running an 8sp XTR cassette 12-32t, an 80's Dura-Ace short cage rear and a Suntour powershifter and it handles the whole range like butter.

https://www.cxmagazine.com/gevenalle...roshift-levers
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Old 05-13-23, 10:13 AM
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I havenít used Genevalle. I know they use Microshift shifters. I have used Michrshift bar end shifters as well as their thumbies on different bikes.

They are crisp and precise. On my old Voodoo I mentioned upthread, I used their bar end shifters for 1x10. They were pretty good. I donít recall ever having any issues and I ran them indexed. I never used friction.

The Genevalle are ugly but I smacked my thigh on my shifter kind of a lot with the bar end style. I also found spots off road where I couldnít shift. I should have gotten them back then, in retrospect.

The only downside is that you are basically stuck with their levers. Thatís a pretty minor problem though.

If I had a mechanical shifting gravel bike, Iíd get their hydro lever setup before Shimano or SRAM for sure.
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Old 05-13-23, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by somebikeguy
Curious to get feedback from anyone who has used the Gevenalle CX or Audax. My road bike is ooolld and has downtube friction shifters so non-brifting is "baked in" to my mindset. I do love how friction lets you experiment with the derailleur and cassette - on my 1969 Bottechhia I'm running an 8sp XTR cassette 12-32t, an 80's Dura-Ace short cage rear and a Suntour powershifter and it handles the whole range like butter.

https://www.cxmagazine.com/gevenalle...roshift-levers
I used Gevenalle shifters on a gravel bike for 5 years. Actually 2 bikes- I chose to use them for a year on a new build too. Loved em.
They are quirky and the exposed cable is not the most convenient thing when combined with a handlebar bag, but yeah - I loved em.

The hood shape fit my hand well and my hands are large enough that I could shift from the hoods or in the drops. They are definitely quirky.
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Old 05-15-23, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by somebikeguy


The next order of business is to figure out how wide a tire I can fit. The fork itself has vast clearance, over 50mm. However the brake pads hit the fork when open and leave only ~32mm. I am new to cantilever brakes. Is this always the case or do some brake/pad combos allow the pad to clear the fork? I've been warned of judder with the cantis on the carbon fork and have been considering a mini-v brake from Paul Mini Moto or similar. It's not immediately clear to me if these would clear the fork?



Curious to hear from anyone who has worked on a similar frame or thoughts on tires in general!
You'll be able to run a wider tire with cantilevers vs mini-v's.

If you run the right cable hanger, and pads you won't get judder with canti's.

If you run koolstop thin lines you'll get back some width but the will still be inside the fork.
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Old 05-15-23, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by somebikeguy
Thanks! I figure there may be some trial and error here.

Regarding the front: should I expect any brake (ie: paul minimoto) to not have its pads clear the fork? I'm looking at some pics here and it looks like the pads are close but do still hit the fork. Hard to say tho. https://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=287669


Those are koolstop carbon pads on mini-motos and they do not clear the fork
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Old 05-15-23, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by grolby
YouĎll need to buy a separate clamp-on cable stop to use a mini-V in the back. Origin8 makes a good one. If you go with a cantilever, use a bit of cable liner (skinny plastic tubing) over the the part of the brake cable that passes through the cable guide. An in-line barrel adjuster is also a good idea, if the canti brake you choose doesnít have one built in; most donít.
Why would he need to add a cable stop to the bike when the cable stop is in the brakes on V / miniV.
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Old 05-15-23, 10:07 AM
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Do I have the front derailleur cable routed and attached correctly? I didn't get a good enough "before" photo to know. For some reason seems funny to 'cross over' the downtube, maybe I'm over thinking it?

Ultimately I'd like to run the front friction so perhaps this is moot but: is it common to have no barrel adjuster on the front?



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Old 05-15-23, 11:29 AM
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Routing the cable across the downtube helps reduce housing rub on the head tube. When the left housing is attached to a cable stop on the left side of the downtube, there will always be cable rub against the head tube, assuming the housing is cut to proper length.
If its routed to the right side of the head tube, the housing wont touch the head tube. No paint wear.
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