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Building a Bike. Bring on your tips! :)

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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.

Building a Bike. Bring on your tips! :)

Old 10-07-11, 03:24 PM
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Building a Bike. Bring on your tips! :)

Hi Folks,
Welp, I'm building my firs bike since I stopped wrenching at the bike shop in 1984. Yeah, a lot has changed. I'm building up a Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie frame with a combination of Sram Force and a variety of upgrades. Anyhow, wondering if anyone would like to chime in with some advice.

1. I'd like to get a soup-to-nuts kit with everything from detailers to bar tape. Cyclecrossworld.com was the first place I found. I like the group but plan on upgrading to Avid Ultimate brakes and Red Shifters. I'm cool with everything else. Here's a link: https://www.cyclocrossworld.com/sram-...d-pro-kit.html

Anybody know if this is a decent deal? Or is there a better, less expensive source for a full kit somewhere? I've Googled a bit and found alternatives, but would like to get the first-hand story

2. Shifters, Headsets / Stems, BB's... have changed a lot since the last bike I built. Anybody know of any good resources to upgrade my skills / knowledge / tools — and knock the rust off the stuff that hasn't chaged?

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by stuntmatt; 10-07-11 at 03:25 PM. Reason: fixing
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Old 10-07-11, 04:06 PM
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Cyclocrossworld seems expensive to me. A Force group at ribble.co.uk for example is like $900. It's not a cross group, but I would think that buying your stuff from ribble and swapping out as needed is going to save you a lot.
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Old 10-07-11, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Commodus
Cyclocrossworld seems expensive to me. A Force group at ribble.co.uk for example is like $900. It's not a cross group, but I would think that buying your stuff from ribble and swapping out as needed is going to save you a lot.
The Ribble gruppo doesn't include wheels, tires, tubes, handlebar, bar tape and stem which makes the Cyclocrossworld kit look a lot better. Ribble still probably comes out cheaper.

As to question 2, I recommend Lennard Zinn's "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" The third edition has cyclocross specific tips where appropriate.
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Old 10-07-11, 06:00 PM
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Another online option for full build kits to compare with is excel sports;
https://www.excelsports.com/main.asp?...ajor=8&minor=2
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Old 10-07-11, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
The Ribble gruppo doesn't include wheels, tires, tubes, handlebar, bar tape and stem which makes the Cyclocrossworld kit look a lot better. Ribble still probably comes out cheaper.

As to question 2, I recommend Lennard Zinn's "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" The third edition has cyclocross specific tips where appropriate.
Oh wow I didn't even notice that.

Yeah that's not a bad deal at all then.
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Old 10-08-11, 04:33 PM
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I have read where some folks have purchased damaged carbon frames from bikesdirect for ridiculous prices just for the grouppo. Something to think about.
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Old 10-08-11, 04:42 PM
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Top-mounts. The kind that clamp at the center of the bars (i.e. right next to the stem).
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Old 10-08-11, 07:28 PM
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I'd love to have more options for cranks, but it seems like options are restricted by chain ring size. What is the ideal ring size for cross anyway? (if there's such a thing).
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Old 10-08-11, 11:25 PM
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If you get a compact double, you'll be able to use 34T, 36T or 38T rings (along with 46T, 48T or 50T big rings if you want that). The small rings are cheap, so you can probably have all three options available for any given course if you want them.

Ideal ring size depends on how strong you are and whether you like to mash or spin. I use a 36T ring, because I'm not fast enough to spin out the 36-12 gear on anything short of a long stretch of downhill pavement (in which case I'd probably be coasting to recover anyway), and I like to have a low gear available. If you're stronger, a bigger ring will be better for accelerating through the low end of your gear range. If you use a double, you're unlikely to ever need anything bigger than 48T and 46T is sufficient is most cases. I went to a 1x10 setup because I never used my 46T ring.
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Old 10-09-11, 10:50 AM
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I've used two strategies that have worked well for me.

The first strategy is to buy the frameset and purchase a complete, new, donor bike;

When I built my Soma Double Cross, I struck gold, finding a new 2007 Felt F1X Cyclocross bike on eBay to be used as a parts donor. The seller was a bike shop purging NOS. The price was right at $820.00 plus shipping. I sold the frameset on eBay and recovered 2/3 of the initial cost.

Finding a Sram kitted CX bike might be a challenge, but it could be worth a search. You should find something like this: https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._pro_rival.htm

Then sell the frameset for $350 and the wheels for $150 and you have everything needed for your build for $500.

The second strategy is to slowly comb through ebay for the parts needed. It can take weeks to find the low-starting-bid offers that provide a great price. I just finished this bike using the ebay sourcing strategy;

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Old 10-09-11, 12:20 PM
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Thanks. I'm 6'3" 230lbs. I can generate lots of watts. My default is "mashing" but am trying to smooth out my pedal cycle and spin a little more. Seems like to get a Red or Durace crank you need to add a bunch more teeth. Being that i'm going to beat them up. It probably doesn't make a ton of sense to invest the extra $$$ anyway.
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Old 10-09-11, 12:23 PM
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That's a great strategy. The only bike I've seen with the mix I want is waayyyy over budget for me — at least for a donor. BUT, I'm buying a bike for my daughter to get started on — Bikes Direct has great options for sure. Thanks.
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Old 10-10-11, 08:12 AM
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If you go through your local shop they can get a custom complete build kit through QBP where you can pick out each and every part and get exactly what you want. Many shops will even do some sort of price matching to keep the cost competitive.
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Old 10-10-11, 11:56 AM
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I probably default to gear-mashing, but I wouldn't call myself overly strong, and I run a 46T single up front with 11-26 in back. I dig it because it forces me to crush it on the hills, which I probably wouldn't do (especially by the last lap) if I had an easier option. Anything you can't ride in a 46-26 is a runup. Problem solved!

If you're gonna go single up front, I personally would strongly recommend the Paul chainguide--45g of extra weight is totally worth it to avoid chain drop in the granny gear (i.e. at the worst possible time).

As far as doing a soup-to-nuts kit--have you thought about asking your LBS if they'll work with you on a build and cut you a deal, since you're buying a whole mess of stuff from them? My buddy went that route and was able to save a few hundred bucks while still getting the LBS-supporting warm fuzzies. Not sure if they'd be able to compete with the big guns online, but it might be worth asking.
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Old 10-20-11, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by igknighted
If you go through your local shop they can get a custom complete build kit through QBP where you can pick out each and every part and get exactly what you want. Many shops will even do some sort of price matching to keep the cost competitive.
Welp, I'm pursuing this option. I have a local shop I really like and I'm taking a shot at specing my bike through them. Looks like the pricing will be a couple bucks cheeper but becomes a push when you figure in tax. But, I feel good about the decision — even if it costs a couple of more bucks. I'm going to crack open a new thread to track the build. Thanks everybody for your help.
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Old 10-21-11, 01:03 AM
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FWIW , with cassettes starting at 12t, you don't need a big ring,
particularly riding on soft turf..

46 should be fine, and a 39 or 36 , depending on 130 or 110 crank spider
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Old 10-21-11, 08:23 AM
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If you have BB30 I may have a used crank for you. That will save you some money. You can email at chrisdougherty "at" gmail.com.
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