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Thread: Building a new bike. Monster Cross/Gravel Duty/Commuter Need advice please.

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    Building a new bike. Monster Cross/Gravel Duty/Commuter Need advice please.

    A few months back I decided I needed another bike to tool around on the road besides a race bike. Through advice on the forum I narrowed it down to a Fisticuff or Fargo. After searching unsuccessfully for a Fisticuff, I built up a fixie to hold me over.

    I am being forced to go ride the Hilly Billy ROubaix in West Va this June. From the registration page,

    "This is going to be a mean one, Folks! This course will take you over dirt and paved "State Roads" around Monongalia County in Northern West Virginia. Finish times could be 6 plus hours for some riders. Road conditions may include missing bridges, car-sized potholes, gravel, mud, black top, cow paths, and maybe a piece of road kill or two. That's what we call good riding! Leave your expensive Flux-Capacitors and fancy wheels at home and maybe bring the cross bike. It might be the best tool for the job, but bring whatever you think is best for you. However, if you show up with Zipps on your road bike we may laugh and point at you. This race course has just about everything a cyclist says they want when they're talking it up with their buddies. Now let us see ya ride it! Course will have fully stocked aid stations along the way. Sag support will be provided."

    Pictures from last year made me cringe to be on a road bike. Huge holes, deep mud, and disgusting roads. That means a new bike for me.

    I have pretty much decided on a Voodoo Nakisi with Dirt Drops. I don't have any delusions of being competitive in all but the clyde class. I like all the bottle and rack bosses, 2.3 tire capability, disc tabs and brake bosses. The price is the other determining factor b/c I need to keep this bike el cheapo.

    I plan on running my old Noir crank with new rings and a Sram X-9 9 speed rear derailleur that I used to carry as a spare. Going mtn b/c of the return spring stiffness and the ability to run a mtn cassette.

    The braking will most likely be done by BB7's, but not dead set on disc yet. I like the performance of disc, and this won't be a light build, but neither am I.

    The shifting is where most of my dilemma lies. I am torn with whether to go Shimano DA bar ends or Sram twist shifters. Both can be had pretty cheap, but both will require some sort of adapter (at least I think so). I have read about people using the DA bar ends in friction mode and it working fine for a 9 speed set up, and others who have doubted it. There seem to be some ratio adapters out there, but i have never used them. The twist shifters will need a http://www.amazon.com/HubBub-Twist-S.../dp/B001PT60OA right?

    I have never used either style shifter, but not sure what my other options are to use my mtn rear derailleur, have disc brakes, and not break the bank. Any other ideas? Or potential problems with what I am proposing?

    Another dilemma is with wheels, but I will cross that bridge next.

    I am new to this style of riding, but will also use this bike as a grocery getter/gravel whore/light xc too.

    Thanks in advance for all your help.

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    I saw the overender built one of these up last year or the year before, so I will tap him for frame info too.

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    Btw. U can use road bike shifters with Mountain bike dérailleurs.. I have this setup on my gravel bike. I use dirt drop bars with 10 speed ultegra shifters and an old top normal type 9 speed XTR long cage dérailleur with an 11-32t cassette. And of course 10 speed chain. As long as its long cage you are good to go. The shifter has the indexing. It tells the derailleur what to do.. With this set up you can still use your mechanical disc brakes.

    Btw. Sounds like a interesting type gravel grinder. Good luck and try to have fun. I think I would like to this race also..
    Did you hear the one about the guy on his death bed that said "I wish I would have worked more and rode my bike less". Said NO ONE EVER. -Jeff Scott

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    Jeff is correct on the MTN / Road thing - even for SRAM - I use Force Shifters with an XO Medium Cage RD and an 11 - 34 cassette

    I used to use Bar End Shifters with a similar setup - they work well but are a bit awkward to shift if you are not used to it (on the bottom of the road bars) I used mine in friction so I could trim the der. and it worked great for a long time - way cheaper set up than a set of STI type shift / brake levers - you could still run Mech disk brakes.

    And finally I am from WV and I have ridden up in that part of Morgantown - first thought you will have a long drive to get there - second thought - those roads out there can be rough.. 70 miles looks like fun!


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    Thanks for the advice guys. My whole plan has been turned upside down, as it seems, the nakisi has been discontinued. I am now hunting a complete bike to purchase. SOmething used is about my only option, and not sure if I can go with the same type of build at all. I can't find anything that I am hyped about, so I may start looking for a mtn frame.

    Do you guys think if I sized it a bit smaller on the top tube to account for drops, that it will perform well enough for gravel grinders and such? I don't really see myself getting motivated enough to do pure cyclocross races.

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    I know i say this alot on here, but if what you really want is a gravel bike you should check out the Salsa Vaya. You can run 45c tires, not terribly expensive, you can get either a full bike or a frameset, 3 bottle mounts, disc brakes. I have had mine for 2 years and love it. It isn't a cross bike, it has a low bottom brakcet and super long chaing stays. but it is so stable! The Fargo is great if you want to run full mtb tires and drop bars.
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    Not sure how cheap you are looking for, but here is a decent option that's not too expensive.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/zilla.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by scuba steve View Post
    I know i say this alot on here, but if what you really want is a gravel bike you should check out the Salsa Vaya. You can run 45c tires, not terribly expensive, you can get either a full bike or a frameset, 3 bottle mounts, disc brakes. I have had mine for 2 years and love it. It isn't a cross bike, it has a low bottom brakcet and super long chaing stays. but it is so stable! The Fargo is great if you want to run full mtb tires and drop bars.
    Not sure why I skipped over the Vaya. It seems to be pretty close to what I am hunting. Not quite as aggressive as I was thinking, but....

    Quote Originally Posted by dcox View Post
    Not sure how cheap you are looking for, but here is a decent option that's not too expensive.


    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/zilla.htm
    Good looking out. The thing that scares me about those is I flex parts like a champ. I am known to break parts on the regular and I would be doubtful that those would hold up to my abuse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by utarch00 View Post
    I know who's bike this is and it has never been ridden on any road or gravel road. I wish I needed a new bike but I don't.

    My 2 cents
    Last edited by Robert; 05-16-2012 at 05:41 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by utarch00 View Post
    Thanks Chris! That one is a 50and I need a 58 or 60 sized bike. That one was on ebay last week too, and it's killing me that it doesn't fit me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SafetyBreak View Post
    Thanks Chris! That one is a 50and I need a 58 or 60 sized bike. That one was on ebay last week too, and it's killing me that it doesn't fit me.
    It fits me and I don't need a new bike. Now that is a killer. It is almost impossible for me to find a sale bike in my size. Rats. :(

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    I know of a Soma Double Cross for sale. I believe it is a 60cm. Nicely specked out. Call Mat Hickerson at REI 376-4248

    Whats up with Voodoo? They make some nice bikes for the money, and discontinue them, it seems before they have a chance to catch on. Marketing?
    Last edited by e-fish; 05-17-2012 at 08:44 PM. Reason: Voodoo comment, just wondering?
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-fish View Post
    I know of a Soma Double Cross for sale. I believe it is a 60cm. Nicely specked out. Call Mat Hickerson at REI 376-4248


    Thanks for the heads up! I called and talked to him, it's a 56 that is set up a little to aggressive to make it work for a long haul gravel bike. The steerer tube is already cut to the minimum, but seems like a pretty darn good deal.

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    Figured that I would update my thread.....I bought a used Salsa Fargo. I just couldn't find anything else that suited what I wanted, so I hooked up with a guy in MI. It is a bone stock xt build with some fulcrum red metal wheels. 3x9 with a road cassette.

    Now I am all hyped up to do some off road bike packing. Tried it once before in Pisgah with my all mountain bike and a backpack. That was a terrible experience to say the least. I might be a little smarter about the trails I pick this time, and a hiking backpack isn't much fun on a 6 inch travel beast. Between the options of front and rear racks, frame bags, and fork racks I should be set to have nothing on my back. Now I just have to find some for cheap.

    Pics and a ride report to come soon. I should have a pretty good idea if I like it by hour five of the hilly billy in a couple of weeks.

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