Sunday, November 30, 2014

Single Speed Cyclocross Build

I built a bike!

I feel like its been awhile since that has happened, and it took place mostly in Manarea v2.5 AKA the refurbished basement shop.  I've done hodge-podge work in the basement the last few winters but it was always a hack of a setup and it was primarily just to avoid the really cold days in the shed.

It was always on the to-do list to rework things in the basement, it was pretty gross down there.  I just wasn't sure how far I wanted to take the project.  In an ideal world I would have dug a bit deeper and graded everything and poured cement. But 'aint nobody got time for that so it turned into ripping out the old moisture barrier doing a bit of digging and raking to grade the dirt floor out and then laying down a much better/thicker moisture barrier.

I inherited a work bench from the demo project of Tony's garage, hung some bike hooks and BOOM.  Cold weather hibernation shop is a go!

Ok to the build.  This time of year Nashbar move out their model year generic frames at next to nothing ($79 to be exact).  They have gotten me with this three times now.  The blue chromoly MTB frame that was a monster cross for a time and is now Jake's go to whip.  The green frame which was my light touring / commuter for several years and now the red frame, a steel CX bike.

My commuter wasn't getting ridden this year really at all, due mostly to my wrist / stiff joints in the morning issues I've been dealing with.  That may not always be the case but that bike was always way over built for what it was doing 90% of the time and I really only used it on a touring ride one time.  Which was awesome but I have just never gotten around to doing that kind of riding and I think its unlikely I ever really would.

Now that I'm racing cross (and will probably continue to) I felt like I would get a lot more use out of a SS cross bike now plus I can always still commute on it here and there and get a good workout.  And at $79 for the frame and being able to swap almost all parts over this build ended up costing me maybe $130.

look at how awesome it is!

I pretty pleased with how it all came together.  All the leftover available components all matched completely.  White/red/black saddle, white stem, black fork, black bar was meant to be.  I had some left over cx tires that I had bought on clearance a long time ago and then never used because I got a deal on Clemente's through Chainline.  They get reduced in volume really bad on these old road rims though.  Eventually these will need some new wheels but this is more of a beater bike and will probably get 'new' parts as they trickle down from my 'better' bikes.

Only extra parts I had to buy were the handlebars (wanted something wider than I had for better SS torque), A better cable hanger for the front brake (the one I had been using on my commuter was a joke) and a chain ring.

I agonized a bit over gearing.  I have a very intimate knowledge of SS gearing for MTB but how certain gears translate to CX courses was a bit of a mystery.  I actually shift quite a bit at times on my geared bike.  I  did some research but there are too many body types and preferences when it comes to SS to get a good across the board recommendation.  I usually take what I read online and subtract a few gear inches (I'm a spinner) and go from there.

I settled on getting about the biggest ring I could find for a 104BCD crank that would create good ratios with all of the MTB sized cogs I already had.  Settled on 42-19 for my go-to race gear for now.  Most recommendations fell in the 55-65 gear inches range and 42-19 comes in at 59.7 (for reference I rode 44.4 inches for MTB).  This might end up being a bit steep for me depending on the course but I think its the best place to start.  It also allows me to easily step up to a 20 if I need to or down to 16 for commuting on the road.

I'm using the DMR STS tensioner I had been using on the party bike.  That build has gone into hibernation for a bit until it can inherit some better parts and I find the time to improve the braking.  This should work for now but I might eventually get a better tensioner and some sort of chain watcher for up front.  I'll have to see how it works once I can start riding it.

Now I can double up at CX races I have to drive farther to.  Race my category and SS so I'm not driving 2hrs to race for just 45mins.  Will probably also make a great winter training bike that I can either mount on my actual trainer or put the fenders on get ridiculous out on the snowy roads in the spring.

Who wants to buy a nashbar touring frame, real cheap?

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