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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:09 pm 
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My neighbour has asked me to build her an 'ultra-comfortable, fast, reliable and light bike for use as a townie, gravel path, rail-trail credit-card tourer'.

I figured I could go rigid 1x10, with a proven (to me) comfortable cockpit and tires and try to hit 18lbs and $2000.

My first cut here is close: 18.5 lbs for $2135 + $270ish shipping

I've seen other builds here with 1200gram heavier (and $300 more expensive) suspension forks coming in with a total weight 300+ grams lighter for about the same price. Which means I am giving up 1500+ grams with my parts choices for cockpit, drivetrain, wheels and tires.

My 'light' starting point was an eBay chinese frame/fork/headset/seatpost, light-bicycle wheelset and RaceFace Turbine cranks. My proven comfortable (to me) choices were Schwalbe Kojak tires, WTB Speed She saddle, Answer 20/20 bars and VP platform pedals.

Critiques? Ideas?

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I think I'm missing about 150g and $50 for a pair of Avid Speed Dial SL levers.


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Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:09 pm 


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:58 am 
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Location: Ruidoso, NM
Unless she is too short for a 29er... go with a 29er. Better tire options.

DH wheels? Doesn't seem right for the purpose.

Let her try out and pick a saddle.

Drop bars might be better... unless she just hates them. Flat bars with bar-ends would be ok.

Platform pedals? Get some MTB shoes and pedals.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:31 am 
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I am very confused with this build??.. Downhill rims on a gravel bike just seem a bit odd. And why spend $40 on brake cables to save a couple grams. Would be much better going towards a nicer set of shifters. If I'm not mistaken zee shifters are the entry level downhill gear? An xt shifter and rear mech would go much further then those brake cables. Cockpit is completely personal. So something you find comfortable may not be for the client. Like mentioned above see if the client will fit a 29er. Much better for the stated purpose of this bike IMO. Expensive enduro bars aren't needed on this build. Mt zoom bars are cheaper and half the weight.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:34 am 
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Thanks for the feedback. 'Downhill' rims are really just sturdier because they are a bit wider. In my books, that makes for a plusher ride - cost is the same and they are just a few grams more.

I will look in to XT instead of SLX - I just picked the Zee and SLX stuff because it is cheap and reliable. I'll ask about building a 29er instead - maybe that is the best bet for the intended purpose. What's the 29er tire equivalent of a Kojak - super plush and very fast rolling?

The Answer bar is the only reasonably light bar I could find with a 20* sweep - which is a cockpit comfort thing. It looks like I am not alone in finding them special for cockpit comfort - http://lacemine29.blogspot.ca/2012/12/a ... black.html . Are there other cheaper lighter options with 20*+ sweep?

She hates drop bars, and clipping to the pedals is an absolute no go.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:09 pm 
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For a townie/gravel bike are you really going to notice the extra stiffness of a downhill rim? A carbon xc race rim is still going to be stiffer then any alloy offering which is what majority of people roll in. even 50-100 grams makes a big difference on the rim.

Also 20degree sweep is a lot. Has she tried a more normal 3/6 degree sweep and a 20 degree sweep and told you which she prefers? Because everyone has different taste. Personally I cant stand the 20degree sweep bars. But that's just me.

I'm not saying don't do any of this I'm just giving my opinion. Personally I'm a bit confused as you have some expensive bits with cheap bits and downhill stuff with xc stuff etc. I mean I would go with allow rims, like crest. Because she isn't going to be bombing down a rocky hill where a strong sturdy wheel will help track, or going 80kph down a hill like a roadbike and put these savings toward smoother shifting which she will notice more on a bike like this.

Also where are your prices from? A XT cassette on chain reaction is only $48aud, so cheaper for americans.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:59 pm 
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I think some of you are getting the 'downhill' rim thing all wrong. It's just the poorly labeled Light-Bicycle pre-built set. A good choice as they're cheaper and lighter than a pre-built ArchEX set for example.

If you're using a single ring, get a ZEE RD. It's lighter than SLX thanks to the shorter cage. For a bike like this, a higher end groupset doesn't make sense unless you find things on sale IMO. Having said that, if you do look at spending slightly more, SRAM opens up a whole other set of options.

The XT cassette can be found for the same or better prices than SLX rrp so that seems like a no-brainer.

Ditch the RF stem and get an UNO from ebay, it's half the price and saves a good bit of weight.

The same point as mentioned before about the bars, unless she (not you) specifically wants a bar like that, a 'normal' bar at that cost could save loads of weight. If that style of bar is what she's after, something like an On One Fleegle Pro is claimed to weigh only slightly more, but costs less than a quarter of the Answer bars. Salsa have a few carbon bars with a fair bit of sweep at a similar price to the Answer 20/20. Origin8 also have a carbon Space bar which is claimed to be a bit lighter with a 25 degree sweep.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:45 pm 
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TooSteep wrote:
...clipping to the pedals is an absolute no go.


That is such a huge benefit to pedaling a bike, that it's hard for me to imagine that she will actually ride this... and so none of it really matters.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:16 pm 
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Nicholas68: Comparing 29er wheelsets, a set of Stan's Crest wheels weigh 150g more and cost $40 more (probably less with shipping). What would be the benefit of the Crest set over the light-bicycle set? I just figured the carbon rims were lighter, cheaper and matched the aesthetic of the frame.


jooo: UNO stem and On-One Fleegle Pro look good. Better bar choice than the Answer 20/20 for this purpose, as it still has 15* sweep, and is a more traditional width. Variety of colors too. Thanks. Also I will go with the Zee RD and shifter, and XT M771 cassette and chain. Lighter and cheaper. That looks like a good combo for a 1x10.

You guys are right about the unusual mix of XC and DH. I never thought about it though, I was just looking for lighter, cheaper and durable.

Nicholas68: you wrote "...put these savings toward smoother shifting which she will notice more on a bike like this". I totally agree that smoothness and 'sense of quality' in shifting and braking make a big impact on a bike like this. Is the Zee shifter/DR + XT cassette a step down from something else in this general price area?

I've been thinking about th 26er/29er thing, and think you guys are right. I will look for a cheap carbon 29er frame with clearance for a big cushy 2.35" tire in back.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:18 am 
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A 26" and probably 29" crest wheelset with hope pro 2 evo hubs can be had on chain reaction for $500AUD with free shipping and crest rims are lighter then the LB carbon ones. A casual rider doing social rides around town and on gravel with platform pedals isn't going to tell the stiffness apart. If you are going to help service the bike or she doesn't mind taking it to a shop put saving towards hydraulic brakes. They feel much nicer. If she is looking at doing XC or a bit of racing then the carbon rims will be of benefit and I would say go for them.

Also I'm not sure where you are getting prices from but may want to compare it to buying a complete XT groupset of ebay from taiwan. It's around $500aud for groupset including cranks and you can also pay extra to get xt hydraulic brakes thrown in.

I've never used Zee. As a general rule XT is workhorse level. So will perform similar to xtr and has the same technologies just with a higher weight. XT can also be found for a good price. Especially the XT cassette. It's great value.

650B is the current trend for people who would like the benefits of 29er but ride a small frame. And the chinese have 650B offerings.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:29 pm 
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Also look at mt zoom skewers from ebay or XCracer, they are similarish price but 80 grams lighter and still quick release.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:00 am 
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WMW wrote:
TooSteep wrote:
...clipping to the pedals is an absolute no go.


That is such a huge benefit to pedaling a bike, that it's hard for me to imagine that she will actually ride this... and so none of it really matters.


You need to get your empathy circuits de-pizzled. I rode flat pedals on my light MTB for two seasons. I've raced road, multi-sport, and cyclocross so yes I'm aware that clipless does allow you to apply more wattage. But for most people, the limiting factor with flats is their lack of smooth technique. If the client wants flats, I'll wager the client will ride flats and like them.

p.s. I've even raced MTB in flats. It's amazing what you can do when you open your mind to the idea that most decisions aren't simple works/fails live/hate dichotomies.


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Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:00 am 


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:13 am 
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Location: Queensland Australia
I agree that if racing or just cycling, then clipless are great.
BUT if the intended purpose is as a commuting all rounder to be used on rail/trains. Locked up while doing shopping and/or other general activities where other footwear is must, then I would definitely say flat pedals.
At the end of the day, I say ride the bike. Irrelevant of what prefabs are chosen. It would be a shame to have a bike built and not ridden, because it doesn't suit the owners best wishes. ;)

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