Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Plan To Get By On For Now

Now that I am committed to the Dirty Kanza 200 which happens on June 4th, I am now in the planning stages for coming up with a lighter steel cyclo-cross-ish bike that will do two things. #1: It will get me riding sooner on a rig I can train on that would be similar to my "Ultimate Gravel Rig", which is going to take some time to get together, and #2: It will possibly be a donor rig, as far as parts go, if it is a complete. What if it is just a frame? That's cool. I have 9spd Campagnolo parts just gathering dust that would be fine for this.

But What About The Ultimate Gravel Grinder Bike? Yeah.....I wish I could get that done now. The thing is, the earliest that can get started is this spring, and finished by......? I don't want to rush that. So, I want to get on something lighter, steel, and that will get me a feel for what I like and don't about a cyclo cross based gravel rig. My plan is to get lighter. Both me and the bike. The plan concerning me is in motion already. Time to work on the bicycle part of the equation. Bonus: If it doesn't pan out, I have the Badger which will play as back up bike. Now that I have laid all that out, here are the contenders....

Fisher Collection Presidio: Previously I had been looking at the Erwin, which is a step below this bike, and opined that I didn't like the spec or the value for the dollar so much. Well, this Presidio is what I would like for spec, and I looked into the employee purchase on it, and it is do-able. Okay, that said, here are a few other thing I am liking.....

Steel, obviously. Carbon fork, and low mount hangar for the brake. Good. Single speed capability. Great! Big tire clearances. Great! Geometry, Okay. Wheels.....meh! (But I can build wheels)

So, this one looks like a contender. The final nice thing is that most all of the hardware could go to the new custom rig with this frame getting a permanent single speed makeover.

Black Mountain Cycles Cross Frame: Industry veteran, vintage mountain bike maven, and shop owner Mike Varley owns Black Mountain Cycles, a bicycle shop in Point Reyes Station, California. He commissioned a design for a cyclo-cross/all rounder in steel that is a pretty smart design. (There is a smartly designed steel road frame as well. Read about both here.) Anywho......here is what catches my eyes....

Steel- Great! Steel fork- Great! Big tire clearances, (but not quite as big as the Presidio), Great! Geometry- Good. Small Brand Coolness- Off The Charts! (For what that is worth, I happen to like that) Smart details- Great! Not available as a complete- meh! (But like I said, I have some Campy stuff sittin' around) Price: Excellent! Single Speed-able- Great!

Another strong contender. I like orange, but it is also available in a rich brown hue as well. Hard to choose between this and a Presidio. Either would get the job done.

Either way I could be up and running sooner than later, and either would do well on gravel. The BMC, (That's Black Mountain Cycles ya'all, not the Swiss roadie marque), would put to use some long neglected road stuff I have, so "re-cycling" in this case has an appeal to me. The Fisher Collection rig supports the shop I work at, in a way, so.......  Like I said, tough call.

Then there is one other remote possibility that is rumored and yet to be announced. 

Choices. What a nice problem to have.....

12 comments:

Courtney said...

I'm taking my Masi CXR to dirty kanza. It's a 7005 Aluminum with carbon fork/handlebar and I have had great results with mavic road race wheels. 19 lbs. Steel is nice for comfort but when your really hammering it I love the stiffness of an aluminum frame

Ben said...

Get Mike's. Hands down. I'm trying to figure out how I need one of his road bikes. Super classy and hits all my marks. I don't know if I need it, but I really do. ;)

bobby said...

hey guitar ted. my name is bobby and i used to work at high gear cyclery in emporia, ks last year. i've always heard eric benjamin (adventure monkey) comment about you and your awesome blog so i finally decided to check it out this morning. i realize you're not looking to make your DK bike decision right now, but if it helps at all i just purchased the presidio and a few upgrades and am extremely pleased with it. of course it doesn't have the smallness brand cool factore (that i totally get by the way) but it does have an awesome retro look to it and would be an amazing single speed go to gravel crusher in the future. thats my 2 cents. hope to meet you on june 4th. this is my first try at the DK and i can't wait. good luck with the decision!

blackmountaincycles said...

Wow! I'm humbled. Thanks G-T! And you too, Ben. And to Courtney, the Masi CXR is also a really nice bike. I'm a bit biased, though, because I designed that frame as well.

Mike

Head Honcho said...

Go with the BMC Mark. You know you want to. And it'd be totally classy with the campy bits. Orange bikes FTW!

jonathansmith68 said...

The Black Mountain Cycles 'cross bike looks quite a bit like the Cross-Check. How do the two geometries compare?

Guitar Ted said...

@jonathansmith68 At first glance, the Cross Check would seem to be identical to the BMC frame, however, the BMC has a couple of differences that I see as a big deal.

One: The head tube for my size, is an inch taller on the BMC. This will keep the amount of spacers at bay. #2 The BMC has slightly longer chain stays which should help the bike be a bit more stable than the Cross Check on down hills.

jonathansmith68 said...

I see. Thanks for the clarifications Guitar Ted. I also noticed most of the cables are routed on top of the T.T. as opposed to the Cross-Check with the down-tube routed derailluer cables. I would imagine this might help a little bit if things got really muddy? And is it just my eyes or is the tire clearance just a tad bit better on the BMC?

Guitar Ted said...

@jonathansmith68: Good eye on the routing. Yes, that was a minor difference I saw as a positive. As for tire clearances, I know that some folks have shoe horned in some fairly large tires on Cross Checks, and, of course, we haven't seen what can be done with the BMC. The BMC can clear 45mm Fire Cross knobbies, (as seen in the pic), so perhaps a 1.8, not so knobby tire may go in on a narrower rim. We'll play with that and see. I'll likely use 40-42mm tires though in the end.

Wally Kilburg said...

I've been following those BMC frames too....both of them. The pedigree is strong on these frames.

GT, what bars are you thinking of running? I might have missed that declaration but it just popped into my head.

Guitar Ted said...

@Wally Kilburg: I have really liked the Woodchipper and with a "brifter" like the Campy ones I want to use, they are about as good as it gets. That said, I have some Luxy Bars from Ragley coming, and if they do a better job, I'll use those. Other off road specific drops cant the levers over too far for a Campy thumb lever to work very well.

MG said...

Yeah, I'm fully on-board the BMC train too. It seems the obvious choice for you and this assignment. Well, that and it's a dang cool frameset. It'll ride great. That fork is a beaut...

And orange? Are you kiddin' me? That'll be hotter than an early-June day in Emporia! Perfect...

Have fun with the bike build, brother.

Cheers,
MG