Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; The Bike

This week in the Dirty Kanza Chronicles I am introducing what I hope to be my rig for the big event. I searched many spec sheets and models of cyclo-cross type bikes before arriving upon this frame and fork. I'll get into more of that decision later, but for now, let's take a look at the bike as it is now....

Black Mountain Cycles "Monster Cross": I've been talking about Black Mountain Cycles for awhile now, so I won't get into that too much. (You can use the search term "Black Mountain Cycles" in my search box or Google to learn more.)

This frame is double butted chrome molybdenum steel alloy that is TIG welded. Horizontal drop outs allow the single speed set up. Cantilever brakes, of course, and all cables are routed over the top tube. Two water bottle mounts, rack mounts, fender mounts, and threaded rear brake cable stop and front derailleur cable stop with derailleur type adjusters are a nice touch.

The front fork is also steel featuring an investment cast sloping crown with plenty of clearance for big tires. Probably up to 1.9's will shoe horn into this fork and frame.

There's the STX Shimano cantilevers with Kool Stop brake pads. The hangar is an unknown model. It was floating around in my parts bin attached to some odd ball Dia Compe brakes, so it could be that manufacture. The head set is an Origin 8 cartridge type.

Here is a look at the Sante' hubbed, Matrix rimmed front wheel. The rear matches. These wheel were pretty much NOS condition, yet aged from over 20 years of sitting around. Gotta love that pearl anodized glow Shimano used to put on some of their nicer components. Best looking finish they've ever used, in my opinion.

There never has been a nicer looking quick release made by Shimano than their Sante' QR from the late 80's.

That's a big dust seal, eh?

36 hole wheels insure plenty of strength.

Ragley Luxy Bars in silver. Some unknown model of Dia Compe brake levers. Clunky Bontrager 31.8mm stem. The levers and stem will be up for replacement at some point. (The stem has to be silver, ya know?)

The Luxy bars are nice, but really, really wide. I may not stay with these. Time will tell.

Sugino crank found in the parts bin. 170mm length crank. Steel 40T ring. Old, pretty worn out WTB branded "Spud" type pedals. (Hand-me-downs from Jeff Kerkove!) Hiding inside is a Shimano UN-52 square taper cartridge bottom bracket.

20 tooth Surly cog and various spacers I had. Note that early 7 speed cassettes had no lock rings. They used a threaded on final cog instead. So I did too!

You get a peek at the drop ot adjusters there, and rack and fender mounts.

Campy aero seat post, Bontrager RL Inform saddle. Lurking at the bottom of the image is the brake cable adjuster on the brake bridge, and the IRC 42mm tire. The seat collar is stock BMC fare.

Why This Bike: The BMC was chosen based upon a few criteria I had going in: Steel frame, single speed capability, big tire clearances for at least 42mm tires, and geometry. My search landed me upon three choices: Surly Bikes CrossCheck, the Fisher Collection Presidio, and the BMC Monster Cross. I was able to straddle an Erwin, (model just below the Presdio), and it just wasn't quite right. The price was a bit steeper than the other two as well. The final came down to the Surly and the BMC. The BMC wins me over due to a few details. The head tube is longer on the BMC by 24mm. This keeps the bars up there without resorting to a ton of spacers. The BMC is also 3/4's of a pound lighter to begin with. That's substantial. (I'll take advantage of this in my later incarnations of this bike) Finally, the chain stays are 13mm longer, which translates into a bit longer chassis for a more stable, more comfortable ride.

Granted, any of the three would have been awesome bikes for my purposes. No "losers" here. I just found a few things about the Black Mountain Cycles flavor to be more tasty than the others. Plus, who can argue against orange? (Okay- well maybe a few of you!)

Training Update: Last weekend I got in a nice, almost three hour gravel grinder at a moderate pace. Commutes to work have been lengthened to gain more miles. With warmer weather I will begin to add night rides.  Diet is holding well. I am going to get a bit more disciplined concerning that after the weekend at Frostbike. CIRREM is next weekend, which will work well as a training ride. More next week.....


FixieDave said...

think its needs some blue ano? ;)

kdoggett said...


Nice Bike!

Just curious, if/when you decide to go with a multi chain ring setup, what are your options? Will a conventional 36/46 cross-bike set-up work? What abt a Sugino triple 26/36/46, not so much for gravel grinding but would be handy for light touring.


Captain Bob said...

I like. Much nicer in person though. You have captured the true tint of the orange so far out of all the pics I have seen.

Guitar Ted said...

@Cellerrat: I have given that some thought, and it would look very cool. However; once I saw another BMC Monster Cross customer bike with blue ano I decided to not pursue that route.

So, I made a commitment to a silver look. Ritchey 4-Axis Classic stem will be going on next.

@kdoggett: Thanks Kevein! You can get a triple on this, but it would work better with an adjustable chainline BB or a square taper BB. A two piece type BB will have little to no clearance for a 36T or bigger on the inside due to the width of the chain line, chain stays, and no way to really compensate for BB spindle length.

A square taper BB would probably work with either idea though. You would just need a wider spindle to clear the chain stays and you would need to make sure chain line was correct. If so, it would be a go.

blackmountaincycles said...

@kdoggett: A SRAM Apex/Rival 34/50 fits fine with its set chainline. A SRAM 38/48 (43mm chainline) barely clears, but is too close for my liking. If you could get a 38/48 with a 45mm chainline, it would be okay.

A triple 53/39/30 fits with a 45mm chainline (picture of clearance here:

The issue with clearances is all about chainline. You can e-mail or call me directly (link in the screen name) if you have more questions.

Tim Songster Sr. said...

What tires do you have mounted on that? Please keep posting after you have had several rides, I am thinking about picking up one of these as well. Thx

shiggy said...

Green anno!

Guitar Ted said...

@blackmountaincycles: Thanks for checking in!

@ Tim Songster Sr: I will be following up here and on Gravel Grinder Those are, (as mentioned in the post), IRC tires that have been discontinued. I will be swapping out for nicer tires later on.

@shiggy: I am already feeling you, man! WTR, right? Well, I put on some bar tape Friday that is very appropos. You will no doubt be digging it. Green ano stuff would be too cool, but I am sticking to the classy route, since it is more affordable than I-9, King, or anything else green ano out there to fit this rig.

DC said...

Hey Guitar Ted, would you mind at some point discussing using a Ti bike vs steel for gravel grinder events? Why did you land on steel model? I'm specifically looking at the Vaya. Is Ti the way to go if cost doesn't matter or is there other reasons folk seem more interested in the steel model? I'm riding around on 10 year bike so I have the cash ready for new ride. I just haven't seem much about the Ti versionvof the Vaya, other than your recent pic. Thanks!


Guitar Ted said...

@Darren: Well, it has more to do with practicality for me than anything. Steel is also a known quantity for me. I know when it is good, and when it is bad. Titanium can be very sweet, but I have less experiences with it, and obviously, it is expensive to get into.

My buddy Matt Gersib would be better able to answer this. I'll see if he wouldn't chime in here with his take on this.

Anonymous said...

@guitar ted

Regarding choice of frame: a Singular Peregrine would have been an option as well, albeit having a smaller headtube.