's Forum Archives - Cyclo-Cross

Archive Home >> Cyclo-Cross(1 2 3 )

Lonefrontranger.... Question re your Dream cross setup(18 posts)

Lonefrontranger.... Question re your Dream cross setupCT1
Feb 13, 2002 7:02 AM
I'm "this close" to ordering a Dream cross frame but I know ZERO re cross bikes. I'll be using the bike for mostly dry weather trail riding and occasional club road/mtb rides...... and maybe even some cross racing later this year. ??? Typical SoCal dry rocky conditions so mud isn't likely. -:) hahaha.

If you've posted your build (your cross bike that is) previously, do you have a link to the thread? If not, would you mind so very much giving me some suggestions on drivetrains and components. Ignorant me would like to use Campy C10 or C9. ;) I'll probably build my own wheels so suggestions on rims would be appreciated also. I've read a fair # of posts and it looks like the standard road rims seem to be an option. I'm parial to Aeroheads and would likely go that route unless convinced otherwise.

I haven't ruled out a "regular" Dream+ but that's only becasue I'm too ignorant to know better. ;) OK, enough dumb questions for now!

Feb 15, 2002 12:30 AM
posted some of the build stuff before, too lazy to look it up. Here's the whole banana.

I'm in CO, with dry dusty & rocky conditions about 95% of the time, and sticky clay mud / ice / snow the other 5%.

Dream Cross build:
* 50cm Dream Cross with Precisa steel cross fork (AD 4, the black & white one).
* Campy Centaur 10 shifters, chain, headset, BB & mid-cage rear mech, Campy cables. 10 shifts just fine in crud, mud and ice (of which we've had plenty lately). Get a bag of those "Jagwire" cable bits from Quality, and install 'em, my experience is that it's usually cable crap that causes shifting issues, not shifters or mechs.
* XTR top-swing front mech (due to top-routed cables & no roller jig mount on frame). Incidentally, I have none of the rear clearance issues people have complained about with these frames, and could easily run a 35-40mm tire in there if I wanted to. I think it's how you set the front mech, because many clearance issues had to do with the tire hitting the front mech cable.
* TA 110 BCD crank running 46/36 double - I like the fact that I can easily switch to a Campy triple if desired - the left-hand shifter, BB and mid-cage rear mech allow this compatibility.
* Mavic Cosmos wheels (black) with Mavic 10sp 12-25 cassette.
* Kenda Kwick 30mm kevlar bead tires - the best tires I've ever found, if you can find 'em anywhere.
* Avid Shorty 6 cantis
* ITM bar and Big One stem
* USE Alien carbon seatpost with Selle Italia SLR saddle
* Time ATAC pedals (the yellow midrange ones seems like everyone has).

This setup comes in around 19 lbs. Could make it significantly lighter with a carbon fork (they scare me for 'cross, particuarly some of the stuff I ride) and Chorus or Record components, but why tear good bits up on a cross bike? The handling is incredible; this bike has saved my ass a couple times on sketchy descents. I originally wanted one in "AD20 Pearl", a sort of ice blue / lavender combo but none existed in my size. I am very pleased tho with the AD4, which makes a very stylish bike, equivalent to a little black dress (or a tux for the fellows).

I will race the Dream Cross with my road wheels on and taller (50/38) chainrings at the Boulder-Roubaix in April. B-R is an insanely long, wicked gravel & dirt "road" race constested by some 500+ adrenaline-crazed freaks. The ones that do well use stock road bikes with skinny slicks.

The build on my Dream Plus roadie (since you mentioned it):
* 49cm Dream Plus LX14 (yellow/white) with Force full carbon fork
* Campy Record 10 shifters, 39/53 crank, chain, front and rear mech, headset and BB.
* Mavic Mek brakes (lightweight, black, and French, nuf said)
* Mavic Cosmos (black) wheels with Mavic 10 12-25 for training
* Zipp 303s with Wheels 12-23 or the Mavic 12-25 for racing
* ITM Millenium bar/stem
* USE Alien Carbon seatpost & Selle Italia SLR saddle
* Speedplay X/2 pedals

My boyfriend has a Dream Plus with Record 10 / Mavic wheels also. Someday I'll get motivated enough to switch out all our Shimano cassette bodies for Campy ones; can drop significant weight going to the Record Ti/steel cassettes, and they still cost less than the Wheels, amazingly.
GREAT post... oh-oh, more questionsCT1
Feb 15, 2002 9:42 AM
Thanks for the VERY detailed comments re the cross build. Your bike sounds VERY sweet!!! :-) I'm thinking LX14 in with a mix of Record and Chorus drivetrain. I've got a C10 drivetrain with a little over 10K miles on it so that would be the obvious choice. BTW: that drivetrain is still works perfecto. Campy :)

Sorry for the follow-up questions:
Is it just the front shift cable routed from the TT? Anything special needed for the rear der?

What are the little cable thingies for you mentioned? "Get a bag of those "Jagwire" cable bits from Quality" Are these the little cable donuts???

Do you know if there is a Colnago cross geometry chart listed somewhere on the web? I gather that the cross geometry is different than their road geometry. Is that so??? You should know since you've got both. A previous post mentioned the 54cm framesize as having something like a 53.5 cm TT. That sounds like it's a much shorter than my 54cm frame. I fit my 54cm CT1 PERFECTLY for road use but I guess I am just a tad worried re the cross fit with the bigger tires and the possibly higher BB (????). Do you know the standover height of your cross bike?

Did you also set up your cross bike a little on the "short side" re tt length, compared with your road bike? I'm worried about being cramped as I had a road bike with a short tt and it never felt right. Maybe shorter is normal for cross though .... ???

Thanks again and sorry about the barage of questions. I'm probably a week or two away from ordering the frame so I've got a bit of time to learn some more about this stuff before placing the order.

Oh..... nice roadie setup. :) My CT1 is the best road bike I've ever thrown a leg over. :) The handling is phenom!

ride on
got most of the answers now...CT1
Feb 15, 2002 9:45 PM
All figured out except the front der deal. A regular top pull XT der???

It looks like a 53cm and maybe in the OOF color. :-) The color is subject to change though ;)

ride on
glad to helplonefrontranger
Feb 16, 2002 11:13 AM
Hi there

I've been skiing most of the week up at Keystone, (I lead a hard life, I know) so I haven't been watching the board super close.

Yep, plain old 2001 XTR 9-speed top swing. The poster below expressed some reservations, but it doesn't seem that the Campy drivetrain cares as long as the limits are right and the front mech is the proper height from the top of the big ring. I've never had a problem with it - overthrow problems typically come from setting the front mech too high, and with the slender 10sp chain, it's easier for it to slip between the cage and the chainring, so you have to be pretty exact with it. I think a bonus to the XTR is that the armature the cage swings on is quite long, particularly in comparison to a roadie mech, so you get that much more clearance for the cable-to-rear-tire issue.

The Jagwire stuff consists of seals / sludge stoppers and wipers that you install on the entrances / exits to all your cable housing. This keeps spooge from being sucked into the housings, then freeze-drying there and boogering your shifting.

I forgot to mention - while you're ordering the Jagwire bits from the QBP catalog, get some of their "Problem Solver" canti hangers as well. The Rabobank boys use the BMX type mini-Vs, but I'm not convinced it's a better solution. Colnago cross frames do not come with canti cable hangers or bottle bosses - so you might have to get used to riding with a Camelbak as well, if you plan on doing long 'cross rides. I have a 50 oz Razor (aero style) that I love. It's small and flat enough that it fits easily under my skinsuit for racing, and it also keeps the left crankarm from hammering me in the kidneys when I flip the bike onto my shoulder.

Will you order OOF custom, or is it in stock in your size? You already know how long it takes to get a Colnago frame, so I won't succumb to that lecture. Suffice to say that I took a frame that was 1cm bigger than I'd planned and in a color I hadn't originally chosen just to be able to get my hands on it within the current decade...

My standard problem is TT length. I'm the average female -5'4" with more legs than torso, so I can't handle anything longer than 51.5-52. American built frames these days are out of the question - there's nothing stock that runs shorter than 53, even in the smallest sizes. I don't like the handling you get from a super short stem, so I want a size I can at least run a 10cm stem on.

My cyclocross mentor insisted that your CX frame should fit just like your road bike, and you should be able to swap them without feeling a difference. Otherwise, there's no sense in developing muscle memory / balance and handling skills on one frame, since it doesn't translate to the other. Of course this was 8-10 years ago, when road frames weren't built with the geometry of freight cars, and folks weren't using cross bikes to ride hardcore singletrack.

Adam Meyerson on has the same opinion on 'cross frame fit in the September "Smart Training" section. Go to -> The Experience -> Archives -> September 2001 -> "Dialing in your Cyclocross Bike" The URL link (unsure if this will work)=

All that being said, the 50cm works just fine for me. Colnago cross frames run .25 to .5cm shorter in the TT than the corresponding roadie size. has the geometry specs for both road and cross in the Colnago section of their site. Print 'em out and compare them; I did. The only diff I can tell between the 49 roadie and the 50 CX frame is my USE Alien seatpost says "Ali" on the CX and "Alien" on the roadie. I have an... err, "gender-specific?" advantage in that I can fudge somewhat on the standover clearance. My old Redline 50 (Redlines run very tall) was pretty snug - I had to stand on tiptoe to truly clear the TT. I do ride some pretty sketchy stuff on my cross bikes, but have never gotten in trouble - we're talking about a cross bike, not an MTB. The goal should be to DISMOUNT, not bail out onto the top tube. I will go out on a limb to say that beyond a certain comfort level, standover on a 'cross bike is somewhat irrelevant. Ergo, if you're not going to ride trails on the 'cross bike that will force the bailout issue, then the standover can be the same as your road bike.

Good luck, have fun, ask as many questions as you want, and post pics when you get it all built.


glad to helpCT1
Feb 16, 2002 10:18 PM
Well, your comments and the excellent link to the article on CX frame fit have steered me back towards the 54cm (my standard road fit). I was somewhat worried over the stem stack issue and the comment in the article about the bar setup really points toward a 54cm. If I went with a 53cm I'd end up with 3+cm of spacers to give the CX recommended bar height. That doesn't sound good at all. I've also got a good 3+cm of stand-over clearance (with my mtb shoes on) over the 54cm CT1 so I wouldn't expect a 1cm higher BB to be much of a problem. :) I also have the geo tables for both the road and CX frames to compare. The #'s for my 54cm look quite similar with the exception of the BB height and a VERY minor difference in ST angle and TT length.

Thanks also for the info on the "jagwire" goodies.

Question again: What do you think of the ergo compatible vbrakes???? Keep in mind we don't have much in the way of mud out where I live so tire clearance isn't a real issue. I also like the way my vbrakes work on my mtb's so I would expect them to have similar "feel" on a cross bike. I'm thinking of these pups:

Thanks again for the VERY detailed and thorough comments. I realize how much time and effort it takes to respond in such a thoughtful manner. I rarely do that myself .. ;)

Now, if I could only get some more horsies out of the old legs..... got spanked hard in my first RR today. :( hahahaha.

licking wounds tonight
Strange brakeslonefrontranger
Feb 17, 2002 3:40 PM
I like the look and the mechanics of the Strange brakes. Historically I've seen that most folks who put long-arm V-brakes on a 'cross bike end up removing them after 2 or 3 rides. I personally have issues with them because they're either all the way on, or all the way off - no happy medium. Simple physics: the contact patch of a narrow 'cross tire is so much smaller than an MTB tire that the V's simply overpower it, thus locking up the wheels. It's hard to get the standard long-arm V's to achieve good modulation, but then I've never ridden the Stranges, so this is merely an educated guess.

Hence the development of various cyclocross-specific solutions in the canti market. The most popular are the specialized "frog-leg" type cantis (similar to the old-school Mafacs). These have a slightly longer arm that bends about 70-90 degrees outward to maximize leverage and power. Makers include Paul, Avid and Real. I don't care for them personally because of heel clearance issues. One sloppy dismount and you're on the deck.

The next entry is the "mini-V", popularized in the BMX market. I'm still wary of them, having never used them. The Rabobank crew seem to like them, for what that's worth.

There have been a ton of threads regarding 'cross-specific brakes in this forum over the past 2 months. My suggestion would be to read through them to determine what your choices are. If you're a heavy, aggressive rider, then the V's may be fine for you. I'm happy with the Avid Shorty 6s. They are a bit flexy, but I've never not been able to stop when needed.

Glad to see that spring is around the corner. It's too early in the season to get bummed about your race fitness. Just stick to a schedule - there's many months to come. My goal is to peak for only 2 or 3 events per year. After that, if I do well at a half dozen others, I feel like I've accomplished something. The other two dozen races are basically write-offs. I use those for trying new stuff, playing Jacky Durand (stupid, pointless breakaways) because I don't plan on finishing, domestiquing for my teammates and otherwise riding in the autobus.

Our first event isn't for 6 more weeks. Today my women's squads did lactate threshold intervals up St. Vrain canyon. This is a 15-mile long climb that averages about 7%, with stretches of 10-12%. Being a sprinter (read: I climb like a brick) I suffered. 3x10 minute intervals, with 5 minute rests in between. Added up, we wound up doing 45 minutes of climbing, 3/4ths of it at race pace. Man, am I beat. And the ride back into Boulder on U.S. 36 ain't flat or friendly either.

Good luck with the custom order. Hope you get it built up before next 'cross season starts :)


Strange brakesCT1
Feb 17, 2002 7:33 PM
Found the Tektro mini V's for something like $13 each. At that price I can toss it and not even sigh once if they don't work.

Last question: The ShimaNO front der comes in a couple of clamp diameters. Do you remember which size you used?

Thanks also for the race advice. I'm probably just too slow.... hahaha. I'll keep hacking away at it though ... I'm sure they'll take my money. ;) Dang, "sweep truck" was a real bummer though.... hahaha. Now I know what dying animals are thinking while the vultures are cirling. ;)

The frame order will go in very shortly so I should have the bike together by early summer. :::)

Good luck with your race training. Sounds like a lot of "fun"! I'll be doing something similar next weekend in preparation for a rr up North in a couple of weeks. :)
Clamp diameterlonefrontranger
Feb 17, 2002 8:48 PM
Gee, you boys are really putting me through my paces!

* XTR Model FD-M953, diameter: 31.8mm a.k.a. 1 1/4" top pull

Let's see - what else can I think of that will trip you up...

* Campy Centaur Italian threaded BB, 111mm (?) spindle length - it's the standard Centaur / Daytona BB length, which is different from the 102mm Chorus/Record. Don't forget to add friction / teflon tape to the BB threads to keep the driveside cup from backing out! This is S.O.P with Italian threaded BBs, just so you know. Ti-prep also works well for this. Do NOT let anyone talk you into blue (or any other color) Loctiting it.
* Seatpost diameter = 27.2
* Threadless headset = 1" The Chorus (Centaur) headset is rather fiddly to install, incidentally. Get the shop to do the frame prep, headset and BB for you, if nothing else. I've had a few nightmares of my own with BB installs, so it's worth the cost to get it done right.
* Campy 10-speed chain requires a special $60 tool (it's essentially a flat-jaw vice grips), so this is another good job for the bike shop, unless you have enough Campy 10 equipped bikes to warrant the cost. We've not used it in the half-dozen home-brew Campy 10 chain installs we've done, but for safety's sake I don't recommend trying this on your own.
* I'm running a Mavic M-10 cassette on the Cosmos, due to the Shimano freehub body. You can't use this cassette on anything else but Mavic wheels, 'cos it's a weird length. You might be happier just to build a nice set of sturdy Campy wheels and be done with it, because the Mavic and Wheels cassettes are significantly heavier than the nice Campy Ti/steel ones. Any reasonably strong road wheel will do for 'cross. I've seen plenty of guys racing 'cross on Zipps, Spinergy Rev-X, etc, too.

Italian bikes with Campy stuff tend to add a few extra layers of complexity to any build job but they sure are worth the time and effort.

Broom wagon truly sucks, been there, done that. Wait until you've driven halfway across the nation and paid for over $150 entry fees, plus hotel rooms, gas, used up vacation days, etc... for a big stage race that you prepared all season for, only to finish outside the cutoff on the second stage. Just got done watching Paris-Nice 1998 while I was getting a massage done. Lance A. climbed into the broom wagon on Stage 2, and that was very nearly the end of his career.

There have been races where I've literally been praying for a flat, a broken spoke, a loose headset, or any other valid excuse to quit. A teammate of mine used to say "I got a flat... in my legs".
thanks and total LOLCT1
Feb 17, 2002 9:52 PM
VERY funny comments about "race life". I don't consider myself a racer though.... gotta finish with the main pack to even consider that. I'm gonna keep all the hair on my legs for now.... ;) I must be a knucklehead too.... I didn't bail out at the start/finish line so that's why the meat wagon turned its ugly headlights on me. hahaha.

BTW: been putting C10 chains together sans the PL. Lots of miles and no problems. I had a PL "blow" and jam in my rear der. NOT a pretty sight at all: toasted der hanger, der, and wheel!!! :(

However, I will VERY likely use a Connex nickel plated chain on the cross bike. I figure if I actually get this pup dirty (isn't that the plan) I'll want to actually remove and clean the chain "properly".

Here's the proposed build: (32" inseam, 5' 8", 150#)
** see, a little knowledge can be dangerous **

54cm Dream cross in 00F color
Crank: C10 Record with 53X39
XT or XTR top pull front der in 31.8 (thanks again)
Chorus medium cage rear der
Chorus C10 ergo levers
C10 cable set with jagwire goodies :)
13X26 C10 Chorus cassette
Connex nickel plated chain with link
Tektro mini-v brakes
ITM Millinium stem in 10cm (normal road is 12cm)
2cm stem stack or flip stem and use 1cm. ??? gota do the math on this to be sure.
Aerohead rims laced with 14/15 spokes to Record hubs (home brew).
3T 44mm bar.... probably should get something heavier than my normal 199. ???
Campy Record Ti seat post
Flight TA saddle (works for me :)
Kenda kwicks 30 (same as what you recommended :)
Ritchey ti mtb pedals ... got a couple pairs of these and I like them.
might also try the little frog leg brake levers... ???

I'm guessing 18.5# :) At the very least it'll be a GREAT urban assault bike and trail rocket.

Thanks again for the help and advise.
good setup - you'll eventually want shorter gears to race withlonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 10:55 AM
That will be an awesome urban assault / commuter bike.

I started out with an old 105 double on my Redline back in the day, and discovered that the 53/39 was too tall, even for the flat Midwestern stuff I rode on. I never used the 53 offroad unless I was going downhill on hardpack, and climbing was a suffer-fest. I switched to a 50/38 with a 13/26 on the back, and often wished I'd gone lower. This is why I run Campy mid-cage now - I can put a pie plate on if I really want to.

Most of the racers in this region run 46/36, and a lot of the women even opt for a 34 - 27 or even 34-30 low. In a race, if you have to resort to such gears, you will be going faster running. But again, it depends on the trails you ride, and the application you choose for the bike.

I know the reason you're going this way is to recycle the old drivetrain and grouppo, and I applaud that reasoning. I don't think you can opt for smaller rings without resorting to a 110 BCD crankset, and then you introduce BB spindle length issues, etc. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself wishing for more spin at times.

BTW, you're doing the same thing with the C-10 chain that we are. My old shop mech cautious mentality simply precludes me from recommending it to "the customer" as it were :)
good setup - you'll eventually want shorter gears to race withmackgoo
Feb 18, 2002 1:22 PM
You can pick up a T/A chain ring, 48 or 46 for about 30$ and be set.
I should have also mentionedCT1
Feb 18, 2002 5:58 PM
I've got a 13X29 C10 cassette I've held in reserve for the Everest Challenge ride. Maybe that would be an appropriate cassette for a cross bike with a 39 little ring??? Probabaly so.... eh!

Any problem with non C10 cranks, when using a C10 width chain??? I've heard of chain/ring jam disasters!~!

Waaaaaaaant more Colnagos! . Order for frame is going in tonight! Big :)

ride on
The TA crank works fine with the C-10, no prob (nm)lonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 9:44 PM
forgot to mention...CT1
Feb 17, 2002 8:56 AM
The OOF would be a "custom" order. Probably 3 months delivery time. The reason I'm leaning toward the 00F is that I'd figure dirt/mud wouldn't be quite as difficult to take care of with a black frame. It also looks purty evil ;)

Feb 15, 2002 11:17 AM

I have a few questions about using an XTR front der with a double crank. Which XTR der model is it - something older like a M910, or newer like a M953?

Aren't the cage plates too wide? Aside from the need to use a crank with at least a 10-tooth difference (or the inner plate hits the middle ring), I found that it was hard to position the inner/outer der stops to give chainthrow-free performance but still shift cleanly.

Your Colnago sounds nice. I just went to the Trialtir website and looked up the AD4 color - agreed, very understated.
Feb 16, 2002 11:33 AM
It's a brand new XTR 9speed topswing, model 2001. I haven't had any trouble with it, and the Campy 10sp chain would surely have difficulties if the cage plates were too wide. On my setup one must be very exact with the height from the outer chainring or that slender 10-speed chain will indeed slip between the ring and the outer plate, but beyond that it works like a charm.

Most bikes I've worked on that the owners complained of overthrow (throwing the chain off the outside), I discovered that the front mech was set too high. You have to be careful; sometimes all it takes is being one millimeter off to let that chain slip between the cage and chainring.

I'm sure you know all this. However, I've found that even the most experienced shop mechs sometimes forget that with a front mech, there are 3 axes to adjust: height, inner/outer limit, and lateral relation to the rings - when looking down from above, the plates should be parallel to the rings.

Thanks for the compliment. If I ever get my webcam working, I'll post a pic of it. Good luck with your setup!


re: Lonefrontranger.... Question re your Dream cross setupmackgoo
Feb 17, 2002 1:08 PM
I just thought I would add a few things that I have learned going through this.
1. Ass far as T/T + stem length I have found that my standard road set up works fine maybe 10mm shorter. If your too short here you will feel cramped and you'll move forward on your seat. You need to stretch out to push your rear back to keep it on the part of the seat it belongs.
2. Out of all the standard recomendations for sizing you find for CX I found the wider handle bar to be great. I find myself spending alot more time on the tops in the cross environment, A wider bar (I'm a 42 on the road use 44 on the cross bike) gives you what efectively results in a top bar that is basically as wide as MTB bars giving better control and confidence when riding on the tops.