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Review: Custom Allan Wanta single speed CX (xpost to SS)(7 posts)

Review: Custom Allan Wanta single speed CX (xpost to SS)Ash
Feb 4, 2003 9:28 AM
Background: I wanted a CX frame for commuting on and possibly racing
Cross. I'm one of those long legged, short torso short people and have
had to go custom on my road and mtn bikes. And none of the stock geometries
for Cross frames were anywhere close to what I needed. However
I could not justify $1000 and up for a commuter so I started looking for
the best value (ok let's be honest, cheapest) custom options out there

Several that I considered were:
Peyto (www.peytocycles.com) The canadian exchange rate made for an economical
price

Teesdale, Curtlo, Marinoni, Deeside cycles also came up as more economical than
the $1000+ frames like Steelman, etc..

After several emails, lots of questions and phone discussions I ended choosing
Allan Wanta (www.wantaframes.com) He is a small one man shop who builds part time
out of Goleta, CA. I felt a good feeling from our discussions and have always
like to send my money to the small American builders.

He quoted me a Columbus Zona steel frame, with or without lugs, all will have an investment cast

bottom bracket shell, unicrown fork with canti's front and rear for canti brakes, solid Imron paint ,

$495.00, and $100 upcharge for Columbus FOCO. $150 deposit required. Approx 3 months from receipt

of deposit to delivery.

I opted for the FOCO frame. (so much for being cheap)

I provided the geometry of my current road bike and also specified the following:
- 1" head tube
-Same BB height as a standard road bike
-Slightly sloping top tube
-extended head tube to minimize # of headset spacers
-Surly track end drop out with rear der. Hanger
-drop out spacing to accomodate mtn or road hubs
-downtube shifter bosses
-27.2 seat tube
-slightly relaxed geom compared to road bike but not too slow
-eyelets for racks

Everything else I left up to him.

Deposit check mailed Late August, kept in touch via email, he let me know the
stages of the frame, and when it was sent to painter. Delivery in early Dec.

First Impressions:
-The frame was sent to me direct from the painter. So I knew ahead of time that there
was some minor prep work for me. All surfaces had been faced, but I had to scrap off
some paint from the head/BB faces and also chase threads on the rear der. and bottle
bosses.
-Paint was AWESOME. Allan has said that the price included a TWO color paint scheme, but I opted for

a single color. I speced a metallic green. Frame was painted by Color Factory
out of NewJersey. Highly, recommend you contact them if you want a frame painted. His
prices or the best I've seen.
-Alan put an extended seat tube on the frame, one reason is aesthetics another is so that
you don't have to have a long seatpost. I would have preferred not having this because I
like the look of lots of post showing, and it would have made it easier to place the
bike in a stand and clamp it to just the seatpost.

The Color Factory
23 Main Street
Waretown,NJ 08758
1-800-62-GLEAM

Frame was fillet brazed except at BB which was lugged. Looked like nice welds but what do I know

about welding?

Build Up
-Parts selection was combination of scrounged, ebay, and Nashbar Closeout
-Had some difficulty with the extended head tube and the front canti brake hanger
just wasn't a lot of room to route the cable,
-Everything went together fine except with the rear brake.
-There was a problem with the rear brake:
1) rear canti cable hanger was welded too low. So a cantilever brake would
not work well because the straddle cable thingy would hit the cable hanger in
its range of motion. The brake bosses were also set just slightly high making
it a little difficult to set the brake pads, but not impossible.

-So I had to go with a Vbrake and I was able to get the Tektro Mini V's to work.

-In talking with Allan about it, he suggested that since I was able to
closeup of BBAsh
Feb 4, 2003 9:29 AM
closeup of rear track endAsh
Feb 4, 2003 9:30 AM
Note, rear der, cable guide requires step down ferrule like some classic road bikes. I'd specifiy a standard slotted guide if doing it again for ease of lubing cables
front viewAsh
Feb 4, 2003 9:30 AM
re: Review: Custom Allan Wanta single speed CX (xpost to SS)kilimanjaro
Feb 4, 2003 10:39 AM
Looks sweet. However you post got chopped off in the middle of part 1) of your brake problems. Could you repost it?

Thanks,
Repost with full textAsh
Feb 4, 2003 11:09 AM
Review of Custom Allan Wanta single speed CX frame

Background: I wanted a CX frame for commuting on and possibly racing
Cross. I'm one of those long legged, short torso short people and have
had to go custom on my road and mtn bikes. And none of the stock geometries
for Cross frames were anywhere close to what I needed. However
I could not justify $1000 and up for a commuter so I started looking for
the best value (ok let's be honest, cheapest) custom options out there

Several that I considered were:
Peyto (www.peytocycles.com) The canadian exchange rate made for an economical
price

Teesdale, Curtlo, Marinoni, Deeside cycles also came up as more economical than
the $1000+ frames like Steelman, etc..

After several emails, lots of questions and phone discussions I ended choosing
Allan Wanta (www.wantaframes.com) He is a small one man shop who builds part time
out of Goleta, CA. I felt a good feeling from our discussions and have always
like to send my money to the small American builders.

He quoted me a Columbus Zona steel frame, with or without lugs, all will have an investment cast bottom bracket shell, unicrown fork with canti's front and rear for canti brakes, solid Imron paint , $495.00, and $100 upcharge for Columbus FOCO. $150 deposit required. Approx 3 months from receipt of deposit to delivery.

I opted for the FOCO frame. (so much for being cheap)

I provided the geometry of my current road bike and also specified the following:
- 1" head tube
-Same BB height as a standard road bike
-Slightly sloping top tube
-extended head tube to minimize # of headset spacers
-Surly track end drop out with rear der. Hanger
-drop out spacing to accomodate mtn or road hubs
-downtube shifter bosses
-27.2 seat tube
-slightly relaxed geom compared to road bike but not too slow
-eyelets for racks

Everything else I left up to him.

Deposit check mailed Late August, kept in touch via email, he let me know the
stages of the frame, and when it was sent to painter. Delivery in early Dec.

First Impressions:
-The frame was sent to me direct from the painter. So I knew ahead of time that there
was some minor prep work for me. All surfaces had been faced, but I had to scrap off
some paint from the head/BB faces and also chase threads on the rear der. and bottle
bosses.
-Paint was AWESOME. Allan has said that the price included a TWO color paint scheme, but I opted for a single color. I speced a metallic green. Frame was painted by Color Factory
out of NewJersey. Highly, recommend you contact them if you want a frame painted. His
prices or the best I've seen.
-Alan put an extended seat tube on the frame, one reason is aesthetics another is so that
you don't have to have a long seatpost. I would have preferred not having this because I
like the look of lots of post showing, and it would have made it easier to place the
bike in a stand and clamp it to just the seatpost.

The Color Factory
23 Main Street
Waretown,NJ 08758
1-800-62-GLEAM

Frame was fillet brazed except at BB which was lugged. Looked like nice welds but what do I know about welding?

Build Up
-Parts selection was combination of scrounged, ebay, and Nashbar Closeout
-Had some difficulty with the extended head tube and the front canti brake hanger
just wasn't a lot of room to route the cable,
-Everything went together fine except with the rear brake.
-There was a problem with the rear brake:
1) rear canti cable hanger was welded too low. So a cantilever brake would
not work well because the straddle cable thingy would hit the cable hanger in
its range of motion. The brake bosses were also set just slightly high making
it a little difficult to set the brake pads, but not impossible.

-So I had to go with a Vbrake and I was able to get the Tektro Mini V's to work.

-In talking with Allan about it, he suggested
Sorry, here is the remaining text,Ash
Feb 5, 2003 4:31 AM
-In talking with Allan about it, he suggested that since I was able to get it working
with the mini Vs to just ride it for awhile, then send it back for a fix and repaint at
no cost.

While it sucked that it wasn't perfect, it was nice to know that it wouldn't be a hassle
to get fixed. He basically said he'd do whatever it took to make me happy.

-Allan uses some noodle work at the BB to route cables out of the muck. I don't know how well
they work since I have only built it as a single speed.

The Ride:
-First time on pavement, felt a little wierd. I felt taller than my road bike, and it
felt harder to rock the bike back and forth. THe height most likely came from the
taller CX tires, and the relaxed geom + added height makes it harder to rock the
bike while standing.

-But first time I got onto a gravel road..WOW!!! It was so amazing, it felt SOO fast
and so stable. I was just so amazed.

-I have ridden it to work a couple of times, and it is just plain fun.

Conclusion:
-I am very pleased with the frame. A custom FOCO frame WITH fork for $595. That is pretty
hard to find. It is cool that there are some custom builders that put sweet steel custom frames in the range of a lot of people. And while there is still the issue of the rear brake hanger and rear brake bosses, the frame is rideable and I will get it fixed at my leisure. And it was nice to know that I would get taken care of by the builder.

What I would change next time:
-Lose the sloping top tube. My shorter than normal top tube already makes for a tight
fit when shouldering
-Not extend the head tube so much, it makes it hard to route cables for a front canti brake (not an
issue of going V brakes)
-Maybe going with an even lower than road frame BB height so that when you add the height of CX tires it doesn't make it feel so tall
-Not have the extended seat tube just for aesthetics and to make it easier to clamp in stand

In case you are wondering, the parts list is:
-Cheap aheadset headset
-Cheap nashbar stem
-Cheap nashbar bar
-scrounged 105 brake levers
-scrounged LX canti on front, Tektro V brake rear
-Inline cable adjuster for rear brake
-Suntour XC pro crank
-Real Crankcase BB
-Salsa 34 tooth front ring
-Shimano BMX 16 tooth cassette (yes I know gearing is low (2.125 ratio) but i'm weak and there are
lots of hills on my commute)
-American Classic seatpost
-Cheap (and it feels like a cheap) saddle on closeout
-XTR/Velocity rims built by odds n endos
-Kenda closeout CX tires
-Shimano SPD pedals
-Sram PC 48 chain