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Tons of Noob Questions (Long)(15 posts)

Tons of Noob Questions (Long)kilgoretrout
Aug 6, 2003 6:07 AM
Hi. I'm new to list and have a few questions. I recently picked up a Soma Double Cross that had been a friend's commuter. I want to build it as a CX/touring/commuter/do it all bike. Ride to the fireroads, bomb them all day, then ride back, as well as the occasional century, and maybe commute, when I am gainfully employed again.

About the only thing on the bike I want to keep is the WH-R535 wheelset and the bottom bracket. I have the cockpit build sussed out, and plan on using Shimano barcons w/ Tiagra levers (Salsa Moto-Ace stuff is good, yeah?). I was also planning on purchasing the Ritchey Pro Cross crankset, but would a mountain triple (like XT), or road triple (105) be a better choice? And what would be your suggestions for front and rear derailleurs? I had decided on Ultegra front and rear, but after snooping around a little think maybe XT might be a better choice. I'm not so concerned about weight, mostly durability and lack of hassle. As far as brakes, I was looking at the Avid Shorty 4's. Now I'm hearing that they suck. I can get a set for $34. What else is in that range that doesn't squeel like a pig?

Also, I'm a big man at 6'2", 230 lbs. Am I just asking for it with that wheelset? Originally, that was going to be the first thing to go, until I saw that Bianchi had spec'ed them on the Axis last year. I'm not a big fan of Shimano's strongarm tactics, and my single speed mtn bike has NO Shimano whatsoever, but this build is all about the bang for the buck, plus they look cool. I am limited in how much I can spend and am selling my fixie to finance this.

Thanks for reading this mess, and I look forward to your suggestions.

as a big guyatpjunkie
Aug 6, 2003 9:09 AM
you may want to opt for XT as it will allow a biger cluster. featherweights don't understand this but a 12-27 sometimes doesn't cut it for riders over 200. they can spin it, you mash it, go absolutely lactic and ruin your knees. My fave is 8 (circa 1998) speed with a 11-30 or 12-30 cassette. I'm 230 as well. The WH-R535 hmmmm your size? save them for back up and /or commute wheels. I'd suggest getting some 105 or Ult. hubs and building up with Velocity Fusion 32 hole 3X. A bit heavier but won't fold like a taco. I destroy Mavic O/P's in the rear and the veed rim works well. I've had good luck with the aeroheads as well and you can find a set on ebay for under $200.
where i come from, we call mirrors 'leaks'JS Haiku Shop
Aug 6, 2003 10:42 AM
nice handle. my favorite book, btw.

6'2" 230 = 32 or 36 hole open pro rims on 105 or ultegra hubs, and 700x30 or better tires for 'cross. i'm 200# and have been riding a surly cross-check for about a year now, through 'cross season, and thousands of miles of road riding, including some pretty nasty weather. my 32 spoke ultegra/open pros have held up well, with only one truing (hand built by excel), and i expected them to be far more fragile considering what i've put 'em through.

i've seen a whr540 pop a spoke gently entering a parking lot driveway lip. could be just a bad run of luck, but the guy weighs well under 200#. i might use them for club rides or supported centuries, but nothing where calling for a ride from 1 busted spoke wasn't an option.

the c-c is built with ultegra 9sp/triple and an xt rear with 12-32 cassette. no problems so far, and i've been able to scale vertical walls on the bike in lowest gear (while those lightweights beside me on 15# $5k bikes were walking). fwiw.

the c-c has shorty 4s on it. they don't squeal like a pig if you have 'em dialed in right. no problems here, though i would prefer some center-pull long-reach calipers for steep, technical mountain road descents. you want the cantis for 'cross, though, with mud & guts and all clogging up the tire-fork crown clearance.

bomb the fire roads all day on your sussed-out soma? awesome, man. gag me with a spoon!

Thanks for all of the help! -nm-kilgoretrout
Aug 6, 2003 11:19 AM
Aug 6, 2003 1:31 PM
Gearing is a combination of personal preference and where you ride. My CX bike has 38/48 rings and a 12-27 cassette. For road rides, commuting, and traditional 'cross uses (i.e. what you'd find on a race course) it works great. However there are rides in my area that I can not do on the bike due to gearing.

In some cases a triple really will come in handy if you're looking for a single "do it all" bike. If you do not have a MTB and plan on riding long off-road climbs, I'd suggest a triple. Last night I was on a MTB ride that I can ride down on my CX bike with no problems. However going up is too long and steep for my CX. Even with my MTB I was struggling to turn a 24/34 combo for the last 1 an 1/4 miles.
Aug 6, 2003 2:52 PM
I don't race - I use my CX for mild offroad riding, as well as riding to and from the trails and commuting. I went with a 110/74 BCD triple crank with 48/36/26 XTR rings. I think it's a good compromise - I would think a compact MTB crank with a 44 tooth big ring would limit top end speed too much on-road.
Aug 7, 2003 8:24 AM
what cassette are you running to go with the XTR chainrings?

12-34 nm.CurtSD
Aug 7, 2003 8:32 AM
re: Tons of Noob Questions (Long)gotbones
Aug 6, 2003 3:51 PM
For the front der the XT limits you to 44T while th LX will handle 48T (I think the Ultegra and 105 go up to 52)
gearing pref. and weightatpjunkie
Aug 6, 2003 5:17 PM
as I stated he's a bigger guy and will want a wider range of gears. for those of you under 200 lbs just fill a pack up with enough weight to break the 2 century mark then ride the 'typical cross' course for 50 minutes, then you will feel our pain.
Wheels and gearing.TWD
Aug 7, 2003 12:26 AM
The WH-R535 wheels should last you for a while. I have been trying my hardest to kill the set that came on my bike, but haven't been able to do it. I'm not much of a fan of low spoke count wheels since I like to build my own, but for the couple thousand miles of racing, mtb style trail riding, and commuting that I've done with them, I just can't do them in. They have suprized me.

The spokes on the rear have finally started pinging a little on really steep off-road climbs, but I retentioned the wheel, and it took care of most of it.

If you think you can sell them, go for it, otherwise, they will probably serve you well until you get something you like better. Then use them as a backup.

FWIW, I'm about you're same size as well, but a little bit lighter this time of year, but probably be back close to your range over the winter (when I ride my cx bike the most).

As for gearing, if you want a do it all, go anywhere bike, get a triple crank for sure if you live somewhere that has long/steep climbs. I'm running a raceface triple with 110/74 bcd and 24/36/48 rings and an 11-32 cassette on the rear. That gives me the range to do anything from fast group road rides, to long singletrack climbs.

I ran it as a double during the race season last year, but I doubt I'll even bother to pull the granny ring off this fall.

Good Luck.
I have been happy with my set up...msmootsiemartin
Aug 7, 2003 5:33 AM
I recently had my bike built up with a 48-34 double w/ an XT 12-34 cassette. I seem to have plenty of low gears (although I am a few pounds lighther than you). I am using the bike on fire roads, around town and touring w/ rack and panniers. This seems to be a nice combo of gears without going to a triple.

Have fun!
re: Tons of Noob Questions (Long)velofelus
Aug 7, 2003 10:24 AM
For your intended use I think a std mtn triple crankset (110/74bcd) is the way to go since it provides a wider gear spread up front. You can have the same high end (4 cx) as a road crank, additionally your low end can be around 24 tooth granny compared to a std road triple's (130bcd)30 granny. 20% is nothing to sneeze at. Couple this with a mtn cassette and derailleur and you will be giving mtb'ers fits. Seems to have a undermining effect on some them to see a "road bike" out on the trails.

Far as rims go I'm using Mavic cxp33 rims very rigid and much stronger than the op's they replaced. Seems the Velocity Fusions someone else mentioned would be a good choice also. Its all in the aero cross section. As you are a big dude you may want to go with wider tires 35c plus, lotsa choices here.

As for brakes I had bad/no luck with the avid's, decent stopping horrendous howling. Switched to Paul's neo retros very good stopping zero noise simple setup/adjustment.

Regardless of which way you go I think you will most pleased with the fun versatile machine it will be, keep us posted.
Aug 7, 2003 11:36 AM
with most of the above. 74/110 triple, 26/26/46 (or 48), cassette with a decent climbing cog (at least 26 tooth) in the back. For front shifting try to pick up one of the older XTR derailleurs that various places are currently blowing out-made for standard rings and verrrrry smooth. If you're going to build up some other wheels, I'd recommend using a 36H LX or XT freehub (135 spacing), as the Soma frame is spaced 132.5 (for either road or mtb hubs). Will make for a stronger wheel and mountain hubs are better sealed than road.
I could never get the Avid Shorties to stop squealing in the front despite sanding down the pads, toe-in, pad swapping, cleaning the rims, headset adjustment et. al. I now run some old Shimano cantilevers with Kool Stop pads, nice combo. The Tektro Oryx brakes have easy setup like the Avids and ALLEGEDLY do not squeal as bad, if I ever need cantis again they're what I'd try.
Aug 7, 2003 1:05 PM
run mostly MTB drivetrains.
Bike 1 (CX race-fun/Commuter/Baby Trailer Puller/Adventure Bike)
XTR triple 48/36/26 Ult. casette 12-27 XTR Der. (sp F/B)
Bike 2 (CX Race) AC (XTR knock off) Crank 44/36 with XT 11-30 cassette. I found I never used my 48-11 in races so I reduced the big ring to tighten the chainline. XTR F and XT Rear Der. 8speed!
wheels Ult. / Aerohead Clinch 32 hole 3x Tufo Pretige TUB CLINCH - Ult. Rigida Tubular 32 hole 3x w/ Tufo Elte 34's. Specialized S-Works (hugi 240 in Specialized hub bodies) 32 hole 3x to Mavic O/P F and Velocity Fusion R (will replace O/P with Aerohead on death) various tires (usually Mich. Sprint R/ Mud F)
Brakes- Spooky's
I had Avids and they drove me nuts. good power, never got front to shut up. Like the retro look of the spooky's and they stop well with high straddle set up.