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Almost Done with CX Bike, Need Final Advice(5 posts)

Almost Done with CX Bike, Need Final AdviceSwat Dawg
Oct 12, 2003 9:00 PM
I have almost completed a singlespeed build of a 54cm Diamondback Podium frame. I was going to build it up with gears but I kept running into problems with the setup and crap so I said screw it and just slapped some spacers and crap on it. I think it's going to to be pretty slick. The first question is the imfamous gearing issue, the second is on front wheel lacing pattern.

Here's the questions:

1) I have several different options for gearing. I have 42, 44, and 46 tooth chainrings and 14, 15, 16, ad 21 tooth cogs. Right now I have it geared at 46x21 which is 2.19:1 or 59.1 gear inches. I'm not sure if this is the right size, should I go smaller, larger? I thought about going 44x21 on the smaller side or 42x16 to get a little bigger. This is my first CX experience and it is all just for fun, I'm looking to improve my technical skills and gain some racing experience. Anyway, the other question:

2) I have a Deep V rim and Dura Ace front hub that I'm going to build up but I'm not sure about the lacing pattern. Since I'm going to build it radial lacing would be easiest, but does it build a better wheel? Also, should I go with Bladed, straight guage, or DB spokes for durability?

Anything else you can think of that I haven't considered please give me a heads up. Thanks for the help. I'll post a pic soon.
Oct 13, 2003 5:35 AM
2) DA hubs aren't warrantied for radial lacing. I'd go 2x with DB spokes. aerodynamics don't matter as much at CX speeds, but being a weenie, I used wheelsmith AE15s (double butted bladed spokes) on my new wheels. I am using a Fiamme Red Label tubie front, a FiR Pulsar rear, 3x drive with DB14s, 2x everywhere else with AE15s.

1) your first CX bike, and you are going singlespeed? yowza! I have heard people say 2:1 for CX, but I've never done it myself. someday, maybe.
Front WheelTWD
Oct 13, 2003 10:06 AM
In regards to your second question, I wouldn't go with radial lacing.

Running a 3 cross pattern will build a stronger wheel and really isn't that hard to lace up. Sheldon Brown's website ( has a good how-to on wheelbuilding with pictures if you're not sure how to do it.

The radially laced front wheels I've used have been flexy, leading to a lot of brake rub. I'm a bigger guy and like to hammer out of the saddle in big gears. It may not be an issue for you, but it is for me. If you are running a single speed setup, you'll be mashing on when it gets steep.

Also, radially lacing will void the warranty on Shimano hubs. Last but not least, the weight savings from running radial lacing will be insignificant compared to the weight of the Deep V rim you are using.

Also, I wouldn't use bladed spokes if you will be doing any road riding with these wheels in windy conditions. The combination of bladed spokes and deep section rims will be harder to manage in heavy crosswinds. I don't think the bladed spokes will give you much of an aero advantage at slower cross racing speeds either.

As far as durability is concerned, 14/15 DB spokes should be fine if you are lacing 3 cross. If you break a spoke it will usually happen near the ends, not in the middle.

A DA hub, laced 3 cross to a Deep V rim with 14/15 DB spokes should be a pretty bomproof wheel.
gearing advicereed
Oct 13, 2003 12:18 PM
While I've not race CX single speed, I have been thinking a lot about gearing for CX races. It seems you will need options, as courses vary quite a bit (at least around here they do). Most of my buddies who race SS-CX say 2:1 is too low a gear but 3:1 is too high (except on really flat courses). I'd start w/ the 46x21 you have on and go from there, maybe go closer to 2.5:1. Then again, I'm assuming you are talking about racing, if you are just interested in trail riding on your SS-CX then that's a different deal.
SS CX gearspauly
Oct 14, 2003 6:53 AM
I've been switching between 42x18 (63") and 42x20 (~57") on my singlespeed cross bike. These seem to work pretty well on most of the courses/trails I ride. Granted, I'm old, fat and slow, so "pretty well" is a relative term.