Debating between two new builds

My Alien is cool but I’m the type of guy who doesn’t keep the daily fixed bike around for more than a year or so without looking to something new. I guess I’m the equivalent of the guy who trades in his car for another one every 3 years… anyways, I’m stuck between two build ideas for my next bike. Help me decide Tarck…

In one corner is the Kazane.
Pros: can probably get cooldudebro hookup deal of $450 for fr/fork. The frame is not that different from my Alien other than being a no-brainer upgrade on a few parts - stiffer/lighter through the oversized lugged steel/thinner tubing walls. Threadless instead of threaded. I think I’m at the point where I could care less about ever owning a threaded bike again… even old lugged road bikes look fine or better in my eyes with a Thomson stem. Building it up as the daily rider/track racer backup/sprint training bike. Not really ideal for anything over 25-30 miles though… but something along the lines of a Hopkins-inspired build, minus the ballin’ carbon wheels:

In the other corner… a Steamroller. Thought I’d never own one but hey, this picture got me so hot and bothered the first time I saw it that the idea of doing a tracklocross build has laid dormant in my head for a solid year now:

Can probably get the frame/fork for $320 through team discount on QBP, and I’m in the works of getting a ridden-once Crosscheck fork today for $30 (!!!) that would make a great canti setup for using the bike off-road. Could probably bring that price down even further by selling the stock fork off. Rake is only 6mm different… not likely to kill the geometry.

Pros: Way more versatile. Ride it fixed on the singletrack/cross rides with knobbies, then throw some 700x30 slicks on for winter commuting/road training rides.
Geometry is crit-esque/aggressive road (ST/HT angles anyway), so training rides are a lot more realistic on this thing vs. an Alien or Kazane.
Thirsty-dude bracket for times when carrying water bottles in a jersey pocket is lame.
Practical. Easier to get fenders in there - no more dealing with a front clip-on rubbing the downtube or tire like on the Alien.
Cons: Not much of a track back up bike… not that it’s that vital, but it’s always nice in case something happens to the Concept.
700x23’s look dumb as hell on Steamrollers. About the equivalent to trying to make your 27" road conversion look like a tarcked out track racer in my eyes.
The BB is a little low for a fixed build. Hard to justify putting anything over 167.5’s on there, and most likely just 165’s (the BB drop is 70mm… standard for road, but 60mm or less is far better for a fixed gear to avoid pedal strike IMO).
Not lugged, and trading in the Alien would mean not owning any lugged steel in my collection… I could probably live with that pretty easily, but it’s worth saying.
A little heavy on the build… but more comfortable.
Can’t set it up vis-a-vis to the Concept quite as easily as far as to make it easy to train track/sprint technique on one bike and then transfer it to the other - geometry is different. But maybe that’s just picking straws - adapting to different bikes really isn’t that hard after a few minutes.

Sounds like the choice is between being more competitive at the track and having easy access to the areas of CX, road, and commuting. Wouldn’t it be best to have both? Maybe sell the Alien and put the money toward whichever bike is more urgent, then build up the other one later when you have the time/money.

Eh, I got one too many bikes as it is and still need to get a proper road bike in my quiver.

CX practice/trail riding/road training is definitely more urgent now though, what with winter approaching fast. I have a geared CX bike for all of those things, but fixed would be nice for days when washing mud/road grime out of the derailleurs isn’t on my agenda.

This is the same inner debate I had for a while… ended up with a BMW with 30c cross tires for a bit. Realized that I would rather just ride my cross bike and put ribmos on it. Realized I hated riding super slow tires to work and ended up selling it. Fat tires + fixed gear seemed way cooler than it actually turned out to be in real life for me. I say go with the Kazane. Or focus on that proper road bike… there really is no substitute for a good road bike if you are putting in training for any type of competition.

i’m sure you have more discerning tastes as a rider than myself, but kazane is too close to alien for me to justify swapping from one to the other (at least if you’re buying the kazane new. if somebody wanted to make an even trade, that would be ideal and give you a lighter, more modern but still lugged track frame)

as for the roller w/xcheck fork… why not just go with a conversion? track geo with big clearances is cool. but you’re left with a bike that isn’t raceable in cross nor on the track.

don’t you ride like a 55? i got this guy, 55.5 square

i traded some record track wheels for it, realized it was too big, almost sold it to jerome, then he found it out takes 27" wheels. what the hell… that pic is with 700c, though, so it’s not like you’ll be riding a schwinn world sport or anything.

lugged steel for ya. and prolly like a third of what you’d pay for a kazane, for f/f/hs/italian bb/super mighty double cranks if you want 'em

Well, I did make it to cat 3 on a cross bike with slicks… but yeah, being on way different geometry then the rest of the field and having a 22lb. bike for the hills vs. guys on 17lb. ones is definitely something I don’t want to be doing next year. CAAD9 is the road bike I’m aiming to get next year. The nice thing about changing up my daily fixed bike is it shouldn’t take more than 100-200 dollars out of my wallet to fund seeing as nearly everything would be swapped or sold for near the same price as I can pick up other things for @ used. Saving for a road bike on the other hand is going to take forever…

aside from “buy my stuff”…

didn’t you just get a ss 29er? between that and the windsor, sounds like you’re set for winter training rides and trails. if it’s worth your $100-200 to get a new daily track bike, then just go in that direction and save up for CAAD.

Toa3t… yeah I got that SS 29er but am questioning why I own it now that I’ve been riding my CX bike more often on the MTB trails than that. So it may not stick around for too long… anyways, Max may be interested in buying it back. I hate climbing with riser bars anyway…

The road conversion idea is a good point but I can think of a few cons. The BB would likely still kinda pretty low for a fixed bike (could be negated by fatter tires though), vintage lugged steel would mean nowhere near as stiff as the Steamroller and a lot more similar to the Alien, a 1" headtube would going threadless would result in a lot less good/cheap/durable headset choices (and having to track down a good/cheap/durable threadless fork, not to mention one with cantilever mounts), no salvaging the $30 Crosscheck fork for it (coz 1 1/8"), and less likelihood of being able to run some 700x35 CX knobbies…

You guys are probably right though. I should get my mind out of the sky and just get this damn saving-money-for-CAAD9 thing going.

Get the good road bike. For real.

No such thing. HTFU and n+1.

What I’m aspiring towards. Swap that crank though…

I would get a for real real CX frame if I had any intentions of bringing it off road.

I rode my Cross Check as a fixed gear for over a year with 700x37 Continental Travel Contacts. Granted I’m a big guy (215lbs) but I really liked it. I was riding with brakes so skiddzzzz were not a real big deal at the time but it totally worked for me. That said, IMHO unless you gear way down for it, the offroad ability of a fixed gear is pretty damn limited as soon as any kind of actual incline presents itself.

Buy a salsa podio on discount

is salsa blowing all of their stuff? i know they’re blowing out the la cruz’s(?)


Honestly, aside from being able to fit big fat tires, the Steamroller isn’t all that great. I got mine b/c it was cheap at shop cost and a fun bike (should have gone with black!!!), but now I really wish I had gotten something a bit more versatile. I think a Steamroller makes for a good townie or fixed road rider but beyond that there are lots of bikes better suited to the task at hand.

Get the CAAD 9.


Salsa has been pushing end of season sales to dealers. The LaCruz, ElMar, and Alacarte get redesigned versions in the spring. What QBP has left is on sale.