Time for something new

Lately I’ve been wanting a really practical utility bike. I’ve tried and tried to make my Trek (see sig) into one, but I just don’t think fixed gears are really ideal for my utility purposes, which will frequently involve carrying musical instruments (saxophones and clarinets), groceries and the other shit that we carry as we live our lives. I want this bike to double as something of a cross bike, as well. Not for anything too hardcore, just riding fire trails and having a good time.

I’m going to take the Trek, save the wheels (Formula/Alex Adventurer) probably for my brother, if he wants them, then use the entry-level Shimano hubs in my current cheap road wheelset (being replaced with Ultegra/Open Pros) to build up some beefier wheels with Salsa Delgado Cross rims or CR-18s.

Specialized recently donated a bunch of boxes of new parts to our co-op here in Santa Cruz. They are mostly low-end Shimano mtb/hybrid components (Alivio and whatever else is down in that range) which we are using mostly as replacement parts on repair bikes when people don’t have a lot of money but need a new part. One nice thing we did get, though, are a shit ton of SRAM X-7 8-speed trigger shifters, which are fucking sweet. I’m going to use one of those with a SRAM X-5 rear derailleur and a single chainring with no front derailleur.

I need help picking a few parts, though.

First of all, the wheels: Delgado Cross or CR-18? The price difference is negligible, so if anyone has any experience using these, I would love to hear about it. I’m also open to suggestions in that general price range, although if something costs a bit more (or less) I think wheels as a long-term investment and could be convinced to suck it up and spend a little more (within reason). Also: straight gauge or double-butted spokes? If I weigh 130lbs, does it matter?

Gearing: I hate front derailleurs and don’t want to deal with one this time. Speed is not the first thing I have in mind with this bike. I’m more concerned about having low enough gearing to get up some decent hills while carrying a fair bit of extra weight. I’m thinking about something between 34 and 42 teeth up front and an 11-34 8-speed cassette in back. Does anyone here use a “Mega range” cassette? They seem cool, but the tooth jump gets pretty wide (26 to 34, a 30% difference) between the lowest and second lowest cog. I understand that it keeps the spacing more reasonable across the rest of the range, but it seems like it might be kind of jarring to shift into.

Brake levers: A couple of friends at the Bike Co-op are working on building a jig for brazing on canti posts, but until then, I’m using Shimano long-reach calipers. What brake levers will work well? Inexpensive is best, and if they have different settings so I can use them with cantis or calipers that would be ideal, although not strictly required.

Sorry for the long post, but I figured it would be better to start one thread for all of this than clutter the forum with multiple threads to ask questions about the same build.

DB spokes build a more durable wheel no mater how much you weight.

I hate bike jumps on a cassette but, riding ss/fixed on/off road your never in an optimum gear anyway.

You can spin fast or grind mo problem. Go with the Mega range 1X8

If I were in your position (and I think I will be soon with my current road rig) I would look into a cheap canti fork up front, or in a perfect world have someone weld disc brake tabs on your fork and frame. If you are looking to do it on the cheap, an old steel fork with canti bosses should be cheap though brake calipers would work fine. For me a normal cassette is fine, I can mash a little extra for the REALLY big hills. Double butted spokes is a good idea as well.

Hmmm…Disc tabs, you say? I am intrigued…

If I were to get disc tabs brazed or welded on (kind of an option), would the frame be ok with that? Would it cause excessive flex? I feel like those skinny little tubes wouldn’t like having to deal with that much unexpected force.

Hmmm…Disc tabs, you say? I am intrigued…

If I were to get disc tabs brazed or welded on (kind of an option), would the frame be ok with that? Would it cause excessive flex? I feel like those skinny little tubes wouldn’t like having to deal with that much unexpected force.[/quote]

I recall having seen it done, the place they would mount would be near the dropouts, so the welds could be spread out over the seat and chain stays I would think they would be plenty secure. I think you could probably ask a local machine/welding shop to do it. You might have to repaint a bit of your frame, but my dream commuter is a steel road frame with discs and cross wheels and a 1x9 or 1x10 gear setup, possibly, double brake levers (aero levers and tops levers) with a thumb shifter on the tops lever. Preference being a set of sun touring disk rims to some solid disk hubs, shimano 105 derailluer, cassette and 105 cranks.

here is a link to buy tabs:

http://www.novacycles.com/catalog/produ ... cts_id=811

and a discussion of adding tabs on bikeforums:

http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index ... 5-p-2.html

I like the Delgados a lot. Sounds like a fun bike.

Thanks, Frank! This is a possibility I hadn’t even really thought about until you mentioned it yesterday.
I think you’ve just convinced me to spend a lot more money so that I can have a bike that’s a lot more awesome. I’ll probably do it in the next year or so. The deciding factors will be: 1) who can do it right. 2) how much it will cost. I know that Josh Muir, a founding member of the Bike Co-op on campus and the Bike Church off campus in Santa Cruz, builds and repairs frames, so I might contact him about doing the work. I also have a friend who works at the co-op with me who knows how to weld and braze, as well as a few friends with access to a lot of the art studios, so I might talk to them about finding a way into the metal sculpture studio on the UCSC campus and helping me do some welding. Maybe I could reinforce the frame with some ghetto-ass gussets in the areas that will be more stressed.

A former UCSC bike co-op core member and founder is now working as a framebuilder (http://www.trafficcycledesign.com/, http://spencerwright.org/mybikes.html). Last year, he built an incredible cross bike and last month another bike co-op core member bought a touring frame from him, both with disc mounts placed strategically so that they did not interfere with the racks and panniers. If it ends up costing too much money to modify my frame, I might see what Spencer can do for me.

Tarckeemoon: Cool, thanks. I’ve been leaning towards the Delgados, and I think I might pull the trigger on them once I get back to Santa Cruz. I’m really excited about this bike.

i think it might be better to have the disc up front and the cantis in the back to maximize braking efficiency. you almost always want your better/more powerful brake up front.

yo dead, I can vouch for Josh Muir. He repaired my road frame when it got squished by a pickup truck. He did a really good job, and it was cheap ($60 for a new chainstay and reinforcement on the seatlug/seatstay area). He knows what he is doing and is a pleasant guy to work with as well.

yo, dfl, your trek is already rad!

Thanks, man. It’s fun, but I feel like it’s not very versatile. I already have another fixed gear (Spicer/Kilo frame, really normal build) and have been wanting a utility bike for a while now. Add that to my constant need to fuck with my bikes and you’ve got a project on your hands. I might not hand off the fixed wheels to my brother just yet, though, in case I change my mind.

ideally you would have front and rear discs, but i just figured adding discs in the rear would be easier, though now that you mention it one could probably find a cross fork and just swap forks, though 1" might be a little scarce with disc tabs…

ideally you would have front and rear discs, but i just figured adding discs in the rear would be easier, though now that you mention it one could probably find a cross fork and just swap forks, though 1" might be a little scarce with disc tabs…[/quote]
I think when I break the fork on this Trek (when, not if) I’ll get a 1" threadless cross fork with disc tabs. That might be, realistically, when I decide whether I want to do this or not. For now, I’m trying to keep the budget realistic (low) for most of this so that I can afford a Cetma rack.

Speaking of which, I want to make the UCSC Bike Co-op a Cetma dealer. I think that rack is the sort of practical thing that we should be selling to people. If we were to become a Cetma dealer, are any of you Santa Cruz people (I know you’re out there…) interested in buying one from us? I don’t know what the dealer prices, msrp, etc. are, but I want to gauge interest before I commit us to anything.

I might be on campus for thanksgiving break doing acid with the locals. If you have them by then I am for sure down.

It’ll be a while before I build my touring bike but I’m down.

I visit santa cruz pretty often, and I’d probably get a cetma if you had them.

OK, cool. I’m going to talk it over with some of the core members and then probably get in touch with Lane (is that his name?) at CETMA to see what it would take to become a dealer. I’m getting really excited about this bike. I just need to finish my road wheelset so that I’ll have the hubs from my old wheels ready to lace up to new rims.

Sorry to derail my own thread, but it’s official: The UCSC Bike Co-op is a CETMA dealer. It looks like prices will be the same as the pre-40% markup prices on the Cetma website.

This bike is built. I’m still waiting on my racks, but they should be here soon. Check the link in my sig for the velospace photos.