Do-it-all bikes are dead

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  • Due to space restrictions I want to have one bike on which I can ride on trail, gravel, and road. For this I have bought a Van Nicholas Amazon Cross. I'd been wanting a titanium bike ever since I bought my first serious bike, and when this came up I couldn't help myself:

    As the post wasn't long enough I replaced it with a Niner RDO, which has an unstiff carbon lay-up which means it should make for a more comfortable ride. And I topped it off with my saddle of choice, a (Chinese) Selle SMP Composit.

    I've done a couple of rides on it in this guise, but plan on some more changes. Short term changes are:

    1. Replace Rival rear derailleur with a long cage X0 derailleur. Both for a clutch mech and to allow for a bigger cassette, because: Done.
    2. Dial in second wheelset. 650b with tubeless 2.0" RaceKing tyres and an 11-36 cassette. Done.
    3. While doing this I'll also replace the rear rotor with a 160mm rotor, because I couldn't stand non-matching rotors. On the 650b wheelset the rotors seem to be slightly more outboard, I plan to re-adjust the calipers for this rotor position and use washers to shim out the rotors on the 700c wheelset to match. Should work, right? And adjust the reach / lever position while I'm doing this. Half done.
    4. Get rid of the front derailleur and install a 42t narrow wide ring. Gear ranges seem to be quite okay for both wheelsets. Done.
    5. Take better pictures.
    6. Install bottom bracket.
    7. Replace tyres with 30mm G-Ones?

    I already have most of these parts, just need to make time to install everything. Quite a bit of time went into getting the tubeless set-up to work, but they're holding air now and the bead seems to be seated properly. Clearances are quite tight, especially between the chainstays where the little hairs just about hit the stays, but I think it should work.

    Once the above is done I want to ride it for a while before further upgrading / changing things. But long term plans for when I run into some money to blow are:

    1. Different bars, I don't have a comfortable position in the drops in which I'm also able to apply serious braking force. Might be sorted by reach adjustment, in that case I'd still do it because I prefer the look of compact drops.
    2. Nicer cranks, I have a bit of a thing for Rotors and I think they'd look very nice on this.
    3. Better calipers. Currently it has Hayes CX-5 calipers which are much better than the cantis I'm used to, but I think there's still lots of room for improvement. I'm thinking compressionless outers / TRP Spyres / hydraulic (but would need to sort out shifting).
  • Orange carpet and a sink?! Where do you work?

  • I'll also replace the rear rotor with a 160mm rotor, because I couldn't stand non-matching rotors

  • It's linoleum, if it's any difference? It's an unused university (Eindhoven University of Technology) building made available to the student team I'm part of.. I think it was intended to be a temporary building, but they never got round to taking it down.

  • I could live with the 140/160mm, but the front rotor is an Avid and the rear of an unspecified brand. And the 650b wheelset came without rotors.

    And 4 160mm rotors and an adapter were about as expensive as a set of matching 140/160mm rotors. So now I have matching rotors on both wheelsets for the same amount of money. I also hoped this would make swapping wheelsets easier.

  • This is mad .. the project

  • In a good way?

  • I think it's brilliant :0)

    I've got an Airbourne (previous name of van Nicholas) mountain bike frame that I keep meaning to do this to.

  • If ever there was a way to do a 1 Bike to do it all, this is a good way towards it

  • As I have discovered the 650b wheels I built for my Isen will fit the commuto x bike.

    Pretty much the do it all bike.

  • Totally into this and very nice looking bike. Interested to see how this works out, my new Moots is based on the same general idea. The difference being that I still have too many bikes ;)

  • That's really good lookin'. No interest in hydro?

  • Someday, maybe. Braking is good but not great, but as of now it's such an upgrade over the cantis I'm used to that I'm not too fussed. Compressionless outers would be a relatively cheap upgrade, same goes for TRP Spyres. But hydro is new levers + calipers, and might as well go for 11 speed while I'm at it, so new derailleur and two cassettes too.

    So yeah, interested in hydro. But don't really have the funds for it, being a student and that.

  • Very little time for playing with bikes as I need to write reports for uni. Which means much more time spent trawling eBay and Marktplaats than I should. But yeah, I have Rotors now. Wanted to go for 3d30's, but these came up cheap and I don't think I'd notice the difference in stiffness either way.

    Anything against getting a XT MT800 Bottom Bracket? And I'm somewhat interested in oval rings, but I'll probably just get the same narrow wide ring I'd bought for the Rival crankset but in 130BCD. Because this sharktooth looks a bit shit and there isn't much else I can find.

  • ...


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  • Transition between spider and ring could be better, but it’s close enough.


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    1. Replace Rival rear derailleur with a long cage X0 derailleur. Both for a clutch mech and to allow for a bigger cassette, because: Done.
    2. Dial in second wheelset. 650b with tubeless 2.0" RaceKing tyres and an 11-36 cassette. Done.
    3. While doing this I'll also replace the rear rotor with a 160mm rotor, because I couldn't stand non-matching rotors. On the 650b wheelset the rotors seem to be slightly more outboard, I plan to re-adjust the calipers for this rotor position and use washers to shim out the rotors on the 700c wheelset to match. Should work, right? And adjust the reach / lever position while I'm doing this. Half done.
    4. Get rid of the front derailleur and install a 42t narrow wide ring. Gear ranges seem to be quite okay for both wheelsets. Done.
    5. Take better pictures.
    6. Install bottom bracket.
    7. Replace tyres with 30mm G-Ones?

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    • IMG_0978.JPG
  • Prioritise #5.

    Otherwise looking good.

  • 6. Install bottom bracket.

    You ride without a bottom bracket? Teach me your ways, senpai.

  • Impatience, young grasshopper. Just wanted to see a mock-up.

    1. Replace Rival rear derailleur with a long cage X0 derailleur. Both for a clutch mech and to allow for a bigger cassette, because: Done.
    2. Dial in second wheelset. 650b with tubeless 2.0" RaceKing tyres and an 11-36 cassette. Done.
    3. While doing this I'll also replace the rear rotor with a 160mm rotor, because I couldn't stand non-matching rotors.On the 650b wheelset the rotors seem to be slightly more outboard, I plan to re-adjust the calipers for this rotor position and use washers to shim out the rotors on the 700c wheelset to match. Should work, right? And adjust the reach / lever position while I'm doing this. Done.
    4. Get rid of the front derailleur and install a 42t narrow wide ring. Gear ranges seem to be quite okay for both wheelsets. Done.
    5. Take better pictures.
    6. Install bottom bracket. Done.
    7. Replace tyres with 30mm G-Ones? No.
    8. Re-readjust the disc brakes. I hate mechanical disks.
    9. File down the chainring bolts for single-ring set-up.

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    • IMG_1019.JPG
  • File down chainring bolts?
    Why don’t you buy single ring bolts? Should be 7 or 8 quid

  • But these have Rotor written on them...

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Do-it-all bikes are dead

Posted by Avatar for Tijmen @Tijmen

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