Third hand American wonders

Posted on
of 5
/ 5
Last Next
  • hi forumsters, hope your lockdown is going well and with little flats.

    allow me to present my little retro mtb story so far. everything started with a diamond back axis that i finished in october, which then after all felt a bit too heavy for my liking. super fun to ride though.

    growing willingness to partake in the burgeoning bikepacking trend and desire for delving deeper into the fascinating world of ruining frames with a 1x drivetrain led me to something a bit newer. a wild late 90s klein pulse (frame only) was kindly offered on fb marketplace with very bad photos and i took the bait. the welds are far from gary approved but it's still somewhat light and functionally pleasing.

    as it came without fork, a mystery piece of chinese carbon (toseek) was sourced from a polite family man of indian descent. s/o to him for another sweet deal on fb marketplace. gotta love that place as a slow dibser. before unleashing the most eager china carbon doubter vultures it should be mentioned we're talking about a sub 70kg rider here. not entirely sure of the suspension correctedness, but the axle-to-crown height is 38.5cm iirc. if the frame requires a suspension corrected fork in a rigid build, what are the consequences of not having the said fork in terms of geometry/ride feel?

    the initial idea was to have the axis to donate all the rest of the parts, but as it tends to happen, the appetite comes with eating. at first the tranz x steel riser needed to go and an easton monkeylite was procured. this would go nicely with the old faithful 50mm thomson stem i had in the parts bin. i was thinking to mount the right side tech99 lever upside down to save money and add edginess, but if someone has a nice spare left side (paul etc vibes) to go with xt cantis (or some better brakes i'm soon convinced into) for the low, i'm open to it. left side is a must due to a disability. oury v2s and ck headset complete the cockpit.

    the next longing was sexier cranks. nothing wrong with the xt but wi jawns happened to be around so they gravitated to me. s/o to stridsland for providing the 36t narrow-wide to match the 94bcd arms. this was supposed to be the last upgrade until someone told me it's possible to have more gears on the left side on top of the perfectly functional og xt 7spd friction thumbie by using paul's mounts. bless paul. i swiftly bought a tatty ish sram x0 mech and a tt500 bar end shifter to keep the dream on.

    after a short celebratory moment i realised the 10spd sram cassette i had started dreaming of won't fit the old xt freehub. i'd either need a whole different wheelset or a different rear hub to lace into the rear araya rm395 team rim. the pinnacle of the dolorosa so far was reached as no one seemed to be selling light wheels with loud ear candy hubs and brake surfaces. as stans ztr 355 msw version i fell in love with is literally facing extinction, i went for the 2nd option and am now desperately looking for a 32h/135mm tune kong or mag, or a similar used rear. hub offers more than welcome as i'd like to keep it as 2nd hand as possible and avoid dropping all the funds too.

    please feel free to suggest alternative ways to take the build to, nothing is really set in stone yet. especially lighter msw rim alternatives are considered. the araya's are rather light at 403g thinking the time period, but a more modern wheelset would give a stronger modern parts old frame impression which i'm kind of after. part lists for both builds being posted below. thanks for reading.

  • axis:

    diamond back axis '91 f&f
    tranz x steel riser
    tioga t-bone 1 1/8 70mm quill
    weed bmx grips
    tioga headset
    magura hs22/deore xt levers
    magura hs22 hydraulic rear brake
    deore xt front canti
    vtg suede turbo
    tioga seatpost
    araya rm 395 team rims/deore xt hubs/maxxis dth 26x2.15 skinwall folding
    deore xt friction thumbie
    deore xt 7spd mech
    deore xt cranks
    garbaruk 38t narrow-wide
    odyssey twisted pc pedals

    pulse comp:

    klein pulse comp ’96 frame
    toseek carbon fork
    simworks stealth fun 3 bar
    hope 50mm mtb stem (upgrade to enve alu mtb stem?)
    oury v2
    chris king sotto voce 1 1/8
    paul love lever compact
    bombshell 686 long v brakes
    selle italia euro flite
    klein seatpost (upgrade to kcnc scandium inline?)
    sun rhyno lite xl/royce venus & sp sv8/maxxis dth 26x2.15 skinwall folding
    sram tt500/paul thumbies
    sram x0 10spd mech
    sram pg1070 cassette
    white industries by sugino 175mm cranks
    stridsland 36t narrow-wide
    odyssey twisted pc pedals
    tune carbon bottle cage
    supernova e3 dynamo lights

  • Looking forward to see this progress! Is the saddle choice dictated by the EU-UK trade & cooperation agreement?

  • the saddle ended up here mostly because i happened to find a lighter option (troy lee x selle, ~180g) for my faster bike, and this was freed. haven’t been a fan of bojo’s policies before and even less now as they’re literally hurting the hub trade from germany. sad times.

    about to pull a trigger on kcnc jockey wheels and figured out i need a sram pg1070 11-36 cassette.

  • finally found a wheelset and don't need to tear the xt arayas apart now. thanks @platypus. bit heavier (536g vs. 403g for araya and 375g for stans) than i was initially aiming for but the dynamo light compatibility and proper machined sidewalls (as opposed to the disc version of stans ztr 355) are a plus. bottleneck defeated and angry bee dreams postponed.

    pretty much all the rest of the parts to accommodate the first placeholder build have now arrived. trusted odyssey twisted pc, which i'm still looking hold fasts for. og klein seatpost will eventually need a lighter black? upgrade, just seeing how the cockpit comes up whether i'd need setback or inline. feel free to let me know if you have something light or edgy in 31.6. kcnc jockey wheels, mtb lads told they better than sram. the bombshell bmx racing vs might seem a bit of an odd choice here but liked the looks and presumably good modern braking power. got them for the low too.

    sram pg1070 cassette, which should be the lightest from the separate construction ones. was first thinking the 11-32 but decided on 11-36 to guarantee the climbing performance on tricky trails. basic kmc 10 speed chain, bit lazy to change the chains and found these go for longer. finding brake levers was a bit of a pain and let go of the noble idea of well adjusted cantis. paid a tad too much for the paul loves but they should retain their value. as i'll be never needing the right side it's up for grabs, please pm if interested. had to order the sram thumbie mount directly from paul. didn't take too long and surprisingly avoided the customs.

    still unsure should i go blue lug meme bike with a simworks anna lee or just keep the extra steerer exposed with the thomson a la bikepackingsucks. the former would look the cleanest without spacers (68mm of steerer out), but the latter might look edgier with more steerer out (80-100mm).

    the simworks fun 3 bar is quite similar shape/size wise than the easton i have and should thus be a safe "upgrade" if the cockpit doesn't need much adjustment. no shims needed with the og thomson either as it's 25.4 clamp. the new stealth alu version is lighter but being 31.8 would require a new stem and isn't really available in europe either. if someone has spare any of these, i'm all ears and wallets.

  • B) going 2 b cool

  • Subbbbd

  • first build, quick photos. still missing a black inline seatpost, simworks cockpit (bars at least), nitto m18 and a light. everything seems to be working fine. loving the dths even more on this bike. weighed 9.9kg. might change the chainring to the other side of the spider to improve the chainline, which is now leaning to the small cog side. also need to try how the shifter feels like under the bars.

  • Looks like a lot of fun to ride

  • Nice!
    Headset spacer ID?

  • Love this, right up my alley.

  • I had one of these in 2008, as a pub bike. Light but bloody stiff

    1 Attachment

    • D4D90F4A-3090-4494-84F9-403847C51238.png
  • not sure, sorry. the kind people at seabass added the spacers.

  • some minor tweaks to report as the long-awaited simworks order showed up. alu version of the fun 3 bar now installed with parts bin hope stem. feels exactly like the name suggests, fun, cruisey, ergonomic. the fit is much better too now. interestingly no hands stability increased a lot after the extra 200g on the bars, can't complain. might get the alu enve mtb stem or something crust esque in the distant future.

    the shifter lever was getting on the way when riding more technical stuff in epping and twisted it underneath the bars, shifting works smoother and the parts are better secured from impacts.

    found a rather memey tune carbon cage, which had to go on it too. counting hours to have it in one piece. looking for a king/cargo cage for the downtube mounts. sadly missed out on the recent ones offered on classifieds.

    there's slight progress on the light front too. scored a supernova e3 front on the forum, s/o to seller. the side entry cable version of the new tail supernova is on its way from germany. the plan is to route the cable through the toptube guide. apologies for the epping mud and low photo quality.

  • this is v cool

  • as the summer seems to be officially over, i feel like it's time to reflect on how the new faithful has held up throughout the hot grav summer.

    it's mostly been carrying out the daily rider duties; commuting, grocery go-getting and such. the weenieness makes it accelerate nicely from the lights, even gain speed when clicking higher on the sram pg1070. the oddball carbon fork doesn't bother too much in the city if the pressures are kept lower. yet, there's still this feeling of 'not going anywhere', which i believe (and i've been told) simply originates from the 26er wheel size. perhaps a little bit from the dynamo drag. this is probably how all 26ers feel anyway, i just haven't ridden them much.

    where it really has been shining at is the occasional 75k all-city gravel hunt or an epping affair. the tyre width is starting to show its better side on bridle paths and singletrack. no bike has brought this kind of a joy in a long time. emerge from the darkness of the lockdown to shred around wanstead flats like you've never seen a park in your life. the duck ponds, the mid to low income families on picnics, the naughty boys (dogs) at the cafes. starting to sound like a bootleg @Maj here :D.

    the carbon fork however is casting a shade on some of this fun and thus needs to go. there's a new more city-specific build in the pipeline which means this can become the full-blown trailseeker it was always meant to be. as learned with the road klein, the combo of an aluminium frame and a steel fork is the way for me.

    a new fork has been recently sniped and and hopefully installed soon. already realised upgrades since the last photos on the basic setup are the black kcnc post and the supernova lights. after all the posing it actually went bikepacking too with the compulsory hobo pieces restuvus and salsa cargo cage. at some point the 175mm cranks were causing knee pain and a pair of 170mm suginos gps came to the rescue. they should be installed too as soon as i find a 36t narrow wide in 110bcd i'm happy with.

  • so onto the next build then, which may or may not be more trailblazing. i'd like to think it as a white paper on what the concept of mgoof can be, how far it can be taken to stop making sense. for readings i'm proposing this epic saga from the mother of all cycling forums.

    the discussion is led by a senior member from boulder, colorado, who's fond of cannondale and not too fond of rivendell. as someone who's riding 73cm tt bikes his delusions can be easily ignored. however, i think he makes some crucial points too while the discussion meanders from the superiority of the 80s st series and the definition of bobish via the art of welding and the crimes of gary klein into the ecumenism of jehovah's witnesses and presbyterians.

    he finally presents "in the end a bicycle isn't what you want it to be, it's what it really is" as the synthesis, which i think is a fair point made beside the contemporary cyclo-consumerscape of late capitalism. this also perfectly captures my own ethos with building bikes. essentially, minimising the part of the price that can't be traced back to the perceived functionality of the bike... without forgetting a healthy amount of emotional charge towards brand image.

    as much as mgoof culture is about showing off the shiny hip hop in the groupset, for me it's also an act of circular economy, saving the planet, being a woke cyclist etc. stridsland also says this. hence, my groupset is modern or modern ish but often not new. my rattier, sleeper-mgoof is to cycling a bit like what the faux squatter aeshetic donned by a posh art school kid is to youth culture. transcending mamil?


    anyway, let's get to the bike before the last two remaining followers unsub the thread. so we have a 1987 cannondale st600, a pre-grant heyday aluminium sport touring. i kind of betrayed my principles already in the beginning by paying too much for the frame, but i simply couldn't let the lavender colourway which was featured only in the year of '87 go. below it's presented in its full catalog-glory.

    who could resist the disco stripes? paradise garage nyc reincarnated on a seat tube. the state of it was far from original though, notably it lacked the matching lavender fork which is a bummer. a full rebuild was in plans so i accepted this destiny. at least the chrome replacement was of 531 and cleared more than the stays did. here it is coming home on the greateanglia, looking benevolent as ever dressed in the rear rack.

    upon closer inspection the paint seemed to have survived pretty well. some bubbling on the nds chainstay, which wouldn't be too visible. it has this subtle shine to it, not a pre-trek klein shine but a quality vintage frame shine. when riding it home from the station i noticed the bb was somehow very low and pedal strike was extremely real. i lived in the assumption this was only because touring bikes were designed as such foe some time. the first parts bin setup got rid of the drops which i still can't ride at all and started to reveal the true nature of the beast.

    i was expecting it to be laughably slow, but it rather showed the rocket bike esque characteristics as described by the bike forums guy. promising as i had only swapped the stem, bars, brakes, saddle and tyres so far. besides the haunting pedal strike the clearance was obviously a talking point. i had hoped for 35-38mm but there wasn't too much space left on the stays with the placeholder 28mm tanwalls. the poor mans crust juan martin bars from planet x, which adorn certain forum pompino these days, worked well together with grant's deluxe tallux. the cockpit was to however become even more rivendellised later on.


    after being shown this platypus build presented by grant of the bloods the direction of the build started to crystallize. the low bb and limited clearance for a touring frame were crushing the gravel bike dreams, but it could be a speedster. grant himself had built a speedster here and what's more opulent/wanker than a rivendell speedster?

  • like what the faux squatter aeshetic donned by a posh art school kid is to youth culture


    let's get to the bike before the last two remaining followers unsub the thread


    Bike looks good! Reminds me of the T1000 a friend used to have. Quality bikes.

  • Looks like lots of fun in a superb colour

  • Just scrolling through this thread for the first. Awesome work! I really dig the Klein Pulse. What's the rear v-brake on it and how do you feel about the KCNC pulleys? Are they just bling?
    Also if I may ask what's the deal with just one brake / single-handed operation on these bikes?

  • thanks! appreciate that especially coming from the owner of the forum #1 ronniewagon :D. the rear brake is by this bmx racing brand bombshell. as it's my only brake i need to pay more attention to it and i think i got it right with this. i got a bad arm and can't use the right side at all, that's why.

    don't have much experience on pulleys so can't really say. the sram ones that came with the rd were trashed and i read somewhere the kcncs last longer. more of a function choice than bling, like with this build in general.

  • alrite, new year new blablabla. as everyone knows the cannondale project was scrapped as too small. a wild 90s panasonic cx of tange prestige appeared to substitute it as a daily rider. tune hubs, paul controls and simworks cable housing, highly lockable again. please don't steal.

    it's currently enjoyed in 700c as i haven't had a chance to ruin it by moving the canti studs for 650b yet. rides supple by absorbing all watts presented. the few reasons to keep it are the (brexit riv™) longer wheelbase inspires confidence on steep descents and it climbs well. i don't think it can handle even light touring weights due to its delicate structure, but has potential as a brevet bike. clears 38s, which is pretty sweet. some photos with different tyre compositions below.

  • Let's then reveal the main project which has been brewing for a while. Inspired by a Radavist entry on Ron's favourite bike (which he reposted on insta recently btw) and a large enough of a frame becoming available affordably, the dream of a ronniewagon was born. Despite being non-S-works and two years newer than Ron's 1992, I think it still carries most of the magic.

    The plan is to build a dirt tourer channelling the energy of the late 80s half mtb half tourer country bikes. All while being the 22 plate Salsa Cutthroat for my limited yet growing? bikepacking needs. I hope to achieve this and make the unrideability leave with a modern groupset.

    Due to Ron's fascist tendencies (display of stars and stripes at the Nutmeg Nor'easter) his star in my eyes started to dim a bit and it would've been lame to copy his effort 1:1. To outdo him I had to come up with something. Countless hours spent alternating between and caliper in the hallway slowly confirmed the frame would clear the trendy as ever Pacenti Brevets in 650b with a decent amount of rubber on. I was ready to embark on a conversion adventure.

    Another component defining the aesthetic early on was the Tosco bars. Somehow the Taiwanese bootleg Nittos, the heaviest Riv bars with the ugliest of finishes are the best looking and riding ones. Perhaps bar the Ron's own orthopaedic version which doesn't really exist for us mortals anyway. The finish is dull, not dullbright, just dull. Like they've been painted with a shit dullbright paint, which isn't making them dullbright. This is probably why Grant too is ashamed and warns his customers on the product description. An honest man. Initial bodging with the bars shown below.

    At this point it's safe to say the frame size works perfectly with the bars. The functioning of the multi hand position philosophy (the ends for slow cruising and the mid area for hair-fluttering descends) confirms this.

    The good news for the readers still digesting the 'before' photo is every single component will be replaced. More upgrades revealed in the next post.

  • That is some great bikes here, as I said somewhere earlier, I was eyeing that Panasonic, I was really tempted to snatch it. Oh well, looks like it is in very good hands. I am not sure if would move canti's - the paint man, oh the PAINT!

    Regarding 650bing the stumpjumper, I had done it on my mtb and found it really changed the whole bike. The only concern is raised BB which you can feel once hit the technical trail. BUT that is when I use 2.0 in rear & 2.1 in front. I found a chart where you can compare wheel circumference and apparently 26 x 2.2 is equal to 650 x 47, so if I were to buy new tyres -- would go for 47s, probably then you wouldn't feel the difference on the bottom bracket. Atleast according to my research haha

  • Post a reply
    • Bold
    • Italics
    • Link
    • Image
    • List
    • Quote
    • code
    • Preview

Third hand American wonders

Posted by Avatar for launchpadboi @launchpadboi