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Discussion Starter #1
As the title would suggest, I am looking for a do-it-all (almost) bike. I should probably start with some background info: I am a very avid cyclist, and recently started grad school. This means, in particular, that I am pressed for money, and also that my apartment is very small (I live by myself). My goal is to reduce my stable to 2 bikes and stop using my car (which is inevitable, since my car is dying anyways and I can't really afford a new one) - my SS mountain bike, and a "do everything bike."

This bike needs to commute, do some light (1-2 weeks) touring, be usable for long-ish road rides and gravel grinders (so it needs tire clearance for big tires). After doing a ton of research, I found that the Salsa Vaya is probably the bike for me. The problem - the earliest I can get one is mid-June, and I really can't wait that long.

I talked to a LBS I like about building a Surly KM up with Sram Apex, and it seems like if I buy all the things from the shop, the build is going to run me quite a bit upwards of $1500 (which is about what I think I can get from selling my other bikes, and the price of the Vaya complete) and I still need to get a rack and panniers. I try to shop at my LBS whenever possible, even though I can't really afford it, but in this case, I don't think that's an option.

So now, I've come to you guys for advice on a build. Ideally, I'd like the bike to have:

-steel frame (with mountain bike wheel spacing, 135mm) and clearance for at least 45's)
-rack and fender mounts
-disc brakes (avid bb7 road)
-apex or tiagra (keeps me from feeling bad about getting it dirty and wet, and keeps the price down)
-a set of very sturdy wheels (I'm thinking XT hubs to Delgado rims? other rim options?)
-drop bars

Any suggestions? Thanks!
 

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If it weren't for the disc brake requirement, I'd say Surly Cross Check. I like the Vaya a lot, but I wouldn't give up my Cross Check for it. Its just so versatile and impossible to get bored with. I'd say the Vaya is the next best thing.
 

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a lazy pedaler
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+1 on the cross check...don't have one but it seems like it fits your requirements...
Vaya seems great too but yeah... the stock in the online shops I use is low...

careful..disc brakes and racks don't play well on KMs...Surly's advice.

disc brakes a must?... I think you may want to look at a Cotic RoadRat frame...it can be externally geared with an adaptor if it is a must...

are you set on 29er?...if not, a Troll could be an option too.
 

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Bedwards Of The West
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It's an aluminum frame, but it meets all your other requirements. Access 29er from Performance. I've built 2 of them... this is the commuter. Soul Cycles Dillinger fork (steel):

 

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One Colorful Rider
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I got this Last Tuesday
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5639276011/" title="Fargo by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.static.flickr.com/5270/5639276011_b608db2b90_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="Fargo"></a>

Then This on Friday
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5639786310/" title="Fargo Goodies by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.static.flickr.com/5303/5639786310_4327824f99_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="Fargo Goodies"></a>

It should Be Done Hope Fully This Weekend
 

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One Colorful Rider
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martinsillo said:
+1 on the cross check...don't have one but it seems like it fits your requirements...
Vaya seems great too but yeah... the stock in the online shops I use is low...

careful..disc brakes and racks don't play well on KMs...Surly's advice.

disc brakes a must?... I think you may want to look at a Cotic RoadRat frame...it can be externally geared with an adaptor if it is a must...

are you set on 29er?...if not, a Troll could be an option too.
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5057428212/" title="RoadRat 008 by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4128/5057428212_7e3083b547_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="RoadRat 008"></a>

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5056812067/" title="RoadRat 004 by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4088/5056812067_a49d2589d5_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="RoadRat 004"></a>

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5056811661/" title="RoadRat 003 by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4113/5056811661_df9fb4bcab_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="RoadRat 003"></a>

Or Maybe Something Completely Different
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5470620583/" title="Pastel Purple Pugsley PPP/FFF by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.static.flickr.com/5297/5470620583_c414215d5f_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="Pastel Purple Pugsley PPP/FFF"></a>
 

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Hi Wipe Out, do you mind if I add some questions to your thread because I am looking for something very similar mainly for commuting and the occasional gravel road ride?

Re your wheels. I have a set of factory XT 29'er wheels which I will use on mine. Centrelock hubs, UST tubeless and mountain bike tough. They were a good price from CRC too.

Re drivetrain. I am planning to use an XT M771 9 speed crankset with 26/36/48 chainrings. But a Tiagra triple would probably be fine too.

I am also looking seriously at the Vaya but do not want drop bars.

My questions are;

How would a Vaya go with mountain bike flat or riser bars?

Would I have to order a larger size to get a longer ETT if I wasn't planning to use drop bars?
 

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@Normbit, your boxes make me jealous :thumbsup: .

Those Bontrager tires that I see look to be the exact ones I have on my Fargo -- nice and light, a bit of tread or the dirt, and they roll well on pavement.

Have fun w/the build. Post back with a photo when you're done.
 

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@wipe-out I have a Surly pugsley the thing is awesome you can get a set of offset 29er wheels built for the longer road rides or get some Maxxis hookworms and put them on the large marge rims. Also check out Surly's 1x1 it is a SS but you can get a universal rear rerailuer hanger for it then you will also have a ton of options with it. Just a few thoughts!!!!!
 

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I'm attracted to Gravity!
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sounds like you should read up on Monstercross bikes in the 29er forum, if you haven't yet.
I'm riding a Vassago Fisticuff similarly to your parameters.


I got some great deals, and parts bin stuff, and got it built up as a SS for about $400, then got a DT Swiss/S-works rear hub NOS for $15(!!) and an older Phil Wood BB for $20(!!) and then built up new wheels, put on cheap gears,..... then went back to school so had to get an OMM rack and sew up a better frame pack and a pannier/school pack.



How long is your commute, and could you just put a different wheelset on your mountain bike? I prefer not to do the wheel swap thing, but it can work for some. Or just ride the mtb as is....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all your help everyone! After looking at all of your bikes, and the monstercross thread, I've decided to go with a build similar to campredcoudbikes' build.

I ordered a Surly KM frame and fork (battleship gray). I still don't have all the parts picked out yet, but so far it's looking like I'll be building it up with some older model Shimano LX stuff (2008ish?) I got for cheap, and for wheels I'm building up some XT hubs laced to Salsa Delgado rims. Should be bombproof. I'm probably going flat bars + bar ends with v-brakes.

My commute is about 3 miles each way on a daily basis, but the nearest grocery is ~5 miles, plus I'm going to try and commute 25 miles each way to a conference this summer. Any recommendations for a rack and panniers? I'm thinking a standard Planet Bike rack with Ortlieb Backroller Classics.

I'm also not sure exactly what I want to do for tires yet...
 

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I'm attracted to Gravity!
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sounds like a great build, many would do less for a 3 mile commute, but with other stuff further out, it will be nice.
I splurged and went with an Old Man Mountain rack, hoping it will last 4 years of commuting with big engineering textbooks, plus whatever else gets thrown at it, and a homemade pannier/shoulder bag with custom pocket protector and graphing calculator slot.

If you are a student, having a pannier that turns into a comfy shoulder bag will help.
I'm really curious how well the KM would do as a "road" bike, since the Fisti is nice for road and gravel, but limited with tire clearance and toe overlap on techy trails..... but I have a nice rear wheel that is rim brake only......
 

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Loving this bike so far. It's a Stop Cycles Proletariat with an Alfine 8 hub and Gates Carbon Drive. You could build it for less with a chain drive. I did add a rack to it and it fits your needs list pretty well, except it is aluminum. I have it set up with CX tires on Stan's Crest rims, tubeless of course.

It's a blast to ride. The hub gives me plenty of range for the hills on my route. I can hop curbs, blast through potholes and even ride some easy single track now and again. I haven't taken it on a gravel grinder yet, but it was built for that eventuality. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
digitalayon said:
You can make any bike a "do-anything" bike....just depends on how you want to ride it.
I'm going to respectfully disagree with this statement - riding a carbon road bike on rough singletrack is a bad idea, and a good way to break your bike or yourself. :D

The plan is the use this bike as a replacement for my car, as well as a replacement for my road bike, and for touring. None of the bikes I currently own have mounts for ranks or fenders, and I'd imagine p-clamps + full panniers on a carbon frame is a really really bad idea.

I agree with the spirit of your suggestion, and if I could find some way to make my current bikes work, I'd rather not spend the money. BUT, if I'm going to replace my bikes with a do-it-all ride, I'm going to build something that will last and not be a PITA to work on.

Everything should be getting to the shop in a few days. I'll post pics of the build when it gets here.
 

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wipe-out said:
I'm going to respectfully disagree with this statement - riding a carbon road bike on rough singletrack is a bad idea, and a good way to break your bike or yourself. :D
who sez???


can't take credit...this has been posted elsewhere on mtbr several times
 

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^^At 10 stone, I don't think so with so few spokes and skinny tires, BUT I was thinking my steel errand 'anything' bike may be up to the trails here (no mountains) at the speeds I now ride. Speed is a big factor in the forces.
 

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wipe-out said:
I'm going to respectfully disagree with this statement - riding a carbon road bike on rough singletrack is a bad idea, and a good way to break your bike or yourself. :D

Sorry....but I seriously doubt it would break unless impacted. I have seen some cyclocross bikers going on rougher trails that I would on my 29er. I would just change out the fork and call it a day. Carbon is carbon and it's not much different between road or mountain.....I have friends who are studying it and it's strength right now for a college project. They are trying to find ways for it to be more "impact tolerant" . Personally I think it's a good idea but not sure how they are doing it. But good luck to them. Anyway....anyone can change anything on a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I didn't mean to spark an argument here - my goal with the road bike on mountain bike trails was to illustrate a point. My main issue is my inability to do loaded commuting or touring on my existing rides, because I am worried about the strain p-clamps would put on the frame.

Now, I agree that carbon is much stronger than people tend to think, and it would probably take the load, but it isn't something I'm willing to risk. This is the point I was trying to make with the road bike on trails comment: it would probably be fine, but there are just too many variables for me to think it's a "good idea."
 
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