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I'm building a SS this winter for next summer. I'm not decided what bike to get...
I have a FS geard bike to run the local single tracks, but they're short and far apart. I'm mostly riding gravel roads, and backroads. So I was thinking of building a training bike to get some distance straight from my backyard. When looking at what bike to get I came across alot of cyclocross bikes or bikes like the Country Road Bob by Van Dessel or the Pompino by On-One. I also noticed lot of u SS-ers are riding drop bars and skinny tires. So for these type of roads should I maby look more into building a cyclocross bike than a mtb? Or can I take the best of both worlds?
:rolleyes:
 

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For comfort I would think a softride bike would be the ticket with a softride front stem (no longer in production but available on e-bay. Light simple and comfortable.
Check softride's web site or contact otis guy cycles to see if he would be willing to make you a SS version.
 

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Cross bike

I'm a huge fan of cross bikes and an even bigger fan of singlespeed cross bikes. If I had to have one bike it would be a cross bike. They rule in terms of versitility. I use mine for road, all weather commuting, mild singletrack, and even technical singletrack for a laugh. I love the fact that I can roll out of the garage, hit the road to the trailhead, ride singletrack, and then ride home part of the way on fireroads.

Of course there are a million options out there for geared. But my singlespeed favorites are the Surly (Crosscheck), IRO (Rob Roy) both of which are affordable steel options. Look at the Kelly (Knobby X) for something a little more highend.

I'm sure another option would be a 29er. But someone else would have to give you advice, I know very little about them... for now.
 

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What day are we riding?
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I'd go with the IRO Rob Roy. If you wanted to gear it you could get the mech hanger from On-One.

PS - I would ride a Softride before buying one. I hated mine.
 

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If you're determined to drop some coin on it, I would suggest the Surly Crossheck for the versitility. When they say "Fatties Fit Fine" they mean it. They will easily accept a 45c tire, that's almost a 1.9.
If you want to do it on the cheap you could probably get away for a under a $100.00 by saving an old Japanese steel bike from the landfill like I did with this old Bridgestone built C.Itoh ...



Give fixed gear a try. I used a bunch of salvaged and yard sale bits and peices a $5.00 used Suntour track hub and a bottom bracket lock ring (so called "suicide hub" but have zero problems) and I put LOTS of miles on this thing in the winter and during the spring thaw when the trail are not rideable. I even do a little singletrackin, with it too when they dry out.
 

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Wolf nipple chips
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my 2 cents

With all due respect to Richwolf, no one rides softrides for a reason.

I would totally support the idea of a cyclocross bike, or an even old sturdy steel road frame with some tire clearance - cyclodan is right, they can be built up cheap and are tons of fun! Voodoo offers a cyclocross frame with sliding dropouts , thus allowing it to be ridden geared or singlespeed/fixed. I think that the main think you should look for is 700C wheels and skinnier tires.

CF
 

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Just Ride!
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I was going to suggest heading to your local garage sale and picking up a cheap hybrid as a base to start from, then I noticed your profile in Iceland. Perhaps you all do not have a bunch of people that buy bikes then never use them?

In any case, I picked up a Jamis Coda for cheap, stripped off all the dead weight, and added some WTB MutanoRaptors. You don't have to drop big bucks for a specific bike, just find something useable, then modify it to suite your needs.

I have ridden this on roads to local trails, where it will go where most other bikes will, then turned around and put a different cog on and ridden a 50 miler. Really a do all bike, that was not specific to the task originally.
 

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Cross Check

Surly Cross Check! Like other people have said, it's versatile. I use it for all day rides, quick trips to the store, pulling my kid around the city, the occassional MTB race, whatever. Handles everything and rides nicely.

 

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My thoughts.

If you want to go SS and skinnier tires and stay within a reasonably low budget. I third the notion of a Robroy. You can build it up as you see fit and it is a good reliable chromoly SS Cross frame. Here is a picture of mine, I just sold it to help pay for the bike in the second pic which is also a real nice dirt road bike albeit with gears. Call me a traitor for swapping out the SS cross bike for gears but, if it makes you feel any better I still have to stand and grind up all the hills in my lowest gear that I did on the SS rig.

Looking at your pics though, I have to think a 29r may be a better option. The larger tires may do better in what looks like very chunky loose gravel.
 

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Am I getting too bulky?
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Gravel roads are still roads, so a bike with drop bars is certainly advisable for the variety of hand positions and being able to get out of the wind or rest in the drops is my advice. A cross bike like the Surly Cross Check or a fixie that takes fatties like the Surly Steamroller would be perfect for your needs and a lot of fun too.

Interesting terrain you've got there! Perfect for fixed gear riding if you ask me. Three Crosschecks and my Steamroller (two gearies, one SS, one fixie) in case you need an further convincing that Surly is where it's at. ;)

 

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Any old road bike with horizontal dropouts and clearance for fat tires. This is my gravel road bike.

http://www.tinypic.com/view/?pic=jgmp91

Old Panasonic frame, fixed gear using and old freewheel hub with a fixed cog screwed on, 700x38 tires( though they only measure 33mm on my rims ). This pic was taken on a 25 mile slushy gravel road ride Friday.
The CrossCheck would be great too, with even more tire/fender clearance.

Joe in Iowa
 

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Mattman said:
If you want to go SS and skinnier tires and stay within a reasonably low budget. I third the notion of a Robroy. You can build it up as you see fit and it is a good reliable chromoly SS Cross frame. Here is a picture of mine, I just sold it to help pay for the bike in the second pic which is also a real nice dirt road bike albeit with gears. Call me a traitor for swapping out the SS cross bike for gears but, if it makes you feel any better I still have to stand and grind up all the hills in my lowest gear that I did on the SS rig.

Looking at your pics though, I have to think a 29r may be a better option. The larger tires may do better in what looks like very chunky loose gravel.
Hey, I ordered my Poprad Disc two months ago, and it's still not here yet! :( How do you like yours? I've got a ton of long gravel road loops planned for as soon as it gets here. Hope it's soon!
 

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Cross/touring/gravel(road)bike do it all

I have this DEAN steel frame I got on Ebay a while back, or was it MTBR...? Anyway, I dumped the short cranks and the Campy parts for a decent set of Shimano drive train parts, and an FSA crank with 34/50 gears figured I could use the big ring for rolling it out and stay with the 34 mostly. As it turned out, the gearing was crap, and the shift from small to big was usually something of a hassle, especially when I really needed it, if you know what I mean.... I tried different cassettes on the two wheel sets (one road set with slicks, one Cross set with nobbies) but that made chain length an issue.

Well, I ditched my old geared bike for a SS last year, so this week I put my old XTR 952 cranks with three rings on it. Now what I have is 24/34/46 (?) on the front, and a 11-32 casette. The result is a road/cyclocross type geometry with mountain bike gearing on the very high side, due to the larger wheels.

Around here, you have to dress right and have the proper posture to get recognized by the very specialized road riding crowd, but they don't wave to me anyway, so I have no cool factor to protect, and I think I have a bike with a reasonable gear for anything the Bay Area or beyond has to throw at me.
 
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