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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My Father-In-Law is a pretty amazing guy. He will be 85 this summer, and he probably rides more than most people who frequent this site. Here he is at my local indoor BMX park checking out what they had to offer.

Kenny at the Wheel Mill.jpg

He does a mix of road and off road. He has been a really big influence in my life since I met him. He has a tendency to put things in a certain perspective that makes it hard to let fear of failure keep you from going out and making your life great. His methods could almost be considered Socratic, but instead of making you feel foolish, he leaves you feeling ready to face the world. That seems to be the way he lives his life, and that sort of attitude is infectious. You can’t help it.

Since knowing him, I have reached for many dreams, and have achieved quite a few. The biggest was returning to school to become a doctor. Now, here I am, Dr. Lee. He keeps encouraging me, but I feel like he misses something about how much time I was able to give to him as a participant in his adventures. Now that I am nearing the end of my training, I think he sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and he has invited me to return to some of the things that made me so excited about life before medical school.

After watching me custom build a couple of mountain bikes for my kids, he asked me to build him a bike. He has been riding the same two bikes since I have known him, one for each of his summer and winter homes. Both are unassuming but sturdy mountain bikes that he has set up for a little more comfort for his particular riding style. Neither is particularly light or mechanically advanced. After logging hundreds of miles on these two bikes, he wants a fancy bike. Not fancy to look at, but something that matches both the demands and the class he brings to his rides. There was no way I could turn down this request.

When he asked me to help with this project, he reminded me of a day he wandered into my local high-end bike shop. The one with $10k bikes, complete with titanium and carbon everything, and electronic shifters to boot. He told me, “Those are really nice bikes.” I figured that he meant he wanted a feather light but trail ready mountain bike. I could definitely pull this off. It would step outside my usual builds, but I was up for the challenge.

After checking out what was available as a complete, I knew I could do better with a full custom. I am pretty resourceful when it comes to getting all the parts together. Here is the build list.

ComponentDetail
FrameFR-202 29er Carbon
ForkFox Evolution Float 29 CTD
HeadsetFSR
StemThomson X2 Road 70m
Top CapThomson
Star NutFSR
HandlebarThomson Trail Carbon
GripsOdi Rogue
SeatISM Sport
Seat PostThomson Elite 31.6
Seat Post ClampThomson 36.4
Brakes - FrontAvid Elixer Trail 9
Brakes - RearAvid Elixer Trail 9
Rotor - FrontAshima Airotor 160mm
Rotor - RearAshima Airotor 160mm
CranksRaceFace Next SL Cinch Crankset 175 with DM 32t Chainring
Crank BootsRace Face Carbon Boots
Bottom BracketRace Face Next SL PF30
PedalsLoaded AmX Signiture
Shifter - RearSRAM XO.1 11 Speed
Deraileur - RearSRAM XO.1 11 Speed
CablesJagwire
CassetteSRAM XG-1199 10-42
ChainKMC X11SL
WheelsLight-Bicycle 29er 27mm Carbon
Hub - FrontHope Pro Evo 2 32h
Hub - RearHope Pro Evo 2 32h
RimsLight-Bicycle 29er 27mm Carbon
SpokesPillar Aero X-Tra
NipplesBlack Alloy
TiresSchwalbe Racing Ralph
SkewersAEST Titanuim
Wheel StemStan's Notubes
DecalsPinstripes
Frame Protectant3M Scotchguard

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I have everything ordered, and parts are arriving. This will be a build log for my Father-In-Law’s bike, and a sort of review from a builder’s perspective of each of the components.

Here you go Kenny, a bike for One Rad Grandpa.
 

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Your father inlaw reminds me of Dad, has a way putting it all in perspective. My dad still rides and although we live far apart, we talk alot about riding. He rides the same bike from his glory years of riding.
I keep a bike at his place for when I visit and we ride the same trails he has been riding since his youth.
Always wanted to do a similar build for him, but he insists he prefers older technology.
Does he know yet or are you going to suprise him?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My Mother-In-Law is financing and orchestrating the whole thing. That is the only way this would come about. She is in charge of making it happen, I am in charge of the the build. I send her updates about the design, the price, etc, she OKs to plan. I have also been sending her updates about when things come in, the timeline for expectd deliveries, etc... He has no idea about this thread. It will be fun to send him this when I get it is done. I can't wait to ride with him, and I am hoping that this will get more responses like yours that show how much the biking community admires and appreciates the gentleman bikers who are out there in retirement, doing what us working stiffs dream about doing. Thanks for your reply.
 

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Certainly an inspirational gentleman, and I will be thrilled to be doing the same if/when I reach that milestone in life.

As for the build, I see a few things that caught my eye.

Odi Rogue's are good grips, but something with an ergonomic shape might help him keep better hold of the bar, and be more comfortable. Possibly. . . . .

I thought SRAM 11 speed cassettes were all 10-42. You have the cassette listed as being an 11 speed 11-36. Even if an 11-36 was available (or you're really going with 10 speed), being that it looks like you're going with a 1x crankset, I would think the extended range of the 10-42 would be a more suitable choice.

If you have already ordered them, I guess it would be too late to change this since they are coming from across the pond, but those wheels are available in 28h as well as 32h. I'm betting he would be fine with 28h, and you could save a little more weight there.

One other thing I would be compelled to change, and it is admittedly somewhat subjective, would be the brakes. Even if the Avids perform well, I find the ergonomics of the Shimano levers much more preferable for one-finger braking. For an 85 year old, I think that could be important as easier one-finger braking would allow the other three fingers to hold onto the bar.

Minor nits for sure, JMHO.

I'm sure it will turn out very nice, and custom builds are lots of fun. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. Enjoy the ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the feedback Jeff.

You are right, the cassette is actually a 10-42. The 11-36 was a leftover from when I was planning a different hub and cassette. I will edit my first post to reflect this.

Yes, too late for the 28h. I thought about it, but went with the 32h anyway, mostly because I have never personaly felt comfortable on 28h wheels. I agree, a few more grams saved, but in the end, I almost got a little superstitious, and went for 32h.

I like the Rogues because they are more substantial than many grips. I find this is more comfortable. Thought about a pair of silicone grips, but I have no experience with them, so I went with what I know. There are many "ergonomic" grips out there, but I find most to be pretty low quality, and not substantially more comfortable than Rogues. I also love lock-ons. Makes any maintenance much easier.
 

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Thank you, for this story. A buddy of mine directed me to it, and I'm thankful he did. I can't wait to see the finished product, and hope there are plenty of pictures, or a video, of when you surprise him with this amazing gift. Thanks for the smile, I needed it, today!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
More packages.

Opening packages 3.jpg

So, weights are interesting. Reported weight may not always be the same as actual weight. Bringing out the kitchen scale, looks like Loaded was somewhat creative with their reported weights.

Weight pedals.jpg

The Loaded website reports 326g. Without pins. Who rides without pins? Still, 361g for a pair, and not even the Ti versions. Not bad. Just a small gripe about how hard it is to get real straight talk about bike weights.
 

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Awesome build and inspirational Grandpa!
 
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