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Rides like wrecking ball
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I think I'm searching for something very exotic in the hopes to replace something very common. I have a Giant Cypress SX. The frame is from a common hybrid, but it came with with an atypical hybrid build - road triple gearing and close ratio road cassette, rigid steel fork, rigid post, flat bar, non-adjustable stem and road wheels with 28c road tires. Basically a flat bar road bike which is exactly what I was looking for. I have since upgraded many of the parts to make it lighter, faster and yet more comfortable. While I love the geo and the attitude of the bike I have lately wished to replace the harsh cheap aluminum frame with a comfy steel model. Last year I did the same with my XC hardtail - replaced the harsh aluminum race frame with comfy steel and it made a HUGE difference, more than I ever imagined. Since then I vowed from now on that any hardtail of mine would be steel (or carbon for a true roadie).

What is out there? I'm only looking for a frame, maybe frame + fork. I want to transfer the rest of the major parts from the Cypress.

-CX bikes seemed obvious initially. Proper mid-40c's tire clearance, mounts for my V-brakes, clearance for road gearing, etc. I'm concerned though because the top tube lengths are so short for a given size because of the drop handlebars. I will never be able to ride drops due to a wrist problem. I use long stems (120-140mm) and flat carbon bars on my Cypress). Whereas most size L mtb/hybrids offer 23.5-24.5" tt, CX seems to be more like 21.5-22" and I don't think I can or should try to make that up with a stem.

-29" MTB maybe. Proper top tube lengths, gobs of tire clearance, can still find some with V-brake mounts, etc. Concerns would be really low BB height with a non suspension corrected fork and short road/CX tires, possible clearance issues with my road double (39/53) crank. Need to pinch the frame to fit a 130mm rear hub into a 135mm dropout (not a terrible concern with a steel frame).

I keep talking myself in circles so I though maybe some of you would want to weigh in. And a few pics to help explain what I'm riding now. Sporting the 35c road tires now, but with a true offroad frame I'd like the option to swap in some 42c CX tires and enjoy the mild dirt trails near my house. I've also upgraded to some proper Avid V's and levers, and XT triggers too.


 

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Surly Crosschecks can be set up w/ either 130's or 135's, and same with one of Soma's frames (forget which). I'd say go for one of those two because you won't have to change as many parts.


Salsa's Fargo would fit the bill if you wanted larger tires, but you'd also need to buy disc brakes and a 135 hub, and your current crank/front der. may or may not be able to be adjusted to function well.
A Karate Monkey would be slightly easier/cheaper since you could use your vbrakes, but you'd need a 135 hub still. And neither KM or Fargo are really meant for the size tires you seem to be interested in, but a Cross check would be perfect. KM and Fargo would be overkill.

So yea...go with what will be easiest, Crosscheck or Soma.
 

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Just a thought, but before you switch out your frame (and probably add weight), you might want to try putting a fancy carbon seatpost on there to smooth out the ride. The all-carbon Eastons come to mind, as does the Specialized Pavé post with the zertz inserts. The latter will be a little heavier (though not as heavy as your aluminum post), but does dampen vibration a bit more.

Obviously neither of these suggestions will be as smooth as a new frame, but they might work for you in the short term. And if they don't, they certainly won't hurt when you switch things over to the new frame.

Good luck!

PS: Along the same vein, you might want to try a higher-end or carbon stem. I've not had any experience with carbon on the stem, but Easton makes a nice version, and I've known people to use them effectively to dampen the front end of older, harsher all-aluminum Cannondales. Just another thought.
 
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