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Messages - DirtRoadRunner

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The Sutra looks nice.  I like the trekking triple, included rack, and bar-end shifters.

How is the tire clearance?  I rode a really rough little 34-mile gravel grinder this weekend, running a paid of 700x42c Continental Cylocross Speed tires, and found myself wishing for even fatter rubber (bombing down a gravel road with occasional fist-size rocks, 20-25% grades, and deep potholes was a little nerve racking).

In fact, the roads this weekend were so rough, it made me think about a Fargo or another monstercross style bike that can run 700x45c or flat-our 29er tires.  Granted, I was able to complete the ride just fine on my current CX bike, other than having to walk up a few really, really steep (20-25% grade) sections near the end of the ride, when I was a little tired, and standing up on the pedals in the 34x32 low gear just resulted in wheelspin.

I currently run 42's on my CX bike, the problem is the bike's geometry and gearing, not having too small of tires.

Valid points.  I did just try to look up the Vaya 3 specs again, to find that Universal Cycles has the 2014 Vaya 2 and 3 listed on their webpage.

Both bikes now use triple drivetrains, with the Vaya 2 having 105 STI shifting and what looks like a 105 shifter.  The Vaya 3 has a Sora shifter with STI shifting.

I definitaly like the idea of the 105 triple on the Vaya 3 - perhaps I'd switch it for a trekking triple, but the bike already comes with nicer wheels and other options. 

I'll try to ride both, along with a few other bikes, this fall/winter.

The Vaya is on my radar as well.

Over the weekend, I priced out what it woudl cost me to build a new bike using most of the drivetrain from my current CX bike, but getting new bars, stem, seatpost, cassette, wheels, tires, saddle, and of course a frame.  It came to $1400, or just a few hundred less than a brand new Vaya 2 (then I woudln't have to cannibalize my old bike).  The complete Space Horse is only $1450.

I certaintly like the looks of the Space Horse better, but I'm not fond of the build kit on the complete bike.  I'll probably ride both, along with a Vaya, and see which I like better.  I'm not sure if I'll love or hate the disc brakes.  I do wish the Vaya had a triple with bar ends instead of the double with Apex brifters.  I'm not crazy about the rest of the parts spec on the Vaya 3 (Sora triple crank, Microshift bar ends, lower-end wheels), or I'd just get it.

BTW I ordered a rack-top bag and a handlebar bag for my current bike.  They should get me through another season of gravel grinding/exploring before I spluge on something new (if at all!)

I am indeed trying to justify a new bike :).  Though, my wife would be very happy if I kept my current bike (she does not understand why I need more than one bike, much less 3-4!).

I will look into the frame bags and saddlebags more.  Those Acorn saddlebags look sweet, and two would be more than enough for a long day tour in cold conditions.  Any recommendations for something more water-resistant?  I could see them getting wet during creek crossings (along with possibly a frame bag).

A trailer would be fine for touring, but not ideal for day trips when I may only have 10 lbs of gear.  I've just been dealing with the heel strike on my current bike on those trips, or wearing a backpack instead (not really ideal, I tend to sweat a lot under it and then freeze when it is taken off).

I'm a minimalist when it comes to weight, rotating or not.  The LHT is just too heavy for me, considering maybe 10% of my miles will be lightly loading touring.  I used to have a 1998 Cannondale T-800 touring bike, which I liked a lot (it was ~25 lbs and super-stable), but finally sold it as it was a 58cm and just a hair too big for me for all-day comfortable riding.  I would buy another Cannondale tourer for this, but have been looking for one in a ~56cm size for about 6 months and still have not been able to find one.  So instead I'm probably going to go with a new steel bike.

I currently have a cross bike, but the short chainstays make it difficult to run panniers and therefore tour.  Otherwise, I like riding gravel on my cross bike, other than it is a bit squirrely on rough double track.  Also the gearing is a little high, but I plan to change from an 11-32 to an 11-36 cassette in the back to accommodate that.

I doubt gear creep will be a problem, I'm a minimalist backpacker and invested a lot of $$$ in lightweight gear a few years ago, that I plan to keep for a long time.  My base gear weight (no food and water) is around 22 lbs, and that simply won't go up because I hate lugging any more weight than that around on my back (or my bike).

I've looked at the Cross Check, but it has exactly the same chainstay length as my current bike (425 mm), so I would still get heel strike with panniers. 

I've also looked at the LHT, but find it to be way overweight (30 lbs!) and too slow for general purpose riding. 

The Saga looks OK, but has mixed reviews.  I want something between a LHT and the cylocross bike I have now - really just something that I can put panniers on without heel strike, and with a little more relaxed geometry than my current bike, but not a heavy, slow handling touring bike.  Both the BMC and All City seem to be between, one is just a little more of a CX bike while the other is more of a tourer.  Tire clearance (at least 42c) is a must because most of the miles on this bike will be on gravel roads.

I'm fortunate to live in an area with endless gravel roads.  Currently, I have a 56 cm Nashbar Steel Cyclocross bike.  The bike is great for riding gravel, other than I get heel strike when I put panniers on the bike.  This is annoying, since when I go out exploring gravel (usually in the fall/winter/spring), I like putting panniers on the bike to carry maps, lunch, first aid/survival gear, and spare clothing.

So I would like to use most of the components off the Nashbar bike and upgrade it to something more suited for riding with panniers, without heel strike, and light touring.  My miles will probably be 70% graded gravel (short, steep hills), 25% pavement, and 5% rough doubletrack,  I would like to eventually do light touring, of the 2-4 day variety, with no more than 30 lbs of gear (I'm a backpacker so I already have lightweight gear).  90% of my miles will be day expeditions (<10  lbs of gear), the other 10% will be light touring (~30 lbs of gear)

My other musts for the bike are cantilever brakes, reasonable cost (frameset of <$700), and of course plenty of braze-ons.

I've narrowed it down to two frames:

Black Mountain Monstercross [56 cm]
All City Space Horse [55 cm]

Which one would be better for my style of riding?  The All City looks to be more of a traditional touring bike, with longer chainstays and a lower bottom bracket, while the Black Mountain looks a little more racy.  I'd just get the Black Mountain, except I worry that the chainstays aren't that much longer than my current bike (432 mm vs. 425 mm) and I might have heel strike anyway.  The All City has longer chainstays, at 440 cm, but a lower BB, which I could see being a problem on doubletrack.

Here are links to the specs of each bike:
Current Bike:
Black Mountain:
All City:

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