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  1. #1
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    Rigid 27.5 build with chinese carbon frame

    Hi folks.

    I wasn't sure whether I should post this here or on the chinese carbon frames thread, but since this is the first build using this particular frame that I see anywhere (that is reached by Google), I guess it deserves its own thread*.

    So here it is. Dengfu FM-238 hardtail frame with a rigid Trigon MC01 fork. This build was meant for riding dirt roads rather than trails, with some urban riding thrown into the mix. Build list and quick review after the break.









    Component Make Model
    Frame DengFu FM238 size 17.5
    Fork Trigon MC01
    Headset Cane Creek Series 40
    Bottom bracket Shimano XT-SLX BB70 Hollowtech II
    Chainset Shimano Deore XT-M785 2x10
    Front derailer Shimano Deore XT-M785 Direct mount E2
    Rear derailer Shimano Deore XT-M786
    Chain KMC X10SL
    Cassette Shimano CS-6700 12-30 (Ultegra)
    Shifters (pair) Shimano SL-M780
    Derailer cables Shimano XTR PTFE
    Front brakes (with pads) TRP Spyke
    Rear brakes (with pads) TRP Spyke
    Brake rotor (front) Ashima Ai2 160mm
    Brake rotor (rear) Ashima Ai2 160mm
    Brake levers Avid Speed Dial Ti
    Brake cables Shimano Std. MTB Brake Cable Set
    Rims Stans No Tubes ZTR Crest
    Front hub Novatec D711 32h
    Rear hub Novatec D712SB 32h
    Spokes Pillar PSR X-TRA1420
    Tyres (pair) Panaracer/Pacenti Pari-Moto 650B x 1.5 (38mm)
    Tubes (pair) Schwalbe MTB Tube
    Skewers Token TK2342 Ti + C
    Stem Kalloy Uno 7 90mm
    Handlebar Truvativ Noir T40 580mm
    Grips (pair) ODI Rogue
    Seatpost Dengfu Road 27.2
    Seatpost clamp Generic Al w/ Ti hardware
    Saddle Charge Knife
    Pedals (pair) Wellgo WR-1 Ti

    Additionally, the bike sports a Sparse headlight unit and Cateye TL-LD610 rear lights. It currently weights 8.32 kg, including pedals and lights, which is pretty good. I picked up most parts from the internet: Alibaba for the frame; eBay for fork, stem, seatpost clamp, hubs and spokes; Amazon and CRC for everything else but headset spacers. That "Special Adventure" sticker's from the LBS that built the bike for me.

    I'm a road bike user most of the time (my daily commuter), so I'm still getting used to FM-238's geometry, flat bar setup etc. but I think it fits me nicely (size 44cm or 17.5", take your pick).

    The bike is very responsive, picks up speed nicely and the rigid fork makes it agile. In case you wondered about the blanked out V-Brake studs on the fork, that's because this project started out as a V-Brake 26er and evolved from there into what you see here today.

    Those Pari-Moto tyres are comfortable and grippy on tarmac, sandy tarmac (beach bike path) and pavé. I've yet to test them on dirt roads, will update this when I do.

    I can't comment on frame stiffness - I'm not that experienced - but there was no undue flex or creacking during the bike's maiden ride (28 km). Frame build quality is good, it came well packaged and with all small parts present. It also came with a courtesy unbranded headset that I'm keeping as a spare. Paintwork's by a local guy though, Dengfu shipped this FM238 matte black.

    That's it I guess. If I missed something important, just comment/ask.

    Cheers.


    * I can always move this post to the chine frames thread if needed. :-)

  2. #2
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    Wow that looks sexy. Although one question, why did you decide to put Stans rims (relatively "pricey", last I checked the Crests were like $100 each) on Novatec Hubs (which I was under the impression it's a cheaper brand of hub obviously compared to Phil Wood, DT, Mavic, Chris King etc.)? Are the Novatecs decent for what they are (you're tossing a bunch of XT kit on the bike too, seems like it might be a bit "unbalanced" like with building a gaming computer and you have an awesome graphics card but build around it with "lesser" components that might be bottlenecks)?

    How long was the lead time for you getting your frame? I'm dealing with DengFu right now and I ordered one of their Full Sus frames a month and a half ago and they haven't even shipped it out of China yet, they told me it was still being constructed so I'm thinking either they make pieces as they're ordered or they make batches and I missed the last batch they made.

  3. #3
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    Awesome build. That 8+ kgs is right there in road bike territory. Though given the slicks and your dirt roads preference, why didn't you go for a CX bike instead? At least the Road Geometry stays the same with your road bike... and for commuting and road runs, why not the 3x instead of the 2x? I run an XT 3x on my hardtail and it gives me speed on asphalt when going to and from our local trails.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tier1 View Post
    Wow that looks sexy. Although one question, why did you decide to put Stans rims (relatively "pricey", last I checked the Crests were like $100 each) on Novatec Hubs (which I was under the impression it's a cheaper brand of hub obviously compared to Phil Wood, DT, Mavic, Chris King etc.)? Are the Novatecs decent for what they are (you're tossing a bunch of XT kit on the bike too, seems like it might be a bit "unbalanced" like with building a gaming computer and you have an awesome graphics card but build around it with "lesser" components that might be bottlenecks)?
    Thanks! I rather liked the looks myself, though those v-brake mounts bother the perfectionist in me a bit. Which brings me to the answer to your question about the component mix, wheels in particular: this started out as a "classic" V-brake 26er project, and I have the Mrazek Moc V+ brake set, nice (non disc) DT Swiss hubs and 26" Mavic 717 rims to prove it! My initial idea was to build a contemporary take on the kind of bike I used to ride as a teenager: rigid, rim-brake, 26" mountain bikes.

    Thing is, I bought all the components over a 7-month period and left the frame for last. I was planning on using an older carbon frame (with v-brake mounts) that the chinese stopped selling in the meantime. Forced to use disc brakes, I though I might as well get a nicer frame and try 27.5. So this turned into a "thoroughly modern bike" project, except for the mechanical brakes - I couldn't be bothered with the potential extra maintenance. And those TRPs are very nice.

    So I got all the parts bar wheels and frame. Then bought the rims ($80/ea special) and bought the frame, which took a while to reach me (see below). With the frame delayed, I took my time to buy hubs and spokes. And then the local currency took a 35% dive and suddenly even DT Swiss 350s would bust my budget (couldn't find takers for the non-disc rear hub). I could wait a bit and get nicer stuff, but Novatec fit my budget nicely and by the time I looked into getting the hubs again the frame was in the post and I had to hurry. But it was mostly a budgetary decision ("I can always build nicer wheels later").

    By all accounts the Novatecs are fine for the kind of riding I plan to do with this bike. I'll probably need to take hub maintenance more seriously with them.

    I'm not sure what you mean with the XT components. Too high or too low a group for a frame like this? I've seen people build these chinese bikes with Ultegra and Dura-ace, XT was on special at CRC at a great price, so I took the plunge so to speak. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tier1 View Post
    How long was the lead time for you getting your frame? I'm dealing with DengFu right now and I ordered one of their Full Sus frames a month and a half ago and they haven't even shipped it out of China yet, they told me it was still being constructed so I'm thinking either they make pieces as they're ordered or they make batches and I missed the last batch they made.
    They do it in batches like you said. I bought this FM238 and a FM208 road frame and they were both delayed. Dengfu quoted a 45-day lead time for FM208 because they were sold out on my size (54); and FM238 took a little longer (almost 60 days) because I wanted one with BSA rather than pressfit bottom bracket mount (remember the components were bought for an older 26" frame).

    They did e-mail me when they were ready to ship and the whole CS experience was pretty good (though I'll admit my local CS standards are abyssal).
    Last edited by Babe Ruthless; 10-28-2015 at 07:01 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zemper View Post
    Awesome build. That 8+ kgs is right there in road bike territory. Though given the slicks and your dirt roads preference, why didn't you go for a CX bike instead? At least the Road Geometry stays the same with your road bike... and for commuting and road runs, why not the 3x instead of the 2x? I run an XT 3x on my hardtail and it gives me speed on asphalt when going to and from our local trails.
    Cheers zemper. :-)

    About not going for a CX bike, I guess I wanted to try something different. Secondarily, and this being the way I rationalize it now, my girlfriend tried a road bike and decided it was "terrible", refusing to ride one ever since. This is something she can ride on weekends - flat bar makes it "a proper bike".

    As for 2x, well, weight was a consideration, plus the fact that I'll be riding this mostly on a mountainous region (my home state) so 2x is fine. For speed (and my daily commute) there's always my road bike, and to be honest this bike's 38x12 top is a bit of a sweet spot for me in the flat right now, after a 30-day vacation with no rides. :-P

  6. #6
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    Cool. Nice to see a well-thought of bike build. Running Novatec d041/042SB myself on my hardtail, 2 years of no maintenance, intermediate trails, and a downhill accident later, and the hubs still run fine. Kinda on the heavy side and engagement could be better, but for the price and durability Novatecs rock.

    Oh, and 580mm bars? That's roadie-ish enough for me lol.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babe Ruthless View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean with the XT components. Too high or too low a group for a frame like this? I've seen people build these chinese bikes with Ultegra and Dura-ace, XT was on special at CRC at a great price, so I took the plunge so to speak. :-)
    Yeah I meant that it's almost too high of a group. Being one level below XTR I see XT as being equivalent to Ultegra (and SLX as being the same as 105). But if it fits the budget and you get a great price then all the power to you. My currency also took a dive compared to the USD (CAD is trading at $1.30 CAD per USD and the only components I have left for my build is the rear shock which I was saving up for and looks like I might be up the creek for that).

    The bike looks super clean though. Good job.

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