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  1. #1
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    My commuter vision - Yeti ARC

    Hi all,

    I'm tossing out an idea for my next commuter bike build, and I'd love to get your feedback.

    Right now, I do a hybrid half-drive / half ride commute. The riding portion is verrry short (about a mile) but relatively hilly. Right now I ride a Kona Paddy Wagon with SKS fenders - which does the job perfectly. I'm thinking about starting to ride in ALL the way from home, but that'll involve a bit of curb-hopping and technical riding more suited for a mtn bike.

    SO, I just totally scored a Yeti ARC on fleabay for a mere $180 for the bare frame, no fork, and I'm hoping this can be my base. It has dual mounts - V-brakes and discs. I'm feeling like doing a quality build, but trying to keep the bling to a minimum.

    Being a mountain biker, I'm more comfortable with mtn. bike handling, but I gotta say I'm liking riding the brake hoods on my Kona. It makes me feel fast. So here's the plan:

    1) SLICKS, of course
    2) Hubs should be drilled for standard discs and Shimano cassette compatible
    3) Gearing is a 1x8 or 9. Shimano cassette in the rear, with XT derailleur. (one chainring in front.)
    4) Avid BB7 road brakes
    5) MTN drop bars, and shimano road shifter / brake levers of some variety.
    6) If possible, fenders. I'm not sure I can get them to fit on the ARC - no mounts from the pics I've seen. If the weather is really bad, I'll revert to the short commute with the Paddy wagon, but I would LOVE to have full fenders on the ARC.
    7) this should have been at the top, but rigid steel fork.

    That's the plan - I figure this will result in a nice fast handling commuter with a roady flair, and an aluminum frame so I don't have to worry too much about road salt, etc in the winter years.

    Any thoughts? Will this work? Any suggestions for parts picks? Any advice? This will be my first "from scratch" build, and I'll probably do my best to find used parts when possible to keep things reasonable.

    I'll try to post a pic of the frame when it arrives next week.

    Thanks!
    -Raj

  2. #2
    Drunken fool
    Reputation: wheelerfreak's Avatar
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    I rebuilt my old S-works hardtail in a similar fashion, only without the drops or rigid fork. I ended up switching back to a triple up front and a 9-speed rear with a nice wide spread because I had a lot of hills and hard climbs to deal with on the ride. I liked the ability to curb hop and cut across long dirt sections etc, that's why I used an old MTB frame also. I didn't use fenders because I live in the desert, so water wasn't an issue (just flats). Otherwise your plan looks good.
    I just got bitten by the new bike bug after I stopped in at the LBS yesterday, and am now looking at a cross bike with discs for my new commuter I will never save money bike commuting
    You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't you're gonna have me on your hands.

  3. #3
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    My 99 cents of brain-ness:

    Fenders
    You should be able to use P-clips and run full fenders should the frame have none. Just be wary of the position of the calipers. You may need to do some bending of the struts.

    Wheels
    For your wheels, consider getting touring/narrow 29er 700c rims laced to normal MTB hubs. Not too difficult to find pre-build wheelsets like this. This works so long as you're not planning on fat 29er-type rubber- think Cannondale Bad Boy. You could put cyclocross tyres on when you feel like fireroad trails. 32 hole, 3 cross for good sturdy commuting wheels.

    Shifters/Brifters/Brakes
    Brifters (or intergrated brake and shifter levers- normal road bike gear) will work just fine, but it may be worth considering using a bar end shifter.
    Pros:
    Cheaper than Brifters
    Generally can withstand more abuse - rain, road grime, impacts - than brifters.
    You could grab normal MTB BB7s and use Diatech brake levers (like the ones on your Paddy, but allowing for V-brake/disc cable pull leverage... OR just have two matching road brake levers.
    Can use as a friction shifter should things go weird mid-ride.
    Cons:
    Not having instant access to gear changes.

    Otherwise 1x8/9 seems like a good idea, consider using a chain watcher and/or an outer chainring guard- even grinding the teeth off an old big ring.

  4. #4
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    It certainly sounds interresting. I`m not sure you`d be able to make good use of the hoods on dirt drops though. I can`t say for sure since I`ve never used them, but the hoods don`t look very inviting when they`re so sideways. And a heads up in case you change your mind and decide to go with a double or triple- I`ve heard that STI doesn`t work with mtb front derailers (no problem for rear). If you end up putting it together like you`re talking about I sure would like to see the pics.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all of the comments, there are some really good thoughts here that I'll take into consideration. Here's my latest thoughts - influenced by your suggestions.

    RE fenders, yes, I think I'll have to do clip-ons, although since the bike doesn't come with a fork, I may get braze ons on the fork I get.

    I hadn't thought about 29er wheels. I want my MTB slicks to have a little bit of CUSH to them, so I'll have to see whether or not I can get decent sized tires to fit on the frame with the 29er wheels. Great thought. Fortunately I have some 29er wheels here to test fit.

    "Brifters" vs. Bar end shifters is a close call - I know for a fact that bar end shifters work like a charm. I've just always wanted the integrated road shifters...

    Excellent point on the dirt drops...I may have to go with a standard road bar. Standard, but with a MTB clamp sized diameter to match the stem.

    Speaking of the stem, I'm guessing I'll have to go with one of those stubby downhill bmx type stems (like Azonic) so that I can get the hoods in about the same place as the bar would have been on a more normal stem. Any problems with that?

    Two more questions:
    A front fork: I'm going non-blingy on this ride from a parts pick standpoint. This might be different for the fork - that to me is a more permanent part of the bike. I've been eyeing the Iglehart unicrown...it'll work as an echo of the old Answer forks the Yetis came with. Think that's overkill? Any other suggestions for a good fork that comes in appropriate lengths?

    By the way, that's another thing I need to figure out - suspension correction length on a Yeti ARC. I'm guessing 100mm.

    Finally, gearing. What's a good road spread for the rear cluster, and should I consider a road cluster instead of a mtb one? I figure my current singlespeed commuter has a 42 front, 16 rear. That's about as high as I'd probably need to go.

    Thanks again for all of the input.

    Best,
    -Raj

  6. #6
    Off the back...
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    I did something similar with a Trek 8500 [XC race bike], but set it up as a SS. As far as the rest of the build goes:
    fenders - clip ons work great, especially with a couple of zip-ties as insurance
    wheels - I am using Mavic Open Pro rims laced to Hope Pro II hubs. With 25C tires, they have oodles of room and are quite comfy. I also run a set of winter studs on a touring rim, and they have 38C tires with room for fenders.
    Brifters - I am quite pleased with brifters. Get some 105 or Ultegra, or even better, used 9-spd Dura-Ace - that stuff is indestructible.
    Drops - standard bars are better if you spend more time on the hoods, which you will if you go with the brifters
    Stem - a cheap mtn bike stem will work fine, and they are easy to find in short lengths
    Fork - Many will disagree, but I recommend a carbon CX fork with disc tabs. Actually, any 1-1/8" CX fork should work. They are designed for the type of wheels and tires you want to run, and may give you a slightly steeper head angle than a suspension-corrected fork. My bike steers alot like a mellow road bike [i.e. Specialized Roubaix], which is a nice feel to have when sprinting in traffic.
    Gearing - Gear for your terrain. I have mine set up as 53x18, but I only have two decent hills on my short commute. If your area is pretty flat, go for a road cluster. If you spin to win, a 12-28 might work better.

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