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  1. #1
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    Bianche San Jose or Nature Boy

    Hello - Looking for vertical dropouts on a SS steel frame for a bike used for Gravel Riding, FS Roads, Double Track, Cross Racing (middle to back of the pack), Light Single Tract - in that order.

    Frame choices narrowed to a San Jose (more relaxed, touring like) or an All-City Nature Boy (more aggressive, real cross bike) - Any first hand, or educated third hand observations on these?

    Also, anyon know if the San Jose can take a 40mm tire? Worth considering a vertical drop out frame (Soma DC?) w Eno Eccentric Hub?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Never ridden either bike. Have you checked out Black Mountain Cycles?

    Black Mountain Cycles: Black Mountain Cycles Frames

  3. #3
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    I've had the Bianchi San Jose pro now for several years. Primarily as my commuter, set up with fenders and singlespeed of course. It's a very comfortable ride, and I've raced a couple CX races on it too. It has room for Conti 42c tires with plenty of room to spare. It's certainly no lightweight, but I do expect it to last a lifetime.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    Never ridden either bike. Have you checked out Black Mountain Cycles?

    Black Mountain Cycles: Black Mountain Cycles Frames
    Thanks to both of you. The black mountain cx (and the crosscheck) were on my original list, but I couldn;t find much info on the black mtn. looks cool, and the geometry seemd right but the only positive comments revolved around it taking huge tires...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogfuel View Post
    Thanks to both of you. The black mountain cx (and the crosscheck) were on my original list, but I couldn;t find much info on the black mtn. looks cool, and the geometry seemd right but the only positive comments revolved around it taking huge tires...
    Not sure where you've seen comments on the BMC that are positive about the tire clearance, but not much else. I've owned one (regrettably, I don't have it anymore) and I've owned 3 different CrossChecks. The best way I can describe the two bikes would be to say, take a CrossCheck and fix everything that seems a little off. For example, taller head tube (slightly sloping top tube) for less spacers, top tube cable routing, slightly lighter tubeset and fork. Not sure how they pulled it off, as the two bikes are very similar, but the BMC rides really nice, whereas the CC always struck me as a cheap steel bike from Taiwan.

  6. #6
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    I went back and forth on those two bikes plus the crusader from Traitor about two years ago or so. I ended up getting the crusader simply because it was what was available when I was ready to buy. No regrets I would buy it again.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bianche San Jose or Nature Boy-image.jpg  


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge View Post
    Not sure where you've seen comments on the BMC that are positive about the tire clearance, but not much else.
    My hastily phone-type reply looks critical but wasn't intended to be... The tire clearance (a good thing in my opinion) seemed to be the focus of so many comments that it seemed to be - hyperbolically - the only thing people commented on... I did not mean to imply that it was the only good thing about the bike.

    The BMC is back on the list!

  8. #8
    RPG
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    I have a NB Zona and absolutely love it. I only have 33c tires on it with velocity 23 rims. They look much wider though. Very comfortable ride. Not meant to be a review, just my 2 cents. Think the biggest tire a NB can take is a 38. Also, I'm doing a 60 mile gravel ride on the NB and training rides have been very comfortable on body and back.

  9. #9
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    Thanks RPG. was hoping to run 40s (Kenda Happy Medium in front, Clement MSO is rear seems to work for me). The Black Mountain Rig is moving up the list...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogfuel View Post
    My hastily phone-type reply looks critical but wasn't intended to be... The tire clearance (a good thing in my opinion) seemed to be the focus of so many comments that it seemed to be - hyperbolically - the only thing people commented on... I did not mean to imply that it was the only good thing about the bike.

    The BMC is back on the list!
    No worries. I didn't even think you were being critical, hope you didn't think I was defensive. I was just shocked, that's all. Having owned a BMC, I could only imagine that the only negative you could say about it is that it's slightly more expensive than the CC.

  11. #11
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    I have a Macho Man Disc with 40c Kenda Happy Mediums on 28mm wide rims and its a really nice ride. I have it built up with 10sp 6600 / CX70 and it weighs in at 26lbs. Rides much lighter than that tho IMO..

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    Traitor is still making the Crusader, nice to see, they have turned over models a lot. It says 35mm tires but sounds like it can fit bigger.

  13. #13
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    I don't want to burst any bubbles, but the black mountain has forward facing horizontal dropouts. It is also a great bike, I like mine a lot.

    Maybe somebody is referring to some deluxe frames black mountain did that had vertical fixed dropouts, if I remember right. I think they were around $1500 for the frameset and I don't know that they are available, you could email them about it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilarider View Post
    I don't want to burst any bubbles, but the black mountain has forward facing horizontal dropouts. It is also a great bike, I like mine a lot.

    Maybe somebody is referring to some deluxe frames black mountain did that had vertical fixed dropouts, if I remember right. I think they were around $1500 for the frameset and I don't know that they are available, you could email them about it.
    Speaking of bursting bubbles... how come you didn't notice that both the frames the OP is considering also have horizontal dropouts???

    Given that he mentioned vertical dropouts and ENO hubs later, I assumed that when he was talking about the SJ or NB, he meant to say horizontal, not vertical.

  15. #15
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    decision made - thanks!

    Thanks for all of the suggestions... to clarify on a few things:
    - I was looking for horizontal (or semi-horizontal dropouts) - I'm old fat and slow so might as well do so on a single speed. I only considered the eccentric rear hub to open up additional frame choices for SS,
    - The Traitor Crusade looks about right, but don't want disc brakes (don't need the extra weight or hassle - mini-v is fine by me
    - Love the Nature Boy (finally rode a zona version), but the Black Mountain likely would have gotton the nod, except...

    Been using a No-name Cross Check clone (actually has a name, found out recently it is a Retrospec Amok frame) to hold and test the parts I was accumulating. I figured it was so cheap, it couldn't be a viable long term option. Frame is billed as Handmade CroMo, but no mention of butting, oh well, it seems lighter than my old cross check and plenty strong. This setup has grown on me and, after 40 comfortable gravel miles today, I think I'll just keep it, ride it and get over it. Thanks again!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bianche San Jose or Nature Boy-0503142130.jpg  

    Last edited by dogfuel; 05-04-2014 at 11:50 AM.

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