Just got my new frame and fork in last week and have had some solid time to ride it on the roads, MTB trails, and even race it in our pro/1/2 field.
This bike rules for what it is. A do-it-all cyclocross inspired bike. Its not the lightest, stiffest, or fastest race bike. But it is very well balanced for a monster cross trail shredding, gravel road riding, and loaded commuting/touring machine. If you want a killer fast race bike, may want to look at other options.
Out of the box, the finish was great. No flaws, well packaged, and the sparkle in the paint really glimmered more than it appears in the photos. I chose the graphite color, cuz its sexy. The frame and fork wont build the lightest steel bike in the world, but like a surly, they are designed for real world abuse.
For monster cross lovers, such as myself, ill go through some tires that will and wont fit.
As for the fork, you can fit a good sized tire in there.
In the pics below you can see I am running a Mountain King 2.2 (gen 1) tubeless on a Roval Control SL rim (22mm internal width)
This tire has a couple millimeters of clearance on either side, and measures 53mm knob to knob. But, this tire is a super low volume "53mm" measuring 48.5mm casing to casing.
A Ikon 2.2(measures about 53.5) will not fit, as the casing is relatively large and tall. The very edges of the knobs will buzz once every rotation due to the tires natural wobble from the factory. You can probably get away with most 2.0s.
As for the rear, I am running a Vee Rubber XCX 1.95. This tire measures about 48.5mm casing to casing, 49mm knob to knob. With my axle installed 65% of the way back in the track ends, I have a few millimeters on either side. I havent tried a ton of tires out back, but you wont be able to fit much more than that with the axle near the middle. If you slam the axle back, you may be able to fit something bigger... But not much.
Point being, good sized tires will work. If you are looking for MTB phatties, may not be the frame for you. But 29x 1.9s/2.1s are definitely in the Monster cross category IMO. That size tire meshes well with the type of bike too. Fast rolling on the road, and more than sufficient for a drop barred geometry singletrack-plowing machine.
Ride quality, this bike is perfect for gravel, loaded road, and monster cross. Its not the stiffest bike on the market, but no where near as flexy as some other steel bikes on the market I have ridden. The ride is actually perfect for singletrack and gravel. It really smooths out the rough stuff while being stiff enough to pedal hard and shred corners.
As for my build, I chose to KISS it with a 1x10. (keep it simple stupid)
I used a Wolf tooth 130bcd, 38t ring
Sram X0 type 2 clutch derailleur
Sram force shifters (left hand gutted)
Sram force cranks
XX cassette 11-32t
Roval Control SL wheels (from my MTB race bike)
TRP HYRD brakes(jury is still out... but better than BB7s)
Salsa Cowbell bars
King Ti cage (only way to ride)
And lasty, PICS!
I found a bamboo forrest in the middle of atlanta. Weird.
I dare you to ride that chunk on a normal CX bike.
Due to the government shutdown, the sun hadnt come out for days when this picture was taken.
Loaded commuting duty. 38x11 was spun out a lot, but this frame handles rough city streets much better than my Cervelo S1 road bike.
SPAMforce SS shifter. U JELLY?
Finishing Mid-pack in out local pro/1/2 series. If you are gonna be pack fodder, be pack fodder with style!!! Props to Travis Neumuller for this rad photo.
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